A lot of companies do a variety of things to make lead generation work, but most of the time they don’t have a problem with their lead generation mechanisms, but they have a problem of reach. I will explain more.
The Reach problem
Imagine you open a posh readymade garments store in a remote area, 20 kms outside town and you are wondering why people are not coming in to your store, despite being one of the best stores around town. The answer is clear, nobody knows about this showroom yet. So the fact that you have put together such an awesome showroom is not known to people at all. So this message has not reached anyone.
What are common reach mechanisms that you can deploy? Word of mouth, advertising in various forms like newspapers, radio, pamphlets around town, hoardings. In the digital world, you can also do google display ads across multiple sites, advertise on facebook, instagram to increase your reach to your potential target market.
Coming back to the statement i made upfront, if you are not reaching enough number of people, how can you expect to influence them to take a decision in your favor. lead generation process tries to influence people to buy your products and services, but if you do not reach enough number of people in the first place, influencing them is out of question.
Continuing to use archaic methods like cold calling
This is what I see commonly across companies all around. While the world has moved ahead with digital, they prefer to continue using age old archaic targeted marketing approach like cold emails and calling. They will research and build a contact list of people they believe is their target market and then mine their email ids, reach out to them and then try to follow up with calls to qualify them to a lead.
The whole process is extremely sequential in nature. At best, if you are putting in that level of research, you can reach maximum 25-30 contacts in a week and little do you know if they have any interest in your products or services. You reach out to them, give them no time to get to know you and then you start pushing over phone calls to find out if they are interested to discuss further. Sounds funny? Let us put that in better perspective with an example.
Keep pushing hard, should we?
Assume, I am a target market prospect for an insurance company. The insurance company launches a new product, and it creates a marketing plan. It creates an audio message that is forced upon me through my cellphone. The phone rings and when it is picked up, the message starts playing from this dominant insurance player in india. If i refuse to accept the call, the phone will ring again in 10 minutes to force me to hear the message. So I give up and accept the call and keep the phone aside, as I am least interested in the marketing message.
The agony does not end there. Within a day, the insurance company calls me, as if to take an exam from what i heard from the message that was played to me the earlier day. Obviously, if I have no interest in buying a new insurance policy, the call will end in max 3-5 seconds with a curt ‘not interested’ message. What is the insurance company achieving out of all this? Of 100 calls, made, over 95-97 recipients are going to be irritated with this approach and all of this is building a negative brand for the insurance company.
Moving to digital
Now assume, if we were to build a digital strategy, which was more inbound. We would first need to make sure that we have a strong message about the policy that we want to promote, something which will appeal to an emotional level within, something which will be fun. We will plant this ad promotion in various forms on social media, including FB, Insta, Twitter and try to build an audience.
We might attach an asset document, which we can give away as well and attract the traffic to the company website. We provide a lot more information about the policy and why it makes sense to the buyer, including some returns mock-ups, tax saving workings etc. Once all of this is done, then we put up a form to the user, where we ask him to schedule a meeting with an advisor, so that he can explain the policy in detail and help the customer buy.
If you look at the above example, with the reach, you might be able to reach a lot of people and realize that only people who like what they see will take the action and move to the website. Of the people who move to the website, only the ones that are seriously interested to buy will form the schedule the meeting with the advisor.
So the meetings that the advisor is doing now are all qualified meetings. Look at the beauty further.. there is no negative branding created. All the people who have come and visited the website, have formed some sort of an opinion about the policy, which may mature further by using some re-marketing techniques and nurturing them further. An absolute win-win situation, don’t you think for the insurance company as well as the potential buyer?.
Well then, if that is the case, why do companies believe they should be using brute force and shove something down a customer’s throat, when they are least interested in buying it?
We are in the world of google. If we want to buy something, we will want to research it first, before talking to a company sales guy. That is our natural process of making a purchase. Whether it is mobile phones or cars or any B2B transaction like selecting a vendor/supplier, the process remains the same. If there is no comfort with the seller, buying is out of question.Ways you can ensure that marketing is supporting the Sales Process
If all of this is true, then do a little bit of introspection into your targeted emailing/calling approach that you are using to push down something on a customer and see if you can improve that process with a more inbound approach. Let’s give some space to our potential customer and treat him well, and also improve our conversion numbers significantly, make lead generation work by just doing that.. Wouldn’t you agree to me?
Atul is Founder & CEO at Xenia Consulting. He has over 22 years of experience in marketing, across corporates as well as SME,start-ups. Over the last 5 years, he has gained significant expertise and has helped several companies drive growth leveraging digital marketing