As most anyone in manufacturing knows, an effective lead development system is an essential component of industrial marketing success. This is true because in any marketplace a minority of prospects are ready to buy right now. More significantly, even if you are fortunate enough to reach prospects at the earliest stages of their buying processes, buying cycles tend to be very long in the in the industrial market space.
Effective lead development allows you to maintain top-of-the-mind awareness while your prospects move through the various stages of their buying processes. It is very important to be mindful that effective lead development goes well beyond sending out a series of emails to your prospects. For best results you need a methodical and well thought-out lead development system.
By using the following three steps in your lead development you will dramatically improve your results.
Think first about what is of value
The first step in creating a successful lead development system for your company is to give some thought to matching your content to the typical challenges faced by your prospects whenever they are considering making a purchase. The key point here is producing content for the sake of content is a total waste of time and will create little, if any, value. The major consideration in content creation must always be that it is focused on helping your prospects solve their most pressing problems.
Use a multi-modal approach
Once you have determined how you will create valuable content the second step is to consider how you will deliver your content. When delivering your content you need to use a multi-modal approach for best results. Wherever possible take the time to combine virtual and physical media. For example, you can combine email with direct mail. Alternately you can combine downloadable MP3 versions of podcasts with physical CDs you mail.
Avoid the temptation to discount the effectiveness of using offline methods. Remember that email, while obviously a very important and free mode of communication, can easily be ignored by your prospects. I remain a big fan of direct mail and with decreasing mail volumes direct mail I believe it is more noticeable than ever.
Speak with your prospects on a regular basis as they work through their challenges
Once you have produced your content and selected your delivery modes there is one more critical element. You must integrate the telephone into the mix. If you are in an industry with a particularly long buying cycle, say more than six months to a year, you need to be making follow-up calls (at minimum) on a bi-monthly basis. I would encourage you to seriously consider calling on a monthly basis.
When calling be certain that each of your calls is adding value to the information you have been sending out to your prospects. During these calls be certain to ask your prospects if they have any questions about the content you have been sending and take the time to clarify and expand your content. At the conclusion of your call be certain to schedule your next follow up call with your prospect. If you have truly built value during your call they will truly be looking forward to your next call.