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Liz Jackson: The art of targeted lead generation

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30th Nov 2009
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Business is tough at the moment, but monitoring your sales leads carefully can produce excellent results, says Liz Jackson, entrepreneur and star of the The Secret Millionaire.

While it’s a well known fact that businesses are under considerable economic pressure at the moment, this doesn’t necessarily reflect on your ability to find new business during the downturn. The work is there; you just have to use a highly targeted approach - and that’s where sales leads come in.

Sales leads can be generated through many different channels, including telemarketing, direct marketing and e-shots. Leads and sales are inextricably linked and it is essential that all of your various approaches are co-ordinated and convey the same message.

This allows you to tell a story about your business, with each approach adding another chapter to the story to enable your potential clients to gain a clear understanding of how you can help their business. Your approach needs to be well thought out and current, with each method conveying a benefits-rich message; i.e. how your services will help them improve their business.

Take care of your database

Most traditional forms of lead generation rely on a sales database. This is a list of businesses that ideally you would like to win as clients. When compiling this list you need to consider things like location of the business by specifying a head office, the size of the business by turnover or number of employees, industry sector, and who the decision maker is. It is imperative that this list is carefully bought or built as it will be your main source of information for some time and each name needs to be a company that has the potential to become a valued client that provides your business with profit.

It is vital that before you embark on a campaign, whether it is cold calling, direct marketing or e-shotting, you thoroughly cleanse it to get the most up-to-date information possible. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself calling somebody who is no longer at the company, or far worse, someone who died two years ago - not the best way to start to build a relationship with potential clients!

Nurturing leads

There will be a number of leads that can be turned into appointments on the first approach you make. The reason for this is that they’ve received your letter or call at the same time as they were already considering appointing a business like yours so there’s already a high level of interest. In this case budget has already been allocated and the decision to spend has already been made. This is why the conversion rate from cold calling and the response to direct mail and referrals can be very high.

However, this is rare at the best of times, let alone in the current climate. In most cases leads need to be nurtured. This means that you need to contact the decision maker a number of times using an array of different types of communication. The advice from marketing experts suggests that seven times is the average number of approaches each decision maker will need to put in. If this is the average then some prospects could require up to 40 attempts before you win them as a client. My personal view is that the best things in life are worth waiting for and it is often that your hardest clients to win become your best and biggest accounts.

As I said, in all communication to a prospect it is really important to keep telling them a story so they are continually receiving valuable information that builds a picture of your company and what you can do to help him/her in achieving better results. Each phone call or direct mail piece they receive needs to go some way towards increasing your company’s credibility, building confidence and developing that relationship.
 
Recession or not, applying a well thought-out, highly targeted campaign that continually builds on that first approach to reinforce your message allows you to sow those seeds of interest that eventually turn into a sale.

Liz Jackson is the founder of Great Guns Marketing.

Read more from Liz Jackson on our sister site, BusinessZone.co.uk.
 

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