What is your lead generation methodology? Do you send out a mass mailing in the form of "spray and pray" to hope for those few leads that need you? Lead generation is not easy, if it was, the economy would be in a boom and not just chugging along. Your overall business development process needs to be strategic and tactical at the same time.
Creating a business development vision takes risk, resources and luck. You can minimize the amount of luck you need if you develop your strategic plan accordingly. Many companies do not plan correctly and hope that at a tactical level, things are being done appropriately. Let's start with the three step process to a successful lead generation campaign.
First, you need a valid database list to create that fertile ground to plant your seeds. If you do not have a valid database, don't waste your time, money and resources on any other activity. Realistically you could purchase a list from various sources and some information could be good, but this is not the end of the first step, it is actually the beginning. Your company must thoroughly go through this list to add and update information. Most prospects may contain more than one contact depending on the type of sale and role of the individuals you are trying to reach. This must be done for every name you purchase. You must also do this for every existing prospect in your database. It doesn't matter if you have 100 companies in your list or 10,000. If you do not do the following procedure to cleanse your database, outsource all your work. You must go three deep and three wide! This is the secret sauce to a fertile garden of contacts. This means you must get to three levels of contacts in the company and get three peers to each of those contacts. If possible, get their email address and get their assistant's name. By getting all this information you will not only have a better view of the organization, but will be able to penetrate the company via multiple mediums. This is not a short-term project. This will take several resources over a period of time. Be diligent, this step can save you a lot of money in the future and significantly improve positive results for your campaigns.
Second, you need to choose the type of food to grow your seeds. This means you will use water, fertilizer or a rapid grow cocktail. Perhaps you want to use a combination of some or all. Do you use direct mail with letters and/or postcards? Do you use email campaigns with text and/or HTML? Do you use teleservices to contact directly? The truth is one of these will probably work better than the other, but you need to use a combination or all of these spread out over a period of time. If you were able to get email addresses, use this medium with permission from the contact. You may want to include a web page landing area for your prospects to click through on those emails to get quicker information or contact you. Make sure every campaign has an offer. You could offer discounts on selected equipment, invitation to your customer conference, free assessment on their project, etc. Without an offer you are just branding yourself or your company. Branding is very expensive and doesn't always yield success. These types of campaigns can fuel your growth and accelerate your sales to meet your revenue goals.
Third, you need to choose how frequently you will use your food to nurture your seeds into flourishing plants. Once you have gotten all the correct contact information you need to come up with a sequence of events and a frequency of contact touches. Sometimes a teaser email or postcard of the anticipated offer is a great way to start the campaign with more aggressive correspondence following up. This will yield positive results. It is important to realize that you need "drip irrigation," not "drip irritation." Too many touches, even with multiple mediums can be too much. If you plan to use multiple methods, try every two to three weeks for each step of the campaign. The most effective will be the teleservices component. It will have the greatest investment and will take the longest to execute, but done properly will yield you the greatest positive results over time. But even with great lead generation, if your sales team has poor follow-up or none at all, then the efforts are futile at best. Make sure the best leads get to your best salespeople right away. Show them you are investing in them and they will help increase results. Proactive efforts breed success and the entire business development process needs this level of commitment.
As with any crop, you need to plan appropriately, you need multiple ways to feed your seeds and nurture them. Most of all, you need patience. The process might seam laborious to some, but this is a vital work flow to every business. If you have lofty goals to grow your business, you need a plan and more importantly you need execution.