Your First Step in Lead Gen Begins With Knowing Your Customer

No matter who you are, if you’re reading this we have one common goal: The need to make your lead generation strategies more effective.

Regardless if you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, your goals are to:

increase engagement with your prospects
move them through the sales funnel
make sure you’re communicating with them throughout the decision journey
ultimately get them to buy
retain them as loyal customers

We’ve all seen these statistics…

70% of the buyer’s journey is complete before a buyer even reaches out to sales. (SiriusDecisions)
57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier. (CEB)
67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally. (SiriusDecisions)

While other articles debunk these and similar findings, you need to consider the concept:

Your customers are doing a lot of their own due diligence.

Does that mean they never speak with a sales person throughout the process? Probably not. However, I’d venture to guess that the conversations are happening less often, which means you have to provide the information they need, when they need it, throughout their journey.

Whether you’re looking at your customers’ decision journey through the lens of a sales funnel, following an established journey such as the one published by McKinsey, or creating your own based on your specific target audience and vertical markets, bottom line, you need to have one.

There are many articles on lead gen and customer journeys, but in this article the goal is show the links between buyer personas, the journey and lead gen. I believe you need to have detailed buyer/customer personas to understand their journey in order to have an effective lead gen program.

Keep in mind, creating or mapping your customer’s journey is not something you can do overnight, even if you’re starting with a template. You’ll need to invest the time and resources to make sure the journey you establish is the right one for your audience. And, if you have multiple verticals and/or multiple audiences, it may be necessary to develop specific customer journeys and in turn, multiple personas.

So where to start?

My suggestion is to begin with your buyer/customer personas. Why? Because if you understand the personas of your customers, then you’ll understand their needs/wants/motivations and behaviors when it comes to your brand and product/service categories.

Also, depending on whether you’re targeting B2B or B2C, these segments will have a significant impact on both the persona and journey map you develop.

Building an effective persona involves a deep understanding of your customer or prospect, as well as the challenges the face in the market they serve. And, in most situations, you may have to turn to market research to help you uncover the insights needed in building your persona, which includes surveying existing, past and prospective customers.

When thinking about creating a B2B persona, take the following into consideration: business goals, age, job title, level within the organization, department, business duties and responsibilities, business challenges, new initiatives, issues or concerns, buying behaviors/criteria, motivations (rational and emotional), need for your particular solution and barriers versus the obstacles you need to overcome.

You must understand the motivations or triggers for your customer’s decisions throughout their buying journey. What is the hierarchy of the purchase decision? What role do they play? Does your primary contact make the decision or do they need to go up the ladder for the final decision? Or, do they conduct all of the research and develop the recommendation only to turn the final decision over to purchasing?

If you have multiple target customers with different job titles in the same or different departments you need to influence, you should have a persona for each. And, don’t forget to factor them into your customer’s decision journey.

Now what you ask?

It’s time to begin developing or mapping your customer’s decision journey. The first question to ask yourself is, how aware are your prospects of your brand, company, product or service? If you’re unknown, then you need to start the journey at the beginning, building awareness for your brand.

For example, if you’re selling in the B2B space, your prospects may start by identifying brands that meet their specific need. Then research those brands and move a select few towards consideration and evaluation before issuing an RFP.

If you’re in the B2C world, then you might follow a simpler path, focusing on building awareness/discovery, credibility, interest, consideration, evaluation and trial or buy, and then of course loyalty and advocacy.

Personally, I’d recommend having fewer steps in your journey or sales funnel. The more steps means more time for your prospect to move from awareness to purchase.

Your Customer Journey and Lead Generation Strategy

Now that you have a handle on your target customer as a result of developing various personas and have mapped out your specific target customer’s decision journey, the next step is to understand which channels of communication and touch points are best used to generate leads.

Since you’ll understand, as a result of developing the buyer’s persona, how your customers/prospects like to consume information, you can now develop your communications strategies to make sure you’re providing them with the right information at each stage of their journey.

What is their preferred method of communication? Is it email, pdfs, videos, case studies, white papers, testimonials, reviews, articles, or a combination of these? Is email best at the interest or attracting stage and white papers at the evaluation or converting? Keep in mind, in addition to the channels, the depth (details) of information needed in the early stages will be different than in the later stages of the journey. So plan accordingly. The type of information that can be delivered via 140 characters is much different than a 90-second video.

Another suggestion is to ask yourself the questions your prospect might be asking themselves at the various stages. This will help you think through the types of information that might be needed. For example, during the Discovery stage, what are your competitors doing to drive engagement and build awareness? Or, at the Consideration stage, ask yourself how helpful has your company been in providing information and how easy were you to work with compared to your competitors? I’m sure your prospects are asking the same questions.

Now that you have your journey all mapped out, the various touch points and the communication channels you’re going to use, how do you start the process? How do you generate the leads?

While there are lots of thoughts on this, the following are nine ideas that you might implement in your lead gen program if you’re already not doing them.

Optimize Your Website for lead generation
Ensure that social media buttons are visible on your website, blog, etc.
Offer limited edition eBooks and white papers
Use landing pages to focus a specific message, product or offer
Conduct webinars on topics relevant to your niche
Be consistent in your content marketing and blogging
Leverage the power of video
Have a strong call-to-action (CTA)
Implement lead scoring using predictive analytics

Time to Begin Your Journey

Marketing has never been more challenging than in today’s world.

There is no one-size fits all when it comes to developing your lead gen strategies and defining your customer’s journey. It takes time and a lot of hard work to develop an effective strategy and campaign. And, it’s never a ‘one and done’ proposition, as the market is constantly changing.

Generating leads requires that you’re communicating with your prospects at the right time in their decision journey or sales funnel with the right information to help them continue to move forward. Know your customer. Their needs, wants, motivations and pain points and make sure you’re delivering the information by using the channels and tactics that not only help you reach them, but engage them too.

Why The Popularity Of Sales Speakers Are On The Rise

Motivation is a pivotal element for your everyday lives, as without it you will not have enough drive for accomplishing what you want in life. In today’s world of business, motivation remains the key of successful people, as it helps them to attain their business goals easily and reach their life objectives quickly. This is why most of the business owners hire the services of a sales motivational speaker for motivating and influencing their workforce. The task of sales is very tedious for all work teams and for excelling in it, they would require some tips of encouragement, which would be achieved only through a motivational sales speaker.

Why Is Sales A Tedious Task?
Most, often, people refrain from those businesses that require strenuous sales, activities with intense techniques, as they are afraid of rejection. However, to stay very successful in the field of sales, it is imperative for them to handle issues like rejection, as it is integral parts of every business owner get very effective sales techniques to improve their business.

Why Motivation Is Important?
Motivation acts as the positive drive that makes business take the right action. When the work team is not having enough motivation, they would not follow the required steps, as it also indicates that it would not be able to attain their long term goals. To help the sales force take stay on the perfect track of performance. This is why several companies avail the services of an inspirational speaker, as they have a major role in promoting the attitude of the individuals in the sales team.

Motivation and Inspiration Offered By Speakers
The role of inspirational or motivational speakers is to provide a new prospective with the help of their sales techniques tips. They are capable of inspiring the employees and can boost the overall morale of the sales people. Each individual of your company must feel appreciated and important in the tasks they do. When the workforce of your organization lacks behind in performance then it means that they lack in motivation.

Why Avail The Services Of Inspirational Speakers?
Inspirational speakers are known to offer an inspirational speech, as they are fully aware that the spirit of your workforce must be improved to compliment their productivity levels. They are well trained to deliver inspiring speech that can help the employees make their organization reach great heights. They also impact excellent knowledge to the audience to help them draw inspiration from the speaker’s real life incidences. One can find several types of motivational speakers and it is important to choose one based on your business nature and problem areas. The speaker who specializes in a particular area would possess the related skills or expertise to cater to the needs of your workforce.

How To Motivate The Workforce?
As the trends in the business arena changes drastically in a periodic fashion, it is the role of the sales motivational speakers imparts their knowledge regarding the changing scenario to stay updated in a timely fashion. Business owners like you should follow certain ways for maintaining the performance of your staff and sales force by keeping them motivated through these motivational speeches offered by sales speakers.

The sales motivational speakers will hold the sessions that would include several activities such as team building, group discussions and interactive time to discuss their challenges, views and concerns. The best inspirational speakers is well equipped with the right set of skills and expertise that are important for motivating the sales force and can offer tips and tricks to spice up the workforce’s performance.

Prospecting and Getting Appointments

All sales pros are focused on identifying qualified prospects who could benefit from their products and services. To address that opportunity, the cornerstone of sales success is effective prospecting and securing an appointment with a decision maker. Think of this as your #1 priority, and have a plan to do it and do it right.

Prospecting is your most important activity. Sales pros often fall into the trap of believing that their most essential skills are making an effective presentation and developing closing skills and negotiation techniques. Yes, those are important, but they won’t be of much help without securing the face-to-face meeting with a qualified prospect.

Position yourself as an achievement-oriented person in achievement-oriented environments. People like to do business with those they like and respect, and there’s no better place to build those connections than in professional and community organizations. Identify the organizations where your prospects are actively involved, and take a role where you can demonstrate you’re that kind of person.
Get referrals from satisfied customers. Deliver more than they expect, and whenever they express satisfaction, ask for a referral. Be proactive about this. You know you did all they expected and more, so casually ask them “How’m I doin’?” When they confirm you’re doing great, say thanks and then ask “Can you think of anyone else who could benefit from my products, services, and me?”
Regularly send cards to prior customers. Don’t let them forget about you and the good work you did. Send them a birthday card, a holiday card. And contact them at buying cycles and to let them know important information they’d be interested in hearing about.
Generate new prospects through your network of professionals, colleagues with whom you regularly give and receive referrals. Regularly meet with these people one-on-one to exchange prospects and ideas.

Implement the sales pro’s approach to referrals. This isn’t something that just happens. It’s a top priority and part of your weekly and daily plan.

Become the prime referral source for anything anyone needs. Do they need an accountant? An auto mechanic? An attorney? You know where to send them and the person you send them to will appreciate what you did and will, without being asked, gladly provide referrals to you in return.
Qualify your prospects and your referrals. Don’t pursue or send unqualified referrals. If you know someone who’s a real estate agent dealing with million-dollar homes, don’t send them a bunch of recently-graduated college students out looking for their first job.
Send referrals, with your name on them, to current customers. You know that competing sales reps will be calling on your customers, trying to attract them with lower prices. But when your customers see you as a partner, helping to build their business, that’s value worth paying for.
Country clubs, cultural events, and business-after-hours events are places to socialize with people after you meet them, not to meet them. Don’t be one of those annoying people who try to barge in on a group of colleagues to try to pass out their business cards.

Focus on the skills of getting the appointment: Convincing prospects to meet with you in person. Just like networking, this isn’t something you do haphazardly. Have a plan.

The purpose of the phone call is to get a face-to-face appointment. Period. Do not for a moment even think of selling over the phone, or you will fail.
The more you talk to the secretary, the less likely you’ll get through to the prospect. Of course you will treat the secretary with respect, but get straight to the point and persuade him or her that you’re someone the prospect will want to talk to you. You might mention a referral: “Mr. Jones of XYZ Company suggested I contact her, and I believe it’s something she’d want to know about.”
The more you talk to the prospect, the less likely you’ll ever get a face-to-face appointment. Do not even THINK of getting into your sales pitch, not even a little. And if the prospect asks you to send or e-mail him something, politely decline: “We don’t send this information by mail or e-mail. There are things you’ll want me to explain in person.” Then ask for the appointment.
Avoid gatekeepers by calling direct early. Secretaries and gatekeepers get to work at 8 or even a little later, but your top prospects are often at their desks working well before that. And they’re likely to pick up the phone when you call direct.

Follow these steps and you’ll meet with more qualified prospects, which translates to more income for you.

Being a successful sales pro is a matter of skills and hard work. Make the commitment. Make it happen.