How many times has your company tried a lead generation program that hasn’t worked? How much money have you spent (and lost) on lead generation services that haven’t worked out?
I speak with companies (specifically contractors and remodelers) that constantly have bad experiences with 3rd party lead generation services. Nearly 90% of the time I find that those companies need a lead generation consultant first.
There is a tremendous amount of money on the table right now for companies that want to conquer lead generation. Nearly all homeowners go online to find a contractor, and lead generation services have the budgets and leverage to capture a large portion of this homeowner demand.
As a homeowner myself, I’ve experienced the difficulty of sorting through countless review sites, researching for hours to find a reputable company, and contacting contractors directly. In most cases, this only results in more frustration, since the response is not immediate (if at all) and the experience is often less than stellar.
This isn’t to say that all lead generation services are highly qualified. But if you have the right practices, procedures, and measurement methods in place, you can make this channel of marketing work for you as well as any other channel.
So what are some ways you can improve your lead generation efforts today?
1) Contact your leads (and do it quickly): I know what you’re thinking – you’ve heard this plenty of times before, from plenty of different people. And you’d think that if everyone agrees on it, that we’d all listen, right? Unfortunately, we don’t – several studies have been completed by unbiased, third parties on lead response.
2) Track your leads with a CRM system: This is such a critical piece of lead generation, and I continued to be baffled by companies that don’t even have a CRM system, much fewer track leads within one. For the contracting and remodeling industries, companies like Improveit!360 and MarketSharp are leaders in the CRM space and have cost-effective methods that will immediately improve lead generation ROI – as long as you commit to using the systems as they were designed to be used.
3) Define your measure for success: Not every lead will be a “valid” lead. Prepare yourself for the inevitable leads that will result in nothing, whether it’s through your own website or through a lead generation service. Defining success by measuring ROI on every individual lead only results in frustration. There are several methods for measuring and defining success, but the most effective (and common) ways that I’ve found are marketing cost percentage or cost per acquired customer. These measures give a more global and holistic view of lead generation ROI, allow for determination of actual profitability within a program, and save you the frustration of looking at every “bad” lead as a failure.
4) Dedicate the right individuals to lead follow up: Too many companies still rely on customer service agents to follow up with outbound phone calls to consumers, but these agents won’t be able to answer the questions consumers will have during an initial phone call. These initial calls need to be handled by qualified professionals who are able to guide the consumer to schedule an appointment. Outside sales representatives are also not the right people to call on leads. Sales reps need (and want) to focus on closing deals, not calling a homeowner to further qualify and set an appointment. It doesn’t really matter what you decide to call the position that follows up on leads (inside sales representative, telemarketer, call center agent, etc). What does matter is that these individuals be skilled in handling objections and be incentivized to schedule an appointment for your outside sales reps.
5) Continue lead response well after you think the lead is “dead”: Remarketing campaigns through email and direct mail are effective ways of turning a formerly unresponsive customer into a future customer. Keeping your company and brand at the top of their inbox will result in consistent engagement, full pipelines, and more sales/revenue. There is value in the consumer data itself, especially if that consumer has shown an interest in your product/service by filling out an online web form.
I’m not suggesting that you do this with leads who have asked not to be contacted. But it’s important to follow up with every lead that results in no contact, or for those who make it clear that they’re still not ready to complete their project.
If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or would just like to chat about the above topics, please feel free to reach out. Best of luck with your lead generation strategy!