Last week I talked about where you start the process when you are building a lead generation program so that you could first identity what you need to generate in order to be successful. This week, we are going to dive into the next step which is defining what a lead is.
At this point you now know how many leads you need to create on a weekly basis to get to your bottom-line revenue goal so now you need to figure out where to get them. But before we jump into the fun part of spending money to generate leads, you need to figure out what a lead actually looks like and that means identifying target industries, company size, geography and build personas for key stakeholders.
Defining Target Companies
When you are thinking about what industries to target you may be inclined to say ‘everyone’. Naturally we all want our product/service to fit the mass market and while some do, it’s not generally the best place to start. Do you have any historical data that suggests success in one industry over another? What does your current client list look like (if you have one)? Any common denominators?
Still stuck? Talk to the product management or product marketing team and ask them. Is the product more inclined to solve the problem within the education industry or perhaps manufacturing?
Pick your top 3-5 industries and then identify the size of the company within each that would be a good fit for your product. If education is your target, there is a big difference between the pre-K school in your hometown and a major university in Boston.
I always consider the cost of my product and the impact adoption would have on the business when I think about 1) who can actually afford to buy from us and 2) would it be worthwhile for them to do so. Again, the idea is to get finite here so we can identity those targets that will be the most likely to convert.
Now let’s get thinner and think of geography. I worked at one company where we made an attempt to introduce our product to some European countries. We quickly realized these particular countries wanted products in their native language and our product was only available in English. The cost to build new products was not worth the effort in the end so we re-aligned our focus back to the United States. You must consider scenarios like this and get real about where your target is located.
Defining Target Personas
Now that we have target industry(ies), size of company and location, let’s talk about who we actually want to connect with within these organizations.
I typically like to break it down into a few key roles: the decision maker, the influencer and the user. Depending upon the size of the organization, you are seeking to target, the same person could be in all 3 roles – that’s fine, just state it in the final results.
Start by answering these questions for each, the decision maker, the influencer and the user:
Where do your customers spend their time – online and off?
Who do they listen to, respect, admire?
What do they read?
What do they listen to?
What do they like to do when they are not at work?
There are a couple ways to go about doing this. I have used 2 methods that have worked really good for me in the past.
1.) Interview current customers or ideal customers. Go out and meet people face to face. Be prepared to ask a series of questions and have an open conversation to which you can walk away with a good understanding of who they, what they are challenged with and what outcome they hope to achieve. I try to meet with people are different industries who hold different roles. If you can’t meet face to face, then setup phone interviews. I have found that people generally are willing to help (and who doesn’t like talking about themselves for awhile) but be prepared to offer them something for their time. Whether it’s a free trial with your company or even a nice thank you gift, this goes a long way.
2.) Reach out to people on LinkedIn. I will run an advanced search using the parameters I have defined (target industry, job title, geography, etc.) and will send notes to them describing my project and ask for their help. I tend to post the questions and allow them to fill in the responses and send them back on their own time. If you find a connection such as a shared group or maybe someone you both know, then mention it.
Now you have the # of leads you need to attain on a weekly basis to reach your revenue goals and you have a defined lead. Next week we will talk about how to setup a lead scoring mechanism so that once you start generating leads, you are building logic and priority around them. Then, we will start creating a plan to connect everything.