Theory and Practice of Leads Generation

What should I do to find new clients?

Small as well as new companies often struggle to figure it out: Leads Generation. Let’s rephrase it: how can I attract the attention of people, so that they can become interested in what we do, so that there will be more business opportunities to develop a sustainable business?

Funny enough this is what marketing is all about and will always be: but what is the challenge of lead generation in the era of digital everything?

The answer is: Leads Generation is about Creating Relevant Content!

Creating Relevant Content.

Nurturing leads – Awareness

Content is value. People consume content they find interesting- Even poor content may engage audiences, of course good, focused and qualitative content is the best option to engage the target audiences you want.

Then it becomes clear, the quantity of content matters the most, then its quality impacts the type of leads you will engage.

Producing a lot of different content on any level on any media boosts the brand awareness, the more people read, see and hear about the brand the more it becomes familiar and will be recognised when it will be seen again.

It means that when they will be in need of a solution, they may not recall your brand on top of every other brand, but once they will start searching (google search) your brand will be familiar to them.Nurturing leads

1. First goal achieved, getting familiar.

Visualization

Find it out. The audience you want to talk to are people who are actively searching for a solution to a problem they are experiencing right now. It is exactly when we need a solution to a need we are dealing with that a product or service is required, and we are more open to select a provider effectively.

As Google beautifully explained with the Messy Middle, the real selection process to do leads generation is never straight and simple, but let’s assume for initial simplicity.

While involved in the selection process, we may find a brand that is “familiar” to us, in the list of proposed results (SERP) of our Google search. When it happens, there are more possibilities that we click it (landing page). And when we are there, we may be keen to spend a more focused attention to what that brand proposes.

2. Second goal, get clicked.

Engagement

Awareness Leads Generation Once we are in the space dedicated to answer the search, we may get distracted or don’t find what we are really searching for. Then the quality of the page matters the most: a content effectively proposed by a good layout, proper wording, clear conceptualization and direct answers can be catchier.

The function of landing pages is to support the recipient’s own estimation, the feelings, the assumptions made, and to provide them with the idea that they have found a solution to solve their problem.
We may be keen to enhance our knowledge of the solution, or to compare it with other competing options.

It is here that the journey may get more complex, back and forth between different options or a straight decision is a matter of time and effort, that may depend on our own feelings about how critical the solution might be.

The more mission-critical we feel that solution, the more effort and time we can invest to reach the best option.
The less mission-critical it is, the more straight, fast decision is possible.

But this general rule might not always be true as there are people who simply love to browse around, jump between possible, alternative options, maybe learn more about the problem/solution framework, but sometimes just spending time on it for their own pleasure or to be able to prove they achieved the best solution.

3. Third goal, get people to consume the content.

Provide value

Visualisation In general, good content brings us more knowledge, improving awareness of possible solutions. And even if it may be complex to imagine each possible scenario, a brand should try to delineate at least some of the more common. This is also a stage of selecting the audience to aim the offer, to answer that purpose we may wonder: who are the most interesting leads among all the possible people who arrived at the page?

This is not trivial, as the intuitive choice should be to maximize the conversion for all the page visitors not to reduce, selecting just one segment of them.

In the aim to convert all the visitors we may try to be broad in our message, include all the possible information, show all the possible perspectives, talk to each person for what they want to listen.

This is also driven by the feeling that we do have limited possibility to talk to them, and once we have been able to engage on a page where a solution is there for them, we do not want them to go away, we do not want to miss the opportunity to deliver the complete message.

This might not be a problem when a company only has one type of customer and one clear purchasing process. But companies that serve different types of client, with solutions that may be slightly different or customizable for each “personal” need, and consequently they may face different purchasing processes, may find it much more tempting: one page that includes all.

A more effective way, but definitely counterintuitive, is to set the content for just one type of customer/need.

What if we, ourselves, would find a place where all we need for an answer is there for us, telling us exactly, and nothing more, than what we need to hear?

This type of communication is extremely effective, it has a powerful capacity to convince and to bring us towards the decision making point.

This strategy also implies that only a segment of the visitors will find their expected answer there, everyone else won’t. There is a possible missing audience, and sometimes that segment of people can also be a relevant slice of the whole audience.

This strategy may then work to push out of the sales process a number, sometime even a significant amount, of people that have been engaged in the funnel till this point. And to achieve that, the brands already face a cost.

The solution shouldn’t be to just try to communicate to everyone in the hope that each of them will find their answers among the many we set in place. But probably even to drop a valuable segment of the audience without finding a way to build something that may engage them better might not be a correct decision.

If the strategy is to communicate to the most relevant -ready to purchase, feeling the solution highly mission-critical, having time shortage-in the most effective way, we may discover that this group is a tiny fraction of the audience we already engaged.

If the selected segment is minimal, then brands may decide to keep the offer available only to them – high-end products’ strategy: only for few, but known by many – or to develop some other funnels that may engage by answering other relevant segments of the whole audience.

The challenge is where the journeys may split, the hardest thing is to design a moment of the journey where the two -or more-segments can start following different journeys to reach the dedicated landing page. Being aware that sometimes deciding the exact moment where the different types of leads can take a choice that determines the next part of the journey may be complex.

The choice between making the effort, possibly by trial and error, or playing safe by focusing all our resources on the most lucrative segment is one of the most important decisions to take at a strategy level.

4. Fourth goal, create interest for people.

Engagement

The process

At this point the process is generating leads, people who we do not know much about and the better the process operates, the more they may show interest in what we propose. In a funny and not beautifully designed jargon term, they are designed as warm leads.

It is here when the CRM should start operating: those interested people may become prospects, prospective customers engaging the brand for a purchasing process.

In the B2B model, they are people engaged into the sales process; in a B2C model, they are people that may be interested in accomplishing a purchase in any of the available point of sale where the brand is offered.

Where the two models depart each other:

  • In B2B the CRM is operated mainly by humans, sales people, who engage in discussion with the prospects, the persons who show their identity manifesting the availability to talk, the interest of entering into a purchasing process.
  • In B2C the CRM leads generation operates mainly autonomously by proposing the leads some possible options, fresh information in the purpose to support the intention of proceeding with the purchase. Maybe some ‘point of purchasing’ or, depending on what behavioral data have been collected, a “buy now” opportunity.

The intention is to design each message proposed to the leads accordingly with what they have seen (content consumed), where they have been (tracking navigation), and other behavioral and profiling data you have been able to gather either along the funnel and by third parties.

This domain belongs to CRM for ecommerce, where automation is king, and even if the purchasing is not done on an ecommerce website, the purpose is still the same: automate as much as possible any contact point so that the number of interactions that can be achieved is virtually infinite.

The purchase will be completed by the prospective buyer who will enact it.

On the other hand, the B2B leads generation model implies CRM activities governed by salespeople: each leads pushed into the CRM by the marketing automation should receive a direct personal contact by a salesperson.

The reason why it has to happen is simple: the value of each transaction is relevant enough to make it possible to provide direct, personal service. Let’s make it clear: the only factor is the value per transaction that enables personal service, neither the difficulty of the purchase nor the product complexity.

The transaction value generally implies a long and more complex sales process that is assumed to be in place more often in the Business to Business model of business. Ultimately, the gist is the level at which the solution is perceived mission-critical that may impact the transaction value as well as the complexity of the choice.

In fact, instead of discussing the B2B or B2C business models, we should shift to discussing the type of sales process.

5. Long Complex Sales Process Vs Short Simple Sales Process.

The process

To summarize:

To create interest a brand nurtures the markets by creating content, the content implies: information, culture, knowledge, brand character and values, well beyond just the reason of use or the unique selling proposition. We must be aware that the market’s nurture is performed against a wide and non-definite audience. Brands do not know who will receive and consume the content, but among the ones that will do it, some might develop interest and stick to consuming more content. These people can develop interest in the brand and discover they may be aligned to the proposed values.

To engage people, a brand should develop a wide range of possible “catchy” moments, or lead magnets: elements where people may get valuable benefits if they start interacting with the brand.

The interest in the brand should come naturally: once people start interacting with the brand they may be open to consume more content, then they may develop trust in the brand, then content may support their own learning process. People may spend more time interacting with the brand, experiencing samples, and consuming content that support knowledge development. They are now widely exposed to messages, and they may become more sensitive about the brand’s view of the problem-solution framework.

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