How do you define a hot lead?

May 22, 2009 at 12:32 pm 5 comments

“If you ain’t dialin’, I ain’t smilin’.”

“Fill the pipeline and sort it out later.”

“All leads are good leads.”

We’ve heard them all before. Most people (and seemingly all of my past bosses) equate number of leads with quality of leads. Go to a trade show, have a giveaway contest in the booth, collect 3,000 leads, and consider the show an unparalleled success. Unfortunately, once the smoke clears and the afterglow of the show has passed, you soon realize that those 3,000 leads were nothing more than “trick or treaters” looking for a freebie to take back home. After spending six months chasing down all 3,000 leads, you discover that only 35 of them are actual revenue-generating customers, and only half of them are ready to make a purchase decision. In the end, you’ve spent $100,000 on a trade show that netted 12 customers and generated $150,000 in sales. Take into consideration all the efforts to get the booth ready, manning the booth, and time that the salespeople were out of the field, and suddenly you find yourself in a conversation with your manager about cutting back the number of shows your company attends next year.

The problem, of course, is not the show. Rather, it’s the way you pre-define prospects, leads, and customers. For every marketing program — whether it’s a trade show, advertising campaign, webinar, etc.— you need to have a game plan before, during, and after the event. You need to take the time to fully understand the customers, the needs of those customers, the sales process (see my “Lily pad” marketing entry for more info on nurturing a prospect into a customer), the messages that will resonate with customers in a differentiating manner, and the most effective medium with which to communicate. Complicated? Absolutely, but not on the rocket science level. Effective? Without a doubt.

I’ve helped many companies and clients with their lead generation needs (here’s a success story from my website), so if you’re looking for someone to help you, give me a shout.

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Entry filed under: Best Practices, Lead Generation, Leadership & Management, LinkedIn, Marketing, Marketing Campaigns, Marketing Communications, Messaging, Raising Awareness, Sales, Sales Tools, Strategy, Trade Shows, Word of Mouth Marketing. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Lead generation success story The true meaning of Memorial Day

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Terri Zezula  |  May 22, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Great posting, David! Lead generation at trade shows is truly an art! “Real” leads, the ones we consider qualified, are almost always a fraction of the attendees in our booth. But the biggest impact may not be measurable – brand awareness, not to be underestimated and definitley part of the overall plan. Also, when you DON’T show up for a show that you typically attend, it’s amazing how many people will notice your absence!

  • 2. davidducic  |  May 22, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Terri!

    Excellent points. Trade shows are definitely an up-close-and-personal opportunity to direct brand the company, which can carry a lot of clout. This is a great example of how pre-determining your goals can help define success. If you added, say, brand awareness goals to the plan, and tied brand awareness to revenue opportunities, it could go a long way to measuring a more complete ROI.

  • 3. Ian Cluroe  |  May 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I’ve attended dozens of software vendor-focused tradeshows over the years. I’d say that 75% of the value of those types of events are the connections you make with the vendors’ salespeople while you’re on site.

    And, to the extent you’re able to identify who’s attending the tradeshow before you go — or even help drive that attendance amongst your clients — you can add even more qualified opportunities.

  • 4. Promotional Products  |  May 26, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    Very true, sometimes the massive amount of leads can be misleading. However, if you have a giveaway, you are still getting your product and name out to the consumer so there can be a residual benefit.

  • 5. Get the most out of your trade shows «  |  June 14, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    […] an earlier blog entry I discuss how to identify and focus on hot leads instead of sheer quantity. Just remember that all […]

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