During a recent cross-team share session, our head of business development proudly proclaimed we’ve gotten our call-to-meeting ratio down to about 100:1. It’s better than the industry average, and I was shocked.
All those leads that we worked diligently to generate, those thousands of contact forms filled out in exchange for awesome ebooks and infographics… all of that translates to a tiny handful of qualified prospects.
It’s clearer now than ever that lead gen – as a field – desperately needs help. Sure, we can keep plugging away with the brutal 5-25 qualified leads per thousand generated ratios we’ve all learned to live with, but why should we? We’re innovators living in the Age of Information. We can do better!
The problem, it seems, is that we never quite got past the “blast and capture” model heralded in by the first wave of inbound buzz. Make content! People like content! the thinking went, and since then, we’ve been chugging along thinking that if we can just make that ebook good enough, if we get our design just right, we’ll get different, better results.
What was it Einstein said about insanity?
The point I want to make is that it doesn’t have to be this way. We live in the midst of a big data revolution that has, of course, given us more data. But, more importantly, we’ve also gotten the ability to use the data we already have differently.
What we need to do is take a step back and look at the one piece of data everyone has but no one looks at: our current customers. They – and their contact data – hold insights that can help us save our whole process from the mediocrity it’s settled into. Assuming you have a tool to keep contact data accurate, it’s easy to discover new ebook / whitepaper topics, get better, more granular insight into exactly which audiences we should target, more effective targeting strategies… the sky’s the limit.
And all from a few measly fields in a database you already have.
What’s Hiding Inside Your CRM
Every customer field in your CRM is filled with info you can use. Obviously, the [Name], [Phone] and [Email] fields provide personalization, delivery, and Lookalike (or Audience Expansion) options, but let’s face it, you’re already doing that. And while phone numbers can be useful for a location-based analysis (done through area-code matching), it won’t really move the needle unless you’re missing a large NYC or LA population.
Instead, focus on the [Title] and [Company] fields. These data-rich fields offer a variety of directions and can, in some way, speak to every step of your lead-gen process.
● Sorting this data by [Title] offers insight on the most common roles of your customers. Knowing this, you’re able to determine who exactly are your most valuable targets, how your product/service answers one of their pain-points, the kinds of premium content they’d be most likely to engage in, and the channels they’re most engaged on. Then, you can compare all of this info with preference and trend data identified by Google Analytics and build out something targeted and impactful.
● Sorting the data by [Company] offers a breakdown of applicable industries, allowing for simple gap analysis into who should be your customers but aren’t while also highlighting ideal company types within the industries you touch the most.
But the insight doesn’t stop there. By combining and sorting the two in different ways, you’ll also discover that:
● Common roles + common industries draws a bullseye on exactly where your messaging can potentially the biggest impact. By understanding this, you can tailor your messaging or build campaigns that reach the right customer-bases in uncharted industries.
● Common industries + missing companies allows for the development of channel and business-based hypotheses about the exceptions to your successes. These hypotheses typically lead to channel, messaging, and targeting innovations that help you to close any gaps discovered in your analysis.
● Common industries + current companies allows you to understand why and where your messaging has been successful. Using data like this, you can deep dive into the relationship between your messaging and the kinds of businesses it’s impacting and, ultimately replicate results and maximize gains on your highest performing channels.
Building Your New Lead Gen Machine
Once you’ve considered and explored and tweaked and understood, it’s time to get to the fun part: building new, more effective lead gen campaigns.
Here’s a short list of ways to use the data you’ve uncovered to move the needle:
● Messaging: Because you now exactly the kind of person that uses your product (and, by that, I mean you know who they are, where they work, what they do there, how they interact with social media, what kinds of CTAs they’re most likely to interact with), you can edit your lead gen campaigns accordingly.
● Premium Content: Same as above. Now that you have a solid idea of who you’re trying to attract and how they can be attracted, revise that premium content so it feels like it was made just for them. With the info you have, you can even build a two-pronged campaign per persona / segment: one targeted toward those who are like the audience you currently have and one targeted toward significant outliers identified in your analysis.
● Distribution Channels: Because you now have a much more targeted approach to your ideal personas, a little bit of research in Google Analytics (and across Google at large) will give you a much better sense of how to deliver premium content to drum up leads.
● Targeting: Based on the data you’ve received, you have the opportunity to run 2 types of targeted campaigns much more likely to convert than “sales people in tech companies”:
○ Lookalikes of people most likely to become your customers (based on your role/industry analysis)
○ Micro-targeted campaigns toward decision-makers who should be using you but aren’t.
For either, simply upload the appropriate emails as lookalike audiences in Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn, and you’ll ensure you’re delivering to exactly the people most likely to give your product a try.
So yes, we can do more with lead gen without making huge, costly purchases of this or that predictive analytics dashboard, and we can do it with information we already have. All it takes is a little commitment, a little time, and faith in the fact that lead gen can and should be more than it is: more scientific, more targeted, and ultimately more effective.