Hogwash: The seven biggest lies about lead generation

25th Sep 2013

HOGWASH: 1. Worthless, false or ridiculous speech or writing; nonsense. 2. Garbage fed to hogs; swill. … not exactly a diet for high performing marketing organisations.

When searching for the truth about leads, beware of the top seven lies about lead generation:

  1. Any list will do

60% of the success of most marketing campaigns is based on the accuracy of the list. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a good list. When building a database always multi-source lists AND research prospective companies for accurate contacts and psychographics (including interests, alma mater…). 

  1. Voicemails are a waste of time

In my experience, 25% of highly qualified client opportunities result from a returned call or email that was part of a multi-touch, multi-cycle process - which multiplies results. And surprisingly, C, SVP and VP-level executives are 2.5 times more responsive to quality voicemails and emails as compared to more junior staff. In my book, The Truth About Leads, I use a true story to drive home the value of multi-multi-multi: On the 42nd touch, the CFO of North America’s fourth largest utility called us back and said “don’t stop calling me, you are my conscience… I have wanted to talk to you but have been extremely busy”… and he asked that we call him back about ten days later… we did and he became a lead that closed for our client five months later for $1 Billion. Quality voicemails (and emails) work!

  1. Outbound calling is interruption marketing

The bandwagon is overflowing with pundits and zombies who repeat the phrase “cold calling is dead” over and over again until most crowd followers believe it. To paraphrase Trish Bertuzzi at The Bridge Group, it is the “cold” in cold calling that is dead. If you are waiting for your best, most profitable prospects, to reach out to you chances are you are losing a ton of business to the competition.

  1. Write it and they will come

Content is great. But, few companies generate enough inbound interest to eliminate proactive, outbound prospecting. Of course you also need good content for outbound prospecting, but don’t make the mistake of over-depending on inbound traffic to feed your sales force because they will starve (unless you are selling a relatively low priced commodity).

  1. Automated systems accurately score (prioritise) leads

Not every senior executive wants to be treated like the human equivalent of a pinball, getting your attention only after hitting the right bumpers and scoring enough points. In fact, the more senior the level of executive, the less likely they are to provide you with an accurate snapshot of their digital body language. Senior executives do not always trust their own staff’s opinion on new solutions (technology and/or services) because they feel those opinions can be biased by self-preservation instincts. So, these senior executives value conversations with outsiders (increasingly including “vendors”) because they want to talk with someone who has solved a business problem multiple times, not just once (or never).

  1. Give up after 1 – 2 calls. You are better off calling someone who actually wants to talk with you

Someone (who will remain anonymous here to protect the guilty) actually wrote in a recent article that it was a waste of time to call a prospect more than once or twice because you are better off calling on someone who is interested in talking with you vs. wasting calls on those who, in this person’s experience, are not. This advice borders on criminal. It can take more than 6 – 8 telephone calls, emails and/or texts to schedule dinner with close friends. Why then would one assume that after 1 – 2 calls with no response that the prospect is not interested? The average touch cycle is 8 – 12 with five dials, three voicemails and three emails. We frequently get emails and return calls (as recently as this week) from prospects who state that our persistence, and quality of information, triggered their response.

  1. More leads are better than fewer leads

Your sales force doesn’t need more leads. They actually need fewer, raw, unfiltered leads. Each sales rep on your sales force, based on their previous experience, has their own filter for deciding which leads to work and which leads to ignore. The problem is that they don’t always get it right. So, they pick some leads that are not ready or not qualified while ignoring fully qualified leads that are going to buy from someone soon. Leads should be pre-qualified prior to being sent to the sales force. And no lead should be left behind. Leads should either move in the pipeline, or be sent to a nurturing function until it is sales ready. Otherwise, a lot of leads just end up going into a dark hole. Read Point C: From Chaos to Kickass for three mini cases studies on this topic.

Dan McDade is President and CEO of PointClear, LLC, a prospect development firm that helps B2B companies drive revenue by nurturing leads, engaging contacts and developing prospects until they're ready to purchase. The Sales Lead Management Association named Dan one of the 50 most influential people in sales lead management for the last four consecutive years. Named a Top Sales Expert by Top Sales World in 2012, Dan was recognised as a Top 50 Influencer in Sales & Marketing in 2012 and 2013.  As such, he is one of only 50 Top Sales World contributors. Dan’s first book, The Truth About Leads, is a practical, easy-to-read book that helps B2B companies focus their lead-generation efforts, align their sales and marketing organizations and drive revenue. Read Dan’s blog: ViewPoint l The Truth About Lead Generation. Contact Dan by email: [email protected]

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