I am starting a series of articles on one of the most requested topics by my readers: lead generation strategies.
Providing your sales team with hot qualified leads will allow them to spend more time selling. Moreover, sales personnel hate prospecting and performing administrative tasks. They’d rather be on the road closing deals.
Anything you can do to ease their pain will boost your credibility as a marketer.
We will take a look at the process from a strategic perspective, and identify the tools that work best in each scenario.
Don’t Follow the Crowd
The herd mentality affects not only consumers, but marketers as well. We get bombarded with advice on the latest and coolest lead generation techiques every company should adopt.
You have to be on Facebook and Twitter.
You have to leverage the power of LinkedIn.
You should never buy or rent email lists.
You should automate your marketing.
Direct marketing and cold calling are dead.
The reality is we all have limited budgets, and face the ambitious task of helping our sales teams with as many new qualified leads as possible.
Embracing all this advice puts pressure not only on your budget, but on the human resources as well (we can’t be specialists in everything).
Who Are You Targeting?
The effectiveness of lead generation strategies vary depending on your business model. So the starting point should be to understand the environment you operate in: are your trying to sell to businesses, or individual consumers?
As we will discover later, the strategies for attracting new B2B customers are quite different from the ones employed by a B2C company. The corporate buyer uses a different set of criteria to analyse and commit an offer versus people who buy stuff for personal use.
The chart below is meant to give you a quick overview of the differences and similarities between B2B and B2C customers:
Lead generation strategies should be highly targeted and the message customized to almost each individual lead
The goal of lead generation strategies is to reach as many people as possible within the target group with a specific message
|Main Challenge||Building trust||Getting customer attention in an supersaturated market|
|Number of Competitors|
Barriers to entry are usually high in the B2B segment, depending on product complexity and cost of entry
Globalization and technology has lower barriers to entry in many consumer categories
|How Products are Sold||Trust/Personal Relationship||Quality/price perception|
|Customized offering||Mandatory||Less Important (unless you market custom made products)|
|Importance of Personal Selling|| Vital|
Most B2B companies employ own sales force
| Less important|
A lot of automation possible
|Impulse purchase||Very unlikely||Likely|
|Tolerance to Unsolicited Calls|
Medium to Low
Unsolicited calls are generally expected by professionals during business hours
Consumers typically see unsolicited calls as an invasion of their privacy and huge annoyance
Most professionals operate under tight deadlines. Making and keeping appointments is a challenge
Consumers have usually more time to spare and flexible for setting appointments
|Lowest Price Guarantee|
Not Very Important
Price is not the most important factor int he purchase decision
Since many categories are highly comoditized, price comparison is a given in most consumer purchases
The chart above is by no means universally valid. At some point the separation line between B2B and B2C can become very blurry, depending on the product being sold.
The target audience of a B2B company that sells common office supplies to business might share many of the characteristics in the B2C column.
As well, a B2C company that sells a highly complex product to consumers might be better off employing B2B lead generation strategies.
In the next post I will rank specific lead generation strategies based on their effectiveness given a particular business model.