By Kara Brown, CEO, LeadCoverage.

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Every day, I witness businesses (or the marketing agencies they work with) overcomplicating their lead generation process with unnecessary jargon or some fancy formula. 

It doesn’t have to be that hard. 

After years in the industry, I’m an expert, and I think it’s pretty simple. Lead gen equals the sum of three steps:

1. Share good news.

2. Track who’s interested.

3. Follow up.

That’s it.

Yet what I see most often is that midmarket, small and midsize businesses, and business-to-business companies have missed one of these crucial steps. Though simple, the equation requires all three components, and you can’t weigh one more than another.

Let’s break down each of those lead gen steps further.

1. Share good news.

By “good news,” I mean anything interesting to your ideal customer. This could be industry recognition, favorable public relations mentions, a new offering, or a testimonial and customer success case study demonstrating how you helped that client.

It’s important to note here that the good news you share needs to be hyper-targeted to active, potential customers. It’s far better to send something focused to a small, segmented group than it is to send something general en masse to your entire network.

It should also be something that your existing and prospective customers (not just you) would deem valuable. Telling someone how great your company is isn’t enough; you need to help them understand how you can make their life or business better.

Be strategic and intentional with what you choose to share and with whom. Remember, this is lead gen, not your holiday newsletter.

2. Track who’s interested.

If the road to revenue is paved with buying signals, it not only makes sense to track them, it’s essential. And today, that’s easier to do than ever.

Before the pandemic, we used to go to trade shows and collect 100 business cards. Then we’d follow up and hope to close with five. But now, one-hour webinars have replaced three-day in-person events. The silver lining of the pivot to a fully digital experience is that everyone is leaving a trail of breadcrumbs everywhere they go. And that digital footprint makes it much easier (and faster) to understand who’s interested.

Kudos to Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and others in the customer relationship management world for giving companies a way to see how existing and potential customers have been communicated with, what piqued their interest and their purchase history. Combined with marketing tools like ActiveCampaign, Hyperspots and others, the democratization of intent data allows even the smallest of companies to track the response to their services and offerings.

3. Follow up.

Once you’ve shared your good news and tracked who’s interested, you must now follow up. Though it seems straightforward, this is the stage where things tend to fall apart.

In the enterprise world, this is often referred to as “sales and marketing alignment.” In the small and medium-sized businesses, it’s even simpler: “Get and close deals.” Regardless, everyone needs to be marching to the same beat and understand that A + B + C = revenue. It’s a big challenge when companies try to separate this piece from the rest of the process. 

However, even if you have a team of salespeople, they’re often pulled into account management roles, away from their strength: closing deals. Very few companies have utilized virtual call centers to assist them. In the days before Covid-19, this was fine, but this is a liability in a pandemic. As in-person selling and closing opportunities have vanished, many companies’ sales have suffered. Shifting to a digital model and having a virtual team of sales development and business development representatives can help your company think differently about this crucial step in the lead gen process. The digital environment is here to stay, and those who see this as an opportunity will win.

Let’s stop calling it the “sales team” and start referring to it as the “follow-up team.” After all, there is no sales versus marketing; we’re all one team with one goal: revenue.

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Roland Millaner