Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Why The “Same Old” Is New Again: Applying Tried & True Lead Gen
By Dan McDade, President, PointClear
Never before have marketers had so many tools in their arsenal. Social media and marketing automation provide huge opportunities to touch — and compel — our markets.
While these tools offer new capabilities to interact with prospects more personally, more cost effectively and with more precise timing, it’s critical in this new economy to apply tried and true marketing principles to make sure lead gen programs work.
Our experience as a prospect development partner for BtoB technology, healthcare and services companies repeatedly proves the point: While new tools make our job different than 10, five, or even two years ago, they require adherence to the same best practices as more traditional tactics.
For example: You’re the marketing executive for an IT outsourcing company, targeting CFOs of mid-size companies. This morning, you post a thought-provoking blog on an important enterprise-level security issue. Then you send a compelling tweet about the blog entry to those following you, summarize your posts’ points for your LinkedIn Group and provide a link to your blog. Next you’re alerted to a discussion on a Facebook fan page about corporate hacking and you promptly put in your two cents, with a reference to a podcast on this very subject that resides on your Web site.
Even before lunch, on a real-time basis you’re gaining intelligence about Web site activity resulting from your a.m. efforts — what pages were visited, how long visitors lingered and what they did. And you’re monitoring the score generated for each visitor, using it to drive your lead-generation activities: determining who’s a qualified lead, who gets a sales call no later than 1 p.m. and who’s added to the nurture marketing program.
This scenario demonstrates how new tactics and technologies are fast becoming a daily part of marketing programs, offering more ways to engage your market, generate leads and nurture prospects. That’s why it’s more important than ever to adhere to foundational marketing principals, specifically: Making sure your message is consistent, relevant to your audience and aligned with business goals; and you determine what action should be taken when you get a lead.
Clear, concise messaging that speaks to buyers’ pain points is critical to success. Careful documentation of your offer, including problems solved, features/benefits, and competitive differentiators, as well as market testing, are tried and true ways to make sure all your communications work together—from this morning’s tweet, to this afternoon’s phone call—and generate results.
Also as important, especially with so many ways to touch prospects, is a focus on the definition of a lead, and agreement on how to handle one when it comes your way. We’ve found companies often define their market too broadly and their leads too narrowly. If your CEO perceives your target market to be the Fortune 500 (when it’s really a smaller segment within that group) and if your sales reps only follow up on leads that help them make this month’s quota (leaving longer-term leads on the table), you’re missing significant opportunity.
While there’s plenty new in lead generation, it’s important to remember that the same old is as fresh as ever. Today’s “new” strategy is to leverage everything available—blogs, tweets, other social media and prospect scoring. Yet, the success of this strategy relies heavily on the proven marketing principals that have served lead-generation executives for years.
Dan McDade is Founder and President of PointClear, the prospect development company. Before McDade founded PointClear, he served as Vice President of Marketing for the direct mail firm, Jackson & Perkins, and as President of UST: The Business Marketing Group. To learn more about PointClear, go to www.pointclear.com.