When we work with a new client, the first part of our engagement is the Exploration. Our goal is to get a deep understanding of the client, their processes, their people, and their problems.
One of the top problems we hear from each new client is that they need more leads. Whether their salespeople are responsible for generating leads or lead generation is marketing’s responsibility, everyone knows if they could just get more leads, their biggest problems would be solved.
If you’ve ever looked into ideas for lead generation, you know there are a lot of strategies. You can focus on SEO, building a great website and producing valuable content. You can pound the phones or hire a team to do it for you. You can buy lists, cross-promote, leverage social media, network, give speaking engagements, and on and on.
None of these are bad ideas, and depending on your business, you should develop a mix of lead generation activities that fits your audience and your needs.
What many people often forget, though, is that more leads doesn’t help unless you are getting the right leads. You could post a viral video and triple visits to your website, but if you are selling to CEOs and only freelancers are sharing your video, your investment was wasted.
Here’s a simple 6-step process for getting more of the right leads.
1. Identify your ideal client.
This sounds basic, but it’s the most important foundational step. Take some time to look at your existing client list. Which are the best clients for you? Here are some ways to evaluate the list:
- Which have the highest profit margins?
- Which align best with your strategic goals?
- Which are the easiest to deliver?
- Which generate the most repeat business and referrals?
- Which build your reputation in an existing vertical?
- Which help you expand into new verticals?
Once you’ve identified a few types of ideal clients (no more than 3 – 5), develop buyer personas for each so you can be as specific as possible in your criteria. Make sure you really research how your buyers make decisions and who they look to as influencers.
2. Identify ideal referral sources.
When we think of leads, we usually think of people who will become customers, but just as important is to identify who will lead you to those prospects. These can be people, events, or organizations.
Take the list of top clients you identified in step 1 and identify the source of each one. Where did they first hear of you, and who influenced the decision?
Go one step further – how did you first encounter that lead source? Where did you find/meet the influencer?
What are the common threads?
3. Develop lead scoring criteria.
Based on your buyer personas and ideal referral sources, identify specific criteria to evaluate leads. Be as specific as possible: job title, age, location, industry, goals.
We’ve developed a lead scoring workbook to make this step easier.
4. Get more leads!
Without getting to know you specifically, we can’t tell you exactly what you will need to do to generate more of the right leads for your company. We’ve identified our top 5 ways to generate leads, but your specific mix will be unique.
Take the information you’ve collected in steps 1 – 3 to develop a lead generation strategy. Your buyer personas will be key.
5. Qualify, nurture, and close.
Once the spigot has opened, it’s time to get to work! Use your lead scores to identify the best leads, then work to qualify and close them.
6. Refine your criteria.
As you continue generating leads, take the time to look back and review your criteria. Analyze which lead sources close most often, which generate the biggest deals, and which close fastest. Refine your criteria and your strategy accordingly.
What do you do to generate more leads? Share your ideas in the comments!