No one claimed Lead Generation was easy – especially when you are in the B2B space. There are so many moving parts that a key problem becomes how to get them all pulling in the same direction. You may have one or more of the following teams contributing to demand generation:
- Research team keeping track of market developments
- Contact discovery or database research team building the lists
- Content creation team responsible for collateral, campaign drafts etc.
- Social Media team
- Inside Sales and / or Telemarketing team
- Pre-Sales and / or Sales team
You may be getting a sense of the possible complexities just looking at this list. Pretty much every organisation I have spoken to over the last 3 – 4 years has people doing some of these activities. The problem I have usually found is that they all work within their own individual silos. The activity levels are always high and each individual team is usually capable but the result when they come together is generally somewhat underwhelming. My own view is this happens because there is usually no “big picture” view being taken. If you get all these groups working towards a common goal chances are the synergies will lead to much better results.
Let’s consider the example of an organisation that has services to offer to companies in the Cloud space and how an integrated approach would work for them.
- The team keeping an eye on the market could come up with a finding that of late cloud file storage companies seem to be attracting funding.
- This could be the trigger for the content generation team to start putting together collateral that would be of relevance to this sector – say a white paper about a technology trend and it’s applicability or a user case study of a success story in the same or a comparable space
- The next step for the content team would be to start working on reasonably customized crafted emails targeted to sub-segments within the larger Cloud File Storage segment.
- While this is going on the Contact Discovery team could be hard at work building a database of companies and individual decision makers within those organisations who could be receptive to the message.
- On getting sufficient content ready the next step is to make it available on the specific social media platforms the target customers are likely to gather on to inform themselves. In the context of the example this may be Cloud focused LinkedIn groups as an illustration.
- There is also a case for tracking specific influencers in the Cloud Storage space – say the CTOs of the target Cloud Storage organisations. The objective would be to build a map of their social media life – their Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, their blog and so on. Sharing what they have to say in a great way to learn from their experience as also to get on their radar. This is a longer term strategic activity – the objective is to connect with them and engage with them at their own terms on ground they feel comfortable on.
- Now it’s time to launch the outreach campaigns – first email and then telemarketing, assuming that is right for the business. The chance that someone will respond to the outreach is proportionately greater if they have encountered the company or some useful content in the digital or social world previously.
- Key is integrating the outreach program into the sales process – not only to ensure that any leads that get generated receive the prompt attention they demand but also to be able to build any feedback received at any stage back into the appropriate point of the process.
- Rinse and Repeat!
My personal view is that if the end objective is that more people should respond positively to your outreach efforts then it’s pretty much mandatory that an integrated approach be followed. Chances are otherwise the results will more often than not be lower than the quality of the team and the visible activity level would suggest.