There are not many sales managers or marketers that wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and say “Let’s conduct some webinars, attend trade shows, and place some ads in a few trade magazines this week." What sales manager and marketers do wake up and say to themselves, is “let’s get more leads."
Lead generation strategies should be taken as a portfolio so that the overall lead generation efforts can be gauged, new methods explored, and the mix modified over time based on the effectiveness of each method. The focus should be on overall lead generation and not a single tactic. It’s often said, “You get what you focus on, so focus on what you want.” This makes me think that sales managers and lead generation marketers should be investing their time and efforts focusing on overall lead generation portfolio than focusing on just one or two specific tactics.
While this approach to having a portfolio of lead generation tools might be new to some, the concept of diversification and portfolio management has been used by investment advisors for decades as a strategy to minimize risk and maximize returns for their clients. After all, isn’t that what a good lead generation strategy does—minimizes risk (and investment) and maximizes return (ROI)?
Being able to focus on the entire “lead generation mix” gives sales managers greater flexibility to try new tactics and to move away from those that are not providing as much of a return as they had in the past. If the overall goal is to get more leads, the lead generation portfolio approach is a smart approach to get more leads.
Balancing the Lead Generation Mix to Get More Leads
As a former financial analyst for a Fortune 500 company, I can remember learning about portfolio analysis. It was much more sophisticated than not putting all of your eggs in one basket. Investment advisors regularly balance their client’s portfolios, investing in higher growth areas and reducing investments in areas where growth is slowing or not returning an acceptable rate of return. A similar approach to lead generation, focusing on balancing the lead generation mix and the overall lead count, can have positive effects on the overall business strategy.
With technology and the buying cycle changing more rapidly than ever, sales managers and lead generation experts looking to generate more leads need to be more agile than their predecessors and be able to change their sales tactics rather quickly. No longer can you go through several budget cycles with a decrease in leads without a change in tactics. Having several new tactics that you are exploring can help to offset areas where leads have started to decrease (like the Yellow Pages).
The Transition from the Yellow Pages to Getting More Leads from New Sources
10 years ago there were many companies in a wide range of industries that generated quite a few leads from yellow page ads and counted on that to make their budgets each month. When sales managers and marketers saw that these leads started to drop off, they realized they needed to find another lead source to help make up for the shortfall. Sales managers with the foresight to be testing and exploring new lead sources like social media and digital marketing were able to continue to make their budget despite a major shift in the way they were generating their leads.
Without taking a portfolio approach to lead generation it’s difficult for sales manager to understand which sources are improving in quality and should be invested in more heavily and which methods have become out-of-date and should be shut down. Focus on the entire lead generation portfolio vs. specific tactics in isolation and you can be sure to get more leads this next quarter.