Hello again everyone, and welcome to the 9th instalment in my series “Business Growth Masterclass”. The subject of this Masterclass is How to Generate More Leads with Less Effort.
As ever, before we begin, lets recap on the main points fromthe last Masterclass.
- You have created three marketing messages using the step-by-step process
- You have tested your marketing messages internally – with your staff, management and colleagues
- You have started or are about to start testing your message externally – using advertising, direct mail or another lead generation strategy.
Has everybody done all that? Good. Ok, lets get started with this month’s masterclass.
What is the current picture of lead generation and management in your business?
Here’s the deal: in order to start generating more leads with less time and financial investment, you first have to spend time setting up systems and making some changes. Your goal after this Masterclass is to establish a solid lead tracking and lead management system, and make small tweaks to your existing lead generation strategies based on the work you completed in the target market and marketing message Masterclass. We’re going to look at many different lead generation strategies in upcoming MAsterclasses, but I want you to see the impact that the work you have already done will have on your existing strategies. I want you to start seeing results more or less straight away.
In this Masterclass we will cover:
- The current status of lead generation in your company
- The purpose of lead tracking and management systems
- Types of lead tracking and lead management systems
- How to set up a lead tracking and or management system
- Qualified lead generation
- How to get more results from your existing strategies
Do you know where your current leads are coming from, or how many you get on a daily, weekly, or by-campaign basis?
If I asked you to tell me right now what your top lead generation strategies are, what would you say? A big part of step-one is gaining a solid understanding of where your business stands right now in terms of lead generation. Otherwise, how are you going to know when your lead generation strategies are working? Or which strategies are working? In a few minutes, I’m going to show you how to set up a lead tracking and lead management system that works with your business. But first, I’d like you to write down what you think your top three lead generation strategies are right now.
Every business needs a lead tracking and management system. Do you have one in place?
A lead tracking and management system is absolutely essential to your business for a number of reasons. One, it is the only way to know which marketing strategies are working, and which ones aren’t. The information your system gathers will allow you to make educated decisions about marketing campaigns and investments. Two, it organises your sales and marketing efforts and manages contact information in a user-friendly way. It’s clear who you called, when, what you said, and when you said you’d follow up. Three, it enables you to manage your sales staff by tracking their progress on several leads at once. You’ll have access to an at-a-glance picture of their sales figures and productivity.
Your lead tracking system needs to:
- record the leads that arrive by phone, in-store visit, and website visit
- track the source of each lead over specific time periods
- record pertinent customer information
- be simple enough to be used by all staff members
Your lead management system needs to:
- track your leads through the sales plan or process
- increase customer communications or contact
- keep track of correspondences and follow-up requirements
- make it easier for you and your staff to close more sales
Here is a list of information you will want to gather from your leads.
Depending on the needs of your business and the lead tracking and management system you choose (i.e., do you need a mailing address, or just email address?) some of these items may be optional fields.
- Company Name
- Name of Contact
- Alternate Contact Person
- Mailing Address
- Phone Number
- Fax Number
- Cell Phone
- Email Address
- Website Address
- Product of Interest
- Source of Lead (i.e., How did you hear from us?)
- Reason for Enquiry
If it is appropriate for your business, you also may wish to gather demographic information from your leads – but keep this voluntary. This information would be ideally used in your market research analysis.
Keep in mind that your lead tracking and management systems need to be simple enough for everyone in your company to use.
Unless you are the only person in your company who manages incoming phone calls, greets customers and chases down leads, the systems you implement will need to be used consistently by everyone in your organization. Once you have decided on a system, schedule enough time to train your staff thoroughly and be open to feedback. Since you’re not the sole user, you’ll need to consider their thoughts on the usability of the systems.
Pick a lead tracking and management system that suits your budget, and offers the features your business needs.
Each business will have different requirements when it comes to lead tracking and management. A retail store will have different needs than an estate agents office, for example. The retail store may only need to record leads based on lead generation strategies, and keep lead information for their direct mail or newsletter databases. On the other hand, the estate agent will need to make contact with their leads on several occasions, and need a system that will record and remind them of those correspondences. Software for lead management ranges from simple to highly sophisticated, and can be a great investment depending on the needs of your business. Some CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools are available online as a web-based system you can subscribe to and have access to on the road. I’ve listed the features and advantages to a number of different systems below – ranging from low-tech to high-tech, paper-based to web-savvy.
|Index Cards Variety of sizes: 3×5, 4X6 or 5X8. Basic contact information on one side, notes on the other Easy to organise and sort||This is a basic system used to manage leads by those who may be less comfortable with computers. This system will be effective at tracking low volumes of leads.|
|Rolodex More contacts than index card system Easily organised and compact Basic contact information on one side, notes on the other side||Another basic system that will effectively manage leads without the use of a computer. While this system can store a higher number of cards, it is also only effective for tracking low volumes of leads.|
|Excel Spreadsheets Electronic system that is highly customizable by date, name, source or other variables Easily organised and analyzed Several worksheets in a single file allow leads to be tracked and contact managed Accessible for those with basic computer skills||This is a slightly more sophisticated system that will allow you to track higher volumes of leads, and effectively organise the information that you collect into charts that can be analyzed. In Excel, you are able to work with a number of tracking sheets in a single file, and create hard copy tracking sheets for staff to use at point of sale and reception. Excel also has the capability of importing data from Outlook and Maximiser.|
|Database Management Programs High level of organization Unlimited space for notes and record-keeping Data-entry required Examples include: MS Outlook, MS Excel, Maximiser||A more sophisticated system that will interface with Excel and manage high volumes of leads and customer details. Manages distribution lists for newsletters and direct mail campaigns. Primarily manages contact information, and provides space for notes, follow-ups and reminders. Tracking high volumes of leads without recording and inputting customer information is best done in Excel.|
|Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software Web-based, and accessible from anywhere with internet access Organises leads and customers by name, company, date, or status Ability to attach documents (like proposals and contracts) to leads Ability to write notes and log correspondence by date View contact history and status Interfaces with e-mail marketing programs Example is SalesForce||A highly sophisticated system with advanced features. Tracks a high volume of relationship-based leads, and provides a detailed, feature-heavy system for lead management. Not ideal for retail businesses, or businesses that need to track a high volume of leads with minimal customer information attached.|
|Website Analytics Monitors and analyzes website traffic and online advertising Tracks number of people who visit your site, where they came from (search engines, online advertisement, website link etc.), how long they stayed, the pages they visited, and which page they left the site from. Google Analytics is an easy-to-use example||An ideal way to track and analyze website traffic to complement your overall lead tracking system. This is not a complete system on its own. Requires the insertion of a specific code into each of your webpages, or each of your online advertisements. Monitors usage statistics, and generates reports, charts, graphs, etc.|
Bringing qualified leads into your business will save you and your sales team time, and result in higher revenues.
Qualified leads are simply the potential customers who are the most likely to buy your your product or service. They’re not just in your store taking at look at the latest features in refrigerators, they’re in the market to purchase a refrigerator. They’re not wandering in to see what a £500 handbag looks like, they are the kind of person who can actually spend £500 on a handbag. Some of the people who will call you or visit your business will never buy from you no matter how good your sales scripts are or how much time you spend overcoming their objectives. There are a variety of reasons for this – and you’ll never eliminate all of these people – but you will need to focus on bringing in more of the people who are ready to buy. The good news is you have spent so much time and energy cultivating a comprehensive knowledge of your target market, that you’re in a great position to increase the number of qualified leads you bring into your business.
How do You Get Qualified Leads?
The crux of qualified lead generation is making decisions based on the market research you completed on your target market. You basically need to know where to reach your market, and how to speak to them. When you are designing, executing and making choices about your lead generation strategies, always consider these questions.
|Who is my target market?||Write down your target market description to keep you focused on the specifics of this group of people.|
|DISTRIBUTION IS EVERYTHING: How does my target market like to receive information?||Do they read the newspaper? Pick up the family mail? Spend hours on Facebook? Subscribe to Reader’s Digest? Listen to newsradio on long commutes to work?|
|What motivates my target market to take action, and how can I tap into that motivation?||How will you tap into your target market’s emotional response? What issues or needs will mean something to them, and drive them to your business to solve them.|
|Where can I place my marketing message so my target market will see it?||Look at what you found out in your market research about your target market’s hobbies, activities and interests. How can you place your message or your product or service in their path?|
|What can I offer my target market to entice them to purchase from me?||Can you offer your target market something special, rare, or time specific that will appeal only to them?|
I’m going to show you how some little changes will generate big results for your company in short order.
Once you’re set up with a testing and measuring system (your lead tracking and management systems) to evaluate the success of your lead generation strategies, you need to start by looking for opportunities to beef up the strategies you’re currently working with.
|Use your new marketing message.||Make sure that you have put your new marketing message on all of your marketing materials, where new and existing customers can see it. Revise your standard advertisements to feature the strengthened copy.|
|Strengthen your offer.||Create an offer that’s too good to refuse – not for your entire target market, but for your ideal customer. How can you cater to their unique needs and wants? What will be irresistible for them?|
|Refocus your direct mail campaign.||If you’re sending your direct mail to entire postal code areas, stop and refocus. If your distribution area is that broad, chances are the copy on your postcard or letter is too broad as well. Brainstorm ways to narrow your distribution and only hit your target audience. Purchase consumer lists based on demographics, not just location, or limit distribution to specific housing types. Of course, make sure you rework the direct mail piece to feature your marketing message.|
|Let your target market’s behaviours dictate your distribution plans.||As I discussed above, the more you can tailor your strategy to the needs and habits of your target market, the strong your results will be. Look for opportunities in your existing direct mail, advertising, flyer drop and other strategies to get specific. Narrow the demographics of your list, or place an ad in a niche publication. Brainstorm new ways to target your market’s emotional reactions.|
|Tap into low-cost advertising.||Advertising in places like the YellowPages, classifieds sections, e-mail newsletters and Google Adwords can be a great place to test your marketing message for minimal investment. In an upcoming Masterclass you’ll learn how to place ads in the YellowPages and other listings that stand out from the competition.|
|Look for some referral business.||Referral business is desirable because it usually brings qualified leads into your business. Someone has referred them to you based on a current need or desire. > Provide your customers with an incentive to bring business to you. Reward successful referrals with discounts or gifts. > Create a referral chain by giving each new customer three free coupons for products or services that they can give to their friends. When their friends come into your business, do the same. > Create complementary alliances with non-competitor businesses with the same target market. Cross-promotion or cross-referral strategies will benefit both businesses.|
|Website sign-up||Add a feature on your website that encourages visitors to sign-up for newsletters or other communications. You can also set up your website so that potential customers need to fill out a simple form before they have access to “free” information.|
|How to Create Marketing Materials That Work||The next Business Growth Masterlass will walk you through some tips and helpful suggestions for improving your marketing materials. Revise your existing materials based on these suggestions, and watch your leads multiply.|
Stop using strategies that don’t work.
Now that you have a comprehensive lead tracking system in place, you’ll be able to track the leads that each strategy is responsible for generating. When you complete your first few campaigns with the lead tracking system and analyse the numbers, compare the results to the initial predictions you made. Were you correct in your assumptions, or were you surprised by how things shook out. The purpose of testing and measuring using a lead tracking system is to figure out which strategies work, and which don’t, as well as which strategies work best, and which generate mediocre results. This not only will save you money but is incredibly useful information to have when developing marketing budgets and, of course, trying to drive sales.
READ THIS: A quick cautionary note on conversions.
While the focus of recent Masterclasses has been lead generation, remember the first part of the formula: No. of leads x %age conversion rate = No. of customers. You’ll be working on conversion rates in just a few Masterclasses from now, but my point is don’t lose sight of the relationship between leads and conversions in the overall formula. Remember that when more leads start flowing through your door, you’ll need to have the resources and systems in place to give a high level of customer service and to convert them into loyal customers. You’ve put effort into generating these qualified leads, but if you don’t have the resources in place to give them the attention required, you’ll lose them.
Once established, your lead tracking and lead management system should require minimal time investment…if you keep it up to date.
One last reminder before I sign-off – keep your systems up to date. The biggest pain (and drain on time) is having to go back and enter heaps of data into your database or management system because someone has let it pile up. It’s also a huge missed opportunity! If you fall behind on your lead tracking system, because you won’t be able to effectively evaluate your campaign or strategy. Or, you may have missed a lead because you didn’t follow-up soon enough. Be diligent, and set a strong example for your staff members. Good luck!