How Efficient Is Your Lead Generation? - dummies

How Efficient Is Your Lead Generation?

By Marina Martin

You can have the most ruthlessly efficient expense reduction plan in the world, but if your company doesn’t also sell efficiently, you’re going to shutter. Generating sales leads is a crucial part of building your business. Discover how strong your lead generation is by answering the following questions:

  • How do you capture referrals? As auto industry mogul James Yerage says, “Your next sale is coming from the one you just made.” If you have no mechanism for requesting or capturing referrals, you’re leaving money on the table. Depending on your industry, there’s a myriad of opportunities and tools for finding out who else may be interested in your offering.

  • If you search the Internet for your company name or product category, do you come up? The Internet is an increasing source of incoming leads across every sector. If your potential customers can’t find you online, they may never become customers.

  • Do you capture leads on your website? Your site needs to be informative, certainly, but it also needs a big call to action. Lead capturing doesn’t have to mean someone literally signing up to indicate they want to buy — it can also be giving their e-mail to get a free trial, joining an e-mail list, RSVPing for a webinar, or requesting a relevant white paper.

  • Do you maintain records of past customers and leads? Too many people think of old leads as totally dead. Although some certainly are, the others may be your most qualified future customers: they already indicated interest, and factors beyond your or their control, such as a lack of budget or a contract with a different vendor, may have been what was standing in the way before.

    You need to keep a log of past leads and customers and make sure you peripherally keep in touch with them. Leads that contact you again after two or more years are certainly not unheard of.

  • If you buy leads, do you track the Return on Investment (ROI)? Never assume that a set of leads is worth anything just because you paid something for them.

  • Do you know how to A/B test? A/B testing means slightly varying some aspect of your sales process — maybe the day of the week you call, whether you call or e-mail, the subject line of your e-mail, and so on — across different customers and see if one is more effective at closing sales than the other.

    Big companies like Google are ruthless about A/B testing and know exactly what font sizes, colors, and ad placements get the most eyeballs and clickthroughs (and therefore generate the most revenue).

  • Do you know how your last five customers found you? Knowing where your recent and/or best customers found you can help you know where you need to be in order to get even more customers like that.

  • What efforts do you take to upsell your current customers? Most organizations have some way to generate more revenue from an existing customer base, whether that’s new product upgrades, warranties, consulting services, or additional donation pledges. This is part of your sales process, too!

  • What information do you collect on an initial lead? As a rule of thumb, you should collect only the absolute minimum amount of information you need up front. The more information you request, the fewer the number of responses you will receive. For example, start with just an e-mail address, and then find ways to collect even more details as your interactions grow.