Building A Lead Generation System For Your Sales Team

    Posted by Rick Kranz on Aug 12, 2013 7:22:00 AM

    lead generation systemI think it is important to understand the difference between the time we spend generating leads, versus the time we could spend building a lead generation system. The difference is similar to working in your business versus working on your business.

    As a business owner, I have always been fascinated by systems. To me these are the components of what makes a successful business. The better your systems, the easier it will be to deliver your product/service and grow your business. Bottom line: better systems equals better profits.

    Most business owners understand this, and are great at applying this principle to developing manufacturing systems, delivery systems, and accounting systems. But more often than not, they fall short when it comes to applying this to their sales and marketing efforts. When it comes to lead generation, they always seem to be flying by the seat of their pants, and we as marketers are guilty of letting them do this.

    What Is A Lead Generation System?

    For our purposes here, I am going to define a lead generation system, as a group of processes that are repeated on a regular basis to drive a predictable quantity of leads. I just made that up, but it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

    To further clarify what I mean, let me illustrate an example of the exact opposite of a lead generation system. Have you ever tried to do a direct mail campaign, when you have never done it before? It usually goes something like this:

    Hey, let’s try direct mail to generate some leads.


    What’s it going to cost?

    Well... we can afford to do one mailing this year, to a small segment of our target audience.

    Okay, Let’s try it.

    Rick’s Marketing Rule - IF YOU CAN’T REPEAT IT, DON’T DO IT!

    Now I’m not picking on direct mail, because if you can afford to do direct mail consistently, and it's part of your lead generation system, then that's great. What I’m pointing out, is how business owners and marketers waste resources launching one-off lead generation efforts. If you can’t afford to repeat the effort, then you just wasted everything you learned. Not to mention the marketing budget consumed.

    So how do you build a lead generation system?

    A simple way to start is by following inbound marketing methodologies. The first step is to begin by attracting strangers to your website. You accomplish this by blogging and then by sharing your articles through your social media networks.

    But here is the trick — to make this a lead generation system you need to determine how frequently you can blog — realistically. You don’t want to make this a one-off effort too. If you have enough staff to generate two blog posts a week, then don’t try to do five. What you are shooting for here is a repeatable process. Developing an editorial calendar for your blog articles will help with this. You will also need to do the same for your social media activity. Your goal is to commit a consistent amount of time to social media each week. Even if it is only 15 minutes each week, it is more important to be consistent.

    The second part of this involves converting those new website visitors into leads. To do this you will need to offer some unique piece of content on your website, and place it behind a lead capture form. You can create an ebook, webinar, white paper, or case study.

    Again, the important thing here, is to have a schedule for creating new content on a regular basis throughout the year. This content can be top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, or bottom of the funnel. Every piece of content should appeal to your target audience.

    Just by implementing these two processes you will have the foundation of a lead generation system in place. You can then refine it by adding processes such as: lead nurturing, lead scoring, list segmentation, and workflow automation.

    Just like they always say, “Consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program,” you should consult with a professional inbound marketing agency before implementing your lead generation plan. They can help you determine the best way to go about creating a lead generation system for your sales team.

    How are you currently generating leads for your sales team? Share your thoughts in the comments section

    About the Author: Rick Kranz is the Founder of OverGo Studio, a HubSpot certified partner agency specializing in inbound marketing services. You can connect with Rick via Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+

    lead generation system webinar

    Photo Credit: L. Richard Martin, Jr.

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    Topics: lead generation, sales lead generation

    Get Salespeople to Embrace Inbound Marketing and Grow Your Business

    Posted by Todd Hockenberry on Dec 14, 2012 10:38:00 AM

    Convincing sales people that inbound marketing is an effective way to prospect and fill the sales funnel is a great way to grow a business. We've worked with dozens of companies that either have a small sales team or don't have a marketing department, and they struggle with lead generation. We've heard different versions of the same story over and over:

    "When we get face to face with a good prospect we close a high percentage of the business, but we're just not getting enough chances to win."  

    Many companies in this position try to solve their problem by telling the sales people to do more prospecting, make more cold calls, and just go make more sales. The problem with this is that simply demanding more sales isn't a strategy or plan for success. We have helped our clients build an effective pipeline and grow their business by helping them develop the tools they need to successfully use an inbound marketing strategy.

    By adopting inbound marketing methods, sales people can be their own marketing department and make the connection between what they do every day and generating content as fuel for inbound marketing.

    Creating Content

    Not many sales people like to write content (or much of anything else for that matter), so how do we get them to create the content that is the foundation of inbound marketing? The first step is to show them that they are creating content every day — they just don't realize it. Examples include:

    • Any letters or emails with detailed explanations of the uses of their products to solve problems
    • Phone calls with customers answering questions
    • Sales presentations, especially the parts that are designed for particular industries, companies, or common problems
    • Internal training on products and their use
    • Interactions with service and technical support
    • Industry trends, news, and events that affect customers
    • Questions and objections from existing prospects and customers
    • Success stories and testimonials

    We've tried a lot of tricks to get sales people to create content, but the most effective one we've ever used is to have the sales people keep a pad of paper by their phone and to make a note of every call they make or email they send where they are answering questions, explaining their products in detail, or otherwise dispensing information. It doesn't take very long before the sales person realizes they are already creating content that is re-usable on a daily basis. Once they have gotten over their fear of "writing" and "content", they often find that creating content is something they're good at. There's nothing like stroking the ego of a sales person by showing them how much of an expert they really are.

    Most sales people aren't aware of the large amounts of valuable content that they already have and aren't using to drive prospecting. A lot of sales content comes to sales people only as product-based information like catalogs, specifications, and feature focused content. This kind of content is easy to create because it is internal and, more often than not, cut and dry. There's a lot of great information in this kind of content, but it isn't very good at grabbing prospects' interest.

    The key is shifting your mindset so that you are focused on the prospect, their issues, their needs, and their opportunities. You can reshape that internal, dry content into something that caters to your prospects and their needs. Thinking like the customer and creating content that matches their expectations is often best accomplished by sales people that interact with customers every day.

    Publishing and Publicizing

    Sales people should identify the information platforms that their target customers are using, learn the rules of the road for that platform, and then publish consistently to them. In many cases, sales people want instant gratification so they need to understand that building a following and learning how to communicate using new mediums takes time and effort. Just like making an effective face-to-face presentation takes time and practice, so does learning to use inbound marketing and content publishing to attract quality prospects.

    We work with sales people to build reasonable daily activity schedules that are perceived as manageable and not too time-consuming. Twitter and LinkedIn are generally the most popular for B2B engagement, but it all boils down to fishing where the fish are.


    Once content is being created and published, sales people can now engage with prospects and build credibility for themselves and for their company. Inbound marketing is about attracting and educating prospects first and selling second, so sales people need to be patient and not go for the sales the first time someone responds. The selling will come in time if the prospect is engaged at the right time.

    We have a client that produces industrial lasers used for marking just about any part. They publish really cool videos showing how lasers can be used to mark unique parts. The videos are often made as a part of the engineering and technical specification of the system and can be easily shot by the salespeople during a test or plant tour. We added them to the list of content we were publishing and qualified prospects find the videos and other related blog posts and convert into leads as a result. Instead of selling the features of the lasers, sales people share the benefits and capabilities, attract prospects that need those benefits, and a conversation is started.

    This type of inbound marketing generated conversation is different than one generated by a cold call. The prospect is self-qualified because they want, and seek out, the information you have. The sales person is positioned as an expert helping and sharing educational content, not as a time wasting annoyance.

    Sales people may or may not come to the conclusion on their own that inbound marketing is an effective lead generation strategy. However, showing them that there is a process and a pathway that yields demonstrable results leads them to the water and, most of the time, gets them to drink.


    About the Author: Todd Hockenberry is the founder of Top Line Results, an inbound marketing agency that specializes in leading top line revenue growth at small and medium-sized companies with a focus on manufacturing, technology and capital equipment.



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    Topics: sales force development, sales lead generation, Top Line Results

    Inbound Sales Lead Generation

    Posted by Pete Caputa on Jul 1, 2008 5:54:00 PM

    I wrote a guest post over on Aaron Ross's blog titled, How to Generate a Steady Flow of Inbound Sales Leads.

    I summarized a few points on the HubSpot blog and there are a few relevant comments over there too.

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    Topics: lead generation, sales lead generation, how to generate leads, online lead generation

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