Thursday, October 30, 2008

Modern Lead Generation

I was asked a generic question yesterday ... this was my response.

Let me first tell you a quick story - a talented female professional I know was once invited on a skiing trip with some folks she hoped to do business with. Although she didn't know how to ski she figured she could learn by just reading a book on the drive there, so she went along! As you may guess the results were funny and memorable but didn't work out as well as she hoped.

My main point - there are business practices that can be defined by text but, just like learning to ski, they need some trained coaching if you are serious about beginning to use them.

Effective modern lead-generation has four dynamic, interconnected elements:

1. Needs. Before you make any communications (cold calls, brochures, emails etc.) with potential clients make sure you have a clear understanding of what Customers Need. Traditionally Marketing and Sales teams do not work particularly well together. An estimate from AMA (American Marketing Association) literature suggests that 80-90% of marketing messages are not re-used by sales processes. This is because the marketing team is attempting to communicate a critical message to a broad audience from 35,000 feet while the sales team's efforts are always at 3.5 feet. The best sales' communications deal with the client's Needs rather than just highly publicized features of the product or service.

2. Value. Make sure to have examples, case studies, spreadsheets that validate the values produced by your offering. No matter whom you communicate with they will want to make sure that your product or service can both solve their problem but also produce a business advantage.

3. Integrated Application. Modern lead generation is a multi channel process (a lot like snow skiing!) No matter how great your first cold call the next step for the client will be to search for your website. Are the messages you just delivered, that solve specific business needs for the client, the same as the web pages? Do your white papers, press releases confirm the values you suggested? Have you a SEO strategy in place? Above are there internal resources (e.g call scripts) that are used as the primary messaging processes by all team members, from raw leads through sales, proposals etc.

4. Analysis & Feedback. It's a team sport and you are the coach! Suppose you generate many leads but it takes the sales team days or weeks to follow-up. How often are the leads you've generated not so great? What improvements can be made to filter out these potentially weak opportunities and make the overall process more effective?

The consciously well-coached process I have just described will improve effective lead-generation by a factor of 10. Traditional approaches to lead-generation are like attempting to learn to ski from a cheap book! If you want leading business results be prepared for real training and coaching.

"The Future"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our New Renaissance

"Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence"

For a brief moment let's look back at the original Renaissance. It lasted about 400 years and to a great extent determined many of the ways we believe societies should be today. However it's important to note that the transition was by no means steady, rational, expected.

1315-1317 Famine (starvation due to changes in global weather)
1348-1350 Black Death
1397 Founding Medici Bank (a "global" banking system - sometimes works well, sometimes not so well. Hmmm?!)
1452-1519 Leonardo Da Vinci (illegitimate genius recognized and rises to fame)
1455 Printed Guttenberg Bible (...was printing equivalent to the Web today in terms of it's break through?)
1492 Columbus discovers the New World ("dang... where are the spices?!")

Of course a lot of change patterns that are parallel to this past, which once took several 100 years, have been made much more quickly, probably about one tenth of the time.

1974 Cobol-based desk-side business computers
1977 Apple II
1981 IBM PC
1982 Oracle (renamed)
1975-1985 Microsoft founding
1988 Internet opens to commercial interests
1996 Google
1994-1996 Yahoo founding
... my favorites Tandem Computer, 1974-1997 (Acquired by Compaq ... Compaq acquired by HP), SGI Silicon Graphics 1982- still alive!

Now, even since ancient times, perhaps since the first humans, we are divided into two types. This is NOT intended to hurt anyone's feelings! There are those of us who wonder every single day what it will mean to have faster, clearer, more accurate knowledge. Even more importantly the ability to ask a question and be able to say - nobody actually has an answer for that. Those are the few of us.

On the other side, frankly most of the world, are those who love new technologies because it simply makes traditional processes cheaper, more efficient, more profitable.

What surprises me is that the few of us that see this disconnect (you!) don't seem to be doing much to define the true future. We get hung up on one area (SEO, SaaS, Open Systems ...) and don't have too many debates about what integrated technologies may ultimately mean in terms of global economies, businesses, political influences...

I'm not suggesting this is a fixed vision but it would be nice to periodically have some deep discussions in these directions.

"Silicon Valley"

Saturday, October 11, 2008


OK, as usual I play with something for a few months before I mention it. ('cause some things are aweful...!) Twitter is pretty good - and even very clever! You can post a message through a wide range of channels. And it's being referred to as "free telegraphs"

My slight obsession is to post short lyrics ... find me under mutetourette