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Planning Your Lead Generation Program

 Whether looking to venture into a new  market or mining for new opportunities  in an existing market, lead generation  begins with having a clear picture of  who is your perfect customer.

 Perfection is rare in this world, but the  better you understand  your ideal target, the better you can  focus your new business development  efforts so that your lead generation  program will bear fruit.  As famous  American football coach Vince  Lombardi once said: “Perfection is not  attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”

Whether you are looking to generate leads for a hotel, a convention venue, CVB, and independent meeting planning firm or other meetings industry supplier, questions you should consider include:
  • What is my ideal group size and arrival/departure pattern? (for a hotel, your answer may vary according to seasons; what is ideal for you in the summer may differ from other times of the year when you have more business travellers in-house)
  • What is the ideal range/extent of meeting space requirements? (e.g. size of main meeting room, average number of breakouts or room-to-meeting space ratio)
  • What are your ideal customer’s food & beverage requirements? (do you offer special menus that might attract certain groups?)
  • What are your ideal customer’s AV/connectivity requirements? (as a planner, maybe you’re very comfortable with meetings requiring heavy technical components – note it down!)
  • What are the ideal rates/fees paid? (ranges may be provided, allowing for variability according to seasons/months)
Clarity about qualitative aspects of your perfect customer is also important. One of our clients wanted to work with organizations with Corporate Social Responsibility mandates.  They had done great work with socially-responsible organizations in the past and wished to leverage this success with prospects.

Are there certain companies or industries for which you have executed particularly successful programs?  Use your expertise to attract new business in that field.  Target the competitors of your best clients.  If you recently had a great product launch for one pharmaceutical giant, why not seek relationships with more?  According to sales trainer Colleen Francis, by making it clear that you understand the challenges pharmaceutical groups have to deal with, you build trust: “If your company has worked with them, then you understand what we need.”

If you are responsible for business development for a CVB, consider the less obvious attributes your destination offers.  One city focused a group lead generation project around the fact they had the highest number of engineers per-capita in North America.  This helped raise their awareness and receive RFPs from professional associations in the engineering field.

Documenting and refining your Perfect Customer profile with your sales team is an exercise that will help focus your business development activities and identify niches you may not have considered in the past.