Over the past few months, we’ve spoken with a lot of business owners across all kinds of industries about lead generation and each company falls into one of just two categories.
There are those who are continuing to actively invest during the pandemic in a forward-thinking sales and marketing growth strategy and those who are standing pat and taking a wait-and-see stance, unsure about how they should be proceeding when the world business situation changes every day in response to forces that cannot be seen.
And we don’t actually mean money by using the term ‘invest,’ (although a little of that wouldn’t hurt). We’re talking about maintaining a dedication to an active digital marketing and sales program. Spending time and money to make this happen and then committing to it.
You can quickly guess which side we’re coming down on but not because we’re in marketing and sales … but because it’s just the smart thing to do.
Lead Generation and COVID-19 Stalled Planning
Right now, if the majority of your client businesses are in decline, or are being very, very cautious about expenditures, no amount of expert sale and marketing will suddenly magically change that. It may be that the biggest purpose a sales and marketing campaign can achieve right now is to get your company top of mind with your existing clients and future prospects so that when they start to get ‘back to normal,’ it’s your firm that they think of.
So what we’re talking about, at its heart, is creating top-of-mind consciousness among the buyers you can serve. Sounds simple. But, in practice, it’s not easy.
Building Recognition and Ongoing Awareness
Recognition building is an additive operation, with each ‘touch point’ building on the one before, slowly helping you rise to the top of the consciousness of your target buyers and decision-makers.
You need to employ an ongoing arsenal of activities using a number of platforms to do that. Email blasts, one-to-one emails, social media posts, digital advertising, phone calls, blog posts, handwritten notes, webinar invitations, gated content, virtual meetings etc., etc., With frequent and consistent activity being the real key.
But not heavily salesy or pushy! Remember, no amount of selling will help if the projects aren’t there, or if purchasing budgets are temporarily capped.
Frequency and consistency are essential. And the reason? You stop climbing up the potential purchaser’s consciousness as soon as you stop marketing. And your rivals, who have not stopped marketing, will keep climbing right above you. Keep reminding every customer that you still exist. Being able to stay at the forefront of people’s minds should be a top priority in your marketing strategy and lead generation strategy.
But recognition is not just about being known … it’s about being known for something. Which is what we’re going to look at next.
What Do You Want To Be Known For?
In a time when your company needs to be memorable, it’s not enough to just ‘get your name out there’, you need to become known for something specific.
For instance, a company should never just position itself as, let’s say, “a full-service software company in Kent,” but something like “a full-service software company in Kent specializing in financial solutions for medium to large-sized businesses.” That is the correct way to create awareness of what your company does that is different, and often encourages positioning and distinction without having to ‘say’ too much at all. This way your target audience is established as only people who fall into your niche will be interested and your existing customers can spread the word about your great services.
But you do need to back those claims up. For a minute, let’s go back to the list of strategies. If you’re in Kent with a full-service software company, then those strategies need to be about ‘financial company software.’ and very little else.
Your social posts should connect to articles about it, your emails, warm or cold, should refer to the blog posts you wrote about it, your webinars should concentrate on it and your sales reps at every level should be able to discuss it all at length.
Going even further, the knowledge you share should be broad without losing focus. Why your prospects need this software, sure, but also all the issues around such software, like budgeting, budget management, payroll issues and on and on…
So, this is all great for brand building, brand awareness and industry positioning. But there’s another big benefit, too, even in ‘pandemic times’ – lead generation. As you become – and remain – active with your ‘softer’ sales and marketing efforts you will attract plenty of potential future buyers for your firm because they will:
- Read, share and subscribe to your blog
- Subscribe to your newsletter
- Follow you on Twitter
- Follow your LinkedIn company profile
- Be more receptive to accepting your personal invitations to connect on LinkedIn with key personnel, including sales personnel.
- Sign up for your webinars
- Download your gated content
- Quote you as a respected source of knowledge
Any person who connects with you in any of the above ways is essentially saying “I’m interested in what you’re doing and what you’re talking about, even if I’m not in a position to buy right now.” In other words, they have become a sales lead.
Does that make them a ‘hot’ sales lead, automatically? No of course not. All of this is harder to achieve for small businesses. But during the pandemic, your business will be better off creating a list of potential customers – warm leads – who have shown some interest in what you are doing and with whom you have begun building relationships than do nothing at all and then try to compete blindly when your potential clients are ready to buy again.
Not Everyone Is Cutting Back…
All the work in the world has not dried up in the face of the global pandemic. Some economic sectors are modestly busy. There are those who are absolutely flourishing. Some are just now, in the latter half of this strange year, starting to feel confident enough in the future to start ramping things up.
And you’re not only staying top-of-mind with these customers by having a regular and consistent presence in the marketplace during the pandemic … you’re showing them that your business is active, involved, vibrant and thriving. That you are open for business and willing to serve them in whatever way they need, as soon as they need you.
Keep Abreast of Changing Business Models
One more thing to consider. Some businesses have pivoted and changed the way they operate – and the very things they do – in response to the changed market conditions that the coronavirus pandemic has brought about. Some businesses are now actually doing better than they were before because they changed with the times.
What does that mean for your lead generation efforts? Don’t assume you really know what the company does anymore. Businesses that may not have been a great fit for your products or services in the past may have changed enough that they are now. So keeping up with who’s who in your industry is a must.
All the things you want other people to do, you should be doing too. Reading blogs, LinkedIn articles, white papers, attending virtual conferences. By doing so you’ll gain a better understanding of who is active right now, who will be soon and what new players are now ‘in the game’. You’ll know, in other words, how to prioritize your lead generation efforts, now and in the future.
Now it is time to decide for you. In order to create more top-of-mind visibility, secure your position in your market and generate sales leads, even if they won’t be ripe for closing just yet, do you set up a regular and consistent sales, marketing and lead generation plan for the pandemic … or do you hunker down, go dark and hope things will get better in 2021? Not really much of a choice, is it?
Need help creating and executing your lead generation campaign? The Pearl Lemon Leads team are ready and waiting. Contact us today to discuss what we can do for you, even in these changed – and ever-changing – times.
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