What Are You Doing About Lead Generation?

Sales starts with leads.  But where do the leads come from?  As CMO one of the key requirements of your job is provide the sales organization with qualified leads.  How do you do that in today’s economy?

Below are only some of lead generation programs that you can use:

  • Word-of-mouth referrals
  • Advertising
    • Print (Magazine, Newspapers)
    • Billboard (Google: Jack Welch Billboards Lexan Detroit)
    • Bingo Cards
    • Collateral material
    • Television
    • Urinal inserts (See Maverick Marketing by Tom Hayes)
    • Blimps
    • Product placement in movies (Look for Bud Light in The Town)
    • Trade Shows
  • On-line
    • Webinars
    • Podcasts
  • Social Media
    • Blogging
    • User Groups
    • You Tube
    • Microblogging – microsites
    • Facebook, LinkedIn groups
    • Facebook, LinedIn ads
    • twitter
    • Brainshark, SlideShare
    • Getting mentioned by influential bloggers
    • SEO for website
  • Email
  • Direct mail
  • Product reviews

And this is only a partial list.  In talking with B2B clients in the New England area, Dick and I find that the vast majority use only a few programs; usually a mix of direct mail, emails to existing customers and purchased lists, print advertising, collateral material and one-two key trade shows (which don’t generate leads but are “required.”)  Some firms have put their toe into the Social Media environment,  but they really haven’t embraced it.

While the mix of what works for each company is different; based on their product, their industry, their available resources, etc., we find it odd that there seems to be a continuing reliance on past practices and a reluctance to try something new.  This is surprising as in many of our conversations the marketing people comment on the dearth of new leads and/or the unqualified nature of the leads they are getting.  Duh…what I am doing is not working, but I am correcting it by changing the ratio of what I have done in the past.

Today’s economy and the speed of change requires a philosophy of “try it, and if it fails, try something else” rather than “stick with what you know best, and ride out the storm.”  Five years ago only a few people were using the terms viral marketing and buzz marketing.  Today they are being used by creative people to generate leads, drive revenue and gain market share.  On the horizon are newer, untested approaches to get buyers attention and mind share.

Trying something new and/or changing your approach need not be expensive or incur significant added cost.  Failing to change may lead to lost sales.

Is Sales satisfied with the number of qualified leads that you are providing?  What new program are you trying?  If that fails, what are you going to do next?  Unabashed plug; we can help by reviewing your mix and making suggestions.

An interesting blog that talks about continuing with the tried and proven and the consequences, is here:  http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/09/dont_innovate_italian_soccer_s.html

RHM  9/23/2010

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