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The New Lead Generation is in Membership Programs

Had an interesting conversation with Texterity president Martin Hensel regarding lead generation programs (specifically for BtoB markets) and how they are changing before our eyes.

Now, all lead generation programs are different, but they basically run this way (yes, very simplistic to all you lead generation experts…here goes).

  • Create the offer
  • Convert and gather the lead information
  • Direct e-mail or call by the salesperson to qualify or convert
  • If they don’t respond, keep pestering them with email offers.

Martin was discussing how one of his clients (a leading software company) was beginning to move away from this process. Why? They are finding that the majority of leads they acquire are:

  • Very early in the sales process (often six to 12 months out and are just in the process of learning) and
  • Are put off by getting a direct solicitation after completing an online form (usually from a white paper or webinar)

The solution: the membership model.

Here’s the process:

  • Develop the offer, which is not just for one piece of content, but an indepth dive into multiple and ongoing pieces of online content (think something like Subscribing (the lead information) offers an ongoing content promise.
  • Prospect subscribes to join the free membership.
  • The prospect doesn’t get called unless they state an immediate buying problem (a question in the membership form). All others gain free access to the content community as they move through the buying process.

What makes this different?  Since most of these BtoB buyers are very early in the process and still need more education on the subject, the ongoing content delivery (through email and social media) positions the vendor as a trusted expert. As the buyer gets closer to the buying decision, odds are will be that this company, that is delivering all this fantastic opt-in content to them, is first on the list. Motorola does a version of this already, and have been for a while.

With the buyer in full control anyway, doesn’t this model make more sense? – to focus your “hot leads” with your sales team and let your content do the nurturing for those customers who aren’t ready.

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