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I want leads and I want them now

Chris Field
Chris Field

You want leads and you want them now? Well, you’ll just have to wait.

When sales tells marketing what it wants, both parties agree that leads are the ultimate – possibly the only – goal. But marketing often won’t stick up for itself and say, “we need to agree what a lead is, what it really takes to get one, and why a lead is not the same as a business relationship.”

It’s a lovely idea that you can create leads in a high-value, senior decision maker environment instantly, and there are currently plenty of companies hitting the phones in the expectation that one email click can be turned into a meeting with just one call.

It doesn’t work, as three well-funded lead generation campaigns undertaken since January that I know about prove. Budget: £30k; leads: 1.

What’s the problem?

I’ve called many times for sales and marketing to work more collaboratively around the prospect database because when they do, all the benchmarks for lead engagement rise significantly. But what tends to happen most of the time is companies default to the conventional techniques that probably haven’t worked all that well for more than 10 years.

How many companies start with PR, thinking that this is the best way to tell many people something all at once? Actually, it is, just not the way most companies do it – which leaves them wondering why they can’t find a return on the investment against leads.

Or how many companies start with cold calling? Thinking that because it is hard and painful, like bitter medicine, it must be doing some good.

Or how many email out a piece of content and then wait for the leads to pour in? “Guys, look how many clicks and downloads we got!”

Truth is, you have to do all of the above, based not on your own business goals but those of your prospects.

I’ll return to this train of thought another time, because the IT industry can’t keep calling for retailers to be customer-focused and then not follow its own advice.

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