Complex Lead Generation: Start with the F Word – Focus
The common theme of conversations lately has been “but Greg, why aren’t we telling them about X?”
Comments like that come immediately after a recommendation to Focus the Message to a single problem and solution. Well, maybe after everyone sees the first campaign come to life. In this note, I’ll cover 3 of my 5 reasons why it pays to focus on a sliver of the value you offer when generating a complex lead.
Before we begin, some definitions are in order to make sure we’re on the same page. Complex Leads are solutions that involve long sales cycles (6 months or more), have multiple decision makers, and are about the prioritization of dollars as opposed to allocating existing budget. Lead Generation is the process of building buyer interest in your services or goods.
The nature of any complex or customized solution is that it’s hard to explain in a tagline or brochure. The customer’s decision making process mirrors that fact. Multiple decision makers, the need for capital allocation, and the special requirements inherent in a custom solution conspire to keep any single tagline or brochure from communicating the depth of a solution.
What’s a growing business to do?
The F word. Focus.
Step back from trying to do too much and narrow what you’re trying to communicate. Sound counter-intuitive? Lazy? Not right?
Here are 3 of my 5 reasons why this works.
1. Your customer’s big problems are made up of a lot of little problems.
When I throw that out, it’s not to minimize the significance of the problems. Your prospect/client wrestles with their own unique set of problems to be solved and, no surprise here, they have some ideas about how they want those problems solved. Inside of that big problem are small stories that people use as analogies for the bigger problem. Speaking to those smaller issues as a way of explaining yourself does the same thing in reverse. It narrows the Focus, improves communication and facilitates a conversation. Not everyone who responds to your stories is a prospect but your prospects will respond to you communicating in a clear, concise way.
2. No brochure/website/video listens very well.
“The reason more people don’t recognize opportunity is because it shows up in overalls and is disguised as hard work”, said Thomas Edison. Complex lead generation is the same way. Looking for a campaign, tagline or brochure to do heavy lifting smells like someone trying to avoid the hard, boring work that goes into figuring out the lead generation process for your specific solution. It may not be, but the number of marketers I’ve met that are content to deep dive into analytics and not get into conversations with living, breathing decision makers is long. Too long.
Complex leads demand that we understand the issues at a high level in order for our solutions to show up on their radar. I realize I’m talking to a very specific lead instance here, but my big point is that the brochure/website/video needs to move the conversation along. That requires having conversations that we can mimic/automate for future solution seekers.
3. The more you try to describe what you do, the less your prospect understands/wants what you do.
This may sound counter-intuitive to the main point of Focus, but it’s not because it refers to a specific phenomenon in the complex lead generation process. The more times a potential prospect asks, “now, what is it that you do?” the more likely we are to drift into talking about ourselves. “We helped client X do Y, when company T came to us for help with V we did Z.”
What’s going on in that conversation? A lot of guessing. Reaching and taking shots at what they might want, right?
This isn’t the best question, but an inquiry like “enough about me, what keeps you up at night?” best illustrates what I’m about to say.
We’re all in this for ourselves. Especially your prospects and customers. So, as a prospect, unless you happen to hit on results that are part of the solution I’m after, I tune you out and send you on to the next person down the line.
Focus allows us to center our communication style on the prospect and their problems. “We get results for our clients that look like X and Z” followed by small stories of solving specific problems and generating results makes your solutions interesting. You’re way more interesting to me when you let me talk about myself, sayeth your customer.
Your complex lead generation efforts work best when you’re listening instead of talking. But you knew that already, right?
I said there were 5 reasons why Focus works. It’s true. I may cover them in detail at some point, but not now. These 3 points are enough to move the conversation along.
The next sticking point tends to be, “Ok Greg, so why did you pick that topic?”
All I can say about that is that it’s much harder to answer. Another day, my friend.