Thursday, August 9, 2007

4 Key Trends in Lead Generation: How Will You Adapt?

Marketing Sherpa is a storehouse of always valuable, sometimes surprising business marketing knowledge. For example, I recently sat in on a Sherpa webinar showcasing some fascinating new research findings on “B2B Marketing Lead Generation, Nurturing & Conversion Stats & Tactics.”

The presentation was loaded with interesting tidbits:

“Marketing to a growing number of people involved in the buying process” is today’s biggest marketing challenge. More and more, we’re all marketing and selling to a “committee.” We’re struggling to appeal to and gain consensus among all the members at once.

Target audiences demand instant satisfaction. If you don’t make it available with a mouse click, they’re not interested. They don’t want to fill out your form and wait for you to mail them a whitepaper. This suggests that, in lead generation at the very least, whitepapers are outdated.

From a tactical perspective, the old meets the new. Telemarketing is still effective if done properly. At the same time, webinar traffic is increasing daily (case study: the Marketing Sherpa presentation discussed here).

Perhaps the most interesting finding:
80% of decision makers said THEY FOUND their key vendor(s), not the other way around.

As a marketing communications professional, I at first winced at this last revelation. Despite our best marketing communications, public relations and sales efforts, our customers are taking the credit for finding us—instead of us finding them!

But maybe it’s better that customers think that way, because then it means we’re doing our jobs without intruding. What’s important is that we get through to customers, one way or another.

The underlying lesson? It’s more important than ever that you know where your targets look for information. Industry publications, the Internet, trade shows ... You need to be there, where and when they’re searching. Just as important, you need to seize every contact opportunity by sharing a compelling, memorable message about why your target audiences should choose you over the competition.

If you’re not there in front of customer and prospects, sharing your powerful message, your competitors are likely to be.

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