Lead generation can be an important part of effective aviation and aerospace marketing programs, but it’s not a panacea. That’s because, far too often, the decision to launch a lead-generation program is reactive, and occurs when we are in a hurry to make something happen now.
Unfortunately, it’s a sense of urgency that is situational and not strategic, and is driven by scenarios like these:
- You just found out that sales are way down
- You have to report on monthly sales quotas in a team meeting, and the numbers don’t look good
- The boss is exerting pressure and wants to know what marketing is doing to improve sales
We’ve all been there. In these situations, everyone jumps into action, searching for the fastest ways to get sales. It’s frantic, a little bit desperate and typically ineffective.
These last-ditch efforts also tend to be unrealistic. The truth is, by the time marketing starts reacting, it’s usually too late to get the leads and conversion needed to make up the sales deficit in a timely fashion.
Remember, aviation and aerospace sales cycles are long, complex and require more touch points, with more stakeholders, than what is typical for other B2B transactions. No sophisticated buyer is going to be drawn in by a clever campaign, visit your website and make a purchasing decision on the spot. The typical industry buyer instead is researching options, on his or her own timeline, and they will eventually contact you if your company makes the cut.
The real answer is to think proactively and beyond just a single campaign. Ongoing, sustained, strategic lead-generation programs that are well planned and professionally executed are a better way to attract and convert the aviation and aerospace industry leads you really need to support sales in a meaningful way.
There are seven key components that are essential for your aviation and aerospace lead-generation program to be successful.
1) Communicate with sales. Talk to your sales team before embarking on this effort. Ideally, your lead-generation efforts will work and bring in floods of sales opportunities. But is the business ready to support a flood of inquiries? Can the sales team make itself readily available to answer and follow-up quickly? Is there a product or service ready to sell?
2) Goal(s). Yes, our main goal is to gather leads, but how many? Develop a realistic goal based on your sales targets, investment, and length of the your lead-generation effort.
3) Offer an incentive or something of value that the prospect wants. This can be a promotion to buy a product/service at a discount or an incredibly helpful content resource. Think about sales objections that could help fuel the effectiveness of your offer. Talk with your salespeople and get their input. Incorporate strong calls-to-action to turn suspects into prospects. Carefully consider the benefit you are offering, be specific, and be relevant. Harvard Business Review strongly advocates the use of case studies, citing data that case studies have “an 83% completion rate that is orders of magnitude higher than other sales and marketing content provided during the buying journey.”
4) Develop a landing page to provide a place for more information and to collect lead contact data. Keep the page and contact form simple – too much information causes visitors to be apprehensive. Remember the action you want the visitor to take, and build the page around that objective.
5) Ensure that you have a strong promotion plan. Select the right channels and determine a budget and timeline for maximum visibility. This can be anything from email marketing, LinkedIn, trade publication online advertising, pay-per-click, etc.
6) Establish a clear process. Develop and deploy a process for gathering and following up with leads immediately. Lead-generation campaigns are only truly successful when the lead converts to a sale. Again, this requires cooperation between marketing and sales.
7) Set up Google Analytics and UTM codes. Track traffic to your page and identify the channels that are working and those that are not. Review metrics monthly and decide if adjustments are needed to improve results. BDN has found that the best length for a campaign is a minimum of 3 months for good data collection needed to drive better-informed decisions and better results.
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