The Changing Face of Lead Generation
Through the years, lead generation, like many forms of marketing, has changed— for the better. While the old way of generating leads chiefly consisted of buying a list of ‘qualified’ names, the modern world of lead generation is personalized, relevant, and frankly more successful.
From Cold Calling to Relational
In the past, businesses spent little time customizing and personalizing their sales scripts to each individual prospect. This impersonal approach involved working from a massive list of numbers called at random which ultimately led to few closed deals, wasting both time and money. It also initiated a misalignment between a company’s sales and marketing teams, who would often butt heads on how to best market, and ultimately sell, their product or service.
Dated tactics such as random cold calling and print ads will only get modern businesses so far in today’s business world. Nurturing individual relationships has become an essential part of all lead generation campaigns. Research has proven that on average, it takes 7 to 13 “touches” or contacts with a prospect to actually close a deal. Forming a trusting relationship with the lead through multiple correspondences and genuine understanding of their business goals is and will continue to be the path to success.
From Outbound to Inbound
The emergence of the self-directed buyer, or someone who has already done their own research and outreach, has resulted from the mass amounts of information now at the fingertips of every Internet user. The explosion of digital information on the web has made it simple for research on your company, competitors, value propositions, business reviews, and differentiators to be found in a matter of seconds. Businesses are now investing in lead generation companies to prospect leads and set appointments, freeing up their sales teams to do what they do best — close deals.
Full circle approaches to inbound lead management frequently include tactics such as SEO, content creation, and social media. Because prospects can do their own research, their need to speak to a sales representative at times comes later in the purchasing cycle. It’s even been found that prospects can be as much as 90% of the way through the buying process by the time they contact the business. Ensuring that your sales team is timely in their response to fresh inbound leads is increasingly more important in the ever growing (and impatient) business culture.
From Quantity to Quality
While the mentality of lead generation used to be “more leads, more leads,” it’s now “the right leads, and the right leads only”. In years past, purchasing a list of hundreds, maybe even thousands, of phone numbers (or email addresses) was common, and essentially fruitless. Gone are the days with hundreds of impersonal calls coupled with exhausting lists of irrelevant and uninterested prospects.
Today, the concept of lead scoring has become extremely important in determining the quality of a prospect. Lead scoring acts in two important ways: it identifies the leads that are sales-ready, while also keeping track of leads that may not be ready to purchase now, but will be later down the road (thus allowing a continued growth of a relationship). Lead scoring also works to build an aligned and informed connection between a company’s sales and marketing teams. Time and effort of sale’s teams should now be saved for nurturing interested and qualified leads, as opposed to the never ending cycle of calling from dated lead lists.
From Call Centers to Invested Agents
In the past, lead generation companies were based out of call centers in which you corresponded with a different agent on each call. The impersonal nature left prospects confused and frustrated. Today, the main focus is providing your business with a specialized agent with industry experience and a passion for moving you and your sales team forward. Assigned agents should be integrated as a member of your team, with full transparency and collaboration. Agents on accounts become industry experts with built in sales tactics and knowledge to take your business to the next level. Demanding superior consulting, a personalized service, script feedback, assurance of quality leads & set appointments, smooth sales transitions, and real-time reporting is only the start of quality-driven, contemporary lead generation. Ensuring that your designated representative not only knows your business, but instead becomes an extension of your sales team is a significant step in continuing to build and grow your sales pipeline.
Lead generation has changed significantly throughout the years, which makes nurturing the entire lifecycle of a lead more important today than it has ever been. While it’s important to close deals, nurture clients, and provide a valuable service, it’s equally as important to maintain a pipeline of qualified leads through relational and quality selling.
View more resources on lead generation and the growing impact of a quality sales pipeline here