Senior Lead Generation: an increasingly difficult task.
Senior lead generation has becoming more and more difficult over time. On the other hand, we cannot expect to survive on word of mouth alone, unless we built our referral network over time.
What if we are just starting out?
Another key aspect to senior lead generation is timeliness. Not only we need to reach a lead, we need to do it just at the right time.
Successuful senior lead generation can be very expensive
There are indeed many companies that offer very costly packages.
Often they offer us no guarantees other than we will speak to someone within of our designated target group after paying a significant amount of money for their senior lead generation services.
This immediately impacts our customer acquisition cost. Thus, squeezing our margins.
It may represent a route to follow only if we sell high value products or services.
In other words, we can afford to delegate senior lead generation only if the cost of the service is a sustainable percentage of the lifetime value of our typical customer.
As a rule of thumb a business should be at least “sustainable” if the average Customer Acquisition Cost does not exceed a third of the average Lifetime Value of our Customers.
It’s a rule of thumb so please use with a pinch of salt.
Set carefully your senior lead generation budget
We also have to factor in our senior lead conversion rate.
If in every ten meetings we schedule we successfully end up signing a new client, the cost of that meeting should not exceed one thirtieth of the expected Lifetime Value for that customer.
Clearly, we need to account for the other nine failed meetings.
This dramatically affects the whole lead generation process. All boils down to whether your expeted sales to a typical customer averages 500€, 5000€ or €50,000+. As a result, we have some boundaries and budget definition to stick to.
In the first case, we can afford to spend just over €15 per lead!
At the high end of the scale €1500 per meeting is our approximate top budget. This may sounds a lot, until you realise you might have to book transport, hotel and meals for a team of 3 attendees in another city.
Whichever your business, define your budget for senior lead generation.
If you can’t find a third party service or advertisement strategy to reach your goal, your daunting question will remain.
How can you implement a succesful senior lead generation strategy?
A strategy that will allow you for example to reach top level managers and stir a reaction in them to take you past that first meeting or call and walk you to a closing a new deal?
It sounds like a difficult mission, senior managers and decision makers are bombarded by people approaching them to sell them their products or services.
How do you stand out?
Branding and pre-suasion: paving the way for senior lead generation and conversion
Ask yourself a simple question: how do your potential customers see you before you approach to them? Do they even know something about you? Do they know the company you work for?
Most of the hard work starts well before approaching customers, and not once you finally scheduled a meeting.
As a consequence, you must look and be the part and look appropriate for them and the work environment you operate within.
The word “norm” originates from “standard” and there is no excuse for not complying to the norms, or standards, of your sector.
If you are in fashion or music you may well have your distinctive style. If you are a new-wave enterpreneur in the Sylicon Valley a T-shirt and Jeans will probably do.
On the other hand, if you are in the corporate word, especially in Europe, you may be better off having a professional photo taken of you for your social profile, wear a shirt and most probably a tie to look professional.
Another level to this “role-playing” is to ask yourself whether you have worked on yourself as a brand?
Yes you heard me right, it doesn’t sound all that nice to start with, but personal branding in this context means “recogniseable”, “distinctive” or “memorable”.
In addition, it should flow in line with the corporate identity the company your work for strives to achieve.
Another question you should be asking yourself is whether you have generated awareness for yourself. Have you written and published some interesting articles?
Lastly, what do your social media profiles look like? Are you projecting a consistent well groomed image?
We all know first impressions count, hence don’t jeopardise your chances and go against common sense.
You are unlikely to talk to someone without internet access, hense always assume a senior executive will check out your social profiles before a meeting.
The last thing you want is a cancelled appointment after a quick visit to your LinkedIn profile. It must be up to the standard of your proposition.
If you pass the “online check”, but fail to maintain the standard in person or on the phone, you may find that a few seconds is all it takes to loose the prospect’s interest, few seconds into that costly and crucial meeting.
So, hurry up and look professional.
Many studies indicate that to successfully create meaningful engagement with another person we must have the ability to reach to them and getting closer to them, not the other way round.
It is not about them getting “you” and your personality, but it is for you to understand their world, they way of thinking, their set of values and move closer to that person.
As a consequence this may even involve finding out about their hobbies and interests and be prepared to hold a meaningful conversation on a topic dear to them over a coffee break.
Build a compelling message
When you finally approach a senior executives you surely don’t want to do it with the same story and rethoric they heard from a thousand people before.
On the other hand, neither can you jump straight to your product or unique service and simply ask the person to buy into it. After all you just met, you are strangers, you can’t ask them to marry you there and then!
Your approach need to be progressive, compelling and engaging, leading your prospect up to where you want to take them. How can you do that?
One important strategy would be to first check and gather information of the person you are to meet, find out as much as you can from his LinkedIn profile and read some of his comments or posts to try figure out his tone and attitute.
Look out for repeated keywords, are any concerns expressed, can you figure out what will most affect his or her position or the whole company?
If you can’t squeeze even a hint of an insight into this person’s positions and thoughts, attitude and concerns, you probably will struggle to stand out from the other thousand people that talked to him before.
The higher the stakes the more time you should allow for your skillful tacticts and overall strategy.
If we are talking about a once in a lifetime opportunity you have to play well your cards, don’t hesitate to postpone a meeting if you feel you have been given a rushed appointment to have you out of the door.
Re-schedule, send an interesting message in between, after all if you are about to “propose” you should engage in all the courtship it takes to create that big wow moment, build his/her interest in what you do, write an article aimed at your prospect and post it on LinkedIn but also forward it as a personal message.
Establish as much of a connections as you can beforehand and find your timining.
A senior executive is unlikely to expose much of his/her thinking before half a dozen to a dozen preliminary exchanges or connections, so each must be played with patience and a clear overall strategy.
The best way to approach a prospect
If you are not an experienced sales person you may find this a very daunting task indeed. You will feel that you could tear apart all the work done to get to that point in just a few words.
Fortunately you will learn from experience, from repetition, from mistakes and through practice and preparation.
Have the script of the start of your conversation in front of you so you can focus on keeping a calm soothing tone of your voice, don’t speak quickly.
Mention any person you may have found you both know, even though some of them may not be very strong, like a common connection on LinkedIn.
Introduce yourself shortly, perhaps the link is a former employee of a company your prospect works or worked for, give a reason for that call, other than “I want to sell”.
Set a future plan, ask questions that inexcapable, like vacations or family or some recent news. Make sure he or she talks back and feels at ease.
It must not be a monologue.
The textbook approach would then want you to describe the situation and create a doubt in the listener which would warrant why you should meet, don’t push for it though.
You may mention you may in their hometown soon without being specific, and you could grab lunch, try to sense and get a feel for their interest?
If your gut feeling tell you they are interested and ready drop the question : what is your avalability for the coming week?
If, on the other hand, you feel you did not generate any interest, perhaps best leave it open and go back to the drawing board and find ways to increase the prospect’s interest level. For example with a follow up message or other suitable tactic.
Don’t burn the candle out of desperation. Getting a straight “not interested” is not the result you want. If you think you can still work on the contact before a more direct approach, then be patient.
Even if they do not want to talk to you in the beginning, do not hesitate to try after a couple of months. There are many secrets to converting a lead and the bigger the value of a contract the longer the waiting game may have to be.
We offer several services in the space of lead generation – please get in contact if you wish to find out how you could improve your strategy, subtitute a supplier, delegate some of the process. We will find a strategy that suits your business and budget.