These days, sales lead generation is no longer like fishing, putting bait at the end of a hook and then waiting for the fish to bite. No, the fishermen (i.e. sales people) no longer have fishing rods, they have baskets. All they do now is wait for the fish to jump out of the water and land in their baskets. That is, IF they jump out of the water.
The new generation of marketers, no matter how technologically acquainted they may be, still fall behind their digital native clients. While they are using social media to spread their presence online, their sales leads are using the internet to research the nitty-gritty facts about their company that they are desperately trying to hide.
These generation C clients are united, informed, aggressive and highly discerning. They easily perceive even the slightest hint of marketing effort as a ploy to rid them of their hard-earned money, and are quick to guard themselves. Because these clients have all the means to get what they want, they are now the major factors that drive the direction of company marketing efforts. More coordinated consumer communities have even shown that they can “alter” the product of a company on a whim. This is best represented by the Mass Effect 3 controversy when hundreds of gamers showed their distaste for the trilogy’s ending by filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, harassing an employee of BioWare (Mass Effects’ developer), and sending cupcakes to the company’s main office as a mockery of the game’s ending. The company eventually responded by stating the release of a cinematic epilogue to expand the game’s ending by the summer of 2012.
Would this upheaval been possible had this occurred years before the internet became a household necessity? Certainly, social media and the internet played a huge part in this consumer “rebellion”. Had they not been connected through the world wide web, their sentiments would not have reached other disgruntled gamers and led to their controversial actions.
How can lead generation firms and marketers avoid a similar fate with their otherwise unsatisfied sales leads? Though social media is a tool used by their sales leads to express dissatisfaction, marketers and lead generating companies can use this same tool to appeal to their emotions. By seeking the approval of their peers and using social media as a “word-of-mouth” channel, companies can substantially lower the guard of their sales leads so that they are more receptive to efforts by lead generation firms. When their target leads see that their peers approve of a product or service, they will be more likely to jump on the same wagon. When that happens, sales people need to be ready to catch them with their baskets.