Lead generation has to be the most frequently discussed topic after people find out what I do; particularly as a business development specialist.
The mysticism comes into their eyes as they start asking all the normal questions like, “how do you approach customers and get them to start buying” or “should I be focusing on facebook ads”.
Now let’s just quantify what lead generation is.
LG is not “getting customers”, it is merely the process of attracting leads and acquiring their contact details so that you can help them journey down the buying cycle as one of the potential vendors.
- Where to Position
- How to Position
- Position the backend
- Qualify well (Sales Process)
The initial questions are not bad, it just goes to show that what I think is an S.O.P. is actually a foreign concept to most. This is one of the main reasons I’m focused on growing sales in business consulting.
Obviously there is a lot of need… problem and solution!
This topic of conversation is actually fairly similar with mature businesses as with startups, but I am choosing to start at the beginning (with the basics of LG) so as to lay the basics out in order to not have to clarify what I think about the foundations later on. This also gives me the opportunity to write another article on the really cool technology that costs a bomb… one day.
I started my first business just before the GFC when the world became my oyster. It was a fantastic time in the world when there was so much opportunity it was really easy to make a go of it in business and just about anyone could do alright.
The GFC definitely sorted the serious players out from the not so serious… Although it still took out some serious players also.
My point… business has become a lot more difficult in the past decade and a lot of business owners are scratching their heads to figure out how to survive let alone thrive.
Technology has become very sophisticated and the strategies to use these new fangled tools have also become more sophisticated.
In all of life there are a loads of very helpful tools – the Lead Generation industry is no different. You just need to carefully select the correct tools for your business, industry and target market.
1. Where to Position your Brand for Attraction?
Brand and Position your business in places (your company website and business listings websites, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube etc…) which your target market has business or educational interactions. This will allow the potential customers who value your Unique Selling Points to become familiar and interested in you and your product and/or service; and possibly extract information to better themselves and their business from their interaction, before they are “sold” in a sales cycle. This allows a natural affinity with your brand to evolve before you physically get to them.
2. How to Position
Make sure you are targeting the essential problem that you solve, while presenting the value of your solution (your Unique Selling Points – that differentiate your business from all of your competitors). This narrative needs to be driven through and around where you want to do business. Multiple touch points is one of the keys to great LG; which is different mediums of reaching out ie. email, phone, social media, in person, advertisements (print or digital media) etc…
3. Position the backend
Make sure your business has robust customer service and product/service delivery systems. This means that potential customers will notice you via referrals and reviews. I mentioned business listings websites above… it is very helpful to get good customer reviews, and how they have benefitted from your products and services. The review sites are third party and will point back to your website and boost potential visits as well as the perspective of how potential customers think about your company. Note I specify GOOD customer reviews.
4. Qualify well (Sales Process)
A focused qualification process is necessary and often overlooked. This is one very large reason cost of customer acquisition is hard to ascertain:
There is so much time and energy spent doing the wrong things, which are not recorded or measured… in the buying cycle.
This leads to your sales team spending time with potentially the wrong type of customers or missing steps and therefore not being able to close the deal when there is a disconnect between you and the customer.
Analytics are extremely helpful in this process, as filtering the incoming data can easily show the preferred type of client features or problems in the sales process… if there is a process.
As prospects start interacting and enquiring, it will be easier to refine which prospects to focus on; which will also help to specifically target certain types of clients when refreshing the in and out bound marketing material. I’ll segue here for a moment because “inbound marketing” has a lot more merit for long term business these days. However there is still a place for outbound – but it needs to be used very carefully, intelligently and well for a good effect… otherwise it hurts your business.
In this age of confusion, sophistication and also plenty (too many if you ask me) we’ve found that simplicity, relational and with a good process, you’ll beat the competition every time.
We believe in partnering with and helping people, rather than just making money as easily and as quickly as possible.
Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of ways to make plenty of money quickly, however we are not interested in just pushing products and services that we know sell.
We are in business to partner with people to properly diagnose the root cause of the roadblock to their business growth.
Our aim is to lead businesses into growth, through the growth cycle and out into continuously growth outcomes.
Wrapping it all together
Following these points above as an initial guide will start to get you and your business further down the path of getting noticed and will start you on the path to think about how to automatically generate leads.
Lead Generation is a term that has become a specialty within the sales world and goes into the equation of “cost of customer acquisition” as the world becomes a more expensive and complex place to do business.
To make LG as simple and inexpensive as possible – data is the key. If you are not capturing and measuring data from your digital and physical interactions, it is very difficult and I will have to say nearly impossible to gauge what the customer trends are in the market. It is also a lot more expensive to brand and position a business without good data streams.
The goal is not simply to bring potential customers to the table, but for you to be able to provide better and cutting edge solutions for your present and future customers through understanding what they want and need.
Once you have a business plan that ticks all the boxes (what you want to achieve from the business and how you plan to get there), this will all make a lot more sense, as you will/should have thought of many of these things a long the way.
Writing a business plan is not about lead generation, however starting with a good business plan sets you up for a much more informed and controlled growth trajectory.
Lead generation is something that will come a lot more easily and naturally once you have written, implemented and reviewed the business plan for a time.
Don’t have a business plan or don’t know how to write a business plan that ticks all the boxes?
We can help with your business plan, sales and marketing framework, sales process and also mapping out the next phase of your business growth.
Gives us a call or send us an email and we can start the journey together.
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About the Author
Matthew Benn is the founding partner of Alongside Business Consulting. He has been a senior BD and sales leader for over 12 years, as well as being a small business owner for more than 8 years; recently starting Alongside Business Consulting (his fourth business). He really enjoys the challenges and successes that come with developing people and growing businesses, hence has taken these passions and started the management consulting firm with a twist. The plan is to help business owners take control of their destinies and build their businesses simply…Business Growth Simplified.