‘Tis the Season
July 28, 2011 | The Whetstone Group

No, it’s not the holiday season, yet. Although that will be upon us before we know it. It’s lead generation season! Itâ’s time to reap the rewards of all the time and money you’ve invested in marketing and positioning activities throughout the year. All those endless mixers, tradeshows, golf outings, ad campaigns, social media efforts, etc. have led to this.

Marketing and sales, while two separate and distinct disciplines are directly related. Marketing without sales leads to large investments of time and money with little return. Sales without marketing leads to low close rates and lots of frustration on the part of the sales force (partners). A balance is ideal and transition from marketing to sales is critical. See the following illustration:

Marketing (blue line) activity is high when your prospects are just starting to get to know you. Activities that help with this are listed at the far left.

Sales (red line) activity starts after a certain period of marketing. Typical “sales” activities are listed at the far right.

Activities in the middle can help you transition from marketing to sales–assuming you take the necessary step to get face-to-face with a prospect so you can start the process.

Late summer/early fall is one of the most productive seasons for proactive telephone lead generation to help transition your firm for three reasons:

#1: Many of your prospects are starting their budgeting process.

#2: If you’ve been marketing throughout the year, your firm is well positioned to transition to sales by scheduling face-to-face meetings.

#3: Seasonal services such as tax, employee benefit plan audit services and financial planning are top of mind for CEOs/CFOs in the fall.

Now is the time to start planning how your firm will accomplish that transition to sales. Whether you choose to make the follow up phone calls internally or to outsource, make sure callers are prepared and understand the objective of the follow up call. (Setting up meetings is radically different from selling solutions on the phone.)

Remember that the follow up call also serves as an extension of your firm’s brand, so make sure it’s conducted in a professional manner by a well prepared caller. Prospects will sense anxiety or lack of preparedness with the acuteness of a shark sensing blood. This can reflect negatively on your firm.

Also, be sure the person who will be following up with the leads understands the objective of the first meeting. Meetings from proactive phone follow up feel different from meetings from a referral. Engage in pre-meeting training to ensure the person going on the appointment is prepared for the difference.

With a little time and effort to follow up while the iron is hot, your firm can reap the rewards of lead generation season.