04 January 2010

Lead Generation and Holiday Lights

A place for everything, everything in its place. - Benjamin Franklin

The challenge that most lead generation specialists have is how to assign where to place leads, how to know they are in the right place, and to peek into those places again and again to verify that the places are correct (again).

Let's take holiday decorations (since we just went through the holiday cycles)......unless you are the weird neighbor on the street that never takes his holiday lights down, you follow a pattern of:
  1. Take the lights down.
  2. Store the lights in the appropriate, rarely used section of your house or garage.
  3. 9-10 months later, retrieve the lights from storage and (if smart), checking the bulbs on the light strings to see if any of the bulbs need to be refreshed.
  4. Put the lights back up.
  5. Sing the praises of your overall holiday decorations to your family, friends, and co-workers.
  6. Feel pleasure from a job and decor well done (and compare your decoration style to your neighbors).
  7. Realize it is time to repeat step 1 again.

Leads are no different than holiday lights.

  1. There is a time and place for every lead - even the ones that seem "junky" today.
  2. Know how and when to "store" a lead - does it require a drip marketing campaign to stay active, should it be put into a rotational call cycle since it may be relevant in six weeks?
  3. Verify what data in the lead may have changed - or what may have been missing originally....and work to update the lead.
  4. Share the lead information across multiple departments -perhaps your support team has a piece of data that your demand generation team failed to get. How do you share it? ANSWER: a solid CRM system like salesforce.com.
  5. If the lead is ready, shout it from the rooftop - or in this case, alert your account executives, their managers, and their VPs. With each group, different levels of communication can be shared for relevancy but the goal is to promote your lead so that it can be accepted by the field.
  6. Analyze why similar leads had different outcomes of acceptance by reviewing data points - does one Account Executive routinely take leads a bit under-qualified? Does another reject a lead if it is missing one critical part of data? Knowing your sales team and their preferences are half the battle in lead acceptance.
  7. Re-evaluate your lead practices, sources, and your "places" routinely - typically, your market and your own company is evolving such that you will be behind if you don't adjust or tweak the system every so often.
The KISS Question is "have you checked your bulbs/leads recently?"

Next time, I'll describe how Procurement folks at your client/prospect company are like Eggnog!

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