Effective lead generation is a key component of any business’s growth.
But what does it mean? And does it work?
Lead generation is the first step to success for any company, and without a system for managing the leads you generate, you can find yourself floundering – and you’re probably setting yourself up for a fall.
Lead generation is a generic term that encompasses a variety of techniques in marketing, but the point remains that generating new leads is essential to keep your business on an upward trajectory.
In the Sales Circuit, we talk about building a lead bank – but we do it at the end…
Because the Sales Circuit is just that, a circuit. There isn’t really an end or a beginning, the process is more of a perpetual journey that continues all the way through the 10 stages and back again, and again.
Turning On The Lead Gen Tap
I’ve always said that nothing really starts until you get that first click. But the reality is you need leads to persuade someone to click, right?
Everything starts somewhere, and whether it’s through referrals, building a list, or developing relationships, you’ve got to turn on the tap to generate leads.
That relationship only develops as you make them feel welcome, nurturing them and making them a sales offer.
In truth, the sales cycle can start anywhere. Its success depends wholly on whether you keep the various processes turning and feeding into each other – and, if they’re not, then it’ll depend on whether you make the necessary changes to ensure that they do.
That’s where the real magic starts.
I don’t mean card tricks, sawing anybody in half, or pulling a rabbit out of a hat, by the way.
Once you’ve got your lead generation machine set up and things are ticking along, you can move on to the next stage…
Fine-tuning and amplifying the system.
But first thing’s first, you’ve got to fill your sales pipeline so everything’s well-stocked – that’s the purpose of lead generation.
Does Lead Gen work?
Step five of the Sales Circuit talks about leaks and regularly checking to make sure the system is capturing and actioning data properly.
Now, if you’ve got a process in place that handles this, then you can devote your time SOLELY to the job of increasing the number of leads – amplifying.
If you’d invented a machine that could turn a £5 note into a £20 note, what would you be doing all day?
Hint, it’s not to find as many five-pound notes as you can – as simple as that may seem…
- I’d hire someone to borrow £5 notes on the premise that the lender will be paid £6 in return, and then pay the collector £2 per collection
- I’d then pay someone £1 per go to fill the machine and hire a third employee the same amount to collect the £20 notes and deliver them to my ‘next project’ account
If you’re wondering what on earth I’m on about, bear with me…
Because the point is that once you’ve set up your fully automated Sales Circuit, your job is simply to find a way to fill it with as many leads as possible.
The idea is simple – get the process right and then scale it up.
Now, you do still need to monitor the system to make sure that if there’s any glitches, errors, or meltdowns, you’re on hand to plug the gaps and get everything back online again.
Or you might realise there’s a better way of doing things if you change a few things around – but you won’t know until you’ve got things up and running.
And as a business looks to grow, the biggest thing you need to watch is overloading capacity.
If you’ve not paid enough attention to cashflow or if demand is slowing down delivery and service quality so much that customers are being neglected or let down, then you’ve got a problem,
What About Split Testing?
The concept of split testing isn’t anything new.
I’m not proclaiming to have reinvented the wheel here.
But for the avoidance of doubt, split testing is where you try different marketing approaches on the same body of leads to work out which is more effective in converting sales.
And in the end, that’s what we’re all looking for, isn’t it?
More sales equals more revenue, which results in more profit and helps your business grow.
And helps you live the life you want to live.
So, let’s run through an example…
You’ve got 1000 leads sat in a database, and you’ve created a new piece of marketing that you want to send them.
The marketing department loves it, naturally – they did create it, after all.
But only the lead base will tell you if what you’ve created works, and that’s a key lesson to remember.
Nothing’s a great idea until you know the end result, until then it’s simply an idea.
So, you’ve got two choices here:
- Send out 1000 letters to the leads in your database and hope the work’s as good as your marketing team think it is
- OR you can test it first…
There’s more than one way to cook an egg, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s stick to the basic idea of split testing…
You select two groups of 50 leads randomly from the database and call one Set A and the other Set B.
Get your marketing team to make some tweaks to the marketing content, or even come up with a second idea if you’ve got the capacity to do so.
Then you’ve got the opportunity to test the two versions of your marketing with your Set A and Set B lead groups, each with a different ‘claim’ code so you can track and measure the results.
After that, it’s a case of measuring which performs better and deciding how to proceed.
But don’t get too caught up in the split testing process.
It’s easy to think ‘well if we try doing that but to this group…’ – but you’ll never send anything out if you keep searching for perfection.
The key takeaway from ANY marketing is that it’s better to get something out now and tweak it as you go than delaying sending anything out in the quest for better.
Good enough is good enough – it doesn’t have to be perfect.
But How Do I Find Leads?
Getting customers and keeping them is at the heart of business.
But finding a never-ending stream of leads seems almost too good to be true, right?
Well, here’s a few things you can do to get things moving…
- Profiling – When you begin your journey to identify your best customers and the ones that’ll benefit the most, there is A LOT of guesswork involved. As you build your client base, the picture becomes clearer, and you know who is a good customer and who might be a bit of a burden. Then you’ll eventually have enough data to actually profile who your best customers are. Take a look at your top 20% of clients and amalgamate all of their characteristics, and you should have a pretty good profile already.
- Social content – We live in an online world. And that means advertising, communication, and feedback are all highly social and shareable. Quite simply, if you put yourself out there more, then more people will find you. Of course, it has to be of good quality AND relevant. Remember, everything you put on social media reflects your brand, so it needs to be strategically planned with a central message. The key here is quality first, volume second.
- Referrals and testimonials – The best source of new leads come from the people that already love what you do. Yep, that’s your current customers! Nothing is stronger for winning new business than referrals.
- Networking – Getting out there and meeting people should always be on your mind. In most areas in the UK there are strong business networking communities, from the Federation of Small Businesses to local Chambers of Commerce, and independent networking groups, there are plenty out there. It might not work for everyone, but it’s always worth a try.
The goal is to create a strategic and process-driven Sales Circuit that functions well, generates sales, and can be automated.
And once you’ve done that, it’s time to think about how you build on it, and what you do next.