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Posted by Phil Richardson

Lead Generation and Valentine’s Day, how could they possibly be related?

After another Valentine’s Day has passed us by, it’s easy to assume that all the love is gone until next year. However, it can be seen in your daily work. Yes, that’s right: there’s love in lead generation. In the B2B marketing world, lead generation is practically parallel to Valentine’s Day, just without the flowers and expensive cards. We all know that in a relationship there are key factors that are necessary for long-term happiness on both sides. Believe it or not, the same goes for lead generation. In this blog, I’ll tell you my five main aspects of a relationship that are also essential for developing a great relationship using lead generation.

 1. Understanding.

If you want to have the best possible success with B2B marketing and lead generation, it’s obvious that you’ll need to understand your market’s needs and desires. This is one of the most important first steps to a solid lead generation programme. To do this, you need to know your target audience inside out.

With lead generation, the whole point is to generate B2B sales leads. But if you don’t completely understand who your product is aimed at and why they’re in that specific segment, then how can you possibly sell it? What I’m trying to say is that without understanding your prospects, you cannot do your job effectively, or at all in fact. It’s exactly the same with lead generation – the more you understand, the further you’ll get with your prospects.

There are various things that you need to understand about your prospects –  what they usually buy and where from, what they actually want, whether or not they use social media etc. This will help you segment your prospects and individually target them, tailoring your advertisement to suit them perfectly. After you’ve done this, you’ll be generating far more responses without generalising you prospects or being superficial.

In a nutshell, if you don’t understand what exactly the prospect wants, then you’re out of luck. Like in a relationship, they’re putting their trust in you, but if you don’t completely understand everything about them, then like all bad relationships there’s only one out. “Fake your death and move to a different country?” I hear you ask. But no. The answer is in fact a messy break-up, resulting in a lack of trust and bad reputation. So unless you want your company/prospect relationships to end with a terrible romance film style break-up, ensure you start understanding your market from the start.

 2. Effective communication.

Without this it’s sad to say there’s no hope of success, like a child sending a Valentine’s card to their favourite teacher. Just like in this bizarre situation, the end result (of ineffective communication with a prospect) will be heartbreak and no gains. In a prospect relationship, effective communication is key, no matter what you’re doing. I strongly believe that if you master the art of communication, you really can’t go wrong. As long as you can get your message across, clients will know that you’re a company that know what they’re doing, a force to be reckoned with.

Relating to the previous section, understanding is the key to effective communication. If you listen to what I said in the Understanding segment and swat-up on all the information you can regarding your prospects, it’s more likely that you’ll be able to converse with them more efficiently, thus increasing the chance of a connection. By initially understanding what a prospect wants, you can then build your relationship on this foundation, ensuring that when you speak to them you know what they want from you and how they want to proceed.

Effective communication also links with knowledge as it allows you to sound professional and maintain this throughout the duration of your relationship with a prospect.

After you’ve gotten the knowledge regarding your prospects, it’ll be so much easier to effectively communicate with them. You’ll be able to get the results you aspire for in a shorter amount of time and even possibly build a relationship with your prospects. Unlike Valentine’s Day however, standing outside someone’s house with a boom box blasting out a classic love song won’t get results (well it might if they’re into that sort of thing, but more than likely not).

The majority of companies will be too busy to sit and listen to tediously long, unnecessary phone calls or read a multi-page email that is 90% irrelevant, so you need to be concise and efficient with your words. If you sent someone a twenty-page letter about how much you love them, there’s a good chance they wouldn’t read it all – I know I certainly wouldn’t – so why bother wasting both your own and their time with long, boring messages? I’m not saying give the bare minimum and leave the prospect guessing, but there’s always a way to condense whatever you want to say. It’s okay for a little personal chatter, such as “how are you?”, but there really isn’t any need for a whole paragraph on personal, non-business related talk.

Basically, don’t waffle or word-waste, just get the right information across quickly. Effective communication is also crucial when contacting the prospect’s target audience. Don’t spend all your time writing the background of the company (the prospect can find this out themselves), just provide the necessary information and leave out irrelevant waffle.

Also, it’s pointless dedicating any of your messages to introducing yourself or your company, if they want to find out more about you, they’ll do their research.

  3. Respect.

Any company – big or small-  wants to be respected, whether it’s you respecting their wishes and fulfilling their demands or leaving them alone if they aren’t interested in your service.

In terms of lead generation, respect is vital to gaining clients, getting results and working with the client for a long period of time. Marketo state that approximately 96% of website visitors aren’t ready to purchase, so whilst you need to persuade them that you can benefit them greatly, thus generating more leads, you also need to give them space to make their own decision in their own time. If they do not choose your company in the end, you need to then respect their decision. No bombarding them with persuasive emails and calls that will just annoy them, preventing any possible future relationships.

The same goes for relationships; not that I’m giving relationship advice, but in a loving relationship you need to respect any decisions made by your other half and give them support and encouragement where necessary (but not too much, obviously!).

 4. Long term aspirations.

As it is in any normal relationship, you need to have long term aspirations for the relationship between yourself and your prospect. There’s no point in building a relationship and working on a lead generation programme with a prospect if it won’t have any long term effects (positive, of course) for either party.

In some cases, the sales cycle can be long (up to five years!) so there isn’t an actual sale for a while. It is important not to start ignoring a prospect if you get bored with them after a month or so. This will eliminate any chances of a relationship in the future. Stay positive throughout to ensure the best possible outcome for both yourself and the prospect.

If something doesn’t go exactly to plan, it’s essential that you don’t give up. No matter what the situation, you must always show resilience and be willing to make changes for the better, otherwise nothing is going to change and you’ll be stuck in an endless cycle of rejection. When something goes wrong, instead of giving up and moving on you need to assess the situation and re-evaluate, looking at what you can do next time to improve and avoid making the same mistake.

It’s exactly the same as in a relationship: if something bad happens, you can either run away from the problem and (try to) move on or accept it, make changes and continue with a new, reformed relationship. Everyone makes mistakes, so it’s important not to judge too quickly – especially in early days – because who knows what a company’s capable of?

 5. Being selfless.

For obvious reasons, lead generation is not all about you. In fact, only a very small section of it revolves around you, the majority is about fulfilling the prospect’s needs and desires. Your fundamental aim is to build relationships, so it’s key to put the client (and their needs) before yourself to be successful with lead generation.

Whilst it’s your job to generate leads that result in more business for your own company, you cannot do this without being of use to the client and getting their desired results. If you can do this, it’ll lead to them continuing to use your service and you earning a good reputation. Essentially, it’s your job to do as the customer asks, which does leave little room for selfishness. However, many people make the mistake of (like I previously mentioned) dedicating too much time to themselves, whether it’s through email, phone calls or any other platform.

The client already (hopefully) knows what they need to know about you, so devote your time to them, finding out what their exact needs are, rather than spending time on yourself – you get the weekend for that!

 

So, to put all of the above simply, it’s crucial for you to understand the prospect, have effective communication, respect, long term aspirations and selflessness. Like in all long-lasting relationships, these aspects are vital to building a successful relationship with your prospects to ensure future involvement. If you want to get ahead (no, I’m not going to say get a hat) then you must keep all five of these key factors central to your campaigns and flaunt your knowledge wherever you can.

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