One of the most important factors to remember in lead generation is that leads are people, not targets. There is a difference between company logic and customer logic and your focus should always be on the customer. In order to maintain this attitude towards lead generation, it is important to rethink a few key principles.
The Sales Funnel
Instead of thinking of sales as a funnel, what if we invert it and think of it as a cone or hill? This way we get a better idea of the micro-conversions that occur along the way as prospects climb towards that eventual purchase. Instead of focusing on optimizing webpages or scripts, using this outlook we focus on optimizing the through processes required to lead a prospect through the sales process. By getting into the psychology of the customer, we can identify the thought sequences that trigger conversions and properly balance the benefit and cost of each micro-conversion to encourage prospects to continue up our sales hill.
Also known as buyer personas, customer profiles can help build a coherent picture of your ideal customer and include everything from basic demographic information to specific goals, buzzwords, and mannerisms. By identifying specific challenges and objections common to your target group, you will be better equipped to handle these problems and offer realistic solutions.
Identifying your ideal customer can also help sales get a better idea of which leads are most likely to convert as well as what messages to convey at what point in the sales cycle to encourage conversion. As many consumers are becoming more proactive about doing research online before making purchases, it is essential to know what information they are looking for and make sure that they can find it easily on your website or by asking your experts. It’s a buyer’s market so the best way to increase your conversions is by providing exactly the product or service that your audience desires.
In order to convince a buyer that your product or service is right for their business’ needs, you will need to catch their attention early in the buying cycle. Placing white papers online, providing a variety of useful information on your website or blog, and getting talked about positively on other industry related blogs are some of the best ways to garner positive attention during the initial research phase. Provide information which is current, relevant, unbiased, and authoritative with an emphasis on engaging prospects rather than selling to them. Build your brand as helpful and knowledgeable and you will create brand loyalty among your prospects.
Remember, lead generation is a marathon not a sprint. Don’t lose steam and let potential leads slip away: many of the contacts you make will not be ready to buy right away but, with the right communication and lead nurturing you can turn those prospects to conversions in time. Start a system of lead management that encourages your sales team to send leads that are not sales-ready back to marketing for further nurturing when necessary and you will see greater success on those lukewarm leads.