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Small Business Lead Generation
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The need for exposing one’s brand to the target market seems to be inherent in case of firms that are running small business lead generation campaigns. The simple reason behind this endeavor is to get the word out that such an enterprise exists, and provides these products or services. Once this is done, common sense says that prospects will automatically begin pouring in. However, being desperate for exposure can easily be the undoing of even the most high-potential brands.

The thing is, acquiring quality leads is a very delicate process, and when one analyzes the different stages of small business lead generation, the fact that raw attention insufficient to ensure quality leads becomes clearer. One needs to constantly invest in and work towards building interest until the time the prospect is wholly drawn in to the proposition and is willing to make an appointment to discuss the possibilities of purchase.

Here’s a glimpse at the list of absolute no-no’s when it comes to effective small business lead generation:

  • Putting all the cards on the table: For sure, there’s something that the target market is interested in, but in a desperate attempt to gather more leads, firms often forget that it’s important to find out what that something is. One just wants to display more and more. Frankly speaking, a decent amount of targeting is certainly needed.
  • Positioning the brand at every nook and cranny: Most of the times, firms want everyone to know their name, even if they’re not from the target market. So big budgets are drawn up for ad campaigns, creating fancy websites, etc. However, the focus is so diverted that quality of leads takes a nosedive
  • Not measuring results of campaigns: Firms that are always on the lookout for new leads are so focused on their mission that they forget to see whether their efforts are giving any benefits. The result? A mediocre strategy running for years at a stretch!

Telemarketing is one of the most relied channels of small business lead generation, but the calling script plays a major role in ensuring success.

A significantly high number of IT companies, particularly startups, still resort to telemarketing to garner prospects, which is probably due to the fact that many marketers still swear by it as the most effective means of small business lead generation. Basically, since calling up prospects ensure personal contact, marketers feel that it gives them a better chance of knowing more about the company or client. Also, it gives an opportunity to get directly in touch with the decision makers. Online advertising as well as advertising on social networks also faces the same predicament. True, people will see advertisements, but there’s no guarantee that those people would be the target audience.

However, small business lead generation that relies on telemarketing needs to have a robust script in place, which is easier said than done. If one is just starting out with the campaign, the most important fact to know is that no script is perfect. Even if one is planning it months in advance, there’s a significantly high chance that one wouldn’t get results right at the beginning. Basically, calling scripts are evolutionary creatures, so to speak, i.e., they grow as the campaign goes along. The instigator in this context is the kind of feedback received as one talks to different prospects. The more data collected, the higher the modifications, in most cases.

Another point that is more or less an extension of the previous point, is that one needs to analyze the words spoken by prospects, maybe even note a few down. Recording calls is a good way to ensure this, but then there are legal implications regarding the practice. The idea is to know words that induce reactions, both good and bad. For instance, using the word free gets people’s attention, while the term ‘nominal fee’ always makes the other person cautious, regarding how nominal the fee would be!

These are some guidelines that can certainly make a strong impact on the long term prospects of small business lead generation.

Criticism is a very essential aspect of small business lead generation, and can deliver great results if it’s kept in check and used judiciously.

Let’s face it, there are innumerable firms that are indulged in the immensely competitive field of small business lead generation, each with the intent of overpowering their competition to grab a bigger chunk of the market. However, it’s necessary to evaluate the level of interest of the prospects, to ensure that the current situation of the prospect makes him conducive to buying the product or service on offer. So, this essentially means that one needs to be very critical of the situation. However, criticizing the current product or service prospects are using could very well be tantamount to criticizing the user.

This is because often, the situation the user is in is linked to how he has used the product/service. Hence, one needs to be very careful while adopting the critical approach during small business lead generation. Essentially, the criticism must be constructive, because while it is a very effective tool for taking the extra edge, prospects can easily get offended if their ‘mistakes’ are constantly highlighted, whether it’s their decision to go for the product/service or their inability to utilize the same properly. So, immediately suggesting an alternative (which is, quite obviously, the brand offering) is the most important thing to keep in mind.

Also, going overboard with criticism is certainly a no-no, but it’s not always the easiest of guidelines to adhere to. Many a prodigal sales pitches attribute the reason of their failure to the fact that the salespersons got too ambitious and began overstating claims. Even when such claims are true, prospects find it hard to believe that they did not see through the product/service they are currently using. So, criticism should only be used as a tool to shift the focus from the current product/service being used to the brand offering, and nothing more than that.

During the process of small business lead generation, gatekeepers often serve as the most persistent roadblocks. This article explores how one can tackle the situation most effectively.

Gatekeepers are easily the most annoying little roadblocks in the path to effective small business lead generation. Simply put, there seems to be no end to the vast hordes of people who want to try to stop companies from pitching to new clients. It’s nothing personal, after all their bosses are pretty busy people, and the former are expected to do their due diligence with regards to allowing or stopping just about anyone from getting in touch with their seniors. What makes matters worse is that more often than not, gatekeepers have their own office duties as well (generally, it’s the steno that’s the most staunch gatekeeper), which means that they would be hard-pressed for time.

However, since one obviously has no other alternative, it’s much better to work with gatekeepers and not against them. Sure, many conventional small business lead generation theories don’t have a specific way of tackling this kind of people, so to speak, but then again, what is lead generation if not a series of innovations and a never ending process of evolution. The essence, obviously, remains the same – to tell them that the business proposition one has truly offers great value for money and can help the gatekeeper improve his stature in front of the boss as being someone who knew which call to pass on.

For this, it’s very important to be polite. Agreed, gatekeepers can be very persistent in their desire to block the call, but being aggressive would only make them even more rigid. Many real life case studies have shown that if one talks firmly but with manners, gatekeepers often get their act right and even help in closing the deal! In the end, they are also people who are trying to do their job, and if they get on the service provider’s team, so to speak, there’s nothing like it!

A website is a very important interface for the customers as well as the business with regards to small business lead generation.

These days, there are a lot of small enterprises making big headways in the corporate world, and websites have played a vital role in helping them reach their target audience. However, it’s interesting to note here that while almost all businesses have a website, very few are actually able to benefit from their online presence. The reason why some small business lead generation efforts pay off better than the rest is because the websites of the successful entities are optimized and aligned to their campaign for generating more leads.

One of the most important tactics in this regard is to combine call to action buttons with an automated email drip campaign. The schedule needs to carry on for at least one year and must include email messages related to the kind of purchases the prospect is likely to make. The fact that the person has clicked on a call to action button is a qualifier of sorts, which means that he/she can be tapped for generating revenues. All that is needed is top of the mind recall.

Matching the calls to action with landing pages and domain names is another vital aspect of small business lead generation via emails. Customers can be at different stages in the overall process of purchase, which is why they may or may not want to talk to someone yet. So, one can just provide them the necessary information and give them the power to take their own decision about whether or not they want to know more, instead of shoving it down.  Coming back to the call to action, it’s important that every piece of communication, right from email messages in the small business lead generation campaign to posts on social networks like Facebook and Twitter must have a call to action.

With these simple yet effective steps, one can drive great mileage out of lead generation efforts.

For startup firms to take the leap, the small business lead generation needs to be robust. This also means tackling the roadblocks that come along.

Even the best products and services across the world have the tendency to not be as successful as they should. And when one talks about small business lead generation, selling a great offering is all the more difficult, which basically leads the team to try harder and ignore certain basic principles.

Marketers know the importance of building a relationship, but working on an acceptable level of understanding is fine for the vast majority. Unfortunately, this assumption might not always be accurate. However, changing and managing perceptions that strengthen the foundation of client relationships is essential for small business lead generation, and this can only be achieved if one establishes thought leadership in online as well as offline marketing activities.

Moving on, in recent times, a lot of companies are active on social media, tweeting, posting on Facebook and LinkedIn, among others. Since there’s already so much noise on the internet for the customer, it’s obvious that companies should avoid being social media chatterboxes. This does not mean that marketers should stop promoting their brand on social media. That would be tantamount to the brand dying a gradual death. Instead of stopping outright, it’s better to space out the updates and post more relevant content. While it’s understandable that small scale companies can’t post a lot of original content, but it’s better to avoid content created by someone else unless absolutely relevant and necessary.

While doing small business lead generation, companies often fall in the trap of following a one size fits all approach with regards to the lead generation process. However, it also needs to be customizable as per the needs of the business, and sometimes, the client. There’s a difference between setting a procedure and being rigid about it. The latter is never a good idea, and it is only by being slightly lenient on the procedure front that one can hope to achieve the desired level of success.

Small business lead generation may not be a game for companies, but one can easily draw parallel in terms of the strategy for winning the game and reaching one’s business targets.

While the title of this article may baffle many, the fact of the matter is that many professionals take small business lead generation as a very mechanical process. However, what separates the ones who experience great success and the ones who fail miserably is the fact that the former are genuinely passionate about it, much like gamers. That being said, it’s obviously difficult to draw parallel between something seemingly trivial as gaming and an out and out ‘I mean business’ proposition, but let’s indulge for a while.

First of all, gamers are absolutely focused towards winning the game, i.e., they play to master the game. So, even though small business lead generation is not exactly a game (revenue and jobs are at stake!) one can certainly look at mastering the craft by learning the latest techniques to get the prospect interested. Over a period of time, there has been a drastic shift in the kind of conversations that take place between a service provider and a client, and it’s important to be acquainted with the same if one is to succeed as a marketer.

Gamers are also always on the lookout for better equipment that can help them upgrade to the latest technology and play the game faster and better. Even though small scale firms don’t really have the luxury of exorbitant spends, there are certain basic necessities that need to be addressed. True, sticking to the budget is important, but one needs to spend on resources and infrastructure if they are to make headways in the industry. In more domains than one would imagine (or like!) the competition is fierce, and in order to get something, one needs to give something. There’s no getting around to it.

So, one can learn a lot from gamers, and use the same principles to get more business.

Reaching out to customers and targeting them are two completely different things, each having its own importance. This articles explores the latter.

Going for the right kind of audience is extremely important for small business lead generation, since the funds are tight and one often needs to get it right in the very first shot. However, there are different kinds of approaches that work for different kinds of TGs. For instance, if the audience is qualified but fairly broad, one just needs to analyze their needs and present an offer they are most likely to say yes to, via media that they are most likely to see. However, if the audience is qualified and broad but they exist at different places in the sales-cycle or decision-making process, the requirement is to present numerous options, instead of a ‘one size fits all’ approach mentioned in the previous case, because unfortunately in this case, there is none.

Small business lead generation in such a scenario is more about giving a buffet to the prospective audience so that they can pick and choose according to their own requirements, for the simple reason that it’s too difficult to predict what might work and what won’t. The audience might be present at a trade show or visit the website, but the main idea is to go for a proposition that appeals to the broader masses, so to speak.

Another case can be when the audience is broad and not properly qualified. This can be the case with a publication house or a website based on broad interests that has a segment of readers who would be interested in the brand’s offering. So, one can make a targeted offer aimed at only those people who are likely to be interested. The intent is to get them to automatically fall into the sales funnel by inciting action on their part. However, it’s important to understand that the offer must have limited appeal, for non-qualified audience can massively increase the marketing budget.

Online marketing was a desperate attempt for marketers and salespersons to boost their small business lead generation campaigns. However, the story is completely different now!

These days, an exponentially high number of marketers and salespersons are resorting to the internet as a means of small business lead generation. However, this change was not so much a result of a sudden stroke of brilliance regarding the tremendous potential of the world wide web, as it was an imperative necessity. It is a well-known fact that B2C firms preceded their B2B peers in utilizing the power of the net, as they realized it was a much easier, economical and more effective means of reaching out to the target audience.

The period between 2000 and 2002, there was a tremendous transition in the field of small business lead generation, with salespersons constantly being pressurized for bringing in more business. Obviously, they were also hard-pressed for time as well as budgets. The only way out was to get more prospects without exceeding the already constrained monetary limits. Obviously, the internet was going to be the only viable alternative. The first step in this regard was to try out new and innovative means of disseminating information, like using pdf files, online newsletters and email messages instead of conventional and more expensive media like print and outdoor.

Within just a few months, the spend on online marketing climbed from below 5 percent to double digits. The best part about such a setting was that when it comes to small business lead generation, the expendable amount with regards to marketing is already miniscule, and when marketers began getting great returns on investment, there was just no looking back! From then on, the next 10 years saw an exponential increase in the usage of the internet for lead generation. These days, many firms are also using the expertise of third-party entities to further boost their revenues, a tactic that is paying rich dividends.

It’s extremely important to know one’s product or service inside out before making any commitment to the client, otherwise the small business lead generation efforts are futile.

If one knew the kind of expectations businesses take to be an industry benchmark, it would be baffling to see the kind of things one can expect from a product or service. However, showing the real picture to the client can often be disastrous to the business at first, but it’s a lot better than promising the moon and delivering rocks. So, this brings the very important question – should a prospect be told that the firm can’t deliver what he is expecting. Particularly when it comes to small business lead generation, it’s obvious that firms need to get the maximum revenue within the shortest span of time so as to ‘make it big’.

However, the problem that arises with making false commitments is that when the truth is revealed, it leads to bitted conflicts. Hence, the best way is to analyze one’s product or service and see whether or not it fills the client’s requirements. In a way, this means keeping an open mind that the offering may or may not actually be what the client wants. It’s certainly not the most pleasing scenarios when it comes to small business lead generation, but coming clean right at the proposal stage is better than having to struggle through many months of rebuttals and reworks.

Another smart approach to this situation can be to figure out whether or not the product or service can be modified in any manner to suit the requirements of the client. Quite obviously, this may not always be possible, but it’s better to explore the option beforehand rather than going on about the sales pitch and then realizing that the product or service needs to be pitched in another manner. There are chances that by the time this happens, competition may already get business from that client, so it’s best to stay prepared.