I read this article by Dan McDade, who is an expert on lead generation. As we move into the fourth quarter — where most of us are looking to end the year with a bang, I thought I’d share his words with you — and add some of my own perspective.

The more leads you give to sales, the less likely they’ll be followed up on  Sales is conditioned to not follow up on marketing’s leads. Why? Because they’ve been burned. They receive hundreds of so-called leads generated through tradeshows, email campaigns, webinars, whitepaper downloads, etc., and have learned that there may be, if they’re lucky, 10 percent that are qualified. Sales has a quota and they’re not going to spend the hours needed to cull through lists of low-level, so-called leads.

Fewer leads empower sales  Marketing can recondition sales by sending qualified opportunities, as opposed to raw, unfiltered leads. How? If the marketing department segments, measures and qualifies, sales will learn to value what marketing sends their way. That translates into more deals and more revenue, and that’s good for sales, marketing and the company.

When leads are qualified, marketing can do a better job  When marketing takes on the lead qualification role, sales gets in front of more qualified prospects, which means marketing is able to increase its ROI as the leads generated are no longer wasted. The process of qualification also helps marketing fine tune its demand generation programs: If a list generated from a trade show, for example, is only pulling at 5 percent, marketing can adjust its investments to maximize the benefits.

So, where do the best leads come from and what’s the best way to qualify them?

 We all know I am a big advocate of direct mail, and it should be no surprise to any of my readers that I will tell you unconditionally that direct mail provides great leads that convert into solid appointments.

Why?

  • Direct mail prequalifies. It is the only marketing medium that gives you true targetability so you can select and only pay to reach the right audience for your product. If you are selling expensive water filtration systems to homeowners, why spend your advertising dollars to reach non-homeowners who won’t quality for credit?
  • It allows you to present every benefit of your product or service over those of your competition — the way you want to present it — so it’s consistent with your brand and messaging. This is a chance to strut your stuff before/better than anyone else struts theirs.
  • It gets you into your prospect’s home — during the day, evenings and weekends — with no distractions. No other medium gives you this kind of access to your prospects.

Let’s face it, reaching the right audience with the right offer and the right message is the key to success, because in the end, the only thing that counts is how many quality leads your mailing generates.

Last comment: I would be remiss if I did not remind you that lead generation by direct mail is not an event, but a consistent planned program, that incorporates testing and tweaking until you know you have it right. Yes, it’s a process, but once you have it nailed, it will bring quality leads into your pipeline day in, day out.