Association Advertising Tips and Tricks: How to Evaluate Your Lead Lists and Create New Leads
Did you know that we are experts at selling association-related advertising and events? We have been doing it for a long time and we have learned a lot of important lessons. In this post I'll share a few tips, based on our experience, on how to examine your current lead lists and develop new leads to your pipeline.
This should be particularly useful if you have an existing sales team and are looking to increase revenue.
Our first tip (well, it's not as much of a tip as it is a homework assignment) is to begin by understanding your current sales efforts. Here are a few steps you can take to get a clear picture of your current situation:
Create a list of your leads to include the date they were originally created. Bucket the leads by created date by the last 3 months, the last 6 months, the last year, and greater than one year. If you don’t have this capability add a new "step 1" and add a way to record when leads are added to your system!
Generate a list of contacts from your recent sales (last two years) complete with job titles. Group job titles together as much as possible to create a list of the most common job titles found from your recent sales.
Pull a list of outreach efforts by date from the past year. Map them by calendar month to help see how often and if there are common dates that most outreach occurs.
Once you have a good understanding of your current situation we can proceed to the REAL tips and tricks!
Make sure there are enough new leads being generated (and consistently). We try to make sure at least 20% of the total leads are new within the past year (new added leads, not updated contact details of old leads) - with approximately 5% new per quarter. Of course the larger your current lead pool the harder this becomes - and it is possible to virtually exhaust all leads at some point, but if that was an issue you probably wouldn't be reading this.
Ensure contact details for all leads have been verified within the past 12 months. A great way to start is to use services like NeverBounce, which can verify the validity of email addresses and identify bounces before they happen. Any contacts that are marked bounced or invalid require updates.
Learn how to locate new leads.
locate industry tradeshows and record the list of exhibitors and sponsors
locate industry directories and relevant categories of companies
search Google for keywords specific to the industry and note not only companies that appear in organic search, but most importantly any that are engaging in paid search advertising
subscribe to other industry enewsletters and note any advertisers
find other industry publications and review for both advertisers and companies referenced in articles
Find the contact details for your leads. Because you have pulled a list of common job titles from your previous sales the best thing to do is seek out those job titles within the the companies you have discovered during new lead generation. I can't reveal all our secrets, but here are a few resources to discover contacts:
LinkedIn is the obvious resource. It's not always the solution, depending on the industry, but it's a great starting point.
Google the company and job title (again, an obvious step)
Subscribe to a contact database - HOWEVER in our experience these have a lot of inaccurate and outdated data. We no longer utilize any 3rd party data solutions.
If you can't locate contact details, but have located a name take a good guess at the email address. Typically you can find real contact details on company press releases, which typically reveal the company's email format (first.last@, first initial.last@, etc.).
Correctly time your outreach to new leads. Most organizations renew their marketing budgets in July or January, with final budgets getting set several months prior. To maximize your effectiveness when reaching out to new leads you will want to make sure your team is communicating during the right time. Because it can take a few months to book a conversation with a new lead and that conversation needs to happen before budgets are set you will want to plan your outreach to be 6-9 months prior to a budget cycle. This means that a January budget would require outreach starting in April - July of the previous year and between October - January for a July budget. Typically you won't know the budget timing for your new leads so you will want to plan campaigns for October/November and again April/May for all leads.
Now that you've got some tips on how to evaluate and find new business leads look for our next blog post on how to message them!
Of course if you don't want to do any of this work feel free to reach out to us - we'll do it for you and most likely increase your sales and remove the burden of managing and worrying about it!