Case History: Investing in Relationships Saves Lives
A division of a Fortune 100 company that serves the healthcare industry has been getting over 75% of their revenues through LeadGen.com for nearly ten years. So when Covid-19 hit, their product was perfectly positioned to help address the emergency.
With so many people working from home, however, an inability to reach contractors and facility managers not only threatened to deprive the company of their near-term opportunities, it threatened to deprive the hospitals of a critical solution to a critical problem.
Fortunately, because of the extensive network of relationships that LeadGen.com had built in the industry, we had the cellphone numbers of virtually all the decision makers - who were either in the field or working from home - that we needed to reach. Not a step was lost in responding to the crisis.
The hospitals got the products they needed on time, and the client has dramatically increased their market share.
You've Fired Your Marketing Director. Now What?
The coronavirus recession has already cut into your revenues, and your funnel has run dry. So you decide to fire your Marketing Director to conserve cash.
Now what do you do?
LeadGen.com is a resource multiplier. What that means is that we can do more - generate more leads, create a greater impact in the market, and drive more revenue - with the same, or even less, resources than in-house can.
In the case of a cold calling campaign, for example, we can make better quality calls than the typical salesperson (and much better quality calls than a call center), and we can maintain a level of discipline on the task that an inside salesperson - someone who’s constantly being pulled from one task to another - ever possibly could.
We can also put out more, and more effective, content. We can get you more and better exposure. And we can stimulate more, and more appropriate, demand.
As a result, we can uncover more opportunities, while also dramatically increasing the likelihood that those opportunities will close successfully.
You've Fired Your VP of Sales. Now What?
The coronavirus recession has already cut into your revenues, and your funnel has run dry. So you decide to fire your Sales VP to conserve cash.
Now what do you do?
Trying to do everything in-house is no longer an option. It's time to get outside help.
LeadGen.com can do everything your old Sales and Marketing team can do - and we can do it faster, better and cheaper than they ever could.
What are you waiting for?
The King Has No Clothes
If it weren't for the FAANG stocks, the Dow would be in the tank. And the S&P 500 is so overvalued you can already hear the bubble pop.
But what does this mean for your business?
We talk to hundreds of businesses every day. And what they tell us is that people are cancelling orders. Projects are being put on hold. And investors are bailing out.
If you think that lame-ass Marketing program is going to save you, think again.
It's time to put your Big-Boy Pants on.
All Hat and No Cattle
If you've done everything you can possibly think of with your Marketing program, and you're still not moving the sales needle, maybe the problem is your Marketing Department.
For years the industry has been talking about how, if you pour money into Inbound Marketing the business will just show up. And so you poured your heart out.
Well, now that push has finally come to shove (with respect to the economy), that little charade has finally been exposed.
Anybody hear the phone ringing?
You Can't Spell Squeal without SQL
If your Marketing program idealizes "Sales Qualified Leads," you're already on the wrong track.
The big clue is: Why does the term even exist?
After all, why would you want to produce anything else???
The concept of a Sales Qualified Lead grew out of lead scoring systems, which themselves attempted (ineffectively) to separate the good leads from all the junk that Marketing typically produces.
All SQLs did was ask the Salespeople for their opinion, instead of having the Marketing department grade their own work.
But it doesn't change the fact that most Marketing departments produce junk.
Marketing is a powerful tool. It can create awareness, stimulate interest, and enable you to engage with your target market.
But if it doesn't cause your prospect to invest time or money to move the sales process forward, it's nothing more than a shiny object.
Marketing without LeadGen is like a car without an engine. It might look nice, but it isn't going to get you anywhere.
If Marketing without LeadGen is like a car without an engine, then Sales without LeadGen is like a racing driver without a functioning racecar.
What's the point of spending all this money for a good salesperson, and then not providing them with qualified sales leads to close?
LeadGen is the missing link between Marketing and Sales. It turns your positioning into appointments with decision makers. And it turns your investment into ROI.
So if you don't have LeadGen in your process, you might as well go home.
What's the Point of Marketing?
In fact, it's worse. Marketing without LeadGen is not only like a car without an engine, it's like a car without wheels, or a transmission, either. It's just a pretty shell.
If you want to actually get somewhere - and, by that, we mean with your business - you need LeadGen to be part of the plan.
LeadGen is all about getting traction. It's all about converting potential energy into results. And it's all about getting you from "where you are" to "where you want to be".
Without that, frankly, all you have is a pretty Web site.
What Good Is Marketing without Lead Generation?
When the economy is strong, businesses can afford to invest in Marketing. And a good Marketing Department can certainly take sales up a notch. It can increase awareness. It can define your brand. And it can create compelling content and sales aids.
But when things go south, if it doesn't generate actual sales leads, all that other stuff becomes jetsam.
The difference between Marketing and Lead Generation isn't that Marketing does everything except generate qualified sales leads.
It's that a good Lead Generation program does everything that Marketing does, plus it generates leads, and holds itself accountable for revenue.
So if your Marketing program doesn't include Lead Generation, maybe now's the time to make a change.
Get Ready for the Collapse
With the Dow being propped up by the FANG stocks, and loose monetary policy drawing to an end, it's time to seek shelter from the coming storm.
Demand is down across the board. And only those companies who know exactly where and how to find new business will survive.
The first thing you need to do is reduce payroll. That in-house Marketing staff that's now working from home? How does that square with your decision not to outsource because you wanted more control?
Now it's time to let them go, and put someone on the job who can generate actual sales leads.
The Coronavirus Apocalypse Business Plan
As it appears we have lost the battle against the Coronavirus, and the economy is on the verge of collapse, it's time to start thinking about what you can do to insure that your company will survive.
So here is your Official Coronavirus Apocalypse Business Plan:
1. Fire your Marketing Manager (i.e. the person to whom you pay $60,000 a year plus benefits to post content that no one reads, work on your Web site that no one visits, and make plans for a trade show that will never happen).
2. Pay us $35,000 a year to generate actual sales leads that will actually close - and make you some money.
Zombie Companies Arise
The government has been propping up businesses with PPP. But with coronavirus cases increasing geometrically, there isn't enough money in the world to save the economy.
Get ready for World War C.
We talk to hundreds of companies every day. And it's shocking the number that are living from day-to-day, or getting ready to shut down operations altogether.
They're truly the Walking Dead.
Do you want to avoid joining the undead? Call us.
Or your next call might be to Unemployment.
The End Times Are Here
With our societal failure to stop the coronavirus epidemic, we are now on the verge of a geometric increase in cases. And that can mean only one thing: Economic collapse.
Investors are already abandoning equities, and pulling their funds out of new ventures. If 50,000,000 people lost their jobs with a 1% penetration of the virus, how many businesses do you think will fail when 20% of the population has it?
There is only one strategy left, short of closing up shop: Trim costs to the bare essentials, and focus all your resources on sales.
That Marketing Associate? We can do twice the work, and get better results, for half the cost.
You sales rep? We can make five times as many calls for half of what they're costing you. And we don't require benefits.
The End Is Near
If you don't think the economy is about to collapse, you're not paying attention. The government can't print enough money to save us from the upcoming collapse, as coronavirus infections skyrocket over the next few months.
The question is: What can you do to keep your business from failing in the process?
We've previously written about the wisdom of firing your low performers and giving us the work. Now it's time to fire that good-for-nothing, over-paid Marketing Associate - because we can get more new business for you, for half of what you're paying him or her, than they could get in twice the time.
Which, by the way, is the one thing you no longer have.
E Pluribus Victoria
When it comes to Marketing, you simply can't get as much experience, expertise, resources or talent with an in-house operation as you can when you outsource to LeadGen.com.
In fact, one client recently told us that they felt they couldn't get in-house what they get from LeadGen.com for five times the cost.
So why do some companies still try to do it themselves?
One reason is that many business owners feel they have more control with an in-house operation. But our process gives clients direct visibility into our activities and access to our people. So that objection simply doesn't hold water.
More importanly, we can put a dozen people on your problem for less than the cost of one in-house Marketing Associate.
Given social distancing and the fact that your Marketing Associate is probably working from home, how does in-house even make sense?
Timing Is Everything
We often get calls from multiple companies that are in the same business asking us for help - which is what happened last week when we heard from two companies in the Augmented Reality business.
As an "arms dealer," we're happy to sell to anyone, as long as their offering is ethical. But we typically won't work with direct competitors at the same time, so our policy is to usually go with whomever pays us first.
Interestingly, both companies have the exact same barriers-to-success. They are both going after the exact same markets. And they both have very similar products.
Where they differ is in management. One team knows how to make a decision, and the other is hesitant.
Guess who's going to win the battle for Market Share?
Another One Bites the Dust
We had been talking to a company about helping them with their marketing. They had a great offering, a solid competitive position, and an excellent value proposition.
But they couldn't make up their mind about moving forward.
And now they're out of business.
The problem was that the owners couldn't agree about the need to spend money on marketing, especially in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. It just seemed too risky.
And so now there's an opening for their competitors to exploit.
IQ Before AI
Artificial Intelligence is all the rage in marketing today. Digging deeply into masses of data to gain insight is seen as the key to taking strategies to the next level.
The problem is that if you don't start with a solid educational and experiential foundation, and apply AI using real marketing expertise, all you'll get is junk.
At LeadGen.com we have years of training and decades of experience. We've solved thousands of different problems, and helped hundreds of different companies. And we have scores of experts who can weigh in when you have a challenge.
So when we bring AI into a strategy, it's not just because it's cool - which it is. We bring it in so it can enhance otherwise sound decision making.
The Clock Is Always Ticking
We just got an email from a company that was considering using our services. They were having trouble launching a new product, and had recently asked us for help.
Unfortunately, before we could start working the problem, the investors decided to shut down the operation. And so they wouldn't be needing us after all.
One of the things about capitalism is that investors aren't typically very patient. And with renewed pain on the economic horizon, this venture was deemed too risky.
The question you should be asking is: If the consequence of not making your numbers is getting shut down, why are you waiting to fix the problem?
Whatever Gets You Through the Night
One of the questions we often ask new clients is why someone should buy from them.
They typically respond by describing their better service, or their higher quality, or their lower price.
Since these are all relative measures (assumedly vis-a-vis their competition), we then ask to see their competitive analysis. Needless to say, it doesn't exist.
If denial is just a river in Africa, delusion must be the whole ecosystem. Do people just make this stuff up? Or do they try to cherry-pick data that makes them feel good?
Setting aside the fact that these things are probably not why people would buy from you, how much money have you spent promoting benefits that don't exist?
When it comes to Marketing, solving the problem is often easier than figuring out what the problem is.
That's why so many so-called solutions don't actually work: The real problem is figuring out what the problem really is.
You can track KPIs until the cows come home. But if all they do is report on symptoms, and you don't identify the underlying problem, you might as well not bother.
Maybe we need fewer "solution providers" and more "problem analyzers".
Now's the Time to Buy Market Share!
If you want to make money in the stock market, buy when everyone else is panic-selling.
And if you want to pick up massive amounts of market share on the cheap, advertise - right now - like your life depended on it.
Opportunities like this - when your competitors are scared, hurting, or just waiting - happen only once in a generation, if that.
Now is the time to swoop in and take their customers. Starve your competition of media exposure. And grab market share, before it's too late, and more expensive.
What are you reading this for??? Call now!
If You Think the First Wave Was Bad...
Everyone is hoping that the pandemic goes away - either because it burns itself out, or we get a treatment or a vaccine.
But what if it comes back? How do you think the economy will respond?
People and businesses are remarkably resilient. But thus far barely one percent of the population has been infected. What happens if 25% of the population gets it?
Can your business withstand that kind of hit to demand?
Another Offshore Caller Lied
We got a call the other day from a company that was selling a service we actually need. The nice woman - who had pleasant Asian accent - said her name was "Jan," and that their office was in NY.
Anticipating a need in 4Q, I agreed to a demo next week.
Not 10 minutes later I received a call from the same company, pitching the same solution. The caller, who this time was male, and who had a different Asian accent, said his name was "Jan," too.
I told him to cancel the appointment and take us off their list.
The Siren Song of Inbound Marketing
The engineers who brought you the Internet promised that all you had to do was put up a Web site, and you could reach the world.
Then the marketing people got hold of it, and they told you that "57% of the decision was made before a salesman ever spoke to the customer."
How's that working out for you?
Are you a marketing expert? If not, then why are you developing your own marketing strategy?
The Internet has enabled everyone to become an expert on everything.
Do you want to know how to fix your car? There are 500 YouTube videos to show you how.
Do you want to know how to create an effective marketing strategy? Ask Google, where you'll find 429,000,000 results!
By the way, there are only 200,000,000 hits on How to File for Bankruptcy.
The "Burned Before" Series, Episode 6: Self-Immolation
How must it feel, as a business owner, to receive emails every day from companies promising you success?
For many, it mostly makes them curious about the methodology, moreso than about the vendor. So they don't necessarily respond. But many then turn to their Marketing Departments and ask, "Can you do this for me?"
The irony of doing things in-house is the higher level control is undermined by the lower level of competence.
So when you take a bad idea and try to implement it in-house, it's basically an act of self immolation.
The "Burned Before" Series, Episode 5: A Goal without a Plan is Just a Wish
The saddest stories of where someone's been burned before are the solopreneurs who have invested their life savings in an idea, only to see it never get traction. Often they contract out their marketing to the first person who says they can help, regardless of whether the promotional technique is appropriate or not.
Such was the case with an engineer who inherited a patent from his father for an improved home heating system.
Someone told him that he needed to build a Web site, so he paid $5000 for what amounted to an off-the-shelf Wordpress site - but no orders came in. Then someone told him that he needed to do SEO, which he did to the tune of another $2500 - but no orders came in. Then someone told him that he needed to get UL certification, which would cost $25,000, because people needed to see the logo, and its assurance of safety, on his site. But even after initiating the process, no orders came in.
So he called us - to help him find investors because he was out of money.
The "Burned Before" Series, Episode 4: You Can't Offload Your Marketing Risk
Pay-for-performance is an extremely popular model in marketing today. It's the natural consequence of the extreme price competition among solution providers
But it's not without risk, as illustrated by the case of a company that had contracted with a pay-per-lead vendor to generate appointments for their field sales team.
The problem with pay-per-lead is that, if the vendor can't generate good leads then they'll generate bad ones. So while you can comfort yourself that you won't pay for them if they're no good, it's always too late.
It wasn't until two of their best salespeople quit that the company finally figured out that wasting a rep's time is worse than actually paying a fair price for marketing work.
The "Burned Before" Series, Episode 3: You Get What You Pay For
One of our Account Managers recently spoke to a company that had contracted with an off-shore call center to do lead generation.
The company wasn't getting them enough qualified leads, but the price was right - about $6/hour. He wanted to know if we could do a better job, but match their price.
So our Account Manager asked me what we could do.
Sometimes it's really hard to not laugh when someone says something that's unintentionally funny. If I had been on the call with the prospect, I'm not sure I could have held it in. But since it was our own rep that told me about it, I let it rip.
After I settled down, I told our rep that he had to convince the prospect that you can't get a qualified Lead Generation Specialist for a price of $6/hour, no less for the $3/hour they're probably paying the caller.
But I suspect we'll just never hear from them again.
The "Burned Before" Series, Episode 2: Magical Thinking
We recently got a call from a business owner who was starting up a new software venture in the AI space. He proudly told me that he had spent over $300,000 on product development. He was now ready to bring the product to market, and he wanted our help.
After assessing his goals and value proposition, I asked what his budget for marketing was.
His response was that he didn't have any money left for marketing. But because the market is so vast, and his product is so good, we should be willing to work on a straight commission basis.
And besides, marketing companies have promised him great results before, and not delivered.
He was the fifth person that week to ask us to invest our money in his dream.
The "Burned Before" Series, Episode 1: Yeah, We Hear That a Lot
We talk to a lot of business owners, and the one thing they consistently tell us is that they tried some marketing solution or other before, and it didn't work. They invested a lot of time, effort, money and - especially - hope in a strategy that, for one reason or another, didn't work out.
They tell us their problem still hasn't been solved, but feeling that they've been burned before, they're gun-shy about trying another solution.
Sometimes they understand why it didn't work, and have made some adjustments to prevent a repeat of the failure. Sometimes they blame their vetting process, and pay more attention to what they're doing. And often they simply attempt to shift responsibility to the vendor by demanding performance-based compensation, as if someone without an equity stake in the business is really going to put your interests over theirs.
Setting aside the competence of the solution provider for a moment, if you've been burned before, and you're now risk-averse, maybe you should rethink your self-image as an entrepreneur.
Building Your Sales Engine 3: Telling Your Story
Articulating your value proposition in a manner that can be understood by your prospects is one of the most difficult things for companies to do, it seems.
Too many companies talk about what their product is and does, and not enough abut why someone should buy it.
Creating compelling collateral material, including your Web site, sales aids and proposals, seems to be a lost art.
We can help, but you have to be willing to invest the time and money to produce a good outcome.
Building Your Sales Engine 8: Resells and Upsells
Once you've closed a piece of business, the next step is to create a repeat customer. If your product is a one-time purchase, then the equivalent is to earn a recommendation (and, of course, you should also do that if your product is subject to repeat purchase, too).
In many cases, it's all about service and relationships.
When someone buys from you, they are agreeing to engage in a relationship. And so your job, whether you're in sales or marketing, is to use your customer's willingness to engage in a relationship to continue to uncover needs that you can fulfill.
Which brings us right back to research and planning.
Funny how that works, isn't it?
Building Your Sales Engine 7: Managing Your Way to Success
Whether you're in B2B or B2C, and whether you're in Sales or Marketing, you have a sales funnel you need to manage. That's simply the list of suspects and prospects who are somewhere between aware and closed.
The point is that if you don't have a reliable process for getting suspects into your funnel, moving prospects through your funnel, and pushing customers out of your funnel, you're going to fail at your job.
Ironically, most companies completely mangle this concept because they don't understand the classification system. The way it's supposed to work is that "C" prospects are new to the funnel, "A" prospects are closest to closing, and "B" prospects are somewhere in the middle.
Instead, many companies classify their biggest (and therefore assumedly most important) prospects as "A" prospects, their smallest (and therefore least important) prospects as "C" prospects, and the others somewhere in between.
Riddle me this: How do you move a prospect through such a funnel, from C to B to A? By making them bigger and more important?
Building Your Sales Engine 6: Closing the Deal
No matter how many salespeople we interview, we've consistently found that 90% have never taken a professional sales training course, or even read a book about proper selling techniques.
How is that even possible?
The reason it happens of course, setting aside the old wive's tale about good salespeople being born, not made, is that most companies don't insist that their salespeople actually get sales training. Most, instead, assume that product training is sales training, although nothing could be further from the truth.
Think of it this way: Product training is appropriate if you're going to describe a car; sales training is appropriate if you're actually going to drive it.
Building Your Sales Engine 6: Recruiting and Training
Wouldn't it be nice if generating leads was as easy as pressing a button?
Given all the people who say they provide sales leads, you would think it must be easy. What with clicks, hits, views, downloads, form fills, names, email addresses and more all being called sales leads, they must be easy to generate.
But then you find out the double-super-secret code word: Qualified!
OK. So what's the big deal? How hard can it be to understand the relationship between lead quality and price, right? Wrong! There are just too many variables. And so you're on your own trying to figure out to get what you want and pay the lowest price.
So you seek out some sort of guarantee, partly to offset your inabiity to qualify the vendor, but mostly because you've been burned before, and you don't want to get burned again.
Good luck. Maybe it's not as easy as clicking a button.
Building Your Sales Engine 5: Generating Qualified Leads
Creating awareness is one of the hardest things to do today. There's just so much clutter in the media, it's almost impossible for most products to stand out, despite what most marketers will tell you, and no matter how much money you have to spend.
Do you really believe the old adage that, if you build a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door? Do you really think that, if you build it they will come?
How about: If a tree falls in the woods, and no one hears it...?
Building Your Sales Engine 4: Get the Word Out
Without a written plan, people can more easily claim plausible deniability when things go south. On the other hand, if you write down your assumptions, and map out how you're going to achieve your goals, you can at least plan to meet them.
What we often find so funny is the number of cases where companies have these elaborate KPIs they want us to hit, and they have absolutely no clue as to how to hit them.
They just assume it can be done because, because?
So then, when we tell them that we need to write a plan, they're like, why?
OK. Ready, fire, aim.
Building Your Sales Engine 2: Prior Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance
Most business owners have a vision of what they want to sell, and who they want to sell to. They even understand their value proposition.
But few have a realistic idea of how to go about targeting and capturing demand.
At best, most are competent at finding initial sales based on personal relationships and skills. But few know how to find opportunities beyond that point.
Market research is one of the most underutilized tools in the marketing toolchest, and it's the one that can solve that problem. It can pay for itself many times over, and save months of wasted effort. But most business owners would rather go with their gut, because they think market research is too expensive.
But, arguably, failure is even more expensive.
Building Your Sales Engine 1: Identifying Market Opportunities
Metaphors are fine and all. But when it comes to running a business, you’ve got to get real.
Your promotion program needs to make people aware of who you are. Your lead generation program needs to generate leads. Your sales program needs to close sales. And all of the steps need to hand off opportunities properly from one to the next.
The problem is, of course, that most businesses don't come with a shop manual.
But we can create one for you - one that will rev up your revenues.
You pride yourself on the fact that your company is unique. In fact, you tell all your prospects how you're different from your competition, even if you're just less expensive.
So why settle for an off-the-shelf Marketing program?
If your Marketing partner doesn't understand how you're different, and use that to create opportunities for you, there are only two possibilities:
Either you're leaving money on the table. Or you're just not that special.
It's in the nature of the job that Sales and Marketing people should argue. If things are going well, they both want to take the credit. And if things are going badly, they both want to shift the blame.
Does that mean you should worry if they're not fighting?
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. Because if they're not fighting then you haven't set the bar high enough.
Or you could just go home and play with your kids.
Having your story get picked up by thousands, or millions, of followers is the dream of every marketer. But for most, it will forever remain a dream.
That's because there's just so much room in the media, and so much more content available to fill it.
Instead of sitting around waiting for someone to retweet your post, or repost your tweet, or whatever success is called in the latest echo chamber, all you really need to do is get your message into the right ears.
And that's where we come in.
If you're not getting the sales you need, the problem could be a broken framastat. Or maybe a clogged fuel gimcrack. Or it could possibly be a worn gadget ring.
Let's open her up and take a look.
There are two ways to fix an engine. You can just start replacing things. Or you can figure out what's wrong first.
Has your response to the lockdown been to cut back on marketing because your audience has disappeared? Wrong answer!
Now's the time to put the pedal to the metal. Target new prospects. Create new relationships. Uncover new needs. And position yourself to be the go-to provider when things open up again.
Or, you could wait until there's no more meat left on the bones after your competitors get through with it.
Even in the best of times, trying to fix a sales problem can involve a lot of guesswork. The market is opaque. Nothing is certain. And everyone has their own opinion about what's the right thing to do.
And today it's even worse - not just because of the economy, but because there are just too many choices.
Throw on top of that the tendency towards confirmation bias, and it's a wonder that anyone hits their numbers. But, then again, it could be worse. There could be a pandemic.
Has the pandemic put a crimp in your sales funnel? Are you sitting around wondering when things are going to open up again?
Banging your head against a wall isn't going to solve the problem. What will solve the problem is effective marketing.
Now is the time to double, or even triple, your marketing budget. Get in front of as many prospects as you can, before your competition gets back from their coronavirus-inspred vacation.
Relationships that you create today will turn into revenues tomorrow, or whenever this thing ends.
You can't imagine the number of people who've told us they've been burned by marketing companies before. Just yesterday someone told us about $5000 they spent for a trade show booth that had almost no traffic. And last week someone told us they spent $15000 on a marketing program that got them precisely NO new business.
If the Internet is the Wild West, Marketing on the Internet is a straight-up jungle.
The problem, in our view, is that the barriers-to-entry are just too low in Marketing. Anyone can hang out a shingle and call themselves an expert. And, of course, it's capitalism - so Buyer Beware.
The reality is that marketing entails risk. But if you think you can avoid it by going with a performance-based compensation program, just be ready to get burned again, because they're selling you the sleeves from their vest.
Sales are down, so you turn to Marketing to stimulate demand. Maybe you decide to exhibit at a couple of trade shows for $10,000 per show. But no decision-makers attend, and the only people who do come to your booth are other exhibitors who want to sell you something. And three months later when you ask your salespeople what happened to the leads you got from the shows, you find out that none of them were ever called. (By the way, industry statistics show that 96% of trades show leads are never contacted!)
So then you decide to spend $10,000 on Search Engine Optimization. But did you get any business out of it? If you're like most companies, and you really run the calculation, your cost per lead on the Web is probably in excess of $5,000 – if you get anything at all. So you decide to create a new brochure and send out some direct mail. You buy a data base, spend $15,000 and barely get any leads, and most of them are "tire-kickers." And the money you spent on trade advertising? The typical cost-per-appointment for trade advertising exceeds $1,500!
If you think Marketing is a guessing game, or just dumb luck, think again.
There's a science to it.
You just have to believe in science.
Time was, when you needed sales, you could go out and recruit someone who knew how to make it happen. They were unafraid. They had skills. And they knew how to bring home the bacon.
Today the typical salesperson wants all their leads prequalified (Sales Qualified Leads!!), and a big base salary to close them.
If your salespeople are complaining about your marketing program not producing enough good leads, and your marketing people are complaining that your salespeople just don't know how to close, welcome to the modern era.
Then call LeadGen.com
The Dirty Little Secret of SEO
It turns out that there's an easy way to get a page 1 rank on Google: optimize on the most obscure terms you can think of. You get a page 1 rank, so your SEO company can claim victory; but no one sees you, so you're left holding the bag.
And in case you haven't noticed, the only one who's winning the SEO battle is Google. Are you really surprised?
Why play their game? Do you have a number to hit? We can help. #sales #marketing #strategy #entrepreneurship #LeadGen
Too Much Quota and Not Enough Year?
A technology company was facing a revenue shortfall with barely two weeks to go in the year. Only a heroic effort could save them from missing their numbers.
A technology company was facing a revenue shortfall with barely two weeks to go in the year. Only a heroic effort could save them from missing their numbers. LeadGen Saves the Day! Most people believe that nothing happens in December because everyone's either distracted or on vacation. But that's actually the best time to blitz - because your competition has probably bought into that myth. While contact rates are usually down in December, those people who you manage to get on the phones are usually more willing to talk. And they probably have needs if they're still in the office. And that's what happened for the tech firm. We found a deal that closed their revenue gap just in time. And best of all? The prospect had to spend the money before the end of the year. So, no one had to fudge the numbers just to look good. Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today! #sales #marketing #strategy #entrepreneurship #Leadgen
A Good Reason to Use LeadGen.com
Last week a company asked us for our input on their marketing strategy. We reviewed their business model, their collateral material, and their Web site. And then we asked a simple, four-word question.
Today they shut the business down, and thanked us profusely for the help.
If you want to know what we asked - that no one else ever thought to ask - you're going to have to pay. After all, isn't that why you hire a consultant (i.e. to ask the right questions)?
Case History: Health Insurance Brokerage
Selling group health insurance is extremely competitive. It’s very profitable, but the barriers to entry for brokers are low. Prices are fixed by the carriers, so there is no obvious price differentiation. So in many cases, sales are based on relationships.
The owners of a small health insurance brokerage that had been handed down from father to sons wanted to grow, and believed that they could differentiate themselves on the basis of service. Despite investing heavily in a service operation, though, they were faced with an indifferent market that had been trained to focus on relationship. If they couldn’t unhook the incumbent broker, they would have an uphill battle gaining market share.
Professional salespeople can make a world of difference when you’re trying to articulate a value proposition, so the company called in LeadGen.com to recruit and train a new sales force, and develop arguments as to why a company should buy from them. To maximize the efficiency of the sales team, LeadGen.com also recommended that the company hire a professional telemarketer to set appointments, and keep the salespeople out on the road.
Articulating the value proposition, however, took a little extra work, but focusing on customer needs guided the way. They were easily able to advance the sales process, while quantifying the benefits, resulting in a high close rate.
The sales strategy was so strong that the company was able to unhook competitive brokers in mid-year, instead of at the traditional renewal time. Sales efficiency soared because of the telemarketing support. And the company became the leading broker in the region.
Case History: Marketing HVAC Systems to Hospitals
Many manufacturers utilize Manufacturers Reps to help sell their products in local markets. Such a strategy can enable the manufacturer to avoid having to hire, train, support and pay as many direct employees, reducing payroll cost, overhead and exposure. It often gives them an easier entree into local markets and customers because the Manufacturers Rep already has the relationships. And it enables the product to be integrated in larger systems that often get specified by third parties with whom they have no relationship.
The major downside that people traditionally have with this strategy is that you tend to have to give up a considerable amount of margin. And you lose quite a bit of account control. But if you can be profitable with the split, and don't care about account control, it can be worth it.
Many companies, however, find that the strategy sometimes fails to bring victory. The lower account control can lead to substitution. Relying on Reps for market intelligence means you really don't know what's going on in the market. And you still have to train and motivate the Reps, which can be a greater burden - given what you're giving up in margin - than it's worth compared to just having salespeople.
For a manufacturer of HVAC equipment, these minor issues were adding up to major problems. They were losing market share. They were under price pressure. And they weren't hearing about many major deals they could have qualified for. So they called in LeadGen.com.
For a fraction of what it would have cost for an in-house market research, lead generation and sales force, LeadGen.com was able to identify opportunities, and generate leads and appointments that the manufacturer then gave to their independent Reps - enabling the company to dominate the hospital and lab markets they were targeting.
And as icing on the cake, they've been able to virtually eliminate substitution, and get specced in on projects - effectively locking out their competition.
Case History: Winning a Price War
When you have a well-funded competitor, you may find that rather than them attempting to become the price leader, they try to drive you out of the market by undercutting your prices. Once you're out, of course, they raise their prices unopposed in the market, and reap huge returns. But in the meantime, you're toast.
That's what was happening to a manufacturer of copper anode, which is used in electroplating, when they called LeadGen.com for help.
Setting aside the anti-trust laws that the competitor was breaking (with temporary impunity), their investors understood the cost structure of the industry well enough to know just how low they had to drive prices, and just how long everyone could last. What they didn't count on was the power of marketing.
LeadGen.com put together a counter-strategy that not only significantly increased the cost for the competitor to win new sales, but it reversed some of the sales they had already booked. It took six months, and close to $100,000, but the company that ended up going out of business was the one that started the price war.
And LeadGen.com's client ended up with all their customers.
Case History: Compliance Services
The Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) practice at a large accounting firm had acquired a number of smaller firms to help them increase their share of the Internal Audit market. The acquiring firm correctly assumed that the new partners would bring their old book of business with them when they merged. But the acquiring firm's faith that their new partners would be adept at expanding beyond their personal networks, and generating new business, was distinctly unfounded.
The new partners, for example, had difficulty expanding their networks geographically, because margin pressures that resulted from price competition limited discretionary travel. And while participation in events and conferences presented viable opportunities to generate new leads, there simply weren't enough of them to support the revenue objectives. Making matters worse, the company's marketing efforts were ineffective in attracting interest or generating leads.
One of the acquired companies, however, had been using LeadGen.com for many years to find new business. Expanding the program to the group as a whole resulted in over 60% of the practice's revenues being derived from the program.
Building Your Sales Engine 8: Earning a High NPS
Getting a high Net Promoter Score is the cat's meow in business today. But how do you actually get there? And is it really always a good thing?
Many people assume that a high NPS comes from high customer satisfaction. But in B2B, many very satisfied customers would be loathe to recommend you for fear of losing to a competitor the competitive edge that you gave them.
Instead, we like to look at "account control" as the key metric, measured by your ability to sell additional products and services to your current customers, and influence decisions related to your applications.
When you have account control you can then ask the NPS question the right way: How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague, provided they weren't a competitor of yours?
Building Your Sales Engine 7: Managing Your Way to Success
Knowing how to get the most out of your sales team takes a combination of people skills and technical skills. You have to know how to manage your salespeople as people, and you have to know what they should do as salespeople to be successful.
Funnel management is the process of developing a reliable forecast of revenues, and then putting in a work plan to achieve it.
At many companies we talk to, the Dunning-Kreuger Effect is in full bloom when it comes to both of these issues.
At LeadGen.com we can show you how to get the most out of your people, and how they can get the most out of their territories.
Building Your Sales Engine 6: Closing the Deal
For many companies, converting a qualified lead into a closed sale requires the involvement of an actual human, and some degree of actual skill - which can only be acquired through training.
(Oddly enough, even automated systems need training.)
Let's be clear: Product training is NOT sales training. The former involves understanding features and benefits. The latter involves learning how to persuade a prospect to buy. Are those things even related???
Making matters worse is that there's a lot of bad sales training out there. But what do we know? We only make our living at it.
Building Your Sales Engine 5: Generating Qualified Leads
It doesn't matter whether you're in B2B or B2C, if you can't turn suspects into prospects who have a qualifying need, and a willingness to pay you to fulfill it, you might as well take your ball and go home.
The problem, of course, is that many people confuse creating awareness with generating real, qualified leads. That's why we talk to so many folks who have been burned before. They've fallen victim to the siren song of digital marketing (i.e. If you build it, they will come). Nonsense!
You can have all the traffic you want. If you're not getting paid, it's a hobby.
Building Your Sales Engine 4: Get the Word Out
If no one knows you're there, they're probably not going to buy from you. So you have to get their attention.
Considering the clutter in the media today, however, that can be a big ask, but we can show you how.
The bad news is that, just because you get people's attention, it doesn't mean your cash register is going to ring. (That's where lead generation comes in.) But getting people's attention is a necessary, albeit insufficient, condition.
Building Your Sales Engine 3: Telling Your Story
Answering the question of why someone should buy comes down to your telling a story - the story of how your customer's life will be better by buying from you. So you need to translate that story into a Web site, a brochure, sales aid, cover letter, blog posts, banner ads, skywriting, or whatever format you're planning on using to communicate with your prospects.
While B2B and B2C materials can differ in appearance, they both have to answer the same question: Why buy?
For example, at LeadGen.com we tell people that the reason to buy from us is so you can achieve - and maybe even exceed - your sales goals. It's that simple.
We may have 300 different ways to say it. But it all boils down to the same message: If you want to make your numbers, call us.
Building Your Sales Engine 2: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance
If you don't write down your plan, don't ask anyone for money, time or effort to support it. (If you're funding it yourself, you can do whatever you want, of course.)
While no plan ever survived the first encounter with the enemy, trying to compete successfully in today's market takes conscious competence. So writing down your business plan lets you challenge your assumptions, and avoid costly mistakes - at least the ones you can anticipate.
There are lots of formats for creating marketing plans, sales plans and business plans available on the Internet, and we can help. The one you choose should just insure that you don't miss any critical variables.
After all, you know how to spell "assume", right?
Building Your Sales Engine 1: Start with Market Research
Whether you're an entrepreneur with the next big thing or a grizzled road warrior trying to figure out how you're going to make your numbers next quarter, start building your sales engine by figuring out what market you want to go after, and how best to go after it.
Market research is not optional, or expensive. And it's a lot better to find out that you're pushing a rope before you get tangled up in it.
Do some research, either online or in-person, to make sure there's really an opportunity. Some of the questions you need to answer are:
• Who are we going to sell to, and why should they buy from us?
• What problem are we going to solve, and what's the willingness-to-pay for a solution?
• How are people solving it now, and how are we better?
• What is the competitive environment, and why should someone buy from us rather than a competitor?
• How can I reach my market effectively and efficiently?
At LeadGen.com we can design and implement your research plan, and make sure you don't fall victim to your hopes.
Let Us Build Your Sales Engine
At LeadGen.com we've been helping companies build their "Sales Engines" for over 30 years.
That's because we know what goes into creating a good one, and how to make it hum.
Just because our name is LeadGen.com, it doesn't mean that's all we do. (Lead generation happens to be a particular problem for many companies, so we focus on it a lot.)
At LeadGen.com we can help you build a Sales Engine from the ground up, or fix the one you already have - so you can drive your sales right through the roof.
Pay-per-Lead Is Like Cheap Insurance
There was a time when everyone knew what the term "cheap insurance" meant. It meant low-price insurance that didn't pay claims.
With the lunacy that passes for marketing today, it's ironic how the term is now a benefit. But the fact still remains: You can't avoid risk.
It's one think to squeeze a carrier's margins. But it's quite another to taunt the actuarial tables; it can't be done without paying a price.
So when you try to shift your marketing risk to your vendor, do you really think it's not going to bite you on the backside?
Your Prospect List
I'm not saying we can read faces over the phone, but you can certainly hear fear in the voices of the people we talk to on behalf of our clients lately.
They don't know if they're going to lose their jobs. They don't know if they're going to get sick. And they don't know who to believe about when to open the economy.
What they tell us, though, is that they appreciate the call. They appreciate a kind voice. And they appreciate that someone cares.
And all we did was reach out and touch someone.
It's Not Too Late to Hit the Panic Button
Laying off staff to conserve cash may have seemed like a good idea when the lockdown killed your demand. But now you face the question of what to do next.
Should you bring your people back? If so, will there be any customers?
Many companies are caught in a bind. If you bring back employees, and the demand doesn't come back, it can put you under. But if you don't bring them back, you can't tap the demand. The solution: Outsource.
We can re-build your pipeline for a fraction of the cost of in-house. And once it's built, feel free to kick us to the curb.
Don't worry; we're used to it.
Missing the Bus - by Waiting for the Bus
Quite a few business owners told us that they didn't want to start any new marketing initiatives until they knew what was happening with the economy.
Whenever we hear that, we immediately call up their competitors and ask them if they'd like to steal some market share.
Quite a few of them say yes.
Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?
The System Is the Solution
John Maynard Keynes architected our modern economic system during the depths of the Great Depression. And it has proven effective at delivering prosperity for over 80 years.
And it is proving to be the solution for today, too.
Let me come right out and say it: Supply-side economics is, in good times, a pseudo-intellectual vanity. When things go south, it's revealed as a scam.
Has the Lockdown Thrown a Monkey Wrench into Your Plans?
Even if your business had a disaster preparedness plan in place, it probably didn't anticipate a pandemic and 20% unemployment. And yet...
Here we are.
Given the resilience of people, and our polical and economic systems, the only thing we can count on is that eventually, probably, we'll get through this. Do you want your business to be one of the survivors?
Here we are.
Been Burned Before?
Have you tried outsourcing your Marketing program, only to end up with nothing to show for it? Or worse, have you tried hiring someone in-house, and still not hit your numbers?
Maybe they're not the problem.
Marketing today is far more complex than ever before. Before, you could run print ads in a few key trade journals, and make your living closing the bingo cards. Or you could exhibit at a trade show, and there'd be enough business cards in the fish bowl to last 'til the next show came along.
Now, however, everything's changed. You're competing with everyone from the Fortune 500 to a teeny-bopper blogger for attention.
Still think you know what you're doing?
With Pay-per-Lead, You're Asking to Fail
Pay-per-lead and performance-based marketing programs may sound appealing. But do you honestly believe that the vendor's business model won't somehow put all the cost and risk - and worse - right back on you?
If you don't think this is what's going on behind the scenes, we have a bridge to sell you.
We Know You're Struggling, So We've Got Your Back!
The economic crisis due to the pandemic is affecting almost every business. As a result, many companies whose sales are down are caught in a Catch-22: They need to increase their marketing to attract whatever business is still out there, but there's not enough budget available to pay for it.
To help you get out of the bind, we just lowered our prices - just in time to save the day!
When it comes to marketing, you get what you pay for (see here). But at LeadGen.com, if we can find a way to deliver the results you need and still be your most cost-effective option, we're going to be there for you.
Because that's what Superheroes do.
It's Now or Never
Just like the best time to buy stock is during a recession, the best time to buy market share is when your competitors are in lockdown. Media is at its lowest price. Prospects have nothing to do but talk to vendors. And, for many people, reading your content is a whole lot better than watching the news.
Everyday you wait to crank up your marketing program is a day closer to when it goes back to being too expensive to implement.
Classic marketing theory tells us that higher market share equates to higher profitability. So the more market share you can pick up now, the more profitable you'll be when the economy comes back.
It also tells us that the best time to gain market share is during an economic downturn. And with 36,000,000 unemployed, I think today qualifies.
Whatever is holding you back, suck it up. It's now or never.
Getting Back Your Market
Social distancing has impacted all sorts of relationships - not the least of which are your business relationships.
The lockdown has caused customers to cancel orders, and many have even gone out of business.
But we can help you bring them back, and find new ones, too.
At LeadGen.com we have dozens of solutions designed to help clients increase their sales. And at no time has that been more important than now.
If you want to get back in the game, all you have to do is bark.
Nobody Knows Nothing
William Goldman, the screenwriter, once said, regarding how to make a successful movie, that "Nobody knows nothing." What he meant was that there are simply too many unknowable factors that can influence the box office to be able to create a formula for success. So you try a bunch of things, and you hope they work.
The same can be said of Marketing - which is why we built LeadGen.com as a "one-stop shop."
When we recommend a solution to a client from among the dozens we have available, it's always based on our unbiased and educated analysis of their situation. But we always add the caveat that there's a risk that it might not work - because risk is intrinsic to Marketing.
If it works, great; we can scale it up. And if it doesn't work, we have dozens of other solutions we can try.
Because Nobody Knows Nothing.
There's No Us without "U"
You've heard the saying that there's no "I" in Team. It means, of course, that a team's success often requires the sublimation of individual egos.
At LeadGen.com we have a similar saying - that there's no "us" without "u."
What it means, though, may not be what you expect.
What it means is that we're really good at sales and marketing. But since we don't actually have a product or service, we're pretty useless unless we have a client who has something to sell.
That, and, like most sales and marketing people, we're pretty bad at spelling.
Lighting the Way to Success
When it comes to helping clients achieve success, it's not just the company's top line revenue that counts. That's because the success of a campaign is often made up of a lot of little wins - one salesperson at a time, and one appointment at a time.
And that's exactly what happened with a client in the advertising business.
The salesperson was struggling to make his numbers, and was threatened with the loss of his job if he couldn't bring in more sales. So we blitzed his territory, and got him appointments at two major pharmaceutical firms.
The bad news was that it was incredibly expensive, and incredibly hard to do, since we were just coming out of the 2009 recession.
The good news was that he landed one of the accounts, and it saved his job.
Score one for the good guys.
Cost-per-Lead in a Recession
Back in 2008-2009 we were curious about the variation in cost-per-lead. Some clients wanted to cancel their campaigns because they were afraid it was going to get too expensive.
Those who stopped their programs regretted it.
As you can see from the graph, cost-per-lead does go up during a recession. This is primarily because contact rates (dials-per-contact) go up as people become harder to reach. However when we do get them on the phone, they're more likely to engage, and express interest. So, while the cost-per-lead goes up, it does not go to infinity.
Even more important was the observation that close rates tended to go up quite a bit, although the sell cycles protracted.
The net effect was that the profitability of the program can go down a little in a recession, or go up a lot, depending on what you're selling. But stopping was universally a bad idea.
Need a Miracle?
We can't make the pandemic, or the recession, magically go away. But investing in marketing now can help mitigate the damage it does to your business.
Every business is unique. So while your goal may be the same as that of every other business owner (e.g. survival), how you do that is going to be unique to your situation, to your resources and to your particular market.
The fact is that what works for someone else isn't the same as what's going to work for your company.
But whatever you do, don't just sit home and watch Netfix. Ramp up your Marketing. Or at least rub a lamp.
Now More than Ever
For most businesses, the first thing they cut in a downturn is Marketing. After all, it's easy to cut. And many companies figure they can just re-start it when things get better.
Talk about being "penny-wise and pound foolish"!
Isn't the definition of "things getting better" when sales come back? And isn't Marketing the very thing that drives demand? Therefore, by cutting your Marketing, aren't you prolonging the misery?
The irony is that most companies should increase their marketing spend in a recession, not decrease it. Go after your competitors' customers. Position yourself to get the business when they start spending again. Make new friends.
We may have taken a hit; but the world did not stop spinning. So call your Marketing expert and ask them what they think you should do. It's when money is tightest that you need to be the most creative.
Find New Ways to Serve Customers
Despite the fact that your business is down due to the coronavirus pandemic, and you may have even laid people off, finding new ways to serve your customers is important to the survival of your business, and of theirs.
Here's where "Reach Out and Touch Someone" can come in handy, besides just expressing empathy.
Your customers and prospects may think of you as providing your traditional products and services to solve their traditional problems. But what if you engage them in a conversation where you see where and how you can help them with their new challenges?
We know that things will change. And many of your customers will have to change their own business models to survive. Ask them what they're thinking. And then see if you can adjust your business model to better fit their current and future needs.
You'll be amazed at the new opportunities that can arise - for both of you.
Buy Market Share Now!
There's no question that the coronavirus pandemic has brought unimaginable personal tragedy and economic havoc.
But as a business owner, your ability to see through the chaos, and take advantage of the unique opportunity that it presents, will determine how your business does when the recession ends. That's because, just like the best time to buy stocks is when the market is down, a recession is the ideal time to buy market share.
Think about it: Your competitors have cut their marketing budgets to save money, making it easier for your message to get through.
Your customers and prospects are working from home - often at a reduced capacity - making them more receptive to your call.
And even the media is cheaper because fewer businesses are competing for the channels.
As a famous politician once said, "Never let a crisis go to waste." Today, the more marketing you do, the more market share you'll gain, and the more profitable you'll be when the crisis is over.
Marketing in the Time of Covid-19
Could there be any time in the history of business more fraught than today?
With unemployment exceeding 10%, and a contraction of 25% or more in GDP predicted for 2Q20, there's no clear path back to prosperity for the economy. And for many businesses, there may be no clear path to survival either. But there is one thing you should do.
Experience tells us that the one thing you need to do in times like these is connect with people, and that includes your customers and your prospects. Call them. Find out if they're okay. Let them know you're okay. Tell them you care. And ask: Is there anything I can do to help?
Marketing is about making a connection, and it's more important now than ever. So Reach Out and Touch Someone.
So, are you okay? And is there anything we can do to help?
The Coronavirus Survival Guide
Has your business just taken a hit from the lockdown? Just wait and see what the upcoming recession does to it!
If you think everything's going back to normal when the lockdowns lift, think again. It's like thowing a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle up in the air, and hoping it lands back on the table intact.
Too many pieces in the supply chain have been broken - and many of them are gone for good.
The good news is that recessions create new opportunities. Call LeadGen.com and we can help you find yours.
The Government Knows What to Do
The coronavirus pandemic has obliterated demand for many products and services; and it will take months, if not years, for many markets to come back.
In the spirit of being creative, we thought we'd ask the government for advice, since they weren't very forthcoming with PPP money.
Although the EPA isn't the government agency one would normally ask for business advice, with everything else going upside down, why not consider their out-of-the-box solutions, too?
According to the EPA, there are three things they said we should do: reduce, reuse and recycle.
• Reduce - Cut your costs as much as you can.
• Reuse - Don't waste money trying to come up with new marketing content. Take last year's content and post it again. No one read it the first time, so don't worry.
• Recycle - Take all of your old prospect lists, and work them again. Who knows? You might get lucky.
Next week: We ask HUD what they think we should do.
In our more serious posts, we talk about the importance of communicating with your prospects and customers during the lockdown. And we stress empathy over commerce, rapport over results.
But when you see us in our top hat, don't expect to get news you can use. Like this:
The key to Lockdown Marketing is to recognize that you have a captive audience. Many of your prospects are quarantined with their children, and they long for an adult conversation.
To help them in their hour of need, be sure to use full sentences. Allow them to vent as much as they need to. And if the call is interrupted, wait patiently until their child is done whining before beginning your sales pitch.
Finally, if your prospect starts taking to you like a five-year-old, remember, it's probably just Stockholm Syndrome.
Closing Techniques for the Pandemic
The economic collapse brought about by the coronavirus lockdown has inspired some of the brightest minds in Sales and Marketing to develop new and innovative solutions to the problem of generating sales.
If your company needs help with top line revenues, try these powerful closing techniques.
The Assumed Close: "Since since you answered the phone, I assume you still have a job. So would you like to place an order?"
The Forced-Choice Close: "Like you, we were forced to close our office. But in case you have any money left, is there anything I can do to convince you to spend some of it with us?"
The Reverse Close: "If you buy something from us today, I promise to reverse the transaction before your payment is due."
The Take-It-Away Close: "I have Covid-19. Do you know anyone who can take it away?"
The Thermometer Close: "On a scale of 98.6 to 105, what are the chances we can do this deal?"
Avoiding the Covid 19
While most of us are hunkered down trying to avoid catching Covid-19, we also run the risk of something almost as life-threatening: the Covid 19.
Much like the Freshman 15, the Covid 19 is weight gain brought about by a sudden change in environment, stress and proximity to junk food, made worse by the reduced opportunity for exercise.
Many people have found that, without the peer pressure that keeps them from scarfing down donuts all day, life in the lockdown has become a constant battle to stay out of the kitchen.
To regain self-control, try putting pictures of your former colleagues on the refrigerator.
Dressing for Success
When "casual Friday" gave way to everyday "business casual," many people felt that informality had been taken a step too far. And now, with the Covid-19 lockdown encouraging sweatsuit video-conferencing, we may have reached the apotheosis of ease.
But the question for today is: how should you dress while waiting for the economy to come back?
The fashion experts we spoke to were unanimous in their recommendations.
For men, make sure that the dominant color in your N95 mask matches the secondary color of your suit.
For women, the color of your mask should match that of your shoes.
And for those with more fluid gender, you can choose whatever mask you feel comfortable with.
Social Distance Marketing
We all know what Social Media Marketing is. But are you taking advantage of the most important innovation in marketing to date? Introducing: Social Distance Marketing!
While Social Media Marketing takes advantage of the unique ability of Websites and technologies like Facebook and LinkedIn to connect people across thousands of miles, Social Distance Marketing takes advantage of the powerful technology of shouting to reach across the gaping six foot divide now separating most of humanity.
Never before have so many had the tools they need to connect, right at their fingertips.
Social Distance Marketing requires nothing more than a modest increase of air flow and laryngeal tension to maximize the volume of your communications. Simply think of what you want to say, and say it louder.
Even when your face is protected by an N95 mask, Social Distance Marketing can still provide a powerful way to get your message out. This is because most people have become quite adept at reading facial expressions from the cues provided by your eyebrows.
Converting Clicks into Clicks
Many Digital Marketers know the importance of hitting their KPIs. No one wants to hear that traffic is down just because the unemployment rate has hit 25%.
So what can you do to maintain the illusion that digital marketing still works?
Inserting an automatic "refresh" command into your landing pages can work wonders. It can result in a near-instantaneous doubling of traffic, thereby insuring that you can keep your job for another week.
For a more long-term solution, you can drive traffic stats through the roof simply by clicking on your page controls, right from the convenience of your home office.
Sales Training for the Coronavirus Recession
Many companies train their employees in sophisticated sales techniques that are extremely effective in normal times. But how should you adapt your sales training when 30% of your prospects - and maybe even 30% of your own employees - have lost their jobs?
For example, traditionally, Sales Managers have encouraged their reps to "call high," because that's where the decisions are made. But what do you do when the C-Level is the one who's answering the phones?
Here's where role playing really pays off. First, when you dial the phone, and someone answers and says "hello," don't say "hello" back. Instead, say "Can you please hold for Mr. Jones?" using your best Administrative Assistant voice. Then put your hand over the mouthpiece, and sing Happy Birthday twice.
Then remove your hand from the mouthpiece, and, using your normal voice, continue with your sales call.
If the prospect agrees to an appointment, be sure to hand the phone back to your "Administrative Assistant" - because they keep your calendar, of course.
Teaching Your Dog to Sell
Now that you've let go of most of your employees, it's critical that you put your remaining resources to work keeping the business afloat - and that includes your dog.
Experts will tell you that breed matters. Some breeds, such as those in the hound group, are simply incapable of reading a script. And others, like Chihuahua's, will tend to yap at your customers.
Best are "smart" breeds like border collies, French poodles and German Shepherds - the latter two having the additional advantage of being bi-lingual.
Also, don't ignore how compelling a puppy can be. People who would never think of doing business with you will stop by, and - at a distance of at least six feet - will tell you that they'd love to pet your dog once the lockdown is over.
Letting Your Children Run Your Social Media Campaign
If you find yourself quarantined at home with your children, you're in luck!
Imagine being stranded on a desert island with Tom Hanks. Imagine being locked in an Escape Room with MacGuyver. Imaging being on Jeopardy with Ken Jennings talking in your earpiece!
You have THE expert right there with you - and you may not even need to pay them for their help.
If you're like most business owners, Social Media is a dark art. But to your kids, it's the Lingua Franca.
Just give them the password to your LinkedIn account, and watch your connections soar. Hook them up with your blog, and you'll have more followers than you know what to do with. Let them take over your company's chat system and watch your NPS go through the roof!
And don't worry if it doesn't produce the right kind of traffic. As long as they spell your company's name correctly, right?
Running a Business When You have No Customers
Of all the challenges brought on by the coronavirus, one of the most difficult is maintaining your revenue stream when so many of your customers have gone to ground.
Fortunately there are numerous examples of companies that have survived for many months without adequate revenues.
The key to surviving is being able to convince investors of how great things are going to be once the threat passes. Companies such as Pets.com, Blockbuster, Tower Records and the Trump Taj Mahal all managed to persuade bankers to lend them money, while they projected an air of confidence in the future.
Just remember to wear a suit and tie when you make your funding pitch over Zoom, although pants are optional.
Re-Starting Your Business in the Stone Age
When we come out of the lockdown, many businesses will face the challenge of finding customers who have disappeared over the last few weeks. And the economy may have taken a few steps back.
Fortunately, modern Marketing offers a number of effective techniques.
Try these time-tested methods to get people's attention:
• Blow into a conch shell.
• Send up smoke signals
• Messenger pigeons
Remember, even though it took 5,000 years to build the economy to where it was, we can do it again!
Good vs Bad Cold Calling
One of our guys made a call yesterday to someone he had tried unsuccessfully many times to get an appointment with. Instead of hanging up on our caller, the prospect told our guy that, while he gets many calls, he hangs up on all of them. But he always appreciates our guy's call. And when he has a need for the product, we're going to get his business.
Let's unpack this. Here's a guy who probably gets a dozen calls per day from various vendors. And he's gotten really good at differentiating the good ones from the bad ones - so much so that it's become part of his business plan.
How sure are you that your callers are saying the right things, and not simply becoming phone fodder?
What you say, and how you say it, matter. And at LeadGen.com we can help you put together a talk track that's not going to put yours in the pile of "Thanks, but no thanks" calls.
Educational Software Company - Recession Era Case History
A company that sold educational curricula and software had developed an extensive network of independent reps to market their products. But as the Great Recession took hold in 2008, the reps turned to the vendor for increased marketing support.
So the vendor turned to us.
Recessions have a way of changing channels of distribution. Budgets get shifted around and priorities change. And people - including decision makers - lose or shift their jobs. So we had to develop a whole new go-to-market strategy, because nothing the company had previously been doing worked any longer.
It took a bit of work, but within three months revenues were projected to exceed their pre-recession levels.
Accounting Firm - Recession Era Case History
A mid-sized regional accounting firm was up against a flood of client losses and defections as the 2008 recession took hold. So they doubled down, and turned their IT guy into a producer.
Maybe he was a salesman at heart, but he instantly took to our sales training. We researched the prospects, and set the appointments, scripted his pitch, and even went out on buddy calls - until the business started rolling in.
How I Survived the Recession (1976 edition)
I hid out in graduate school!
Window Treatment Company - Recession Era Case History.
Bringing out a new technology in a recession may seem like a bad idea. But the alternative – holding fast – can be worse if that market is going to disappear. Here's how we helped one company make it happen.
Bringing out a new technology in a recession may seem like a bad idea. But the
alternative – holding fast to the old way of doing things – can be worse if you believe
that market is going to disappear. So when a company that manufactured window
shades for the past 80 years decided to become a systems integrator, they were taking a
serious plunge into the unknown.
To be sure, by 2008 Leed, solar, automated building controls, and other green technologies were starting to make inroads. But with new construction coming to a halt due to the recession, the retrofit market could hardly be counted on to support the training, tooling and stocking – no less the marketing – necessary to be a player. But positioning is everything in business, and first movers get the worm.
With LeadGen.com’s help, the company saturated the market with calls, brochures, promotions, events and messaging, so that if there was a decision maker out there, they’d know about the window treatment company and the new technologies they were offering. And if there was a project out there, the window treatment company would know about it, and jump on it with a proposal.
They also did their homework. Where the old way of doing things focused primarily on esthetics, the new business model focused on economics, worker comfort, and energy savings. Starting from scratch, the company redefined how the decisions would be made, assuring their account control, and their ultimate survival.
Oh, and it didn’t hurt that LeadGen.com got them almost 300 appointments.
For many of us, the coronavirus has turned our world upside down. We're being asked to make sacrifices for our neighbors, and for the vulnerable.
And many businesses are being forced to close; sadly, many never to open again.
So can we see what the world will look like on the other side, and how to make it in the new world?
It's unimaginable that things will go back to the way they were. Until we have a vaccine, we'll have to make a few more accommodations to the pandemic. The social compact may change, too. It changed after 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic (The Roaring Twenties, anyone?) And it changed after the depression.
From an economic perspective, it means that some businesses won't survive. And new ones will be created. That's just the magic of the free market at work.
From a marketing perspective, though, I don't think anything's going to change - at least insofar as what should be your guiding principle:
Direct Mail Company - Recession Era Case History
Surviving a recession and prospering on the other side is tricky. For one direct mail business, making that jump took a lot of hard work, and help from LeadGen.com, but it paid off. Find out how they did it.
If there’s one thing you can guarantee in a recession, it’s that some businesses, and some
industries, won’t survive, But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go down fighting. What
matters is that: 1) you do whatever you can to survive, and 2) you figure out what kind of
business you need to become in order prosper when the recession is over.
Surviving a recession and prospering on the other side is tricky. You have to keep generating revenues using your old business model, while you figure out a new business model that’s going to work in the new economy.
Some say it’s like trying to get to second base without taking your foot off of first. Or like changing the tires while the car is still moving.
For one company that happened to be in the direct mail business – which was basically the 2008 version of selling buggy whips – making that jump took a lot of hard work, and help from LeadGen.com, but it paid off.
The most important element in the company’s survival and ultimate success was the owner’s recognition that, while their historic strength was in producing direct mail, that was just a medium. Their ability to write effective content (which, in the direct mail world was referred to derisively as “copy”) was a hidden and latent strength that could be leveraged in the emerging digital world.
The strategy we created was to reach out to their traditional prospect base, but also to simultaneously look for the nascent digital departments and try to get in there, too, which we did over 100 times. Bringing the two groups together not only provided an added value to the prospect, but it opened the door for the client to position themselves successfully in a growing market.
And that’s where they are today – a leading content provider in their industry.
All Hands on Deck
Many companies have reduced their staff levels in response to the coronavirus lockdown. And they've told those they've retained to get on the phones and look for new business in an effort to shore up revenues.
It's a great idea. What could go wrong?
Two things stand in the way of implementing a successful All Hands on Deck strategy. First, the people on the phones have to know how to sell. And, second, they need to have the opportunity to sell.
In many cases, the people who have been retained already have too much critical work to do - which is why they were retained in the first place. With so many hours in the day, when are they supposed to make cold calls?
And unless they actually know how to sell, they may be doing more harm than good.
If you're going to do this, at least give them some high-quality sales training. And then Sales Manage them, including blocking out time to make calls, and tracking metrics.
Crossing the Abyss
There's no question that, for many businesses, the coronavirus lockdown represents an existential threat.
But what, for some companies, may be an uncrossable chasm, for others it's just a long jump.
At LeadGen.com we believe that, while not every business can make it to the other side, there are certain fundamentals that can give you the greatest chance of success, and survival.
Like many periods of economic trauma, the coronavirus lockdown will separate those who follow the time-tested rules of Marketing and Sales from those have been getting a free ride on the growth in GDP.
To be clear: Now is the time to get back to fundamentals. Understand your value proposition in terms that are meaningful to your customers and prospects, and make sure you talk about it. Redouble your efforts to find new business. And remember that the person on the other end of the transaction is a person, and treat them as such. Share your strength, your compassion and your talents. It costs nothing, yet it can help so much.
A Solution to the PPP/UI Conundrum
For many companies, like LeadGen.com, who are looking for commission-only sales and marketing reps, candidates who turn down a job offer because they believe they can make more money on unemployment is a problem.
But there's a solution: Defer their commissions.
Ironically, many of these folks are understandably deferring their mortgage payments. But that's a bill that will come due at some point.
By deferring commissions until the lockdown ends, they can stay on UI, while building up their commissions - payable just in time to pay their mortgage balloon.
It took you years to build your business. And it took six weeks for the coronavirus to destroy it.
Your customers have vanished. Your employees have been laid off. And you're not even sure your industry will survive.
What do you do now?
We work with a lot of companies, and everyone's situation is different. But what we know from history is that, if you can stay in touch with your customers and your prospects, you have the best chance of coming out the other side intact.
Unless you can make PPE. In which case, what are you doing reading this!?!?
PPP vs UI
Congratulations, we're now in an economic death spiral. The employees you just laid off can make more money collecting unemployment than they can make coming back to work now that you got your PPP check.
What's next? We go back to the Stone Age because it doesn't pay to work?
How You Can Have Your PPP, and They Can Have Their UI, Too
If you had to lay off your employees in response to the lockdown, and they're now on unemployment, they may not want to come back to work - thanks to the brilliance of our bureaucrats. In some states they may actually be making more money by being on unemployment than by working for you.
While outsourcing can't replace all of your employees, it can hold the fort for some of your people, such as those in sales or marketing, until demand is there, and they're ready to come back.
Who Gets the Life Preservers?
You're the Captain. The boat is sinking. There's you, your Marketing Manager, and your Sales person. And you have only two life preservers. Who gets them?
Hard times have a tendency to concentrate the mind. And for most companies in today's crisis, it's the Marketing Manager who's going to become shark bait.
But is that the right answer?
What if the market comes back? Who's easier to replace? Who's got the better ROI?
The knee-jerk response is to hold onto your salesperson. But we can tell you what the right answer is.
Are Your Sales Down 40% or More?
Have your sales have fallen more than 40% YTD? What are you doing reading this? You need to call us RIGHT NOW!!!
At LeadGen.com we have dozens of experts, decades of experience, and more solutions than you can shake a stick at.
Give us ten minutes to see if we can help.
What do you have to lose?
Misery Loves Company
We've often preached that stories sell. That's why we make such a big deal about case histories. People love stories. And a compelling case history can create interest, while getting the prospect to visualize themselves as a customer.
In case you don't know how to write one, click here.
As for misery loving company: Part of what makes a case history effective is telling the story of a customer who was having a problem (that's the misery part) - before they met you.
The "company" part is when the prospect sees, through your case history, that they're not alone.
(Let us write one for you, and we can turn your company around.)
Our Straight-Commission Opportunity
At LeadGen.com, we offer EVERY solution known to man, insofar as solving sales and marketing problems are concerned. As part of our growth program, we are providing support to independent sales and marketing agents who would like to market or sell our services.
While the position is commission-only, the receptivity of the market for the service is very high because, as a one-stop shop we are unbiased as to what solution to recommend. It also means we're more objective than the competition, and so what we recommend usually works.
In addition, the commissions come early because because sales close relatively quickly, and the close rates are high.
If you're interested, click here
FREE Cold Calling Training
One way to fight back against the recession is to crank up the cold calling. We made our Cold Calling for Professionals PDF book free for a while. But you may not know where to find it.
Here's the link: Cold Calling for Professionals
Even though your margins are getting squeezed to the bone, you have to try to find a way to do something extra for your customers and your prospects these days.
Remember, they're probably hurting. Maybe their job is in jeopardy. Maybe a loved one is sick. Or maybe they're just stressed out by all the craziness.
Find something you can give them to lighten their burden. If you have a discount, bump it for a month as a way to say thanks. If you have a service that you normally charge for, but that you could maybe do for free, offer it up. If you have a stress ball that you handed out at your last trade show, stick it in the mail as a way to tell people you're thinking of them.
(Quick question: Does our giving you these tips help relieve any of your stress?)
It's the Thought that Counts
Before they're prospects or customers, they're people first - even if they're hiding behind a mask - which, actually, when you think about it, makes today not so unusual.
When you're making your cold calls, take an extra moment to build a little extra rapport. Ask how they're doing, and how their family is doing.
Showing that you care doesn't necessarily mean you're going to get the business. But not showing that you care - at a time when the world has gone crazy - can almost guarantee that you won't get the business.
A New Definition for Viral Marketing
While the irony of a tweet or blog post going viral as being something good is lost on precisely no one, the question of how the lockdowns, and the pandemic in general, impacts marketing is a serious one.
Every company's situation is different, of course. So we'll try to cover different cases over the next few posts. (Our general response is presented here.)
The first question is: What kind of business are you in? If you're in an essential business, you face a different problem from those businesses that have not been deemed essential. And, in all likelihood, marketing isn't your biggest problem right now.
But if your business is considered non-essential, you need to redouble your marketing efforts so that people know who you are, and remember you, of course. Because if you don't, your competitor will.
Insofar as content is concerned, the most important thing you need to do is figure out what you can do to help your prospects and customers today. Then call them and offer it. If all it is is consolation, as we've said before, fine. Reach Out and Touch Someone.
But if you have something substantive you can do for them, and it doesn't cost you too much, find a way to do it.
At LeadGen.com, for example, we've traditionally charged for our Initial Assessment, which enables us to figure out how you can achieve your growth goals. But because of the current situation, we're doing it for free. You can get yours by filling out the questionnaire here.
And, like we said, no charge.
Lessons from Experience: Engage Like Your Life Depended on It
It's hard for many of us to deal with the devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic. For example, I often have to console my wife, who's a physician, for a good 10-15 minutes each evening when she gets home from work; though I know it's much worse for the families of Covid-19's victims. And for those who've *only* lost their jobs, or whose businesses face bankruptcy, it can seem like the end of the world.
In this era of social distancing, though, there's really only one solution.
The power of human connection isn't diminshed by the lack of physical contact, it's just challenged. Sure, we have two ears and only one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak. But today your voice is more important than ever - because there's someone out there who needs to know you care.
One of our Lead Generation Specialists, with the blessing of a far-sighted client, decided to just start calling prospects to ask how they're doing. No sales pitch; just a hello. Most are working from home, if you can even call it that. But all of them appreciated the call. And all of them have told Audrey (our LGS) that she'll get their orders once they start buying again - without being prodded.
I guess I'm not surprised. At its core, good Marketing is all about making a connection - a human connection.
Who's Responsibility Is the Conversion Rate?
In spite of all the many ways there are to promote your business today, it doesn't do any good if you can't ultimately engage the prospect in a dialog about his needs and problems in the context of his willingness to pay you to solve them. So, what needs to be done?
First,it would be nice, by the way, if the prospect was a decision maker, or at least an influencer.
So, providing him with information, if there's no intent or ability to buy, is just a waste of time and money. And improving metrics that don't connect directly to sales is delusional. Your marketing process must account for the conversion of the contact into an appointment. Otherwise it's just shouting in an empty room.
And putting the burden on your salespeople to convert "junk" leads into opportunities doesn't solve the problem either. It merely shifts the cost to them - sometimes perniciously so.
In short, if the marketing department designed the program, then the cost of conversion is theirs to bear. At LeadGen, generating qualified sales leads and getting you in the door - whether we do it or we help you do it - is what we're all about.
Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today!
How to Confront a Recession
In a recession, marketing tends to take the first budget cuts, but with our experience in recessions this most often proves to be a fatal mistake. What should you be doing?
With the current economic downturn experts say we are already in a recession. This leaves many businesses wondering where they should cut costs. Studies and experience prove marketing should be last on the list, and then only surgically.
In order to survive a recession, as a business owner you need to take 3 steps.
Step 1: Understand the value in marketing and ramp it up consistently.
Since marketing is an essential function to any business it is also lifeline to surviving a recession. Through marketing, a business can reach new customers and gain sales from previous customers. Therefore, marketing is an investment not merely an expense.
Step 2: Have the guts to be more aggressive during hard times.
Being aggressive does not mean throwing money at every marketing outlet available. It is important to take a strategic approach and spend more but spend wisely. It does take guts to spend more when the outlook is gloomy but it has been proven to pay off.
Step 3: Organize budget and resources strategically.
They keys to this is doing your research, outsourcing we your can to reduce costs and risks,closely measure results to identify what works, diversify your marketing spend and focus on improving conversions.
Want to learn more about how you can take the right steps? Contact LeadGen.com today! We can help!
The B2B Sell Cycle
Converting a prospect from someone who doesn't know you exist into a willing, paying client takes more than just putting up a Web site, or showing up at a trade show. There are specific steps that you must take the prospect through. What are they?
This is illustrated below on The B2B Sell Cycle.
If you find yourself spinning your wheels, reach out to us to find out what you need to be doing and how we can customize a solution to overcome any Barrier to Success you might encounter.
Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today!
What Is a Qualified Sales Lead?
If you sell into any market, the key to business growth - and the fulcrum between your marketing and sales programs - is the "qualified sales lead." But, what makes a sales lead qualified?
No matter what you sell, or to whom you sell it, producing qualified leads is the key to success. For while everyone thinks that "nothing ever happens until somebody sells something," we know that "no one ever sold anything until they got in the door." No matter what you sell the only thing that matters, as far as your marketing program is concerned, should be the production of qualified sales leads.
So how do we define a qualified sales lead?
A qualified sales lead is a confirmed appointment with a decision maker (or strong decision influencer), who needs your company's products or services, and who wants to talk with you about how you can help. In short, a qualified sales lead is the first step in the sales process. And so it should be the last step in your marketing process. Nothing else matters.
Not clicks. Not opens. Not impressions. Not downloads, eyeballs, exposures, inquiries, visitors, time-on-site, lead score, page rank, or names on a mailing list. If you can't convert it into an appointment, it doesn't count.
Need more sales? Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today!
At LeadGen we are adherents of John Boyd's O-O-D-A approach (observe, orient, decide and act) as a means of gaining both tactical and strategic advantage. So, what does this mean?
This means we take an "agile" approach that doesn't waste time, or sometimes even produce a binder. We know the clock is ticking, the calendar is turning, and competition (and the bank, for that matter) isn't going to let up.
So, if you need more sales this quarter, we can bring them in. And, if you need to take your business to the next level over the next year, we can make that happen, too.
Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today!
Not sure where your next lead is coming from? Really? What does that feel like?
Do you need more sales? Are your channel partners neglecting you? Do you even know whether there's any opportunity out there, no less how to get at it?
Let us know your challenges!
Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today!
The Channel Partner Paradox
Channel partners such as manufacturers reps, VARs and distributors provide an appealing way for you to get into new markets. But could they do more harm than good?
The typical way that channel partners can hurt you is by asking youto cut your price - even as they stand pat on their commission rate. Most channel partners rarely bring you into new customers. And they require extremely high levels of expensive and time-consuming support. Did you really think they were just going to hand you the business for free?
Find out how to Get More from Your Channel Partners without giving away the store.
Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today!
The Embarrassment of riches
Do you have more leads than you know what to do with? How can that be a problem?
If you're like most people, the problem isn't that you have too many leads. It's that too many of the leads are no good. Or, in technical terms: they're "unqualified."
Marketing programs that produce unqualified are a waste of time and money. And efforts made to qualify them are like throwing good money after bad.
Stop the madness.
Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today!
When it comes to Sales and Marketing, there's only one metric that matters: Is there a gap between "where you are" and "where you want to be"? Usually represented in what's called a "Gap Report". What does that report tell you?
Whether you're concerned about your sales, your market share, or your profitability, at LeadGen.com helping you achieve your goals is what we're all about: Making sure you close your gap, and hit your numbers.
If you're like most people who run a business, at some point you'll set a goal for revenue. Maybe it's enough to make payroll. Maybe it's enough to boost your stock price. But effective sales and marketing starts with goal-setting. So let's go ahead and set a revenue goal.
Do you have a number to hit?
Tell us your revenue goal and we will make sure you hit it. Call LeadGen.com today!
Despite the proliferation of electronic media and the micro-segmenting of markets, there is no new magic bullet for finding new business and making sales happen. What do you need to do?
You still need to: Get past gatekeepers, stimulate interest, uncover needs, and get an appointment with a decision maker who has a need, and is willing to talk with you about how you can help.
You can get more exposure online than you can with traditional print media (but the clutter is worse). Email may provide a more efficient way to get information into your prospects' hands than snail mail (but try getting around the spam filter). But to make sales happen you still have to talk to the prospect - sometimes just to reach him, often to stimulate interest, almost always to uncover needs, but universally to establish the trust, rapport and credibility to close.
That's the fundamental of sales that hasn't changed and will never change. Success in sales is still all about sales skills. And while our technological advances can make us more efficient, success is still all about finding the prospect, getting his attention, stimulating interest, and gaining a commitment to meet or to talk. Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today!
Sales are down, so you turn to marketing to stimulate demand. But there is a problem. It seems nothing is working. What can you do?
Maybe you decide to exhibit at a couple of trade shows for $10,000 per show. But no decision-makers attend, and the only people who do come to your booth are other exhibitors who want to sell you something. And three months later when you ask your salespeople what happened to the leads you got from the shows, you find out that none of them were ever called. (By the way, industry statistics show that 96% of trades show leads are never contacted!
So, then you decide to spend $10,000 on Search Engine Optimization. But did you get any business out of it? If you're like most companies, and you really run the calculation, your cost per lead on the Web is probably in excess of $5,000 – if you get anything at all. So, you decide to create a new brochure and send out some direct mail. You buy a data base, spend $15,000 and barely get any leads, and most of them are "tire-kickers." And the money you spent on trade advertising? The typical cost-per-appointment for trade advertising exceeds $1,500!
The problem is, though, that without prospecting for new accounts, your business can fail.
Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today!
Time was, when you needed sales, you could go out and recruit someone who knew how to make it happen. What is different today?
Once upon a time, they were unafraid. They had skills. And they knew how to bring home the bacon.
Today, when someone tells you that they can make it rain, they usually mean that they can generate a bunch of clicks, views, exposures, likes, engagement and the list goes on. Ooh, you're really going to need an umbrella for that, aren't you. Need to really make it rain? Do you have a number to hit? Call LeadGen.com today!
The Great Recession put many people out of work. And with companies cutting back on staff and expenses, a mid-west energy management firm was watching their consulting practice quickly dry up. Discover how they turned it around!
To help counter the recession, the government – as it often does – came out with a program that offered companies financial incentives for improving energy efficiency, and for investing in energy efficient technologies. Like many programs at the time, they were of short duration. And you had to have some expertise in the field to be able to take advantage of them.
The good news was that the energy management company had the expertise. They knew the technologies that qualified, and they knew how to navigate the paperwork. The bad news was that there was no way for them to cover the market, or even make a meaningful dent in it, before the incentive program ran out. So they called LeadGen.com.
The key to capitalizing on a short-term opportunity is to do your research, and do good research, up front because you don’t have time to waste. If you work for three months, and miss the market, you don’t get another chance.
So we blitzed the research, and then we blitzed the market.
In three months, we got them over 70 face-to-face appointments, virtually all of which closed successfully. They were able to capitalize on the incentive program and survive until their consulting business returned.
Learn how a software developer survived the Great Recession when their sales ground to a halt, directly threatening their business.
A software company had developed a system for plumbers, builders, electricians and other contractors to better manage projects, bids, and payroll. They had started to market it broadly when the Great Recession shut down virtually all construction. As a
result, the company’s new sales ground to a halt. And they ran the risk of not being able to recover their development costs. So, they called on LeadGen.com to help them figure out how to handle the recession.
At the time, trade magazines were still a popular way to reach contractors. So, they pumped up their print budget, only to see it wasted when the books went out of business. Trades shows, too, were being cancelled, closing off their other main way to reach the market. With these additional expenses, and without a way to reach their contractor market, they were soon in jeopardy of themselves going out of business.
In a last-ditch effort to save their business, they called LeadGen.com. And during a brief test, we recognized that we could reach the contractors in their offices, early in the mornings and late in the evenings by phone, so we put together a calling campaign.
In three months of calling we generated over 50 qualified leads for the company, over a third of which closed successfully, and profitably.
As a result of the campaign, the company was not only able to jump-start their revenue flow and recover their investment in development, but they were able to position themselves as a leader in the market. They prospered through the recession, and continue to thrive more than a decade later.
In periods of economic prosperity, business often forget that rising sales aren’t caused by good marketing and appealing products or services alone. What else drives those sales?
Purchases depend on consumers’ having disposable income, feeling confident about their future, trusting in business and the economy, and embracing lifestyles and values that encourage consumption. In a recession, all those things can dissipate quickly. Do you have a risk management strategy that allows you to adjust to that new reality?
In every recession business owner’s find themselves in poorly charted waters because no two downturns are exactly alike. There are patterns, however, that drive or undercut performance. What are those patterns?
First, business owners need to understand the evolving consumption patterns and accordingly, fine-tune their strategies. As a rule, during recessions consumers establish stricter priorities and reduce their spending. In turn, as sales start to drop, businesses respond by cutting costs, reducing prices, and postponing new investments. As part of these reductions, marketing expenditures in areas from communications to research are also slashed across the board—but such indiscriminate cost cutting is a fatal mistake. While it’s wise to contain costs, failing to support brands or examine core customers’ changing needs will cripple performance over the long term. Businesses that put customer needs under the microscope, use a scalpel rather than a cleaver on the marketing budget, and quickly adjust strategies, tactics, and product offerings in response to shifting demand are more likely than their competitors to flourish both during and after a recession.
Trying to figure out a solid plan to counter a recession is challenging. General advice often doesn’t apply to your specific situation. So, what can you do?
There is so much at risk, but we are here to help. You need to conserve cash, but what you have needs to be spent on marketing so you don't die before the economy picks up again. You need to protect your market share, and if possible, pick up more. Because, if you don’t and you manage to survive the recession, your competitors will clean your clock on the uptake. The decisions you make now are critical, doing the right things will get you through, but doing the wrong things, the situation can and will spiral out of control quickly. That is where we can help. LeadGen.com has survived, and helped many companies survive and even thrive during recessions going all the way back to the 1970’s. Tap into our experience and expertise as you plot your way forward.
Are Recessions optional? Absolutely! But what makes the difference?
The threats to your business will be minimized by specific actions you take to deal with the threats. Do nothing, and you will fail. Do the right things, and you can survive.
Warning signs in a Recession. STOCK: increasing levels and static sales, deteriorating age profile, returns, delays in invoicing. So, what can you about these things?
Reduce stocks - continually clear out old/surplus lines, set minimum/maximum for each stock line, refuse to accept early deliveries, consider buying in bulk, minimize level of buffer stocks. Rule of Thumb: Don’t let inventories rise. Better to be out of stock than have to write off investment.
Warning signs in a recession. CREDITORS: increasing age, checks "in drawer", lack of long-standing relationships, final demands or writs, arrears to Federal and/or State Tax Authorities. So, what can you about these things?
Negotiate longer credit periods, get the right balance without jeopardizing suppliers, know which are key, pay on pre-determined dates, meet regularly with suppliers. Rule of Thumb here: Cash is king. Keep as much of it as you can.
Warning signs in a recession: DEBTORS: increasing age, credit limits exceeded, increasing reliance on individual customers, increased bad debts and credit/debit notes. So, what can you about these things?
Swifter invoicing, better credit control, reviewing credit periods offered, obtaining payments on delivery, factoring or invoice discounting, use collection agencies. Rule of thumb here: Even a small increase in age can mean the chickens have come home to roost. Do not die of a thousand cuts. Recognize the problem while it’s small.
How important is strategic planning in a recession? Very important, but with an crucial caveat.
Focus on short-term strategy that builds in a high degree of flexibility to adapt. The question is: What are we going to do to make money this month, then next month, and then the month after that? How are we going to survive?
How important is it to solidify your team during a recession? Extremely important. So, what do you need to do?
People need to know that you have a plan that’s going to get them, and their families, through this. But don’t just say you have a plan. Build one around increasing cash flow, sales and ROI, and get your people on board to implement it.
In a recession, should you focus on developing your management team? Investing in management development in a recession runs counter to the mission at hand. What should you do instead?
Instead, find ways to re-focus managers on increasing cash-flow, sales and ROI; and measure them on it. If that requires training, fine; but the goal comes first.
Should you focus on improving customer service in a recession? This is a good idea, but here are some things you need to do if you want a ROI.
First, reduce its cost. Cut out people and services that do not provide a near-term ROI. Then find ways to turn CSRs into resellers and upsellers.
Should you focus on conducting sales training during a recession? Yes, there is something you should do first. Do you know what it is?
This is only a good idea if you have the right people. First fire your low performing 25%, then train the rest
Should you increase word-of-mouth referrals during a recession. Yes, but with a caveat.
Only if you don't have any money to do anything else to increase your market share. When times are good, people usually have more money than time, so networking is relatively expensive. When times are bad, you usually have more time than money, and valuing your time at $0/hour is harmless. Go for it! But, by the same token networking is dangerous during a pandemic. And you are going to meet more people who want to sell to you than buy from you.
In a recession, you should use “because we care” special promotions. But, do you know why this is effective?
Because your prospects and customers are hurting; sympathy reaches them.
Should you use “Call to Action” Marketing in a recession? Bad idea! Do you know why?
In a recession, marketing should be focused on creating awareness of your business as an option, and be very focused on high-potential markets. The message shouldn’t be a call to action, but an offer to help.
Should you focus on reducing debt in a recession? Nope! But why?
If you have high interest debt, refinance it at the lower interest rates the banks typically offer during a recession. If you don't have debt, but you see a clear opportunity that requires more cash than you have, go for it. Just be sure it's a profitable opportunity. But debt is designed to help you weather the bad times, as long as you can pay it back.
In a recession, it is absolutely imperative to understand your costs. But, what does this mean you need to do?
Waste creeps into the process during good times because there’s no need to pinch pennies. Now’s the time to audit yourself and cut unnecessary expenses.
How much should you listen you your employees in a recession? It depends, but on what?
This is a good idea, but with a caveat: Only listen to the good ideas, not the bad ones; but how do you know the difference? Only do things that will pay off in the near term.
Should you cut expenses in a recession? Yes, but very carefully. Why is that?
You should strategically cut capacity, focusing on cutting people and resources that are relatively easy to replace and rebuild. But you should overinvest in sales and marketing, as that is the only way to replace the business you will inevitably lose.
Should you add new components to your marketing plan in a recession? This is another Good idea. This is the time to get pro-active. But, what does that mean?
Put your company out there, in as many forums and media as possible, to increase the chances of a potential customer finding you
In a recession, should you accommodate a variety of budgets? Another very good idea. But why?
Be flexible in how you package and price your products so you can find a way to say “yes,” and make a profit – no matter how small. Remember, now is the time to focus on market share. When the market comes back, then you can focus on maximizing revenue potential.
When facing down a recession, should you contact past clients and leads? That is a good idea. But why?
The first phone call you should make is to lapsed customers, and see if you can re-kindle the relationship, and the revenue flow.
Should you focus on your long-term goals in a recession? While that sounds correct, this amounts to nonsense. Why? If you don’t survive the short term, there is no long term. So, what should you do?
Stay focused on your short term need to maintain a positive cash flow.
Should you adopt cutting edge technology to help you get through a recession? Unless the investment is going to pay off in 3 months or less, don’t do it. What should you do instead?
Extend the use of your assets, to conserve cash, for as long as possible in a recession.
Should you Intensify your Marketing in a Recession? Definitely, you need to increase your sales to compensate for lost accounts. But why else is this so important?
So you can take advantage of your competitors’ instinct to cut back in marketing by increasing your own.
Should you be providing Outstanding Customer Service in a recession? We are not against keeping your customers happy so you can retain them, but not at the expense of profit. So, what should you do?
Figure out what it will take to keep your profitable customers and give it to them; but feel free to lose the unprofitable ones.
Should you consider diversification in a recession? Nonsense. In a weak economy, the potential advantage to your risk profile that diversification can offer is overwhelmingly outweighed by its cost. So, what should you do?
It’s much better to find one thing that you can do that will generate a profit and stick with it. Get rid of any activity that doesn’t make money quickly.
The philosophy of Lao Tzu is simple: Accept what is in front of you without wanting the situation to be other than it is. Learn how LeadGen.com applies this philosophy.
Study the natural order of things and work with it rather than against it, for to try to change what is only sets up resistance. Nature provides everything without requiring payment or thanks, and also for all without discrimination – therefore let us present the same face to everyone and treat all men as equals, however they may behave. If we watch carefully, we will see that work proceeds more quickly and easily if we stop trying, if we stop putting in so much effort, if we stop looking for the results.
In the clarity of the still and open mind, truth will be reflected. We will come to appreciate the original meaning of the word "understand," which means to "stand under." We serve whatever or whoever stands before us, without any thought for ourselves. "Te" - which may be translated as "virtue" or "strength" - lies always in "Tao," or "natural law." In other words, Simply be.
Now that you're growing your market share, remember that, as you add resources to acquire and fulfill on new business, you should create a Red Team to challenge all your assumptions.
Positive feedback in terms of increased sales and profitability can mask mis-steps in the market, so reserve some resource for second-guessing your strategy. A good function here doesn't cry wolf, though; they should be smart enough to tell you everything is okay, too.
Taking your business to the next level implies that your marginal costs (e.g. for the acquisition of new business) will go down. But that doesn't mean they go to zero. But, what does it mean?
You still have to spend money to make money. And you also have to check to make sure that what you're doing works.
Scaling is particularly challenging once you decide to pull the trigger. How long do you let something run, if you think it's not working, before you pull the plug? (And do you really have the resources to stay in the game?) And then what metrics are really reliable to give you accurate feedback from the market? Hint: Do not believe your Marketing Manager!
What you learned in Step 3 is never enough to enable true scaling. It only help establish the case, it doesn't close it. What else do you need to do?
You now need to come up with three or four more ways to reach your decision maker.
The misconception about the repetition effect is that your six touches can come from the same media. In fact, once the prospect sees the pattern, they can easily avoid you. You have to go in through a window, a door, and a crack in the floor.
Articulating your value proposition is one of the hardest things for companies to do when scaling. Why is this?
This is because what worked in an opportunistic market rarely works at the next level.
This is where market research is, once again, critical. Understand your value from the customer's perspective. Brainstorm ways to articulate it. And test your messaging to make sure it works. Then rinse and repeat.
Kottler defines "access" as the critical path item in any marketing initiative. So, what does this mean?
If you can't communicate with your prospects - and get their attention - you'll never be able to stimuate their interest.
More money has been spent on not reaching decision makers than on anything else in marketing (See John Wanamaker, 1932). Take the time to design your marketing and media plan so it actually puts your message in front of the people who you need to see it. Otherwise, you'll never see a positive ROI.
The next thing you have to do is market research. Get off your butt and talk to people. Confirm that your advantage is real, and that it would definitely motivate them to buy from you.
Remember that you're taking your business to the next level, so you're not plowing new ground. Talking to people who don't already buy from you, and asking them if they would buy from you, enables you to confirm that your differential advantage isn't just a vanity.
Taking your business to the next level first requires that there is a next level to take it to. Wanting to be bigger doesn't necessarily make being bigger possible.
The first thing you have to do is identify a market where you have a clear differential advantage over your competitors. Let's set aside the fact that it's counterintuitive to most entrepreneurs that the market has to exist before you can claim a differential advantage. If you don't have a clear differential advantage in it, you are wasting your time.
Anyone who tells you that it just takes time before you see results from Social Media marketing is probably floating their resume.
As soon as you get antsy because the followers - no less the orders - aren't rolling in, you're guaranteed to hear this lie. The problem isn't that it might not be true. The problem is that, by the time the results come in, you might be out of business!
When you think you've tried everything else, and nothing seems to work, the siren song of social media marketing can be loud.
What we've found is that, for most companies that are struggling, the problem isn't the medium, it's their strategy and their positioning. So applying the same strategy and positioning in social media is likely to have the same catastrophic results as it did with traditional media.
If you're a small business, you might value the time you spend nurturing your social media at $0, but what's the opportunity cost?
If you could be spending that same time doing something that was actually productive, wouldn't you do that instead? Therefore, social media is not free.
Pick your metric: Likes, hits, retweets, connections, followers, subscribers, traffic, engagement, stickiness - it's all nonsense. Why is that?
If you're not getting paid per-whatever, someone else is, and you're paying.
Social media marketing is a con, especially if you put all your eggs in that one basket.
One of the main rationales justifying Social Media Marketing is that cold calling is supposedly dead. But, is it really?
No one likes to receive cold calls. And, in the words of a so-called "study" justifying Social Media Marketing, "57 Percent of the Decision Process is Done Before the Customer Ever Talks to a Salesperson."
Setting aside the fallacies underlying the study, cold calling is anything but dead. It may be tough to get direct dial numbers. And it may be challenging getting past gatekeepers and voice mail. But consider this: How many of your prospects even know they need your solution, such that they would search for it? If you believe the lie that cold calling is dead, you're walking away from everyone in the market who doesn't know they have a need for your product or service. Good luck with that.
Networking on LinkedIn seems like a great idea. So what's the problem?
Everyone is there, either selling themselves or something. Messaging is better than email. The contact information is great. And LinkedIn provides you with an easy, 10 Step cookbook for creating brand awareness and generating leads.
The problem is, do you really think your decision makers are sitting around looking at LinkedIn all day, waiting for your content to show up? Hint: They have a job to do. That's why they're called Decision Makers.
Paying only for results is the holy grail of business. After all, you're not in it for a Participation Trophy, right? So why should your vendors?
Your definition of results and theirs are probably not the same. For example, you might want to pay on revenues. But they'll say that, since they have no control over what happens after they generate the lead, they can't do that. So you compromise, and agree to pay on Lead Quality. And then the arguing begins.
The promise of a Page 1 Ranking on Google is enticing. Everyone uses Google. So what could be bad if your company came up at the top of the search results?
The problem with this promise is that the search terms that you need in order to get a Page 1 Ranking are probably so esoteric that no one ever uses them. Either that, or you have to pay so much to get the ranking that you couldn't afford it.
What do you think your marketing firm will do if they guaranteed that they'd get you good appointments, and they can't deliver?
The answer is simple: They'll get you bad ones.A guarantee in marketing is like cheap insurance: It's there until you need it.
You know where you want to go with your business, but how do you get there?
Today, there are no easy answers. Sure, there are lots of people telling you what to do, but how do you know if anyone is right? That's why we crowd-source the answer, especially if we're playing with the client's money.
When it comes to marketing, if someone offers you a guarantee, run away. There is simply no way to guarantee a specific sales result in something that naturally entails so much risk.
When we talk to people who claim to have been burned before, most of the time it was because they had unrealistic expectations that they imposed on their solution provider. In other words, if you get burned, it's not necessarily the fire's fault.
How many emails do you get promising that they can get you a page 1 listing on Google? Of course you're too smart to fall for the obvious scam.
If you're like most people, though, you then turn around and try to do it yourself. How does that make sense?
Attracting traffic is a key to an effective Inbound Marketing strategy. It's a prerequisite for capturing contact information, and for building a following. But what if much of your traffic comes from Russian spam-bots?
It turns out that the quality of traffic is just as important as the quantity of traffic. Unless, of course, you're just being measured on hits.
When considering your go-to-market strategy, do you ever write down all the things you know to be true, and those you don't?
Just because you don't understand all your assumptions doesn't mean you can't pull the trigger. It just means you need to create some contingency plans.
Turning your vision into a reality shouldn't be a roll of the dice. But what defines a good strategy? Can you only know what it was in retrospect? Or is there a way to develop a strategy that has a high probability of working without devine intervention?
Oddly enough, there is a formula for success in business. Of course, we've rarely encountered people who are willing to employ it. Most just want easy answers.
What's the true test of whether a strategy will work or not?
If your test of whether your strategy is any good is the crucible of the market, get ready to fail.
It's conventional wisdom that it takes more than a good idea to be successful. It takes, they say, great execution, too. But execution of what?
Too many great ideas fail to result in success - not because the tactics employed in going to market were executed poorly, but because of a bad strategy.
Just in case you didn't have enough keeping you up at night.
Sun Tzu famously wrote: "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, while tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." The problem is: How do you know if something is a strategy or a tactic? Because, clearly, Sun Tzu thinks the difference is important.
For most people, the only way to really know is in hindsight, but being wrong can be fatal to your business. So what do you do to know before? The answer is: Ask someone who knows.
I don't know why they call it "cold calling" when you usually wind up in "voice-mail hell." To add insult to injury...
How does it make sense that the two most important attributes of a good caller are: (1) sensitivity to a prospect's needs and (2) insensitivity to rejection?
The Moving Hockey Stick is a classic Sales Management tool used by professional Sales Directors all over the world to manage the expectations of senior management. Why is it so useful?
Critical to justifying the front-end loading of resources, the January View confidently projects a linear delivery of sales results, culminating in a stress-free year, and the ultimate achievement of the company's sales objectives.
The May View, however, reflects both the late-spring reality, where perhaps as little as 15% of the annual goal has been achieved, despite more than 40% of the year have flown by, as well as the urgency of, once-again, the front loading of additional resources.
The Moving Hockey Stick can be deployed to exhibit monthly sales forecasts, as well as annual sales forecasts - which is especially useful when senior management is seeking additional funding from banks or shareholders.
According to Campaign Monitor, people send over 290 billion emails per day. The average office worker gets over 120 emails a day. And it's growing by more than 10% pr year.
Good luck standing out.
Today, no one is delusional enough to think that all you have to do is come up with a better way of doing something, and success will fall on you like rain.
Everyone knows you have to promote your product. Appeal to influencers. Advertise. And get out there and sell! And then maybe you'll get lucky.
Prior to the passage of the Clean Air Act, breathing could be hazardous to your health, because industry pumped tons of toxins into the air.
Today's companies, however, produce only clean, healthy bits designed to enlighten, entertain, and engage. See how far we've come?
When Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, he embued the King with dark cynicism about life. Today, however, we know that life is wonderful.
Except for Marketing. Marketing still lights our way to dusty death.
Marketing today is a wonderland of opportunity. So many tools. So many options. It's amazing that anyone can fail.
Of course, keep your resume polished, just in case.
Finger-pointing comes naturally to kids. But who'd have thought that Marketing and Sales couldn't agree on who's at fault for your not making your numbers?
More importantly, who do you think is going to pay for it?
It turns out that there's an easy way to get a page 1 rank on Google: optimize on the most obscure terms you can think of.
It also turns out that the only one who's winning the SEM battle is Google.
Time was, when you needed sales, you could go out and recruit someone who knew how to make it happen. They were unafraid. They had skills. And they knew how to bring home the bacon.
Today, when someone tells you that they can make it rain, they usually mean that they can generate a bunch of clicks. Ooh, you're really going to need an umbrella for that, aren't you.
When does having too many options become a problem?
There are literally millions of Websites where you can advertise, thousands of promotional venues, scores of different media, and hundreds of thousands of people willing to help. But you only have $[fill in the blank] to spend.
Do you have more leads than you know what to do with?
If you're like most people, the problem isn't that you have too many leads. It's that too many of the leads are no good. Or, in technical terms: they're "unqualified."
Marketing programs that produce unqualified are a waste of time and money. And efforts made to qualify them are like throwing good money after bad.
Stop the madness.
Are you guilty of ineffective marketing?
Are you trapped behind the impenetrable clutter in the media? It's not your fault. The problem is that the Internet has made marketing cheaper, so anyone can do it. But when everyone does it, what you get is clutter in the media.
But you can break out - with LeadGen.com.
Was your last marketing initiative DOA?
Traffic that never arrives. Links that never get clicked. Landing pages that never get eyeballs. And orders that never get placed.
Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how'd you like the play?
Search marketing is great - if you have a ton of money to spend. But just like everywhere else in life, there are winners and there are losers.
In the case of Google AdWords, though, it's not your competition that's winning. It's the arms dealer.
If you can't get him to say "yes," how are you going to pay your rent?
Closing shouldn't be so hard. But the fact is that most people don't close 100% of their opportunities successfully. In fact, close rates of 20% are more common. So why don't the other 80% close?
The Sell Cycle is complicated. With multiple steps and multiple parties, there are lots of ways for it to get derailed. But, then again, you can always complain about the quality of the leads.
Surprisingly, horseshoes and hand grenades aren't the only areas where "close" can be good enough. Do you know what the other one is?
It's not that you wouldn't want perfection out of your marketing program, but you can make a lot of money with less than a 100% market share.
Go for the proximity shot. You can always plan your improvements while you're celebrating your gains.
In marketing, as in life, time is the enemy.
When it comes to building your business, you can always find more money, but you can never get back time that you've wasted.
You don't have to be perfect. But make sure it's at least going to be a proximity shot.
Anytime your solution-provider gives you a plan - to say nothing of implementing it - without really understanding your needs, you're begging for trouble.
Marketing is too expensive and risky to launch a program without customization. But, hey, who has time for planning?
Have you ever felt like decision makers are just a little too protective of their time? After all, you're just trying to make a living, right?
But ask yourself: Do you react any differently when you get a cold call?
Oddly enough, there are some cold calling techniques that actually work. Just don't expect to find them on a script.
You know the insult: "If you're so smart, why aren't you rich?" Of course, today it's harder than ever to break out of the middle class. And, of course, some people work because they love doing it. And then there's the matter of luck. But maybe their ideas about how to grow a business just don't work - for you or them.
The fact is that it takes more than good ideas to achieve success in today's markets. It takes being in the right place at the right time. It takes good execution. And yes, it takes a little luck, too. So don't blame them for trying. At least they're in the game.
Marketers today have lots of options for what to do. The problem is that once you start down a particular path and it doesn't work, you may not be able to go back. And then you're stuck.
Maybe that's why Marketing has the highest turnover rate of all job categories tracked by LinkedIn
If it weren't for the finger-pointing between Marketing and Sales, what fun would staff meetings be?
Oh, yeah. If you actually made your numbers, they could be celebrations instead of arguments.
Don't you just love stock photography of happy customer service reps? You'd think that the mindless drudgery and pain of listening to angry and frustrated customers all day would create a few winces. Or maybe a furrowed brow or two.
Who are we trying to kid? Dealing with the public is hard. If your CSRs are smiling, something's very wrong.
Digital marketing is easy. Just ask the people who own the big platforms, and they'll show you how to do it. And if that's still too hard, you can just hire someone to do it. See? Easy!
The problem with digital marketing, though, is that it's too easy. And as a result, because anyone can do it, everyone will. That's why the media are so crowded. And why your message doesn't get through. And why, if all you lose are your toes, you should consider yourself lucky.
Did you know that coaching your salespeople to talk about the features and benefits of your products can actually hurt your sales efforts? But, why is that?
It has been scientifically proven that talking about features and benefits actually reduces your close rate, as well as forces you to make price concessions.
Sales training is all about technique, while product training is all about features and benefits. And if your salespeople aren't laser-focused on their sales technique, it's a guarantee that they'll be working for someone else pretty soon.
Forget about "the check is in the mail." The biggest lie in sales is when a candidate tells you that they can close anyone, as long as you can get them in the door.
The problem with sales isn't just closing. An inability to close sales is usually a symptom of a deeper problem - one that's often closely tied to an inability to generate qualified sales leads. So if you think that by hiring Mr. Confident you've solved half your problem, think again. You've just highlighted the other half.
Are you going to run out of year before you run out of quota?
Being a day late or a dollar short can mean failure in today's hyper-competitive economy - whether you're wearing out shoeleather or looking out the corner-office window.
At LeadGen.com, we can't create more time. But we can help you get the most out of the time you have.
Why does it seem, when it comes to marketing and sales, like everyone knows where they're going, and how to get there, but you?
Don't let the hype fool you. There's a reason why more than half of all new businesses fail in the first five years. And it's the same reason why marketing and sales positions have the highest turnover, and why there are no guarantees in the stock market.
It's not you. You just can't see their blindfolds.
Have you ever felt as though, when you need help growing your business, solution providers seem to come at you like Zombies? They don't necessarily understand your goals or challenges, but they're so convinced their product can help that it seems like they'll eat your brains to make the sale.
The thing about Zombies is that you have to cut off their heads in order to stop them. Otherwise they'll just keep coming.
It makes you wonder how they can hear you breathe, but they can't hear you talk.
Once upon a time, back before everyone had 3D printers, if you wanted to make a prototype you had to mold it from clay, plastic, metal or even wood. It was time-consuming, expensive and prone to errors. So the inventors of 3D printers knew they had a great market opportunity. The problem was that they couldn't gain visibility with the engineers who needed it - because the engineers didn't know it existed. And millions of dollars in development were about to go down the tubes.
LeadGen.com, however, knew how to identify companies that did prototyping, and how to reach the engineers who cared about it. Within two months of launch we had developed a backlog of meetings, demos and pilot programs for the inventors. And within a year the company had units in virtually every major target customer, and their biggest problem was hiring enough salespeople to cover the leads. And that's why we have 3D printing today.
A brick-and-mortar retailer that sells children's toys and clothing was suffering at the hands of online retailers, and slow demand. The owner had a large following on Facebook, but cash-flow was poor. This further delayed ordering, threatening her ability to tap the critical back-to-school buying season, and ultimately putting the company's viability in doubt.
Near the end of her rope, the owner called the Tyrone Matheson Group because of their reputation for finding creative solutions to difficult business problems. Leveraging the owner's Facebook following, Matheson created a loyalty program that enabled the company to monetize the asset. And they came up with a creative pre-order strategy that eased cash-flow, and brought in inventory - virtually for free.
As a result of Matheson's program, the company made more profit in 48 hours than they had made in the previous seven years!
A startup had created an innovative algorithm that predicts vehicle failures. But they were having trouble selling their solution - because their technology-oriented engineering team had no real business development experience. And if they couldn't generate sales, or at least build a distribution channel, they were going to quickly run out of funding.
After several failed attempts to solve the problem, they called the Tyrone Matheson Group, a LeadGen.com partner. After assessing the challenge and the opportunity, Matheson was able to successfully introduce them to a global after-market automotive company that had distribution in 42 countries, and over 450 franchises. The new channel opened up for them an immediate revenue stream, along with a global support organization, that, in addition, enabled them to attract additional investor capital to further fuel growth and development, leading to a profitable and successful introduction into the market.
A pet products company wanted to increase their online sales, and create more awareness in its target audience. So they reached out to Gemstone Data, a LeadGen.com Partner, to take advantage of its unique geo-fencing technology, and accomplish their stretch goal of a CTR of at least .08%.
The campaign used a customized geo-fencing tactic to specifically target pet owners and pet advocates, while the client provided a list of locations to capture their target audience - focusing on humane societies, animal hospitals and clinics, pet boarding companies, and pet retail stores. With the quick learning from the campaign launch, the Gemstone team was able to optimize the client's keywords, and target specific blogs and domains to more precisely and efficiently reach their prospective customers.
As a result of Gemstone Data’s unique optimizations and geo-fence tactics, the client was able to achieve a CTR of more than .20% - more than double their original goal of a .08%.
A financial services company needed to increase visits to their website, and break through the clutter in their heavily saturated market. And they needed to do it at a cost of no more than $4.00 per visit, or else they wouldn't meet their extremely tight profitability goals for the program.
To solve the problem, they turned to Gemstone Data, a LeadGen.com Partner, who was able to identify the right target audience, and serve them over 22.4M ads. Optimized at the keyword, day part and recency level to ensure the ads were getting to the right audience - at the right time and to prospects who were recently searching for financial services keywords - the campaign increased page views by 6,484 with a cost-per-visitor of only $2.13 - roughly half the cost of the cmpaign's original budget.
A local travel and tourism website for a popular vacation destination wanted to use programmatic video to drive awareness among their target audience in key locations around the United States. Their marketing performance had flat-lined, and they desperately needed to improve their CTR in order to grow their bookings - or else they were going to miss their high season, and fall short of their revenue goals.
Turning to Gemstone Data, a LeadGen.com partner, they were able to solve the problem through a comprehensive strategy of search retargeting at the keyword level, category contextual targeting, new creative, and mobile geo-optimization for pre-roll video. Within 3 months, they had doubled their average video completion rate to 60%, and tripled their CTR to .24% - exceeding their goals and saving the season.
Starting a business takes courage and fortitude. In listening to entrepreneurs, it reminds me of my mother reading "If," by Rudyard Kipling, to me as a child.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
If you ignore the fact that Kipling was a raging racist, imperialist and sexist, the sentiments in "If" reflect what I hear from successful businesspeople every day.
When you receive a frantic phone call from a client, you jump. And so it was when we got a call from a long-time customer who had just gotten off an airplane, only to discover that the meeting he had flown in to attend been canceled. He wanted to know if we could book him an appointment with some other prospect while he was in town so he could potentially salvage some ROI on his plane ticket.
When you understand your client's business and goals, it becomes a lot easier to react to a crisis - even if it's a small one like avoiding a wasted business trip.
We quickly researched a list of potential prospects in the city, uploaded it to our CRM, and started calling. Before the client could even check into his hotel, we had booked two appointments - one for that day, and one for the next. And our road warrior was back in the saddle again.
A technology company was facing a revenue shortfall with barely two weeks to go in the year. Only a heroic effort could save them from missing their numbers.
Most people believe that nothing happens in December because everyone's either distracted or on vacation. But that's actually the best time to blitz - because your competition has probably bought into that myth.
While contact rates are usually down in December, those people who you manage to get on the phones are usually more willing to talk. And they probably have needs if they're still in the office.
And that's what happened for the tech firm. We found a deal that closed their revenue gap just in time.
And best of all? The prospect had to spend the money before the end of the year. So no one had to fudge the numbers just to look good.
The most important message you need to get across to a prospect is why they should talk to you, meet with you, and buy from you. A company that sold a highly commoditized product, however, couldn't come up with a reason - until we started writing case histories for them, and incorporating these stories into their marketing.
Everyone loves a good bedtime story. And your case histories are like bedtime stories for your prospects.
For this manufacturer of commercial ovens, telling stories about how their ovens enabled their customers to acquire more and happier customers for themselves led to major increases in their close rate, their price premium and their market share.
An IT client was committed to exhibiting at a major industry trade show because they knew their prospects would be there. But previous traffic was light, and they never got any business from the show. So they called LeadGen.com.
The key to a profitable trade show is to pre-call your prospects, confirm their attendance, and invite them to stop by the booth at a specific time. It's also helpful to find out a little bit about what they're looking for at the show, and to offer an incentive for them to meet.
The first time we did this for the client, we set up 15 meetings, of which 12 took place. And four resulted in new business - each deal worth several hundred thousand dollars.
A mid-sized accounting firm had grown significantly through mergers and acquisitions. But there was an uneven client load at the top. So while partners were paid according to billable hours, their very unequal contributions to overhead were creating resentment against those who weren't pulling their weight.
Selling accounting services usually involves networking and personal selling by the accountant. But some of the partners weren't good at it, and others simply didn't have time. So they turned to LeadGen.com for help.
The other issue with selling accounting services, particularly in the business market, is that everyone always already has an accountant that they like. And no one likes to change accountants. So there were significant barriers to organic growth.
Through research and cold calling, and the development if a solid business case, we were able to get them in the door at several dozen mid-sized companies that were their prime targets. And by providing coaching, were were able to get the less sales-talented partners to put on enough of a good show to add 20% to their book of business, which completely closed the contribution gap - all in less than six months.
Another Dad Joke...
A full sales funnel is a horn of plenty!
Another Dad Joke...
Get a grip! Get it?
Another Dad Joke...
There's way too much to unpack here. For example, do they care about what some random stranger thinks of them? What about the possibility that the salesperson whom they just blew off could have saved her company millions of dollars a year?
Another Dad Joke...
Branding is a nice idea, but it takes more than an identity. That identity has to resonate with your audience.
Another Dad Joke...
If you're in Sales, this needs no explanation at all. If you're in Marketing, I'm not here right now. If you'll leave your name and number at the beep...
Another Dad Joke...
The only winner in that fight is the arms dealer.
Another Dad Joke...
Too much of a stretch?
Another Dad Joke...
Search and Rescue - get it?
Today's Dad Joke...
Does spelling really count when you're trying to make a pun?
Today's Dad Joke...
We know we're not the first ones to think of this, but we're going to be the last ones to forget it.
Today's Dad Joke...
Sorry. We couldn't resist.
Today's Dad Joke...
Yeah, we get it. If we have to explain the joke, it isn't funny anymore.
Today's Dad Joke...
Inbound marketing isn't quite an act of faith. But if its success isn't measured in actual sales, it might as well be.
Today's Dad Joke...
For some people, cold calling is easy to do. All they need is the ability to take rejection. But it's hard to do well. For that it takes skill.
A large state university had invested millions in upgrading their stadium to add luxury boxes. But with only a month to go 'til the start of the season, less than a quarter of the boxes were sold.
Targeting the event coordinators at businesses in the local community, LeadGen.com sold out the subscriptions, and salvaged the investment.
The entrepreneur is the foundation of the economy, and the engine of growth.
But the failure rate is high because scaling is hard to do, especially for creative innovators.
Coming up with a good idea takes a different skill-set than what you need to grow a business. At LeadGen.com, however, we have the skills and resources you need to make your vision a reality.
Experience is important when hiring a new salesperson. But hiring someone who comes with his own book of business can easily backfire.
Better is to hire someone who knows how to find new business, rather than someone who brings it with him - because otherwise you run the risk of him taking it with him, along with your house accounts, when he leaves.
How is it possible for SEO firms to promise that they can get your site a page 1 ranking on Google? Can they really do it?
The answer is yes, but you may need to compromise on your preferred search terms.
Given that there are over 10,000,000 Web pages that are ranked, and only 10 organic hits on page #1, it would require over 500,000 unique 2-word search phrases for everyone to appear on page #1.
And only nine other sites can use the same terms as you.
Wanted - Dead or Alive - for stealing market share! Calls himself "The Lead Generator"
The varmint known as "the Lead Generator" is wanted in all 50 states for unhooking competitors, rustling accounts and poaching customers.
Approach with caution, the Lead Generator is a smooth talker, and is armed with good questions that can uncover your needs and wants, and make you want to buy!
Guard your women and children!
Market research is the cure for mistaken assumptions. But how many CEOs and business owners are willing to make the investment?
When planning your marketing programs, do you list out your assumptions? For example:
• Is your target market receptive to your message?
• Will your target market even see your message?
Then, do you estimate the cost - in time, money and missed opportunity - of being wrong?
It's actually not that hard or expensive to checkpoint assumptions today using simple market research techniques. Like Nike says, "just do it."
LinkedIn has over 1,000,000,000 impressions per day. Do you really think anyone is going to notice your content?
The challenge for businesses operating in the social media space is that it's so cluttered. Ironically though, most businesses give little thought to what they post, and so they only add to the problem.
The good news is that there's a solution.
Are you operating on razor-thin margins?
Price competition can be an indicator of too much competition. But it can also happen because of a failure to get the prospect to perceive your value. Fortunately, both problems are eminently solvable.
A major metro police department wanted to try to predict where serious crimes were most likely to occur. This would allow them to better-allocate resources, and more efficiently plan for specific major events which might have an elevated crime risk. Overstaffing was too expensive, so they called LeadGen.com partner the Tyrone Matheson Group for help.
Building a model out of police reports and demographic data, TMG was abe to give the police department two weeks' advance notice of potential upticks in crime.
An insurance carrier wanted to improve their ad targeting, and be more proactive with customer acquisition. They were also uncomfortable with the level of churn they were experiencing. So they called LeadGen.com partner Tyrone Matheson Group, and asked for help.
TMG's powerful AI system was able to sift through the client's mountains of data, and identify two important customer types. The one that could be leveraged in their advertising program resulted in a 1500% increase in conversion rate. And the one that could be leveraged in their retention program resulted in a 4% reduction in defections. Not bad for three months' work.
The only true barrier-to-success is your imagination.
That, and maybe a lack of money. A recession. Or maybe competition. Or perhaps a teensy bit of incompetence. Or it could be that what you're trying to do is a bad idea.
Or maybe you just haven't talked to us yet.
Is your CRM holding your salespeople back?
Too often, the demands of your CRM prevent good sales performance. Whether it’s inhibiting the sales process because of unnecessary steps, or simply taking away productive sales time to fulfill Marketing’s need for data, your CRM may be hurting more than it’s helping. But you can turn this “necessary evil” into a “fundamental good” if you know what you’re doing.
A recruiting firm had over 75 open job requisitions, but they were struggling to fill more than 5-7 roles per month. So they called LeadGen.com partner Tyrone Matheson Group to see if they could help.
Using their proprietary AI tools, TMG quickly recognized that the problem wasn't a lack of candidates, it was inadequacies in the firm's prequalification process. The new solution that TMG implemented enabled the client to double the number of qualified candidates, increase job fills from 5-7 per month to over 20 per month, and increase revenues by over $100,000 per month - all in less than nine months.
Despite compensating customers for downtime and other service issues, a large telecommunications company was still experiencing a churn rate of over 24%. So they called in LeadGen.com partner Tyrone Matheson Group to see if they could help.
Using their powerful AI capabilities, TMG was able to develop a model that predicted who was likely to go to a competitor with a 90%+ accuracy. As a result, not only was the company able to reduce churn by 4%, but they were able to reduce the cost of saving a customer - from an average of $750 per save to under $500. They also improved their retention probability for these customers, from a low 25% to an astounding 45%, all resulting in a $346 million increase in retained annual revenue.
A European consulting company wanted to open up the US market, but they couldn't get any traction. Despite great credentials and references, they were hemorrhaging money, and running out of time.
By the time LeadGen.com got the call, the company had worked every contact, and tried every technique they knew. But we had one they didn't know about - and used it to get them in at C-Level with over a dozen of their key prospects.
Five 6-figure deals over the next six months assured their foothold in the US market, and an end to their frustration.
A mid-sized metals manufacturer was getting lots of sales opportunities from their #telemarketing program. But they were losing deals left and right, because a PE-funded competitor was #bidding below cost in order to buy market share.
So not only was the manufacturer losing when they bid for new business, they were losing house accounts who demanded that they lower their price, too. With their profitability under threat, the company was on the edge of bankruptcy. What happened next:
At LeadGen.com, we know how to fight a price war. We showed the client how to announce to the world that they'd "meet comp." And every time a bid went out, we showed them how to ask for last look.
Within two weeks, the competitor backed off their price war. And by the next quarter, the PE firm had sold the competitor off - at a fire-sale price!
Prices quickly rose, and the manufacturer returned to profitability - and picked up 20% more market share following the demise of their competitor.
An real estate agency was generating over 1,200 leads a month for their ten agents, but they could only contact about 10%, or 120, of them per month - leaving a lot of money on the table. So they turned to LeadGen.com partner Tyrone Matheson Group.
After assessing their operation, TMG recommended the implementation of an automated engagement system. This allowed the agency to contact nearly 100% of their incoming leads in real time, which resulted in a 230% increase in revenue - without requiring any addition staff.