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The CMO’s Guide to bionic leads

Posted by David Quigley on July 23, 2014

If you’ve ever experienced late-night television, where they replay old shows from the ‘70s through the ‘90s, perhaps you’ll recall “The Six Million Dollar Man.” It was a story based on an astronaut who was injured in an accident and the subsequent $6 million operation to replace both of his legs, his right arm and his left eye all with state-of-the-art bionics. The implants enhance his strength, speed and vision far above human norms: He can run at speeds of 60 mph, his eye has a 20:1 zoom lens and infrared capabilities, and his bionic limbs all have super-human power. Oddly enough, while watching, I started thinking about lead generation techniques. That’s right, “bionic” leads.

What is it that keeps CMOs up late at night? One of the top challenges that marketing executives across industries have identified is the need for bigger, stronger, faster leads. There seems to be an overabundance of sources out there that speak about lead generation techniques and, more recently, digital lead generation. But do they provide the insights that CMOs need to effect change? Marketing leaders need to not only create more leads, but also make sure that they are the quality leads that will convert and get them the ultimate results desired.

So how do you increase leads? If you have $6 million to invest, that would be a great start. Most marketers will not have that size budget to deal with, much less one that is solely dedicated to building a stronger, faster lead machine. Surprisingly, there are only a few lead generation techniques that marketers can execute which can quickly increase the quantity of leads coming in. Many tactics are better suited for converting leads versus true lead generation. Marketing leaders would benefit greatest from concentrating on building a lead generation machine that both increases the quantity and quality of leads.

The path to enlightenment should start with a wholehearted look at what is not working, or what could be improved. This is also the hardest starting point for marketers. All too often, marketing executives are simply unwilling to admit that their current lead generation system is not as effective as they think it is. Many wear rose-colored glasses and comment on what is working well rather than where things could be improved. Even more fail to look at things from the perspective of a prospect. One of the best ways to uncover opportunities for change and optimization is from a third-party assessment. Having an outside evaluation performed by experts who can look at the marketing communications through all channels, from a customers’ perspective, is one of the best ways to evaluate where a brand currently stands. The assessment should uncover any gaps, disconnects and missed opportunities in the customer experience. This also should be a personalized effort, as no two organizations are exactly the same. A good third-party assessment will not only complete a thorough evaluation, it should also offer customized recommendations tailored to your particular organization.

The next step would be to use the outside assessment discoveries and develop a strategy to direct where the “bionics” should be implemented. Which lead generation techniques will work best for you? A good strategy moving forward is to always keep in mind that there are multiple goals to be met. An increase in leads is not the only goal. While developing a strategy to increase the quantity, also consider techniques that will improve the quality of those leads. Every part of the system should work together to complement the other pieces. While more leads are entering the sales funnel, tactics to qualify those leads should be simultaneously applied. What stage of development are the leads segmented into? Is the lead ready for immediate conversion? Perhaps it is not and needs to be put into a nurturing program to be cultivated for future conversion. What about those leads that do not initially qualify? How are they being handled?

Once the bionics have been implemented, there should be ample testing to make sure that every piece is optimized and working to its fullest potential. Analytics and metrics should be monitored to set a control, or baseline of performance. Data needs to be utilized in conjunction with ongoing behaviors to automatically adjust communications for peak performance. The lead generation machine you build should run smoothly as long as the schematics were correct when you started. Remember, if one part is not working correctly, it’s just a matter of time before the whole thing ultimately shuts down.

So you want bionic leads? Why not start with the first step: a third-party expert assessment. 

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Topics: CMO

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