October 26, 2022
By Shannon Murphy
It’s the end of the quarter, and you’ve missed your sales goals again. It’s easy to blame the sales team for a poor showing, but it might not be entirely their fault. It may be that your lead engine isn’t generating the volume of leads — or even the right leads — that you need to reach your goals month after month, quarter after quarter.
The good news is that hope is not lost. There are time-tested tactics you can use to jump-start your lead engine. Whether you need them “yesterday” or are planning for a better tomorrow, here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction.
What to Do When You Need Leads Now
Managed service providers (MSPs) sometimes find themselves starved for leads. Business is cyclical, and it’s bound to happen. So, how can you get your hands on some “emergency” leads?
Pick up the phone. You never know what you’ll uncover when you pick up the phone and start talking to people you know. Reach out to industry contacts you haven’t spoken to in a while. And don’t forget your personal network as well. And as much as you may not enjoy it, cold calling is one of the quickest ways to generate leads when you’re in dire need.
Ask for referrals. Connect with your customers specifically to ask for referrals. Along with the conversation, provide them with marketing material to pass along. Consider sharing a business card or flyer for an in-person discussion, or an ebook or video link if it’s a digital dialogue. This asset reminds them they’ve agreed to tell another business about you. Plus, it gives you some control over the first impression new leads develop when they’re introduced to your company.
Provide an assessment. Consider putting in a little extra work to provide a complimentary assessment or report to potential leads. Quick insights that can make an IT director look good with the C-suite are difficult to resist. They also can get you in the door quickly.
Host an event. Hosting an event is like casting an emergency lead net. Make it fun and engaging. Examples include:
Gathering a few industry contacts for Zoom coffee.
Inviting clients and friends to drop by for a cocktail hour at your office.
Organizing a luncheon with a relevant speaker that may pack a room full of potential customers.
How to Build a Framework for Future Lead Generation
If you think planning to generate future leads doesn’t apply to you, think again. It’s what created your lead emergency in the first place. Avoid future marketing 911 calls by adopting a framework for future lead generation.
Establishing that framework is easy:
Refresh your content. Presumably, you already have a social media presence, website, blog and basic marketing materials/presentations. If you don’t, building those out is the first step. Assuming you do, remember to update that content regularly and include calls to action (CTAs) that can help you build lists and qualify leads.
Connect with influencers. Find the influential people and companies in your industry, then follow and emulate them. Reach out on social media to engage with their content. If it doesn’t happen organically, ask for a follow. And make sure to feature your freshly updated, value-added content to increase your personal and company brand recognition with influencers. When influencers talk, people listen, so look for ways to network with them and get on their radar, so they talk about you or share your content.
Participate in forums/events. Every time you join an organization, volunteer to lead a committee, attend an industry event, or serve on a board, you nurture a new audience with the potential to generate leads, whether directly or by referral. For more qualified leads, pursue opportunities in your target verticals. The more you put yourself out there; the more lead opportunities will come back to you from your expanded network.
Add value. Adding value to relationships differentiates you in the eyes of “shoppers.” Look for ways to add value to every business relationship. Examples might include:
Offering free consulting (within reason, of course)
Providing research and analysis pertinent to your niche or vertical, which not only adds direct value but also may be widely shared
Lending a helping hand or listening ear to your current and potential customers, strengthening your relationships
Any good sales process needs reliable results. To get there you need consistent, repeatable actions. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t in your lead-generation efforts. After finding what works for you, integrate these successful tactics into daily operations, automating where possible. Be consistent even when you’re caught up in the day-to-day of the business.
Successful lead generation requires sustained daily attention. The sooner you start, the better off you’ll be, now and in the future. Prepare to be nimble and act when needed. Even when you do everything right, slumps can happen. Consider those as catalysts for more creative lead-gen activities that can produce even greater successes over the long haul.
Shannon Murphy is chief marketer for Zomentum, an intelligent revenue platform built to help partners discover, sell and manage services. With more than 15 years of tech marketing experience, Murphy focuses on end-user perspectives to develop campaigns, tactics and sales approaches that convert opportunities and drive revenue. You may follow her on LinkedIn or @zomentum on Twitter.
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