Ah… lead generation in sales, so crucially important yet for some it’s confusing and frustrating. Generating consumer interest is something one has to do as a sales professional but it’s a skill that eludes some. Leads generation is a tricky business, relying on both analytical intelligence and emotional intuition.
Lead generation involves converting prospects into customers after they already exhibited interest in your company and its products. This usually occurs via a variety of ways including blog posts, promotions, real world events, applications etc. This variety offers the sales professional plenty of options to use.
Yet still many struggle to fully master the lead generation process. You need to have a well defined system that combines marketing, writing, sales and other aspects to generate profit. In particular, there are five techniques you need to master to achieve excellent lead generation.
Lead generation and the funnel technique in sales
Sales and lead generation can be readily envisioned as a funnel. This is because the process involves sifting through a large amount of names and prospects, identifying which of these names are viable as sales leads, then turning these leads into customers at the end. It’s like being a 19th century gold prospector, shifting soil through a funnel to find a nugget of gold.
Your prospect is the nugget of gold at the top of our gold prospector’s funnel. As gold goes through a sieve your prospect starts as a lead, then via sales calls and follow ups they’re sieved through the funnel until you can convert them into a customer.
Using digital channels like social media and high quality content marketing makes your job far easier than it was for that old time prospector. You may well have a lot of information to sift through but there are ways to streamline the lead generation process. So let’s look at the five key aspects you can use to win at lead generation and ace your funnel technique.
1 – Find your lead loadstone
A loadstone is a magnetic rock and this is exactly what you need to start lead generation. Your loadstone needs to be distinct enough to draw attention, intriguing enough to retain interest beyond first impressions, and be as solid as a rock. Don’t skimp on time or funds on your loadstone as it needs to be high quality.
Your loadstone can be a variety of different things so you need to decide what’s most fitting for your product. You also need to ensure that it’s simple, as if it’s too complicated your potential prospects will be put off. Generic information boxes and limited call-to-actions won’t cut it as they’re forgettable. Give something to your potential lead instead.
Offer one-off exclusive content for example, or a short yet highly detailed pdf about your product. Then you can follow these pieces of writing up with a unique one time discount. By giving your potential lead something for free you’re loadstone will drag them down into your sales funnel. It’s simple magnetism.
2 – Strategize your social media
You’re not going to get anywhere with your leads if you don’t have a solid social media system to rely on. After you decide what your loadstone product will be, start working on a social media strategy based on it. By doing so you’re not simply following a trend you’re making an excellent data driven decision.
On average a business will grow by 24% if it uses social media to drive lead generation. It’s inexpensive as an average lead costs $0.80 on Facebook, and $2.50 on Google. Research which social networks for your product best then move forwards to aligning your sales process with your social media strategy.
You don’t necessarily have to pay for leads or advertisements either. You can run promotions and giveaways for your subscribers that are linked to your loadstone product, or share links to exclusive content to drive up unique hits and viewership on your landing page. Social media gives you considerable flexibility in generating leads so exploit it to its full potential.
3 – Foolproof follow-ups
If you’ve employed a decent social media strategy you should subsequently receive feedback from your prospects. For every comment, email, submission etc you receive you need to direct your potential customer to your product. You achieve this by using a good follow-up system characterised by high quality writing.
Your main follow-up tool is the humble email and each of your emails must be structured the same way. First, each email has to offer value to the customer, for example, a financial incentive to buy your product. Secondly, it must be written in a detailed and authoritative manner. Finally, always end your emails with a call-to action, ie, something the customer can do like clicking a link or signing up to a webpage as this will push them further down the sales funnel.
You can adapt this three tiered structure to any social media content including posts, tweets and videos. What matters is that they retain the same structure, tone and direction throughout.
4 – Network and referrals
The next stage after your follow ups is cultivating and maintaining a strong network of contacts that can boost your referrals. You can start in-house by getting your team to actively network, both online and offline, to generate a wider group of supporters. This effectively serves as free marketing for you as well.
Why do you start building a network at this stage of funnel? Because a strong network of contacts will feed you follow ups via referrals and positive reviews. It’s a cyclical process but it’s better to launch the process with follow ups rather than the other way around.
Don’t be afraid of being up front about asking for referrals either, you might be surprised by just how much people appreciate being direct. Offer perks as part of the referral process and make them part of your overall sales system. Both you and your customer stand to benefit.
5 – Tracking your traffic
By this point you will have generated leads and will be ready to go through the sales funnel process again. It’s a cyclical system therefore it only has meaning if you can successfully harvest and use the data you collected about your prospects and customers. This will prepare you for the next cycle of lead generation.
Sort your leads by demographic groups including age, location, gender etc, to get a more detailed view of your customers. You can use a variety of analytical programs and metrics, the key here is to be as detailed as possible. Once you arrive at your key metric start posting Adwords (you won’t need to spend more than $20-40 per day) and start using search engine optimisation to boost traffic and unique visits.
Sync this up with your network contacts and consider how you can target prospects with more detailed content. With each round of lead generation you’ll generate improved data and as a result improve your sales.
Let your leads generate your next sales cycle
Optimizing your lead generation and sales funnel is well worth the time and effort required to do it well. It allows you to take a long term view of your business, moving you beyond a linear view of one cycle success. Take your time, focus on using data, and always be ready to adapt to changing circumstances.
If you’re still locked down thanks to the coronavirus there are many things you can do to pass the time. As a salesperson why not consider how you can improve yourself as a professional? This is the perfect time to study our other articles on the sales industry.
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