Small Business Lead Nurturing Success Case Study

If you’re an entrepreneur, part of a small marketing department, or a one-man marketing department, then you know it can be tough to get everything you need to get done accomplished.

Your experience, current thought, and even marketing experts will tell you that small companies, with limited budgets and resources, can be challenged to keep up. Prevalent thinking is that they can’t, and in fact shouldn’t even try. But keep reading – because we’re dispelling that myth once and for all!

If you’re interested in driving revenue, and using the internet to help, then you’re doubly challenged to figure out WHAT among all of the different tactics, are the RIGHT ones for you. Because if you don’t get it right, then you’re just going to waste your time, and still not get the results you’re after. And that supports what the “experts” are saying, and leading you to believe.

Meet Margaret Johnson, a one-woman marketing department for a $10 million dollar-a-year consulting company, and learn how she has solved the problem of keeping her company top-of-mind with customers and prospects, funneling sales-ready leads to her sales force. Learn how they landed one of the largest companies in her geography, and are delighting them and staying top-of-mind.

Here’s the part you’ll really love: She spends only ONE DAY A WEEK managing it all!

And you could too…

There were two critical things that were causing Margaret’s organization pain – not knowing whether her in-person events would have anyone attending them, and how to stay top-of-mind when prospects weren’t ready for a sales conversation when someone from Sales contacted them.

In today’s fast-paced world, it’s not good enough to meet with someone who’s not currently interested in what you’re selling, and putting a tickle in your system to contact them again in 6 months. Even if that’s what they tell you. It’s likely that their situation could change on a moments notice, and if you’re not in their thinking, you will not get the deal.

After being bombarded with media, emails, and news about how you’ve got to be present in social media, Margaret set up a Facebook Fan page and a Twitter account. She already had a blog, and the company website to also manage. She found herself trying to remember where she needed to post content and update things.

Margaret was quickly getting overwhelmed. How could she really implement effective marketing efforts that would generate leads, nurture them well, and contribute to the bottom line growth goals of her organization?

Margaret started to map out everything. She had a blog, and that had an RSS Feed. She found a way to update her Twitter account based on the RSS feed from her blog. She also hooked up that RSS feed to her Facebook Fan page. But now, how could she generate more leads, and stay top-of-mind? That only relieved her from figuring out how to manage two of the social media aspects of things.

She realized that she could segment her RSS feeds and publish them to her website, effectively adding content to her critical pages that needed to be refreshed on a regular basis. And people could subscribe to her RSS feeds and get updates via email. There were some tools, that provide this specific ability – but then the people who sign up through those vehicles are kept in that system, with the opt-out and bad email information, rather than in her lead database where she could see how they are responding to the emails and also trigger appropriate event invitations. So using a point-tool like that wasn’t a solution – it only added more work.

Margaret was using a marketing automation toolset, and she realized that she could use an RSS feed capability from her marketing automation system to define her blog feed, and then publish them to her website. She could also set up emails, within that same toolset that pulled from those RSS feeds, so she could send emails to the contacts that wanted email updates, if there was any new content available from the feeds. If there wasn’t, then no emails would be sent. She realized she could set up her emails one time, set them to go out every 14 days, and they’d automatically pull fresh content from the feeds she identified for each email.

Best of all, implementing her “system” in this way, ensured that ALL the leads, and their responses to her marketing, were all in one place – so she could score the leads as well as segment them even further based on how they responded, not only to the emails, but on what materials they have downloaded from her website, which pages they have viewed, and which events they’ve attended. She set up nurturing sequences (a set of timed emails) that trigger based on a lead’s response to any number of specific lead activities. She now has emails going out every 14 days to her leads, plus other nurturing sequences that can be triggered based upon a lead’s activity.

The value of keeping her leads in a single database, and tracking their activities — and then having the tools available that allowed her to automate her marketing efforts, has literally saved her from adding another full time marketing person to her staff to help implement and manage their marketing efforts.

How’s it going? She is getting positive feedback from customers and her sales folks – because her company is top-of-mind, and closing more business! She is able to quantify her contribution to her company’s growth.

Small Business Lead Generation: How It Works?

The process of small business lead generation essentially operates on a cyclical basis, wherein new leads are generated, contacted and converted to sales. Some of these clients are retained for the upcoming period of time after their contract expires, while others leave. Hence, it’s important that the lead generation activities need to happen continuously, so that the leads keep coming in and these fluctuations don’t have much of a detrimental effect on business.

Essentially, it has been observed that effective small business lead generation has the potential to shorten the cycle and also lead to better quality of leads. The most important aspect of ensuring this is to understand that the first contact is not sufficient to ensure sales. Hence, one needs to continuously keep at it. However, this depends on whether the lead in question is hot or cold. Quite obviously, one needs to pursue hot leads more fervently, and filter out cold leads completely from the system. This can either be executed by experienced professionals, or by maintaining a log of the feedback received from the different kinds of prospects, which can then be monitored either by an experienced team leader, or by the team together.

One more aspect that organizations are particularly wary of in terms of small business lead generation is that getting quality leads is often an expensive proposition, whether one tries to procure the same from an external party or pushes the sales team to accomplish the objective. Compared to getting a cold or warm lead, finding a hot lead is a lot more time and resource-consuming. However, it’s absolutely worth the effort, when one sees it purely from the perspective of return on investment, since it shortens the span of time it takes from the initial contact to sale. Hence, one needs to ensure that all these points are taken care of in every lead generation campaign, for phenomenal results.

The next criterion is the place mix, which talks about the location at which the product is being introduced. This is equally important as the rest of the lot, since the place at which the product is introduced is of paramount importance. One can’t hope to sell raincoats in a desert, or half sleeved T-shirts in a snowy province! Lastly, the promotion mix in small business lead generation refers to the kind of promotional tactics are used to sell the product.

The appropriate combination of all these would virtually guarantee success for any product or service.

How Can Small Business Lead Generation Help Your Business

Marketing a business is quite a task, and it’s not possible for everyone to be an expert at it. And when it comes to small business lead generation, the proposition gets even more complicated, since the organization is not known, and probably has to take head-on competition from established brands. In this regard, a majority of the organizations choose to take the assistance of specialist agencies that have proficiency in these operations.

These agencies help companies achieve their desired objective, and there are many benefits of this kind of an initiative, the first one being the fact that the organization can stay assured that experts are working on its campaign. This obviates the need for hiring specialized staff, which is more often than not, quite expensive. On the other hand, doing small business lead generation via outsourcing helps in getting an estimate cost for every lead, which is the best possible proposition for a small enterprise, as it gives an accurate figure of how much needs to be spent to achieve the desired business objective. Thus, the business does not have to go on a wild goose chase, and can instead focus on bettering its offering.

Also, the organization can sort its leads in a better manner, since specialist agencies provide accurate and detailed statistics, segregating the leads into hot, warm or cold leads. In this regard, half of the job is already done, and businesses just need to act upon the leads that are most likely to be converted. Also, small business lead generation via a specialist agency helps in finding out which kind of media is delivering better results than the next, so that the business knows where it has to pump in more investment to get better results. All in all, partnering with a reliable firm is an extremely beneficial step for all kinds of small enterprises.

However, just because qualifying the call is a very important aspect of the process does not mean that one should jump directly into it. It’s essential to understand the stage at which one should attempt the same. Ideally, the first stage of a sales call is about introducing oneself and talking about the product. Once that has been taken care of, the salesperson needs to begin probing the prospect, with regards to checking how much interest has been generated. The introduction stage during small business lead generation is essentially all about telling the other person why the call was made, and it is very important that the prospect is made to feel that he/she was handpicked from a list simply because the product or service being offered caters to his/her needs.

Small Business Lead Generation – Why Spamming and Cold Calling Does Not Work

Every small business is the proverbial Needle in the Haystack, so small business lead generation is critical to an entrepreneur’s survival and the growth of his/her small business. The thing that most entrepreneurs forget, though, is that it is a lot easier to turn a prospect or lead into a customer if the lead calls you versus when you call them. It cracks me up when I hear titles of articles, seminars, or books about how to “Make Effective Cold Calls” or how to “Warm Up Cold Calls”. In the past decade (through two recessions, mind you,) I’ve built a total of four multi-million dollar businesses from scratch, and none of that revenue was ever generated from any “cold call”. In fact, I’ve had over 405 of the Fortune 500 companies become clients, and they have all called or emailed my companies. They searched my companies out when they had a problem instead of us trying to find people within these companies that were facing the specific problems that we could solve. These are a few of the secrets that we have uncovered to help small businesses generate more leads (and more quality leads).

Cold Calls do not Work at All in a Digital Age

Cold calls, email spam, blast faxes, pop-up windows, forced “opt-in” subscribers and the like just don’t work in this digital age (I’m not sure any of them ever worked very well for very long). The ones that crack me up the most are the companies that send out blast email spam guaranteeing us that they can get our website to the top of Google in 48 hours. Seriously? Do you think that if they could actually do this that they would be wasting their time spamming millions of people trying to beg someone to buy their service? Last month, there were 165,000 people who went to Google and searched for the term “Google search optimization”. If they could get to the top of Google with just that one term, they would have about two million people potential leads coming to them every year. So why would they need to spam people? If you are so good at what you do, why are you spamming me? Why are you cold calling me? Why are you trying to force me to subscribe to your newsletter? The truth is that cold calling and spamming people shows desperation, not success.

Get Potential Leads to Call You to Turn more Leads into Customers

The internet is the great equalizer for small businesses. Big businesses have websites, but their bureaucracy forces them to move very slowly in implementing new technology and captivating on new opportunities. However, nimble small businesses can capitalize on these opportunities immediately. It is actually very easy to get to the top of a Google search result. It is very difficult, however, to stay there. In fact, it is a fulltime job. But it is a very lucrative fulltime job. Logically, this is why this is your most important goal for your small business. When someone has a question, where do they go for an answer now? In decades past, if you had a challenge or a question, you might ask a friend or coworker or if it was a really big problem, you might go to the library and search for an answer. Today, though, people go immediately to Google. The listings at the top of the first page have a lot more credibility than the ones on the second, third, or four-hundredth.

If your small business is listed at the top of the results when they enter their question, and then they click through to your website and get the answer to that question, your small business is now at the top of their short-list for solution providers. If they call you or email you, you automatically have about a 25% chance or so of turning that lead into a client. In contrast, if your small business is listed at the top of page two on Google, in order to have someone contact you, they will have already looked at listings from at least 10 other competitors. Most potential customers will not be that thorough, so you will generate fewer leads, and now, since you are competing with at least ten other competitors, your percentage of closing drops to below 10%.

Get Leads to Call You by Giving Away Something that They Need or Want

What is common knowledge to you is uncommon to most people. Remember that your expertise and knowledge is extremely valuable to people who are searching on Google for answers as in the previous example. So if you can help them answer the question – and really help them in the process – they are more likely to share with you their contact information. Once they do, you now know two things about them. First, you know that they have (or had) a specific problem that you can help them solve. Second, you know that they already know who you are and trust has started to develop from them that you are an expert in your industry.

What you give away doesn’t have to be costly, but it must be valuable. Costly means that it doesn’t have to cost you anything to give it away. For instance, if you have a lot of informational content on your blog, then you might ask people to register in order to conduct a search of your blog for specific topics. Or, you might give away a special report or access to a video or audio file with information that a prospect might need. For example, if you are a dentist, you might offer a video about how to teach a three-year-old to brush properly. Anyone who requests the free information will likely have a young child and be concerned about the child’s oral health. Whatever the gift, just make sure that your costs are low and the value of the item is high from the customer’s perspective.

So forget the cold calls and spam, use your website to get more leads to call you, and then use a high-valued free gift to encourage prospects to contact you, and you will generate great success through small business lead generation.