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Email and Telephonic Follow Up: Lead Gen’s Classic One-Two Punch
While everyone wants leads, not everyone wants to pick up the phone. It’s quite common for Sales (with a capital S = those good folks who are dedicated to securing new business) to not want to bother with making cold calls unless the lead is a notch or two above the “Cold” status (capital C = don’t waste my time). At the very least, multi-channel lead-gen campaigns should soften the beaches and qualify that first Sales call (be it phone or appointment) as one that is potentially productive.
Multi-channel lead qualification takes place in the trenches, isn’t necessarily all that sexy and is a TCOB type of activity. It requires the careful coordination of several tried and true B2B marketing tactics (direct mail, email marketing, web landing page) with a skilled and dedicated telephonic team that is equipped to make the ice-cold calls that Sales doesn’t want to make. This careful coordination requires planning and, to the extent possible, the ability to automate all b2b marketing tactics that are baked into campaign execution. Automation allows you to set a cadence of touches (email, direct mail, telephonic follow-up, nurture email, etc.) and removes the burden of planning the next activity. It’s important to remember that no matter how perfectly planned your lead-gen campaign is, it may not be the silver bullet that puts an end to your lead gen woes.
Here are few important things to consider when preparing the campaign and keep in mind as it progresses.
Metrics matter, but email is a premise to start the conversation. Email is a great lead generation tactic, because, unlike direct mail, there is instant access to measure the open rate and click-thru activity. When used as the first tactic in the campaign, its main purpose (in addition to setting the tone and introducing the value proposition) is to provide a conversation starter for the telephonic team. Once a conversation takes place, email gives the potential lead a method to follow up and get more information.
Personalize the message. Whether you’re using email or direct mail (or both) personalizing the message to the recipient is a must. Make sure and take advantage of the variable fields in your email creation and distribution program to pull the contact name from the database. Variable print is not quite as easy to accomplish but if you have a print vendor with those capabilities then by all means use them.
Create a compelling call-to-action and landing page. Know your audience and what matters to them, and in your direct marketing make an offer that entices them to take the next step. If the next step is visting a landing page or website, then make sure that the landing page continues the story and offers even more compelling content (product video, white papers, etc.). Make sure a “request more info” form is readily available to provide an opportunity for conversion outside of the calling efforts.
Take time to train the telephonic team. Proper script developmment and subsequent subject matter training will go a long way toward giving your telephonic team the tools to carry on intelligent conversations with prospects. Recordings of calls should be made early in the process to see if tweaks are needed to the call script.
Promptly follow up on leads. It may seem obvious, but the ability to follow up in a timely manner is critical to success. Studies have shown that prompt follow-up (if possible within the first week) increases the success rate dramatically. Timely follow-up keeps the conversation relevant and prevents competitors from stepping in and winning the business while there is an opportunity to be had.