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5 Steps To Find Leads For Your Business

5 Steps To Find Leads For Your Business

Every book on sales management will teach you what is called the ‘sales funnel’. This is basically the list of stages a prospect is made to go through before they trust your business and show interest in your product or service. A typical sales funnel would broadly involve Lead generation → Introducing your business to the prospect → Make your prospect interested in your product → Convert the prospect into a customer. Of course, this is pretty simplified, but you should get the drift.

The problem a number of marketing managers grapple with is not the sales cycle – which is handled by the sales team – but in getting started on lead generation. How does one go about finding new leads for your business? Here is a step-by-step process to finding leads for your business.

Step 1 : Decide What Pain Your Business Solves

A lot of sales managers make the mistake of confusing pain point with product utility. If your business sells office furniture, the pain point you are trying to solve is not providing a good sitting equipment for office goers. Instead, you need to go deeper into the reasons why your past customers have purchased from you instead of the other shop at the other end of the street.

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Do you offer customized cushioning for customers in the central business district? Are your prices lower? Do you offer free maintenance? You might in fact be offering all these points above – but what was the point that sealed the deal for your past customers? Identify these points – these are the real pain-points that your previous customers were facing. It is this that you must solve.

Step 2 : Figure Out Where Prospects Who Face The Pain Seek Solution

So an IT company in the CBD is looking to purchase new desks for their workers. Who in the company is given the responsibility for making the purchase? What is the first thing they do to get started? Do they search on Google? Is there a trade magazine they look to for contacts? Do they outsource the job to a third party agency? The answer to these questions will tell you who to target – the purchasing manager, their boss, or the agency. If it is an agency, go through the above steps again to identify who in the agency you should be reaching out to.

Step 3 : Prepare A List Of Marketing Channels

Just because the target prospect uses a trade magazine to find furniture suppliers does not mean that it is the only channel to reach out to them. Popular marketing channels are often expensive to get through as well. So, if a particular trade magazine is the most popular advertising platform among furniture suppliers in your area, that is also the most expensive. It is, then, a good idea to prepare a list of other marketing channels. To do this, study the target prospect and map out their behavior.

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A purchasing manager at an IT firm is also likely to be talking to computer suppliers in your neighborhood. Would a cross-promotion deal with the popular computer suppliers work? Such purchasing managers are also likely to attend local industry meetups, so would attending such meetups yourself help? Understanding the behavioral patterns of your prospect is likely to give you a number of marketing channels to target.

Step 4 : Calculate Cost Benefit Analysis

Now that you have a list of marketing channels, you will need to know the return on investment in each of them. Do not forget to put a cost to the time spent as well. For instance, attending an industry meetup would cost you two hours – that’s two hours that could have been spent on any other marketing activity. Also, remember to take into account the recurrent income, if any.

In the case of a partnership with a local computer supplier, you may often be required to share a percent of your income with the supplier as commission. That’s potentially lost income, but you can well make up for this through repeat business that such a supplier would provide. Keeping all these different factors in mind, determine the cost of customer acquisition from these different marketing channels.

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Step 5 : Prioritize The Channels

Now that you have the marketing channels sorted by customer acquisition cost, do not get started immediately. Like your Economics professor always said, money in hand today is more valuable than money you may get tomorrow. Some channels are capable of bringing immediate business – a Google Adwords campaign for instance. Others, while seemingly profitable, may not yield immediate returns.

Industry meetups are a good example for such a marketing channel. So how do you tackle this? Pick the top 20% of your marketing channels sorted in increasing order of acquisition cost. Once you have them, sort them in descending order of immediacy of prospect acquisition.

There you have it – a list of strategies to acquire prospects along with the order in which you should deploy these strategies.

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Featured photo credit: http://www.corecapitalgroupdc.com/convert-online-real-estate-leads/ via corecapitalgroupdc.com

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Anand Srinivasan

Marketing Consultant

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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