Assess yourself! Lead generation edition, Part 1

This post is part of a three-part series about assessing your lead generation. Check out the other posts in the series!

  • Assess yourself! Lead generation series:
  • Part 3
  • Part 2
  • Part 1 (You are here)

One of the ways we use creative technology to help our clients strengthen their customer relationships is by assessing their lead generation system. Once we can see where their strengths and areas of growth are, we can apply our creativity where it will be most effective.

As useful as it is to have third-party come in and give insight on what they see (which we’re happy to do when you’re at that point), self-inquiry and reflection are also powerful.

On a personal level, knowing yourself is the first step to noticing and then changing ingrained behaviors that give you less-than-desirable results. It’s no different on an organizational level. Every day, you make choices based on a number of factors, many driven by how your organization operates by default. In order to make different choices, you need to recognize those default patterns and how they affect your results.

We’re starting with lead generation because without effective lead gen, none of the other things really matter. It’s also one of the bulkiest and slipperiest areas of strategy to work on, hard to get your hands around and feel like you actually have control over it.

What do we mean by lead generation?

For our purposes, lead generation is the strategic application of a deep understanding of your customer that allows you to show up in the right place, at the right time with a welcome solution to a pressing need.

Effective lead generation is a system you have control over, with outcomes that become increasingly predictable and repeatable over time.

Based on this definition, the highest level areas we need to assess are:

  • Your understanding of your customer
  • Your ability to apply that understanding…

    • …to show up in the right place, at the right time
    • …to bring a welcome solution to a pressing need
  • Your ability to systematize your application of that understanding to bring predictable and repeatable results

Since there’s so much to cover here, we’re going to dig into the first one today.

Understanding your customer

Quantifying the experience of even a single human in a single context is a challenge, much less making meaning out of a whole market full of people, most who you can’t even see.

Because this is so hard, it’s easy to base your understanding on assumptions & generalizations that ultimately describe a clichéd “person” that doesn’t exist and worse, doesn’t provide any meaningful framework for decision-making. Even easier is to avoid understanding and describing your customer at all, either because it feels impossible or because you’re afraid of making the wrong choice and alienating the customers you do have.

It takes courage to commit to understanding and defining your customer in a specific, true, and actionable way. We hope this self-assessment will give you the courage you need to take those steps.

Questions to ask yourself

No matter how complex, the process for understanding is always the same. You research, analyze what you've learned, and form a mental model of what it all means. Becoming increasingly knowledgeable about something just means having better and truer mental models.

Your mental model not only includes who your customer is, but also who you are in relationship to them. Once you know that, you need to be able to clearly communicate that model to others in your organization, so you can make decisions based on a similar plane of understanding.

These questions will help you see your organization’s strengths and areas of growth. You may not tackle all of them at once, but you’ll get a sense for what is highest priority for you on the path to developing a clear understanding of your customer.

How are we listening?

  • Where are we listening to our customers?
  • How are we listening to who are customers are?
  • How are we listening to what our customers need and are concerned about?
  • How are we listening to what our customers want and aspire to?
  • How are we listening to the way our customers experience their relationship with us?
  • Does our approach include listening at 3 levels: marketing, product development and sales? Where we strongest? Where are we weakest?
  • How does our approach include listening outside of the context of our organization, in the wider marketplace?

What are we learning?

  • What kind of data are we collecting as we listen? Do we have both quantitative and qualitative data?
  • How and where do we collect data?
  • How and when do we assess the data?

Have we distilled that data into a clearly defined customer model?

  • How clearly and specifically are we able to define our customer?
  • What major frustrations have we identified as common problems our customers are facing?
  • How does our customer currently address those frustrations?
  • What does our customer ultimately want? Why do they want that? What will getting it help them do, be, or experience?
  • How does our customer currently take steps toward getting what they want?
  • How easy is our model to understand by our marketing, product, and salespeople?
  • How does our data inform our customer model now? How do we integrate new data into our customer model over time?

Have we defined how we fit into that model and why it matters to us?

  • How do we define ourselves in our relationship with our customer, based on our customer model?
  • How do we describe who we are, both internally and publicly?
  • Why does it matter to us to perform our role in the relationship?
  • What qualifies us to perform this role?
  • Why does it matter to our customer that we are the ones performing this role for them?

How confident do we feel in our overall approach to understanding our customer? How can we improve it?

In our next post, we’re going to walk you through assessing your ability to apply that understanding, showing up in the right place at the right time with a welcome solution to a pressing need.

In the meantime, if you have questions about any of these concepts or if you’re considering a lead generation assessment, shoot me an email at I’d love to help. :)

If you're curious about our framework for strengthening customer relationships, sign up for our mailing list below, and we'll walk you through it.

Check out Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.

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