Perhaps one of the most frustrating things in lead generation is the rejection. People don’t open your emails. Voicemails aren’t returned. Email campaign open rates are negligible. And bounce rates are so high that your email provider sends you discontinuance warnings.
Marketing automation has made reaching prospects even more challenging for sales people and marketers alike. As you get more creative at finding ways to reach prospects, they get more creative at finding ways to avoid you.
I know how bad it’s gotten because suddenly we’re being asked to assess why lead generation strategies aren’t working. Here are the four factors I always look at when lead generation isn’t working.
- Your list. If your list isn’t clean, not only will bounce rates be high but it will be hard to send a targeted message that will interest contacts enough to click through, respond, or take your call. Your list should include similar types of companies in size and need, and the correct contact titles for the message. Consider how long the contacts have been on your list and the last time they engaged with you. It could be your list is aged and outdated, making your data incorrect.
- The content. To get your list to respond, all your content has to feel relevant to them. From the blog posts you write to the prospecting emails, the content has to be focused on their specific business issues and trigger events. If you’re still writing about “here’s how we can help you,” the only people you’ll attract are those who have figured out they have a need and are actively looking for assistance. This will be only a very low percentage of your list. You’ll miss all the people who need your guidance in figuring out their problem and how you can help.
- Your lead generation activities. The activities you choose should be ones your target market uses. Consider this. If you’re targeting partners in law firms, or practice leads in medical practices, there are some pretty skilled gatekeepers you have to pass. These partners have put gatekeepers in place for a reason. Email campaigns and direct calling the executives may not be the best choice. Perhaps you need to email both the executive to raise awareness, and the gatekeeper to get in the door for an appointment.
- The sales team. If I had a dime for every time a business owner tells me how great their sales team is and then we listen to them blitz and fail, I’d retire. Whether you’re the manager or the salesperson, be honest in your assessment of how strong your hunting sales skills are. You have to have a strong value proposition, an inquisitive nature, persistence, relationship building skills and no fear of the phone. At the end of the day, if you can’t make effective sales prospecting calls (yes, like cold calls), you aren’t going to convert lead generation prospects.
If you can fine tune these four factors, you’ll find your response rates will improve significantly. No matter how creative your prospects are at avoiding other salespeople, they won’t want to avoid you.
Which of these factors do you find to be most challenging? Share your experiences with me in the comments below.