As we approach 2011, here are six tactics that will improve your lead generation results and yield a positive return on investment.
Define (and Redefine) Quality
You’ve likely heard the saying “if you throw enough stuff at the wall, something is bound to stick”. While this may be true, it’s not a wise strategy when defining how many and what type of leads should be provided to your Sales team. Instead a much smarter approach is to focus on providing quality leads, which are worth the time and attention of your Sales organization. In order to continually accomplish this, it’s important to define, and periodically redefine, your definition of quality (and as we near 2011, this is a perfect time!). A lead quality definition should go beyond “B.A.N.T” criteria (budget, authority, need and timeframe) to also delve into the information that will be valuable to the Sales follow-up process – this may include specific information on current infrastructure, competitive landscaping, decision-making steps, etc. Periodically reviewing with Sales the type and depth of information contained on your leads is advisable to ensure you’re continually meeting their changing needs.
Customize Messaging & Timing
The most successful telemarketing calls are those that are highly customized and tailored to your target contacts. As you plan for 2011, look at ways in which you can easily tailor your approach by developing value-propositions and positioning specific to certain industries, type of organizations, functional titles, etc. Additionally, align your efforts based on the buying trends within the industries that you target. For instance, if you offer a solution that is appropriate for all industry, instead of targeting your prospects in random order, you can target industries based on their peak planning periods (i.e. fall for Financial Services, spring/summer for Government, etc).
Expand Email Integration
Email continues to be a valuable tool to improve telemarketing results. While many organizations utilize email as a way to deliver valuable content after a telemarketing conversation takes place, there are several additional ways to integrate this powerful tool. For instance, emailing your prospects/customers before calling can help you to prioritize large telemarketing efforts by focusing first on those with the highest click-thru. Second, if your solution is complex and/or service-oriented, it’s likely that an education process will be required; and email can play an important role in the education process through the use of a Call-Email-Call strategy. Third, if your telemarketing effort is focused on responders, who downloaded a whitepaper or attended an event/webinar, sending a customized, personal email to schedule a phone call will increase your connection rate with your target market by 10% or more.
Reinvest in Product Training
The more your telemarketing team knows about your products and services, the better they will be at message positioning, illustrating value and uncovering leads. As your products and services evolve, it’s critical to keep your team well informed of product/service enhancements, and their evolving benefits. As you kick-off the New Year, reinvest time in training for your telemarketing team. An onsite training session with a product expert will renew your telemarketing team’s energy, while deepening their knowledge.
Give Your Leads “Top of Mind” Awareness with Sales
The beginning of the year is also a perfect time to get in front of your sales team in order to give your leads proper visibility. Arrange a “Leads Forum”, perhaps as part of an existing team meeting, in which you provide the sales representatives an overview of your upcoming campaigns and the types of leads they will expect in 2011. Show samples of your leads and include tips for how to maximize the data and yield the highest conversion. Understanding the investment that is made (people, process, dollars, etc) to generate leads gives individuals an added sense of responsibility to make sure each lead is followed-up on and maximized. Additionally, you can use this session as a way to give special recognition to Sales Reps who have successfully closed marketing leads. Peer-to-peer competitive motivation is also a great way to incent action.
Create a Communication & Feedback Loop
Feedback is critical to continually improving any lead generation program. There are many ways to facilitate communication between your Sales organization and your telemarketing team. For instance, by including your telemarketing program manager’s (or lead quality manager’s) name, phone number, and email on every lead, Sales Reps will have an opportunity to reach out whenever there are questions or issues. Additionally, providing both “won” and “dead” leads back to your telemarketing team, will allow analysis on which leads are more and less likely to make it through the sales process. This type of analysis can positively impact your lead conversion in 2011.