Seven Deadly Sins of Lead Generation

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When I talk about lead generation, I often feel like a country preacher at a revival meeting. I want to implore you to follow the straight and narrow of sales lead strategy. And I want to warn you of the dire consequences of giving in to the worldly temptations of fancy advertising.

Can I get an amen?

So listen, my brothers and sisters. You hire salespeople to sell. And the more time they spend closing deals, the more money your company makes. Good leads save time, cut costs and create more profit.

But while a lead generation effort can bless your sales staff with leads that result in heavenly sales, committing one or more of the following sins can condemn your efforts and send your profits plummeting toward the netherworld.

· Anger. Infighting between the marketing and sales departments is common, but it can kill a lead generation program before it even begins. Remember, it takes both departments to make lead generation work. Marketing is responsible for bringing in the leads. And sales is responsible for converting those leads to dollars. Respect each other. Talk to each other. Share information. If ever there was a need for team effort, this is it. Blessed are they who work together, for they shall also profit together.

· Covetousness. Being greedy by hoarding your marketing materials is false economy. Information sells, especially for high-priced or hard-to-understand products and services, such as financial, hi-tech, industrial or brand-new business categories. To generate leads, you have to give away fact kits, work sheets, videos, brochures, demos and other informational freebies. Blessed are the generous, for they shall be repaid tenfold.

· Envy. Seeing other companies win creative awards and wanting the same for yourself is what I call "award envy." And while there is nothing wrong with a creative campaign, creativity for its own sake is a profit killer. Always start with the offer and make sure copy and design support the message. Stay focused on getting the lead and don't try to accomplish anything else. Also, don't be afraid of ugly materials. Simple design, bold colors, and straightforward copy work best. Blessed are the uncreative, for they shall create great wealth.

· Gluttony. Too many lead generation mailers and advertisements are fat with information. That's good in mail order, but in lead generation, "the more you tell, the less you sell." Avoid overlong copy. Don't disclose too much too soon. The idea is to tease people with a little information and get them to ask for more so you can capture their names, addresses, phone numbers and other data. Saying too much upfront may satisfy your prospects' hunger and provide reasons for them to not respond. Blessed are they of few words, for their riches shall speak for them.

· Lust. Of course you crave more profit. But trying to appeal to everyone all the time is not the way to boost sales. You must target your efforts. Forget about all the people who are not interested. Focus on the 5 percent to 10 percent of your list who are. These are the leads you will convert into sales. Blessed are they who seek only the best prospects, for their sales shall exceed all others.

· Pride. Your company mission statement may bring tears to your eyes. But all that proud, chest-thumping verbiage is just empty noise for your prospects. Face it. People don't care about you, your company or your product. They only want to know what you can do for them. So talk about benefits and save the corporate banter for your annual report. Blessed are the humble, for they shall take pride in their fortune.

· Sloth. In any lead generation effort, you have two salespeople on the job -- the sales representative and the copywriter. You would never hire a lazy rep. So why would you hire a lazy writer? Choose the best copywriter or consultant you can afford, someone who understands sales and the bottom line. Strong, risk-free offers stated boldly will generate leads. Blessed are the energetic, for they shall outsell their idle competitors.

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