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Lead Generation – An Overview

An accurate prospect database is at the heart of any successful direct marketing campaign.

The following are eight critical success factors needed for success in any lead generation program:

Conversation, Not Campaign
Lead generation isn’t about instant gratification, but rather requires sustained effort to succeed, often over a relatively long period of time. Key words are consistency and time. Companies don’t buy; people do. The goal of well-developed lead generation plans, therefore, is to evolve relationships between people through dialogue that positions the lead generation effort as conversation to identify, initiate and nurture productive selling situations.

Sales and Marketing as a Team
Lead generation, consistently the most significant touch point between sales and marketing, offers a variety of opportunities for improving teamwork. However, the workflow of both departments is linear and seems determined to go only in one direction. Without bidirectional communication, effective lead generation suffers for lack of a closed-loop feedback process and consequent poor results. With a feedback process in place, each department has a better sense of what the other needs in order to accomplish their mutual goals. Melding inherently diverse viewpoints and inputs in today’s commoditized business environment is important to a well-oiled marketing and sales machine that produces good sales leads and positive results.

An Ideal Customer Profile
The ideal customer profile uses the unique attributes of prime customers to help prescreen potential opportunities. The ideal customer profile helps identify decision makers and key influencers and ultimately serves as the basis for defining a sales-ready lead.

A Universal Lead Definition
A universal sales lead is one that has been determined to fit the profile of the ideal customer. It prioritizes and defines the degree of sales readiness. It has been qualified as sales ready and it spells out the responsibilities and accountabilities of the corporate lead generation team members (the sales and marketing people) and requires their buy in.

An Effective Lead Management Process
The effective lead management program implements and enforces standard, universal leadscoring definitions and establishes a clear process for handling and distributing inquiries and leads. Inquiries can be dealt with centrally for prequalification before sending them on to sales as sales-ready leads.

A Foundational Database
The properly designed and well-maintained database is the hub of all lead generation activity and communication. It is the rallying point for collaboration between marketing and sales and promotes a spirit of cooperation among other diverse corporate groups including information
technology, whose responsibility it is to create and implement the database.

Integrated Multimodal Tactics
A multimodal lead generation plan heightens the response rate potential, due to the fact that it more effectively impacts contacts and their spheres of influence. While overcoming the inherent challenges associated with timing, this enhances audience awareness as well.

Consistent Lead Nurturing
A sustainable, long-term lead nurturing process is proactive, intentional and actionable. It incorporates multimodal tactics designed to move prospects from awareness to interest to trial to action. The key is to dynamically integrate your execution, always aligning marketing efforts
with sales initiatives. The result offers the greater probability that sales will adopt the working discipline of nurturing leads on a long-term basis.

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