The Upside Down World of Lead Generation

Sales leads are the mainstay of any business.  There isn’t a B2B sales manager alive who hasn’t said that he/she doesn’t have enough qualified leads, either for his troops in the field or the inside sales force.

Until recently sales leads were generated by buying “lists” and sending out letters, holding “meet and greet” events in local areas, exhibiting at trade shows, placing bingo cards in trade publications and advertising.  In 2010 that has all changed.

Below is a representation of what was and what is happening today:

Was Marketing Activity 2010 Marketing Activity
Glossy Brochure Web Site
Product literature – Literature leave behinds Web Site
Direct Mail – Letter Email
Reference Accounts Case studies on the web site
Meet and greets Webinars and Podcasts
Trade Shows Web user groups, Communities
Bingo Cards Contact us page on web site
Adverstising – Print Minimal print, increased Google and Facebook
Key Message (still important) Key words for SEO
On location Demos, written tutorials YouTube postings, Podcasts, BrainShark postings
Free trial – Approved by management “Freemium” downloaded from the web site
Competitive analysis/research – 4/5 presentations by competitors Web site reviews – choice narrowed to 2-3
Reputation of your company – Salesperson, network Monitoring/searching twitter, blogs, YouTube
Tracking – Verbal communication with sales SalesForce.com

Lists are still being bought, but they can be purchased in much more granular fashion for targeted campaigns.  Leads generated from Google and Facebook ads, Webinars and other “opt-in” tools are much more valuable as they are already self-selected, perhaps better leads those generated at  “meet and greets,” as no food or drink is involved.

This change puts an emphasis on having a top-tier web site, easily navigable, with literature and “freemiums,” that can be easily downloaded,or information/tutorials that can be found on places like YouTube or BrainShark.  Buyers today are going to the web, your site and other areas, searching based on key words, evaluating companies based on what they find, selecting the 2-3 that are well presented and inviting them in for a final presentation.  In some cases they know more about the technical aspects of the product than the salesperson.

Have you looked at your allocation of Marketing dollars for 2010?  Do they correspond to today’s environment?  Are you using an obsolete marketing mix to reach your target market(s)?

RHM  3/5/2010

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