Lead Generation Challenges
The Decision Maker
In today's world companies are leaner and decision makers are very short of time to embrace the change represented by adopting new products, services and suppliers.
When they do they will use the internet for the first stages of any selection process and your company could be eliminated without knowing a buying process has started.
Because decision makers have access to internet information their need to respond to marketing initiatives reduces until the time is right in the buying process. The challenge is that campaign response rates are reducing and the cost per lead increasing.
The Right Cost per Lead Model
Three key elements contribute to the marketing cost of a lead and the circumstances for each company are different:
- Market Factors
- Market Demand and Purchase Frequency
- Brand Recognition and value
- Competitive strength of proposition for a selected target audience
How is a lead profiled, qualified and scored and when is it ready for the sales team? Should this be best delivered as a qualified appointment so there is a clear measurement of marketing cost at the time of the first sales meeting?
In our experience a cost per 'first sales meeting' can vary ten-fold typically from £100 to £1000 so with your company's typically sales conversion ratios it is important to know where you fit in to this range and how the ultimate cost per sale fits the overall business model.
At the end of the day, it is the number of sales generated from marketing produced leads that constitutes success for the business.
It is important therefore that sales and marketing work together to track leads through to a sale in order to know the true return on investment from the marketing budget and the sales team, benchmark this and be constantly seeking improvement.
The accuracy and relevance of any data used, the choice of related proposition, the marketing channels used, the timing, the creative execution, the skills of people such as a telephone team all have an impact on the number of leads generated and their cost.
Proposition & Audience
Companies typically have several products and services aimed at more than one market. For the best results it is important for a campaign to select an aspect of the portfolio where the company has a distinct competitive edge and where the audience for the product or service can be well defined and data accessed.
Data as a Marketing Asset
Across all campaign activity it is important to build accurate information about companies and contacts for both customers and prospects to qualify them as being important to the business and to market to them regularly over time. Having a clear data maintenance and enhancement element to all marketing activity is an important aspect to success.
Multichannel Contact Strategy
Decision makers are time poor and use technology to stop access. Some will never answer the phone some with delete all unsolicited emails In these circumstances, it is important to reach out with many touch points across a variety of channels in a coordinated and integrated way over time in order to make the best impact.
Getting the timing right
Some products are not bought very often so finding companies ready to buy now is important for a successful campaign. However, it is also important for each campaign to identify and qualify organisations that could be potential customers but later. Having a clear on-going nurturing strategy is an important element in reducing the overall cost per lead.
Precise focused campaigns with a clear and specific proposition are important to generate initial interest, but not all leads will meet qualification criteria and for those that do the timing may not be right for sales team involvement In these circumstances it is important to create a nurture contact strategy to stay top of mind and in touch until the timing is right and to do this cost-efficiently.
Sales team buy in
In our experience in too many organisations leads generated through marketing expenditure are not necessarily worked comprehensively by the sales team especially if they have existing customers in their portfolio. Leads are often cherry-picked or tried once or twice and then forgotten.
To achieve strong buy-in from the sales team there needs to be in place an agreed qualification profile of when a lead is ready to be handed over. Better still this should be in the form on a qualified appointment as in too many cases a sales person fails to spend sufficient time to get hold of a decision maker and convert a lead to an appointment.