• How Conversation, Clarity and Consistency Can Generate Leads

    The goal of well-developed lead generation plans is to evolve relationships between people through dialogue that positions the lead generation effort as conversation to identify, initiate and nurture productive selling situations.

    Lead generation isn’t about instant gratification, but rather requires sustained effort to succeed, often over a relatively long period of time. Key words are consistency and time. Companies don’t buy; people do.

    Conversation, Not Campaign

    Research shows that buyers in an executive position clearly choose the sales person who has not only been a resource but who has also developed an ongoing relationship with them, regardless of their timing to buy.

    Customers regularly illustrate the need for sales people who call on them to understand both their business and their needs while being sensitive to the pressures under which they operate. Sales people who meet these criteria become known as trusted advisors, and trusted advisors get the sale.

    Relationship building includes sustaining the relevancy of ongoing dialog. When customers have a problem, you want them to turn to you first, someone they trust, for a solution.

    The objective is to wedge that level of trust into the affiliation as a relationship builder while always keeping in mind that the customer is thinking, “How you sell me is how you will serve me.”

    Buying Process Tactics Funnel

    Mapping out your sales process can ensure conformity with the customer’s buying process, driven by a clear understanding of needs and the impact of those needs on both that company and its customers. Inevitably, every potential customer has a different buying process.

    Does everyone involved in the lead generation program understand your prospect’s buying process? This can be viewed from the perspective of the modalities it employs at each buying step. I use the model illustrated here to develop the correlation in specific instances between steps in the buying process and the sales effort together with tactics that might work at each stage. The key business issues for each individual in the buying process must be understood and addressed. Consistency is critical.

    Each touch, or contact, should add value through its ongoing relevance to the targeted individual, and consistency extends to the style of delivery of the message. Because the sales team is responsible for much of the customer’s perception of the company, concerted care must go into developing the ongoing, relevant communication the sales team will employ in its relationship-building efforts with customers.

    All companies go through steps in their buying process, of one kind or another. We can’t force them to skip steps, but we can help with lead nurturing by instilling regular and meaningful communication that aids their progress and their process.

    Brian Carroll, Executive Director, Applied Research at MECLABS, is the author of “Lead Generation for the Complex Sale”, and blogs at B2BLead Roundtable Blog.

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