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PLANT

Be a lead generator

Does your company have revenue peaks and valleys? Follow these steps and you’ll even out demand for your products and services in no time.


June 30, 2011
by Andrew Shedden

Does your company have revenue peaks and valleys? Is it straining to keep up with the demand one month and laying off workers the next? What you need is a systematic lead generation and qualification system. Follow these steps and you’ll even out demand for your products and services in no time.

1. Create a universal lead definition. IBM came up with a great acronym, BANT: budget, authority, need and timeframe. Ask prospects about these four key areas before you commit time and salespeople. You do not have a qualified sales lead if: there is no current budget available or one that can be allocated; the person you’re dealing with does not have the authority to create a signed deal; your solution doesn’t meet a genuine need; and there’s no firm purchase or implementation date.

2. Separate lead generation and qualification from selling. Qualify potential sales leads and send only the ready to buy prospects to the sales team.

3. Use effective lead generation techniques. Apply a two-step approach. First, identify your best prospects with an attractive initial offer of an e-mailed or mailed problem-solving report or a tip sheet. It must not be a sales pitch. Those who respond are prospects. The next step is to have your marketing staff contact and qualify them using your BANT questions.

5. Use a combination of media. Combining print advertising with targeted direct mail and outbound follow up calls is very effective. Alternately you could use an e-mail blast to a list of subscribers in an online version of a trade magazine with an education-based e-mail offer, then follow up by phone. Telephone follow up dramatically improves results.

6. Use a follow up method that works. Wait two or three business days before a follow-up call so prospects won’t feel like they’re being stalked or ignored. Establish a 100% follow-up rule. Don’t discard a potential sales lead before a minimum of four to six attempts have been made to make contact. And have a plan in place to nurture longer-term opportunities.

Andrew Shedden is the president of Broadfield Communications, an industrial marketing consulting firm. Call (800) 353-4447. Visit www.broadfieldcommunications.com/plant.htm for the Seven Steps to Manufacturing Profits special report.