Your business depends on a vibrant stream of viable leads to ensure that you continuously grow. You might have the best products, lowest prices, and most competent salespeople, but you are doomed if no one wants your product.
That means you must constantly be engaged in lead pipeline generation to show your product to people who will be interested in it and who want to buy it.
To get to constant lead generation, you must implement several processes. Here those are in a nutshell.
Understanding Lead Generation
Lead generation is more than blindly advertising your products or services and hoping for the best. It is more than cold calling a gazillion contacts a year. You must understand what a lead is to get a solid and reliable lead pipeline up and running.
What Qualifies as a Lead
Some marketers will tell you that anyone that shows interest in your products or services is a lead. That is not true. Leads show interest, yes, but they also can be convinced to buy your goods.
For example, most people love luxury vehicles. If they had the means, or if one were offered free, they would jump at the opportunity to own a high-end automobile. Excluding leasing or borrowing options, however, most people cannot afford to throw down enough cash to drive away with the latest and greatest vehicle.
Because of that, most people interested in luxury vehicles are not leads. A lead would be the person that is interested in buying and can afford it.
Understanding Your Products
Because not everyone can show up on a car lot, slap down enough cash, and drive away with a luxury vehicle, the sales staff must be able to accurately judge the potential customer and show them how a luxury vehicle will enhance their lives.
A good salesperson must know the product inside and out and develop a connection between the vehicle and the customer. If they cannot do that, then their prospective lead is just an interested and wealthy party.
Understand the Target Audience
As mentioned, the target audience for our luxury vehicle is interested and rich, and open to why they need that luxury vehicle. That means the sales and marketing staff must constantly be refining their target audience and searching for sources of leads. They must know when a new luxury vehicle would work and when a used vehicle is a better option.
For instance, many older customers prefer certain styles and types of vehicles, regardless of what is in style. The vehicle might make them feel safe or used to driving it. Likewise, many younger customers have a separate set of criteria they want in a vehicle.
Knowing the target audience makes it easier to target and find new leads to get that pipeline built and produced.
Why It Matters
Without leads, the customers you have, plus whoever stumbles in off the street, are your only source of potential sales. Even if you are a business consultant, without leads, you are static, except for blind luck. Those two methods work for some products, but they are insufficient to ensure growth for most.
Blind Luck Only Goes So Far
The best way to describe blind luck is to envision shopping in a mall. You might have in mind something you want and maybe even a retail outlet you want to visit, but along the way, you have dozens of options for other purchases that you probably have not considered.
Maybe you enter a sports memorabilia store to buy a birthday gift or see a sale at a clothing store. Even deciding you want to get lunch at the food court is a process of blind luck. Relying on chance, however, is not sustainable. No one knows about your products or services, or if where you sell them becomes unpopular, your customers’ stream dries up.
Loyalty Only Goes So Far
The same principle applies to your existing customers. In the luxury vehicle business, for instance, unless your clientele is the mega-rich, the most you will sell them is a couple of vehicles, and even the wealthy do not always need a new vehicle every year. For those that hold onto a vehicle for a few years, you sell one, and you lose them until the next time.
A Process of Attrition
If your only two ways of generating new revenue are blind luck and legacy customers, you have a formula for attrition. Your existing customers move on, become interested in other vehicles, die off, move away, lose their wealth, etc. Luck also runs out as products and services become obscure or lose desirability to the public. The list of ways you could lose them is endless.
Attrition leads to your business becoming stagnant or slowly starting to atrophy.
To Grow, You Need Leads
Those two realities underscore the importance of building a lead pipeline and keeping it filled with prospects. There are two ways of creating a lead pipeline:
Outbound marketing is when you pursue people to create interest in your offering. Examples of outbound marketing include, but are not limited to:
- Cold calling
- Paid media advertising
Outbound marketing can be amazingly effective, but it also relies on the chance that your potential customers will see what you are advertising or offering. That can be tough with mass paid advertising. In addition, you must appeal to your potential customers. Offering a new luxury vehicle to folks who can barely afford a used vehicle is ineffective.
With inbound marketing, you create a reason for people to visit you. To make inbound marketing work, you must advertise and look for ways to attract interest based on what your customers are already interested in buying. Maybe you give away a premium to get people in the doors or use SEO online to ensure your content reaches people looking for your product.
Every opportunity, you must show the customer that you can take care of them, that is not general mass advertising is a form of inbound marketing.
Everything above means that you cannot rely on existing customers or blind luck and expect to grow. You also must employ multiple strategies to attract customers. If you do that aggressively, your lead pipeline will always fill up even as you convert new leads to existing customers.