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Don't confuse lead generation with lead scoring

Lead Generation campaigning that imposes filters to limit (and target) results can be useful to consider, but not at the cost of some very profitable sales opportunities.

Last week, an ad agency (new to the Lead Generation game) proposed a campaign for one of my clients. The campaign required qualifying sales leads through a series of white paper efforts for a critical enterprise software technology. The target was exclusively prospects within companies with 5000 or more employees.

Sounds ok, right? Not at all!

I discovered that the software was actually being sold to companies of all sizes and that all of those companies had completely different objectives. The director of sales for the software firm was proud of some recent wins with larger firms (and no doubt had waxed enthusiastically at a meeting) and the agency ran with that tidbit of information.

The client – during a more sober moment – actually had an entirely different objective. In fact, smaller firms represented the largest opportunity to close business during the quarter (think public company needing to report better results this quarter!). Smaller firms were making decisions faster and implementing the software quickly. Therefore, they represented the most lucrative near-term business opportunity and were the highest priority. Once agency, client and I were able to get on the same page, the client reversed the agency’s size filter and focused the campaign on companies with 100 or more employees.

The agency had simply never been introduced to the company’s Lead Scoring approach (they were actually new to the entire concept of prioritizing leads rather than eliminating sales opportunities). In fact, prospects from larger firms, while valuable, were not valued less – just differently – than prospects from smaller firms. Smaller firms represented sales results – now! Larger firms represented bigger results – later!

The agency was confusing Lead Generation with Lead Scoring. Agencies adapt quickly and that particular agency will be savvier for the next campaign. Until then, we continue to guide agencies to serve their clients in a fashion that provides them with the fastest sales results.



This also reminds me of the process in managing education leads. Having worked with different educational institutions, I’ve seen the flaws of their marketing system. There are really times when they have one general goal in mind: to enroll x number of students per year, even if they haven’t really taken the time to set up criteria that will help them determine the best leads—those that may afford their tuition fees or take up the courses offered in their college or university. It’s only when I told them and emphasize the essence of lead scoring, which is important in prioritizing them, that they are able to spend more time on the ones that are truly interested and avoid those who are not.

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