Hot Leads are necessary for Sales to generate New Business. These Hot Leads should be generated by marketing. However the marketing function (at least as most business executives define it) has been undergoing substantial change over at least the last 10-15 years. Traditional communication mechanisms are no longer sufficient to create the environment to make profitable sales. The reasons for this are multi-pronged. Increased competition, information, commoditization and complexity have formed a great barrier to a company’s ability to connect with its desired customers.
Often marketing is focused, almost exclusively, on only the first part of the Funnel – lead generation. It then paid lip service to lead cultivation and conversion. The reality in most small and mid-sized business enterprises (SMEs) is that the area between lead generation and the lead cultivation could best be described as The Land of Mutual Mystification. This results in poor results on lead generation and lead conversion and thus Hot Leads. To overcome this hurdle we will use the New Marketing Funnel approach.
Phases of The New Marketing Funnel
Lead Generation: Any activity that “leads” a prospect become actively aware of your company and/or your offerings. (Please note that while the buyer is actively aware of you, in the lead generation phase it is possible that you may have no idea yet of the buyer’s existence.)
Lead Cultivation: The activities that allow your business to build a connection with those who are aware of you. This is where your positioning is established – where you have the opportunity to truly differentiate yourself (many times this is the only place where you have the opportunity). This is also the place where you can create demand. Lead cultivation should be designed to attract the right buyers to your offering – while repelling the wrong ones.
Lead Conversion: This is the point in the cycle where a selling and/or buying process is kicked off. The nature of the conversation changes from the general to the specific. Problems are clearly identified and the conversation becomes focused on key problems and issues.