Lead Generation + Awkward Phone Calls

A few months ago, I had a call with a prospective client (who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons), and it went something like this:

Me: “So, what do you consider to your biggest business challenges over the course of the next 12 months?”

Prospective Client: “Well, we have really aggressive revenue goals that we need to hit, and we’re falling short. I really think we need to focus more on lead generation – just getting more people to the site.” 

Me: “Okay, that makes sense. Have you spent any cycles really reviewing your conversion funnel and ensuring that it’s efficient? That might be another direction to explore.”

Prospective Client: “We haven’t done so recently, but I’m pretty sure that it’s dialed.”

Me: “Can you define ‘recently’?”

Prospective Client: “Hmmm, maybe the past 16 months? I’m not really sure as our analytics aren’t super accurate.”

Me: [AWKWARD SILENCE]

Prospective Client: “Are you still there?”

Me: “Yes, I’m here.”

Prospective Client: “So, do you think you might be able to help us? And, might you be open to performance-based compensation?”

Me: [MORE AWKWARD SILENCE]

 

We’re not in the business of trash talking. But, I use this example because it’s one of at least a dozen times that I’ve had almost the same conversation over the course of the past six months.

Being a consultant can be extremely challenging sometimes. Sometimes, we’re charged with coming into organizations with the expectation that we can move mountains in a very short amount of time – and, in many, many cases, we’re successful. But, we’re not too proud to admit that sometimes things just don’t work out as planned.

We are frequently contacted by prospective clients wanting some kind of “lead generation” services, with the overarching ideology that if we can increase traffic to a web property 30% that revenue will grow 30%. And, unfortunately, this thinking is plain and simply flawed (sorry). In addition to principles of diminishing returns based on volume, the increasing costs of online media, the challenges of executing an effective content marketing program for lead generation purposes, it almost doesn’t matter how well you fill the top of your funnel if you’re not incredibly efficient at converting top-of-funnel leads into conversions. Period.

Conversion optimization is a challenging and loaded topic. It can mean a plethora of different things, depending on an organization’s business model, revenue goals, marketplace, etc. – but, it’s an area which needs constant focus and attention if an organization is to succeed and grow. These days consumers are inundated with choices and conversions, be them sales or video views or downloads or something repeat traffic, simply don’t happen all by themselves anymore. Leads, or top-of-funnel traffic, really need to be nurtured and cared for like newborns.

If growing revenue is an organization-wide priority — and in 99.99% of cases, it is; never has anyone said “we actually want to decrease revenue this year,” — organization-wide resources need to be devoted to making it happen. Very rarely is the answer simply, “more traffic.” The global marketplace is increasingly more complex, everything from digital word-of-mouth to marketing automation to branding to the user’s on-site experience all have a direct impact to bottom line, and our ability, as consultants, to effectively do our jobs for our clients. And, happy clients = happy consultants. Everyone wins.

So, when asked if we offer “lead generation services,” the answer is almost always no. Instead, we offer top-to-bottom, inside and out “customer acquisition” services, which are focused not only on filling top-of-funnel leads, but ensuring that our clients are as efficient as humanly possible at driving conversion. It’s blood, sweat and tears work that almost always involves deep collaboration with our clients. But with time and testing, we’re almost always effective at getting our clients on the path to where they need to be, and none of that [AWKWARD SILENCE] anymore.