How to Avoid Becoming the Next Demand Generation Horror Show Star!


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Having been in this industry for close to 2 decades, I have seen some real horror stories. Companies spending obscene amounts of money on lead generation — from inbound and outbound marketing to sales automation, leads database management, telemarketing, advertising, PR, direct marketing, and so on. Budgets blown away mindlessly and bank-breaking campaigns bringing little or no ROI. Sales reps suffering nervous breakdowns and senior executives coming under the axe for not meeting targets. Scary. If all of these are not horror stories, then I don’t know what else to call them.

How can you / your organization avoid becoming a lead generation horror story? What are some of the things you need to keep in mind to prevent a scary outcome of what you may think is a planned demand generating strategy? Let me list here some of the most critical ones:

  • Don’t leave it entirely to your sales force to generate leads. Their job is to pursue qualified leads and convert them into sales. If your sales staff is spending too much time prospecting and too little converting, there’s a gap that needs to be filled. More importantly, you are heading for a situation where you likely won’t meet sales targets.
  • Avoid getting on a bandwagon. Yes, it’s true that certain general strategies work for all players in a particular industry. No, it’s not true that doing everything and only what your competition does will work for you. Instead of focusing on doing different things, try to work on a plan to do things differently.
  • Resist batch and blast techniques. This is particularly true in the B2B lead generation category. I have seen companies spend time, resources and money on mass mailing or emailing attractively designed product brochures or technical spec sheets and then praying that those sprayed will actually buy. To my mind, this is kind of like a “skunk effect”. You spray what you’ve got and folks will run away! To your bad luck, they will almost always run into your competition and there is produced yet another horror story of a lost sale.
  • If you can’t speak to your customers’ pain points, don’t speak. Creating expensive brand collaterals and printed or online communication pieces are meaningless if you aren’t solving your prospect’s problems. Think hard about what keeps them up at night and how your demand generation efforts can communicate a real solution to their problem.
  • Deriding competition in your communication may not always work. Having comparative data or price comparison sheets may be useful sometimes but in B2B demand generation there is a potential danger in talking about your competition on a common platform. Why encourage your prospects to explore your competitors further?
  • Don’t say it all yourself. Let your customers speak for you instead. There is no greater confidence booster or credibility factor than testimonials from existing clients. Leverage these as best as you can in your lead generation initiatives.
  • When selling to humans, don’t speak Martian! It is so common in high-tech sectors like information technology, biomedical engineering, pharmaceutical industries to find organizations using and training their sales force to speak in techno-gobbledygook. Won’t work! Of course, your prospects appreciate technology, but they don’t want to buy technology from you. They want to buy a solution to their problem. If you can sell that, in a simple language that they speak and understand, you’ll hit a home run. Or else…did I mention something about horror shows?
  • Which brings me to the most important point, do not sell a product or a service; sell a value proposition. If the leads you are pursuing see value in what you have to offer, you will be in business.

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment on my blog.

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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