B2B Lead Generation–Creating a Tasting Menu

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Maenam - An authentic, world-class Thai restaurant in Vancouver from Chef Angus An

Maenam – An authentic, world-class Thai restaurant in Vancouver from Chef Angus An

Thai cuisine is one of my favourites. When you visit a Thai restaurant, the food is mostly good…BUT it is rarely ever great. On a business trip to Vancouver, BC, I explored, as is my passion, the local dining scene. My search for really, truly great Thai food was over when I found Maenam, by far the best Thai fine dining restaurant in Canada.

The brainchild of Chef Angus An and his Thai-born wife, Kate, Maenam is where you find an extraordinary blend of centuries-old recipes and traditions combined with bold, new culinary creations. Chef An expertly balances intense flavours using the art of layering, a skill I have rarely seen. It is common to find creative chefs who experiment boldly to combine flavours and textures, but while one may admire the creativity, the taste isn’t always quite gratifying to the palate. You need that perfect balance of taste, texture, hot spice, tartness and sweetness to take you beyond gastronomical delight to achieve sensorial bliss.

I had the pleasure of trying out the Chef’s Royal Thai Dinner—a tasting menu of 9 different dishes at Maenam. In the tradition of authentic royal Thai dining, we experienced a choice selection of flavours and textures. It gave me the opportunity to sample the skill sets of the chef and his team at peak performance levels. Now each time I go back to Vancouver, I want to go back for more. And I do.

Effective B2B lead generation should, in my opinion, begin like a chef’s Tasting Menu. The initial experience your organization offers prospects MUST be extraordinary. That is a sure-fire way to keep a strong lead coming back for more and ultimately, converting into a loyal, satisfied customer. Now of course, the journey does not end here. On the contrary, this is where it really starts. Even a single “not-so-good” dish at my favourite restaurant is bound to colour my opinion about the place and bring it down a few notches on my list of favourites. That is exactly what happens in the marketing world—a happy customer today is not a happy customer for life, unless you work diligently to keep things that way. More so because if you don’t please the customer—every single time—someone else will; i.e. your competition.

What Does A Perfectly Balanced Lead Generation Tasting Menu Look Like?

According to Jean-Georges Vongerichten, a popular New York celebrity chef, “The amuse-bouche is the best way for a great chef to express his big ideas in small bites“. So let’s say you have been nurturing a good lead for a while now. You have successfully piqued the prospect’s interest levels to the point where the company is now willing to try you out. How will you create the perfect “tasting menu”? Not by rolling out the full banquet, but by serving just the right “dishes” to generate more hunger and craving. As a B2B company, you have your own array of products and services and you know the intricate details of the full menu. Here are some ideas on how to craft a sampling platter which is not the full deal but is the critical amuse-bouche.

  • Serve up a fine selection of big ideas. When you are aiming to convert a lead, small ideas won’t work. There are far too many of your competitors casting their nets for the same lead. Think outside the box and allow prospects to see what is truly unique about your organization.
  • It is never too early to find out about specific requirements. You can’t have a standard menu for all leads. Getting to know what a prospective buyer is looking for will help you understand their requirement and serve up the ideal sampler. Your own house creation of peanut sauce may be an essential on your chef’s Tasting Menu, but what if a customer has a peanut allergy? Did you care to find out?
  • Show your personality. No matter how good the cuisine may be, it gets even better when the chef is amicable and behaves like a host rather than a cook. Yes, you can please a prospect with a sampling but it’s only when they get to know the organization and the people behind the slew of products and services that a lasting impression is made. Think about it—do you remember the precise name of the dish you loved at that last restaurant meal? Probably not. But if the chef met with you and chatted you up, you definitely will remember him or her and the name of the restaurant. You will recall the personality behind the meal you enjoyed.
  • Communicate the value of your offering and manage perceptions. What’s the difference between “grilled pork salad” and “sloping hills pork salad—slow roasted then grilled, with young lotus, fried shallots, lemongrass and chilli jam”? A lot! They may really be the same thing but how you communicate to customers the full value of what they are getting and why it is different from anything else they tried before will mean the difference between losing and closing. Don’t forget to add that C at the start—Communication!
  • Build credibility, share thought leadership and establish trust. Your existing customers are your best brand ambassadors. To progress a lead steadily towards conversion, don’t blow your own trumpet. It’s a jarring sound. Make room for customer-speak and let your happy clients sing your praises instead. Also remember that most buyers in the B2B world are tired of being sold to. Stop that 24/7, in your face, hard-nosed selling. Instead, share some wisdom about market trends, new developments, what’s happening in the industry, policy changes, etc. and become a thought leader that customers will respect. The only way to establish trust is to first earn the respect of your buyer. Without trust there can be no sale.

The summer is here. Why not plan a team building activity with a culinary twist? Get your sales and marketing teams to put their heads together and create the top five Tasting Menus for your company.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.

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