Fact: Not every ‘sales lead’ becomes a client.
But every client was – at one time – a sales lead. Can’t happen any other way! Sales leads are the lifeblood of growth for every MR organization. Generating (and qualifying) them should be a top-priority strategy for everyone involved in sales and marketing at your firm.
There are numerous ways to generate sales leads, but the two most effective ones in our industry are:
- Gated content
- Conference participation
What is “gated content?” Gated content includes those high value resources – e.g. eBooks, webinars, white papers, online demos – that require a person’s contact information (name, company, email at a minimum) to access. And when he/she submits their information to access the resource, a sales lead is generated.
However, downloading an eBook, for example, is just a single touch-point… there’s no way to know how ‘qualified’ or ‘interested’ that person really is. To maximize the content and the sales opportunity, consider implementing a ‘nurturing’ process to further qualify each sales lead. It works like this… when someone downloads the eBook from your website, that action triggers a series of follow-up emails, each delivering an additional piece of content related to the eBook topic.
Why do this? Simple… if, in addition to the eBook, a sales lead also clicks on several follow-up emails to access the extra content, they have proven themselves to be more than just casually interested in the topic – they’ve shown that it’s a topic in which they are genuinely interested. These ‘multi-touch’ leads are now considered ‘sales ready.’
Note: not all content should be gated. For example, don’t gate sales collateral (silly, but I’ve seen it done), blog posts, case studies and other ‘lite’ content.
The other top source for sales leads is attending and participating in conferences in the industries you serve. The opportunity to generate sales leads here will come from three activities:
The key to success while networking and exhibiting is not just to swap business cards and have a quick conversation, but then, to write down key notes immediately after each chat… detailing the conversation, recording the person’s business challenges, highlighting any particular service lines discussed and noting agreed-to next steps. Without these notes, there is no way to remember the details of 20-30-40 or more conversations over 2 or 3-day period.
Note: And you can’t just scribble down a few words on the back of a business card… create a form or, at the very least, keep a small notepad at your fingertips.
Then it’s time for follow-up… targeted follow-up. The notes you took allow you to avoid the all-too-common generic follow-up emails. Instead, your follow-up actions can now be customized to the needs of each sales lead. Much more effective.
Generating sales leads from speaking at a conference is a little more challenging. The key is to find a way to collect business cards from those in the audience.
One way that we’ve had success with this is to ‘raffle off’ a popular book – one that ties in to the topic of the presentation. At the start of your presentation, mention that you’ll be giving away the book, at the conclusion, to the one person whose name is pulled from all the cards that are passed forward. It’s a small price to pay to capture all of those new names.
And like the eBook example above, because sitting in on your presentation is just one touch-point, we suggest putting the presentation attendees into some sort of nurturing program, as well.
Referrals and word-of-mouth are fine… but with them, you are relying on someone else to help create your success. Is that really a position you want to be in? But, by being proactive with lead generation – then smartly qualifying those leads – you are taking charge of your firm’s revenue growth.