Building a reliable database of leads is one of the most daunting tasks that any business can face. Most companies resort to whatever they can think of: local connections, networking events, and even the dreaded cold call. Leads are hard to drum up, especially if the product you're trying to sell caters to a niche market. For many of our clients, lead generation is one of the primary discussions.
It's not rare to find a company that's struggling with their lead generation process. There are so many questions that are brought up by our current and prospective clients. "How do I gain a customer's interest?" and "How do I manage that interest?" are some of the most common. We've found that people focus too much on managing leads rather than finding ways to generate them. What's even worse is that once you start to focus on generating them, the "Hail Mary Marketing Ideas" come into the spotlight for companies that are desperate for some attention.
Leads are tricky, which is why we've gathered a few steps you can take to become a lead-generating machine. With these steps, you'll begin to build a lead-generating foundation that will have rippling effects on your pool of prospective clients. These steps require you to strip away everything you already know about lead generation and get down to the basics of your lead generation process.
Step one: Invest the time and dollars into a strategy that understands who your buyer is, how they buy, and why they buy.
Who is your buyer?
So many marketing budgets are wasted on strategies that don't keep the buyer in mind. Many businesses often don't factor in the buyer when discussing how to generate leads or forming their content creation strategy. A lot of lead generation will come from how you present yourself online. Lead capture from websites starts with research on who your buyer is.
Buyer research often involves the following:
Survey of current customers: What are their preferences? How do they make buying decisions?
1-on-1 interviews with top customers
Competitor research and audit
Buyer research should cover areas like:
What is their role within the organization and/or family?
What are their personal and/or professional goals?
What challenges do they deal with?
What motivates them?
How do they prefer to overcome challenges or pain points?
Where do they go to gather information?
Additional information about them as a person, including
Understanding these parameters about your buyer will help uncover the questions you can answer through strategic content. Search engine optimization is so much more complex than stuffing high-level blogs with keywords. It involves addressing real concerns and questions that your buyer might have. How can you develop content that drives traffic and compels a prospect to dig deeper into your product offering?
How do they buy?
Avenues to purchase a product vary depending on the company and industry. It's common to have multiple avenues, such as online ordering, phone sales, brick & mortar sales, etc. Perhaps more important, however, is the journey to the purchase decision.
It's crucial to understand how a buyer decides on your product. What steps are they taking between awareness and purchase? What sort of validation do they need in order to make the decision? Do they rely on reviews? 1-on-1 conversations with a sales rep? Personal recommendations from someone in their network? Validation from a third-party entity?
When you understand in detail the many steps that exist between awareness and purchase, you can begin to address gaps and serve up appropriate content to speed up the decision-making process.
Why are they buying your product?
Is there something that sets your product apart? Are people drawn to your product because of a unique aspect of your business? These are important questions for lead generation because lead generation on your website can stem from your business's irreplaceable qualities or methods. It's not enough to say that you are best-in-class. You must find ways to validate your differentiators.
Word-of-mouth and reviews from trusted individuals/entities continue to be one of the most powerful ways to validate a brand and product. Emphasizing your differentiators through the validation of a current buyer should be a top priority for your sales enablement strategy.
Step Two: position both your company and product as the solution to your customer's pain points.
Through the buyer discovery process, you should have a solid understanding of how your product solves the pain and problems of your prospective customer. The next step is to clearly represent this to prospective buyers.
It's surprising how often brands lack clarity when describing how their product addresses the needs of the customer. One of the most detrimental things a brand can do is focus on their own brand rather than the buyer when it comes to marketing communication. Here's an easy example: When a visitor comes to your website, is it immediately apparent who you serve and what problems you solve on your homepage?
Brands can fall into a trap of being self-centered in their marketing. A great resource to combat this tendency is the Storybrand Framework. Our team often draws inspiration from this framework when clarifying brand messaging.
When you develop your strategic brand messaging, it's critical to simplify your message to the very core of what you offer to customers. The simpler the message, the more likely it will resonate with a prospective buyer. Brand messaging should be the foundation for all content, whether that be website, blog, email, or social media content.
Step Three: Give your customers an endless supply of value and expect nothing in return
One of the best ways to out-sell a rival is to out-educate them. How can you be the go-to resource for your prospective customers?
When outlining a content strategy, think about content as an invitation. Stellar content invites prospective customers to solve their greatest needs. For some companies, this might look like a downloadable offer or interactive tool. Think: calculators, data dumps, templates, demos, etc. If the content is really valuable, a company may consider gating it (requiring information like name and email in exchange for the resource). This can be a great strategy to generate contacts in your system to be nurtured over time. A word of warning, however: you should only gate something that offers true value. If a user can easily access the same information elsewhere for free, it's not worth gating.
Endless value stemming from fantastic content is a signifier to a prospective customer that you are a reliable partner. Aim to deliver this valuable content to the right audience at the right time. This involves segmenting your contact lists and being specific in your distribution tactics.
The Sky's The Limit.
Lead generation can be fairly straightforward, depending on how well you build your sales enablement foundation. At the end of the day, prospective buyers are looking at tens (if not hundreds) of brands to solve their problems. They want products from companies that understand them and make products to address their specific need. Positioning yourself as this company can skyrocket your lead generation and have a profound impact on your business as a whole.
Need help understanding your buyer? Not sure how to outline an effective content strategy that supports your sales team? This is where we can help. Get in touch if you need a little help realizing your lead generation goals.
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