New Year Lead Generation Checklist
10 Things you Must do ASAP to be Successful
As we approach the dawn of a New Year, thoughts turn to ensuring that the year gets off to a strong start. Below are 10 key tasks you need to consider now if you want your sales to flow in the forthcoming year.
- Devise a lead generation strategy
- Identify customers with more potential
- Develop a customer contact plan to maximise revenue from current customers
- Work out the right channels to reach your target audience
- Calculate Marketing ROI
- Work disproportionately hard on your data
- Don’t neglect new business
- Really identify the customer challenges you resolve
- Be proactive and don’t wait for the perfect moment
- Build credibility and visibility
Devise a lead generation strategy
Of course, a plan was always going to be first. But, a plan of action is what’s needed when it comes to lead generation. Understanding the shape of your sales and profit now is key to establishing where you will be in 12 or 24 months. So, it’s important to build a picture of where you want growth to come from. Inevitably, there will be some customer attrition and sector contraction. There are always ebbs and flows and reduction in some areas will be counterbalanced by growth elsewhere. So, do your research and write at least a high level growth plan.
Identify customers with more potential
In most databases, there are various tiers of customer groups. There are those cherished high-spending customers and lower spending customers all the way from those that spend frequently to those that spend small amounts on an ad hoc basis. Equally, there will be lapsed customers that used to trade with you and prospects that range from warm to cold.
The key to outbound marketing is to profile these groups and to identify where there is more potential. It could be different sites, departments or decision-makers within individual organisations or it could be sectors that will prosper due to changed circumstances either economically or for some other reason.
Develop a customer contact plan
If you want to maximise revenue you need a properly segmented customer contact plan. This is different to your high-level business plan. This goes one level deeper.
Once you have identified and profiled target customer segments, you need to pull together a plan to contact them. What’s your message for each group? It is likely to differ in a number of ways. It’s probably that a different proposition is required to lure lapsed customers back to you than is needed to encourage current clients to spend more through purchase of other products and services.
Work out the right channels to reach your target audience
The nature of your business and proposition and the type of audience will, to a large extent, dictate the approach you take when it comes to marketing. Are your key prospects and customers on LinkedIn? If so, reaching out on that platform may be a good solution. Equally, if your business is highly visual, platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and even TikTok could be relevant. Facebook is huge so it may not be a channel you can ignore.
There are so many routes to market so think carefully about which options are most likely to reach and convert your various target segments
Calculate Marketing ROI
Marketing needs to be measured. There’s no point investing in activity that simply doesn’t deliver. Equally important is the need to give marketing time to work. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it sometimes takes time for the sales pipeline to build. Turning the tap off too quickly means starting afresh and flip-flopping consumes both time and money. So, identify, where possible, your best route to market and work out the return on investment and timeframe needed to justify the initial investment.
Rather than work out your return based on a one-off sale, think about how much clients spend with you on average over the lifetime of a typical customer. Work out your prospect to customer conversion rate and evaluate your marketing ROI against the Lifetime Value.
Work disproportionately hard on your data
You can’t hit a target you can’t see and if you fire in the wrong direction, you are guaranteed to miss. It’s great if you know the sectors, sizes of companies, decision-maker roles and so on of your target audience. But knowing what you want and having accurate contact data to support your efforts are entirely different things. Marketing and business development will fail if the data is inaccurate. And, sadly, most data is just that.
Data that dates back more than 12 months is probably out of date given the rapid change that goes on in most organisations. And, even if you know that John Smith is the IT Director you need, do you have his email address and phone number? Time and money spent on data will never be a bad investment.
Don’t neglect new business
It’s often the case that organisations chase after new business at the expense of looking closer to home. As mentioned before, there is likely to be great potential for growth within your existing client base. However, there are companies that would use your products and services that are just not aware of what you offer. There are organisations that have similar characteristics to your best clients that have the same issues as your customers. You’re simply not on their radar. So, assuming you’ve identified the profile of business you want, reach out now using the most appropriate channels.
Really identify the customer challenges you resolve
Too many sales people focus on what they offer. They emphasise the products and services that they take to market. Yet, they spend insufficient time to identify the core benefits to the customer. They do not focus sufficiently on customers’ pains and genuine needs.
Inertia kicks in when there is no pressing reason for change. So, unless you can convince a senior buyer to listen, you won’t get far. And, they will only listen if you tap into their real needs. So, spend time on your proposition and messaging to ensure that it’s positioned from the customer’s point of view, and don’t simply spew out what you do and what you offer.
Be proactive and don’t wait for the perfect moment
Is there a perfect time to do lead generation and business development? Personally, I don’t think there is. Of course, a good website, a strong LinkedIn profile, a nice brochure etc support effective selling. But, customers are busy. They are focused on their own issues and priorities. And, they are out there now looking for new suppliers for your products and services. So, whilst the above are important, don’t make the mistake of waiting until the perfect time when everything is in place. It could be months before that’s the case. Don’t risk missing the boat and don’t waste the opportunity to contact your future best customer due to being too late to the party.
Build credibility and visibility
Content is king. This has been the case for some time now. The Internet is awash with content in the form of blogs, white paper downloads, videos, infographics and the like. Not all of it is read of course. However, you will appear higher in search engines if you produce interesting content. With good content, your credibility will be enhanced and customers will engage with you more. You will also raise your profile on social channels with relevant and compelling content. You can’t go from 0-100 overnight. We have 400 pieces of content on our website that we have compiled over the years. Therefore, there’s no time like the present to start devising content, like this article, that your customers will hopefully appreciate.
Competition is always ferocious. Customers are always looking for ways to improve what they do. They need to cut costs. They want to do things faster and better. No matter what the economy may throw at us, there is business to be done. So, make sure you’re at the front of the queue by being proactive in your approach to business development.