The Value of your Lead Generation Team

September 21, 2010

Your lead generation services team is more valuable than you think.

Group of happy business people clapping their hands

Not only are they increasing revenue by generating qualified leads for your sales team to close, they’re providing an insightful and all-important function: market research.

Another Branch of Your Market Research

You may already be implementing a market research strategy to systematically gather and interpret information about your targets and discover an increase in your market clarity—a stellar tactic to make your company grow faster.  With market research and market clarity, you can improve your product or service and gather knowledge that can one-up your competition.

In case you haven’t started a market research campaign, here’s a guide on how to do it right.  An effective market research endeavor will also help you keep tabs on how it’s working and what can be improved.

Leveraging your lead generation team to assist in the market research process is a win-win—not only are you double-fisting your research efforts, you’re not expending any additional resources in the process.

What Can Your Lead Generation Team Learn?

The better question is, “What can’t your lead generation team learn?”  By focusing your team’s attentions on matters beyond qualifying potentials, you’re opening the floodgates to bountiful amounts of data.

Here are a few insights your team can gain:

1.  What leads have been using competing products?  Have they been approached by competitors?

Knowing more about which of your competitor’s products are being used by leads allows you to compare and contrast for the lead, and potentially discover opposition you didn’t know you had.  Similarly, you can learn the method in which your lead was approached by a competitor, glean information about their tactics and persuasiveness, and revise your own marketing methods.  These are all factors prominent in competitive advantage research.

2.  What about your competitors’ product is different or the same?

Once you know, you can then draw comparisons to your competitors and learn from their successes and mistakes.  The secret here is transparency.  Though transparency and upfront honesty can be detriments to businesses, they also lend an air of credibility that is otherwise difficult to achieve.  From a Future Now article: “[Comparing your products to other businesses] will help you build credibility because you’re showing all characteristics and aspects of the product and service you offer, and are willing to display what might be better or worse about competing products and services.”

3.  What is the persona of the buyer?

Understanding your buyer’s persona is essential to getting your product into their hands.  The process of persona development can be a tricky one, and sponging information off your target market can assist in future endeavors.  The Digital Buyer’s Persona gives some advice for—and the benefits to—building a solid buyer persona:

“To deeply understand why buyers buy requires a deep understanding of buyer’s goal orientation.  Attaining such a deep understanding is no easy task but the use of qualitative and experiential analysis rooted in anthropological principles offers the best means for this understanding.  Buyer personas—more importantly the buyer persona development process versus buyer persona profiling—are a means for acquiring this understanding of buyer’s goal orientation and serving as a means to help businesses understand why buyers buy.  Enlightened with this deeper understanding, B2B businesses are enabled to develop customer strategies that are aligned with buyer’s goal orientation.”

4.  What are their communication habits/preferences?

People receive dozens of e-mails per day—and a lot of them are junk.  Perhaps an e-marketing blast isn’t what your target customer wants; perhaps there’s another, preferred method of communication that could have more impact and even reduce costs.

5.  What industry has the greatest need for your product?

Learning more about your target persona is also learning more about what they do for work, how they function there, and what is missing to increase productivity.  If your product serves these needs, these “interviews” can point you in the right direction, or perhaps steer you elsewhere for your target industry.  The key here is to delve in-depth into an average workday and pin-point areas where your services can be most beneficial.

6.  What pain points do the decision makers in that industry have?

My colleague Firas Raouf identifies pain points and how best to absolve the torment:

“For a pain point to be truly painful, it has to be one that impedes a business or person from growing (either economically, physically or spiritually).  Find the source of the pain and tune your solution to relieving it in a novel way.  Many founders start off with a technology based widget, and go out to sell it as the next best thing since sliced bread.  Only to find that customers are not looking for widgets, they are looking for solutions to address their pain.  Sell your product as a pain killer, not as technology.”

In our guide to getting started with an influence marketing campaign, we delve into the personality attributes of a decision maker—this ought to help you find who you’re looking for.

Empower Your Team, See Results

On a final note, explaining to your lead qualifiers that one of their key functions is gathering data and serving as market researchers will empower them.  They are not telemarketers, dialing for dollars—they are helping your business grow by educating others within the business about what the market is saying and asking for.

Mark my words, if your lead qualifiers go into a call with less of a pushy sales approach and more of “I’m doing research on your market” approach, leads will be far less resistant to the conversation.  OpenView Labs, the operational support arm of the VC, has seen many of the lead qualification teams that we coach find great leads by doing just this.