What is Lean Lead Generation? It is a very efficient way to generate new leads using the power of narrowcast marketing and propinquity.
It is also the best and most effective way to generate leads in the post-COVID19 era.
Narrowcast marketing is marketing one-on-one. It is talking directly to your prospective customers. It is the ability to have a conversation such that your potential customer sees for himself the opportunity to engage in a business relationship with you. In essence, it is what highly-trained and successful business-to-business sales professionals do on a daily basis.
Narrowcast marketing is different from broadcast marketing. Broadcast marketing aims to message loudly and broadly, hoping to get the attention of potential buyers. It is best suited for building brand propinquity and is less successful in lead generation.
Propinquity is the goal of every brand. Through regular positive exposure, propinquity is attained when the brand becomes familiar. It is like how Coca-cola is the first brand you think of when you think of a soda. Propinquity simply means near and familiar.
Familiarity breeds trust and trust increases the likelihood that a prospect will buy from you. Therefore, a successful sales professional will have generated propinquity through regular contact standing behind a strong personal and corporate brand. The sales professional starts with outreach then communicates regularly and reliably so that the customer comes to develop a basic comfort level and trust. Narrowcast propinquity develops through the practice of engaging in one-on-one communications regularly.
What is your Propinquity Score? This is the measurement of who you know (and therefore knows you) and who you have yet to meet. You can calculate your propinquity score here.
Listening for Opportunity
Prior to COVID-19, this type of narrowcast business-to-business (B2B) communication took place most successfully on the customer’s doorstep. Nothing is more effective than exchanging business cards and then having a sales conversation belly-to-belly at the Gemba, the customer’s workplace.
The basics of a sales conversation begins with creating rapport. That means a sales professional listens for things in common with his customer and establishes a connection through shared interests. There is an interplay between offering expertise and polling for interest.
New business opportunities emerge as the sales professional creates a background of trust, offers insights, and listens for interest. Customers need and want trusting partnerships with vendors who offer valuable information and can listen to their needs. Business transactions are the predictable outcome of this narrowcast marketing interchange.
Develop Rapport to Generate Propinquity, Trust, and Respect
Some sales reps will claim that the most important aspect to a sales relationship is being likable. They are not wrong. But they are missing a few additional steps. What they are overlooking is that all sales relationships begin with building rapport, but the most successful and recession-proof sales professionals create rapport, know their product better than their competitors, AND can challenge their customers’ established beliefs as their trusted advisor. Therefore there is a process that includes first creating propinquity, then establishing a personal common interest, then demonstrating expertise, then polling for interest, and finally challenging the status quo by offering a new opportunity for new business transactions.
Create Propinquity, Establish Expertise, and Poll for Interest
How do you create propinquity, demonstrate expertise, and poll for interest through broadcast marketing? You can’t. You are using the wrong tool. Like hammering a screw, you will work hard and not get the results you were hoping for. It just doesn’t work that well.
To generate leads, you need narrowcast marketing, which means you need sales reps who engage with customers. Sales reps alone can build personal trust, have a sales conversation, and ask for business. The reason is – people buy from people. It is that simple.
But wait! Customer do buy from trusted brands, so broadcast marketing is important too. Broadcast marketing builds the brand and establishes ways to communicate with the company. This is extremely important. But ultimately, the customers see the brand, she recognizes an internal need, and connects with a sales person. The sales professional engages, uncovers explicit needs, negotiates a price, determines availability timing, and asks for the order. This is assuming another sales rep from a competing brand doesn’t interrupt the cycle by redirecting the customer their way through their own outreach.
But what if your sales professionals are not engaging in regular outreach? What if they are “too busy”? What if they don’t know how or don’t know what to say? This is a perennial problem for Sales managers everywhere.
The Prospecting Problem
Every Sales manager asks her team to prospect for new business, but generally Sales reps are acknowledged for, and paid on, closing business. There is no glory or paycheck for ONLY generating new opportunities.
As a result, it is difficult for most B2B sales professionals to make the time to engage in narrowcast lead generation. The energy required to build propinquity, create rapport, demonstrate expertise, and then challenge the status quo, is substantial. So much so that some Sales leaders will feel great frustration knowing that the necessary prospecting is not happening. The bottom line is Sales reps do not prospect enough. And, so, lead generation is delegated to the Marketing Department.
Broadcast Marketing is Not Suited for Lead Generation
Marketing professionals are confronted with a very difficult task. They are asked to generate leads using broadcast marketing – a tool best suited to building the brand, not lead generation. Narrowcast marketing works best, but this tool is usually reserved for Sales. Demand generation through telemarketing works, but is very expensive.
Marketing Work is not Easy
Business leaders expect the Marketing Department to save the day. They know that sales professionals are not taking enough time to prospect. They also know that there is no way for them to hit company market share and revenue targets without growing the customer base.
A wise leader knows that, she who has the most customers wins. Therefore, it is up to Marketing to find more customers. It falls within a marketing leader’s usual responsibilities.
The key function of Marketing in many companies is to
- Increase brand propinquity
- Generate leads
- Measure what works in Sales and Marketing and report the data
The Marketing Leader’s Wish for Sales
From the marketing leader’s perspective, an engaged sales force pitching in would help a lot.
The most cost-effective approach to marketing is in Digital. The leading arena for getting the digital marketing message out today is social media. In the world of shrinking budgets and increased expectations, many Marketing professionals perform miracles.
Marketing will often create content for the company website, write press releases, create posts for multiple social media outlets, and then promote the content with meager advertising budgets.
In the meantime, it feels almost impossible to generate engagement on social media channels without some generous help from the Sales team. If only the Sales team would connect with the people in their APRs (Areas of Primary Responsibility, i.e. sales territory) and engage with the content that Marketing generates.
REQUEST: On behalf of Marketing leaders everywhere, we request for all Sales professionals out there to build up their B2B contacts and then: like, share, and engage in the company’s social media content. That would help a lot.
A Sales Professional’s Wish for Marketing
From the sales leader’s perspective, a Marketing department that could generate unlimited leads to a customer base who already recognized the brand, the value of the product, and who could articulate an explicit need, would help a lot.
In the world of the B2B sales professional, there seems to never be enough time. Too much time is spent running down errands and not enough time is spent closing deals, a sales person might be overheard saying. Also, closing deals is what pays the bills, gets the awards, and is the reason why a salesperson joined the Sales Department in the first place, it is often said. Many times, it is the rush of closing a deal that motivates the results-driven sales professional. “If only Marketing could find me more deals to work, I would be more successful,” muses every salesperson ever.
REQUEST: Therefore, Sales professionals everywhere have a request for Marketing professionals out there. Please focus as much time as possible on generating leads. If Marketing could establish trust with customers, demonstrate expertise, and poll potential customers for interest, and then pass on the lead once the prospect expressed a desire to buy something, that would be perfect! The Sales Department will take it from there.
The Sales-Marketing Disconnect
Therein lies the dilemma. Sales wants Marketing to generate leads. In order for Marketing to do that, Marketing needs Sales to engage in content. But just engaging in content is not enough. Sales professionals need to reach out to decision-makers in their territories, take the content generated by Marketing and share it in a meaningful way such that it generates brand propinquity, creates the recognition of expertise by the customer, and it challenges the customers’ preconceived beliefs. In this way, prospective customer will want to buy what the company is selling.
Sales professionals would engage more if they knew where to start and could make the time. But where do you find B2B customers? And how do you engage them during an international pandemic without knocking on their front door?
If only there was a place where business professionals congregate digitally to learn about their profession and network with others in their industry.
Luckily, there is such a place. It is the business-to-business social network called LinkedIn.
170 Million B2B Users in the United States
Did you know that over 170 million business people in the USA have a profile on LinkedIn? Roughly half of those users engage in LinkedIn each month. And every second of the day, 2 new people join the network. That’s 172,800 new members every day.
94% of B2B marketers distribute their content on LinkedIn, because they know that 6 out of 10 users actively look for industry insights. That means, B2B members of LinkedIn are hungry for content.
The best content to post on LinkedIn is how-to and lists posts. As a result, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, versus 13% coming from Twitter and 7% coming from Facebook.
The Perfect Narrowcast Solution
Therefore, the perfect solution for lead generation, using narrowcast and broadcast marketing on the web is:
- Sales professionals connect with business-to-business contacts in their industry on LinkedIn – Narrowcast
- Sales professionals invite their new connections to follow the company’s LinkedIn page – Narrowcast
- The Sales professional sends best wishes regularly to their connections on their birthdays, work anniversaries, and when they start a new job – Narrowcast
- Marketing Department produces and posts meaningful content that challenges the customer’s status quo and provides insights on how customers can become more successful – Broadcast
- The Sales professional engages in the content (like, share, comment) created by the Marketing department in order to demonstrate expertise and then polls for interest with her customers – Narrowcast
- When the customer recognizes an internal need and shows interest, the Sales professional converts the interest into an opportunity, quotes the customer, and closes the deal – Narrowcast
LinkedIn Best Practices for Sales Professionals
1 – Establish your personal professional brand
Profile Photo: Ask your Marketing Department for help in taking a professional photo of you in business attire. Your face is your personal brand‘s logo. This is where a little effort goes a long way.
Professional Profile: Make sure details in your LinkedIn profile are complete, all of your experiences are shown, and your educational background is up to date. Including detail from your resume will encourage your target prospects to see you as an expert in your field. Be sure to emphasize instances when you have provided value to your clients.
2- Connect with the right people
Targeted Connections – Use the people search to target decisionmakers in your APR . Use the All Filters to narrow your search.
3- Engage with relevant insights
Insights – Share relevant information, how-to guides, and lists when reaching out. Be precise in your messaging so that your connections see that you know your product and understand their challenges. By discuss relevant topics, you are building rapport by giving your contacts evidence that you have shared professional interests.
ABCV – Always Be Creating Value – No one wants to be spoken to through a bullhorn. So tone down the “buy from me” pitch. Instead, turn up your listening skills by asking open-ended questions. The process is simple: build rapport → provide valuable insights → poll for interest
Use the Jones-effect. Start off with, “Many people in our industry are facing more and more…” and then ask if this is also a concern. Connect, demonstrate expertise, and then ask for a one-on-one discussion.
4-Build Strong Relationships
High-Level Relationships – start at the top of the org chart and work your way down. Do not be intimidated by title. Understand that a big title means greater responsibility. It often also means that the individual spends more time away from the Gemba and would appreciate the insights you can provide.
The Daily Work of Narrowcast Marketing
Follow these LinkedIn narrowcast best practices to generate a healthy stream of leads:
- Search for and view up to 100 new targeted contacts in your APR every day.
- Make connection requests to up to 30 decision-makers every day.
- Send new connections a request for them to follow your company page.
- Send birthday wishes, work anniversary greetings, and new job greetings daily.
- Endorse your new contacts for the top 3 skills and talents they have.
- Send up to 50 messages daily, polling for interest in the various products and services your company offers.
- Send emails to your LinkedIn contacts’ email address and attach brochures.
Take the time needed to engage in these best practices. If you are looking for help in accomplishing this necessary work, speak to us about performing the narrowcast marketing process for you. The Sales professional only needs to respond to LinkedIn messages when a customer requests a proposal. No software to run, no configuration. Easy-peasy.
Want to Learn More?
If you are curious about how we would tailor a narrowcast marketing solution for you or your Sales professional and you are ready to meet, click the link below.
Lean Lead Generation
Set a time with us that works for you to review what we do, and how we do it, and see if there is a fit.