Where Are Revenue-Generating Leads Hiding?
Soliciting referrals and recommendations is an important sales technique that language service providers (LSPs) should pursue – whether or not they have a dedicated sales force. You don’t have to feel desperate or pushy when doing so. It’s as simple as asking “Is there anyone else in your organization who could use our services?” or “Do you network with people at other companies that buy language services?” And if so, “Would you be willing to introduce me?”
Yet even proactive referral requests aren’t enough to grow your business sustainably. Every provider needs a healthy supply of pre-qualified prospects to increase its chances of securing new sales. How LSPs find qualified leads varies from one company to another. What works? What doesn’t? Based on 497 responses in a recently published report, CSA Research dissects where language service providers find most of their revenue-generating leads.
Networking (68% of respondents) and a company’s website (60%) are the most effective avenues for finding leads. After those two options, opinions diverge: referrals and loyalty programs (44%), trade shows and events (43%), cold calling (30%), email marketing and search engine referrals (both 28%), and direct mail and social media (both 24%). The remaining five approaches demonstrate a much lower level of consensus.
These results provide good guidance on the most favored lead-generation techniques. We ran correlations to identify which type of LSP prefers which approach. To do so, we compared the data against revenue, staffing levels, geography, and years in business to enable executives and marketing managers to benchmark their efforts against those of other providers that share similar characteristics.
But what should you do with such data?
- If you find benefits in places that others don’t: Check that you are properly quantifying the number of quality leads you track – don’t rely on gut feel or intuition. If your approach excels based on this benchmarking exercise, analyze how you can do more of what triggers this success.
- If you don’t find benefits where others do: If data doesn’t turn out to be as positive as expected, revisit how you track lead generation performance. Is your less than stellar performance due to a lack of investment in the lead-generation technique, insufficient skills to successfully deploy it, or an approach that just doesn’t work well for your target markets, client personas, or offerings?
- If your results align with LSPs that share a similar profile: Examine which methods the next more advanced bracket perceives to be successful and start working on improving team skills in those areas. Strive to continually improve the results of every one of your lead-generation approaches – whether they are the ones listed here or are other more creative ones of your own devising.
Chance alone won’t generate sustainable lead generation over time – at best, it will produce a few unpredictable peaks in business. Keeping the funnel full requires that you adopt a formalized sales approach that is grounded on an appropriate strategy and deployed with the right organizational structure.
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