It’s year-end. For marketers and sales professionals, the pressure cooker we live in all year is turned up a few notches.
What’s awesome about actual pressure cookers is that you can get great results from them. They cook as much as ten times faster than conventional cooking methods.
But, unless you know how to use the optimal amount of liquid, time and pressure, you’re going create an inedible mess and will have wasted more time than you saved. You can’t simply add pressure and expect optimal results.
So it is with generating leads – yet, when the funnel needs to be fed now, we toss in more leads, turn up the pressure, and voila! We expect robust sales.
I was reminded of this mindset when I recently taught a day-long seminar on B2B Marketing Best Practices at ExactTarget’s Connections 2012 conference. My colleague Dave Green and I were essentially giving marketers the ingredients they needed to thrive in a pressure-cooker lead-gen environment:
- Build the foundation for lead generation programs. (Ideal Customer Profiles: 5 steps to ensure your lead generation stays on target)
- Master the essentials of lead generation. (Universal Lead Definition: Why 61% of B2B marketers are wasting resources and how they can stop)
- Uncover qualified leads. (Lead Generation: How 64% of marketers starve Sales of opportunity)
- Establish automation processes. (B2B Marketing: 7 tactics for implementing marketing automation from a fellow brand-side marketer)
- Lift results. (How to Build a Quality List and Make Data Drive Leads)
If you want to learn a little more about these subjects, check out the links adjacent to the bullet points.
The challenge marketers have repeatedly complained about, however, at this and pretty much every conference I’ve had the privilege of speaking at, is finding time to apply what they’ve learned. Using time intelligently, and setting aside the to-do list for what’s most important as opposed to what’s most urgent, is key to thriving in a pressure cooker.
Peter Drucker said it best in his book, The Effective Executive. He explains that time is our scarcest resource — it cannot be bought or sold, and therefore, must be used as effectively as possible. Even though this book was written nearly a half-century ago, its precepts are more relevant than ever.
This has inspired me to develop five best practices, based on Drucker’s teachings, to use your time to optimally incorporate what you’ve learn at conferences, and beyond, into your business:
- Shortly after a conference, block an entire day out of your calendar to synthesize what you’ve learned. Do it as a matter of course every time you register for an event.
- Use that time to strategically think about what would be the most valuable application of the intelligence you’ve gained.
- Prepare a lesson plan for your team. Educate them about what you’ve learned and how you would like to apply it to your business. Get their feedback and ideas. Not only are you empowering them, you’re also taking your own learning to a new level and multiplying the return on your conference investment.
- Together, strategize how you can use this education to achieve your most pressing goals, and then develop a road map to move you forward in that direction.
- Implement this strategy. Making a strategy isn’t the hard part, implementing it is. To paraphrase Drucker, until a strategy has degenerated into hard work, it is merely an intention. (This is where a to-do list comes in.)
When the pressure cooker is turned up so high it feels like it’s going to blow, remember, we have at our disposal more intelligence than ever before to help us generate better leads faster. We just have to make sure we take the time to absorb and apply it. I believe this is what’s going to separate the lead generation winners from the losers in the 21st century.
What ideas do you have to efficiently and effectively incorporate the vast amount of information that’s available today into better lead generation? Share them in the comments – I’d love to hear your thoughts.