Before embarking on a lead generation program, companies often believe they must have all the answers: who is the ideal customer, which market is the most ripe, what message is best.

Jenny Vance headshot 2014
Via our friends at SLMA, written by  Jenny Vance

Companies can spend months hypothesizing about the perfect calling lists, messages and strategies before launching an appointment setting campaign and making the first call.

I won’t go so far as to say that this is a waste of time; however, the law of diminishing margin returns takes effect very quickly sitting around a boardroom table hypothesizing about how the market will respond.

There is a better way: let the market provide the answers.

It’s time to start looking at your lead generation efforts differently. Lead generation is the greatest live dialog you have with prospects, and can be a powerful tool in spotting trends, honing messaging and identifying areas of market opportunity. In other words, lead generation can answer all your campaign questions without guesswork and delay.

Lead generation campaigns provide two different kinds of data that can help you refine a lead generation campaign: call center metrics and conversation level information.

1 – Call Center Metrics

With the right process and technology, prospecting can quickly provide information about targeted industries, revenue, employee size, title path and lead source. By looking at calling metrics for these areas, information begins to bubble up around which segments respond more quickly, which appointments convert at a higher rate, and which sales are more profitable.

Looking more closely at the data, you can determine the most valuable activities. For example, a difficult-to-reach segment that appears too costly to target may convert to closed business at a higher rate and have a larger deal size.

These metrics also can direct your efforts towards the right industries. Many companies focus lead generation strategies based on where they have had sales wins, which can make sales managers a little myopic, causing them to overlook other more profitable segments. Telemarketing is great at scientifically identifying where opportunities exist.

I worked with a software company that launched a tele-prospecting campaign for the financial services industry, believing this industry was its strongest market for sales. However, after looking at lead generation results by industry, they found that other industries had double the success rate.

2 – Conversation Level Information

Live conversations yield the most valuable information, but you have to ask for it. When a prospect says “no,” this should be the beginning of the conversation. Asking a couple quick questions can uncover valuable information that will direct future sales and marketing strategies.

For example, I worked with a company that discovered its competitor had a disastrous product launch. We were able to look through conversation data from previous campaigns to quickly identify prospects who told us they used the competitor’s product. Within a day, we were able to start a calling campaign with a targeted message that helped our client win marketshare from this competitor.

Conversation level information also is helpful in refining messaging. By listening to what prospects are saying, messages can be tweaked to be more targeted and relevant. Testing changes in messaging can provide even more clarity about what’s really driving sales.

When planning your next lead generation campaign, do away with the hand-wringing and let the market provide direction. The market never lies.

Published via our friends at SLMA

Jenny Vance is president of LeadJen (, a B2B lead generation company.  She can be reached at and on Twitter @LeadJen_LLC.

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