In-Ear Insights Generative AI And Lead Generation

In-Ear Insights: Generative AI And Lead Generation

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, Katie and Chris examine the use of generative AI and lead generation. How do you use generative AI to improve lead generation? How do you build an ideal customer profile with generative AI? Tune in for step by step details!

Watch the video here:

In-Ear Insights: Generative AI And Lead Generation

Can’t see anything? Watch it on YouTube here.

Listen to the audio here:

Download the MP3 audio here.


Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.

Christopher Penn 0:01

In this week’s In-Ear Insights, let’s talk about generative AI, everyone’s favorite topic of the day week by the end and lead generation, because I have seen a lot and I mean a lot of hot to lukewarm to mild takes on LinkedIn and other social networks about how people can use gendered AI for lead generation, including some texts that are actually blatantly illegal.

I saw one by a fairly well known personnel saying, here’s how you can automatically infer someone’s email address when they’re on your website, and then spam them like that.

That’s not allowed.

You’re not allowed to do that’s literally illegal.

So let’s talk about how you can lawfully use generative AI for lead generation.

So Katie, when you think about lead generation, particularly in the context of B2B or really any complex sale, what are the things that matter to you, as it as a stakeholder?

Katie Robbert 0:59

Well, there’s a couple of things, I think that we use the term lead gen loosely.

And so first, the first thing I always want to do when I’m working with my team, is really defined what that means, you know, if we set up some a piece of gated content, and people, you know, fill out the form, that doesn’t mean their leads, they’re just contacts and prospects in our database.

And so, to me, it needs to be more actionable than that.

And so when I think about setting up lead gen content, it needs to be at least from my perspective, something that’s more than just, hey, this is the definition of a thing, it needs to be more engaging than that, you know, it feels like the stakes need to be a little bit higher, to really sort of gauge interest, it’s, you know, I’m speaking in very vague terms, but I know we’re gonna get into like the details of it.

But basically, lead gen content really needs to help you gauge the interest of the person.

And so I feel like there’s a lot that comes before creating lead gen content, like you can’t just go from zero to lead gen, and have no in between, like, there has to be the awareness stage, there has to be the engagement stage.

And then you can, you know, dangle the carrot and say, Okay, here’s, here’s the thing that’s going to help me know, if you’re actually interested in buying, maybe it’s like, something for $50.

And that’s going to tell me, okay, you’re willing to spend money with me, maybe you subscribe to a thing that’s going to keep you around longer.

And you’re investing your time with us.

But if you put out you know, a blog post, and somebody gives it a thumbs up, that’s not lead gen.

That’s just, you know, passing by maybe accidentally hitting the button or saying, Hey, this is cool.

So that’s sort of where I start the conversation with lead gen is, you know, how are we gauging interest and it’s more than just, I filled out a form one time and then never came back?

Christopher Penn 2:59


And I think it’s important to distinguish between demand generation versus lead generation, because what we talk about with things like newsletter subscriptions, or download a white paper or something along those lines, that really is demand generation where you’re trying to say, Okay, I want to create demand for my products and services, which means I need to make people aware of my services I can to educate people as to what the problems are, that they’re probably facing, like, hey, Google Analytics is going to delete all your data in July.

So that is a demand generation thing.

We saw that last summer, when j for became mandatory, there’s a lot of sudden demand.

And then from demand, you can harvest leads, if you want to, you know, take us over a farming analogy.

But if to your point, if there’s no demand, there’s nothing harvest.

So you can’t go straight to lead generation.

And a lot of very short sighted marketers like yeah, it’s all about leads all the time.

Well, it’s like saying it’s all about harvesting your crops all the time, if you didn’t grow any.

There’s nothing to harvest.


Katie Robbert 3:58

I a few jobs ago, the executive suite was a bit of a mess.

And they brought in this outside person to be the CEO when the other first CEO sort of stepped back, which he never really did.

He could add the inability to let go of any sort of control.

But that’s a whole story for another time.

So they brought in this outside CEO, who actually knew about growth and everything.

And as a product manager, he said to me, he was like, so what’s your lead gen plan? And it was the first time I’d ever heard the term lead gen.

And I was like, I don’t know what is what does that even mean? And looking back had I known then what I know now I would have approached it very differently.

But basically, because we worked in a very regulated field and our audience, our target customer, were substance abuse clinicians.

I went and found and created a large database of all Have the substance abuse clinicians with their emails and phone numbers and handed it to my sales team and said, Here’s your lead gen.

Now looking back, like I realized that directionally, I was moving in the right way, but the actual thing that I was doing was really just trying to, I was still stuck in the awareness stage, because what was going to happen was that my sales team was going to cold pitch all of these people who may or may not have heard of us and had not expressed any interest in doing anything with us.

So we were going from zero to sale.

And you can probably guess, what the results of that where we got no additional sales from that.

But I had when the CEO said to me, what are we doing about lead? Gen.

I honestly had no idea what that meant.

And I’ve learned a lot since then.

But, you know, it was sort of a missed opportunity to go through those phases to even say, Well, are you interested in our content? Are you interested in our newsletter? You know, are you interested in learning more from us? Can you sign up for weather and sort of bring them through those phases? And so, you know, when you’re, when you’re seeing Chris, people who are using generative AI, to create lead gen content, or to do lead gen campaigns, your you know, you’re seeing people doing it wrong doing it illegally.

So what is what should we be thinking about now that we have a better sense of what true lead generation, you know, kind of means?

Christopher Penn 6:26

So, here’s the first part, and this should be absolutely no surprise to anyone, you kind of need to go through the five fees.

Right? So what is the purpose? Lead Gen is not a purpose, lead gen is an activity, right? The purpose is, presumably sales, right? You want to we need to drive sales, and you should probably have something like a user story to help define your purpose.

So as a CEO, I want to generate a pipeline of qualified leads in excess of 200 per quarter of companies that are 5 million in annual revenue or above, so that my sales team can invest the time wisely in closing the most qualified prospects.

Like that’s a really solid user story.

If you don’t have that, it gets really hard.

It’s real hard to do anything else? The next part? And this is the part that marketers in particular, really skipped over and I really wish they wouldn’t, because it if you do it wrong, you’re just gonna waste your time.

Who are your leads? Right? Who do you Who do you want your leads to be? One of the things you can do in generative AI is help you build a, a profile, right? Who is your ideal customer profile, so you can go into I’m going to use Gemini, but we can use you can use any language model of your choice.

Let’s say today, let’s talk about building a an ideal customer profile for a B2B consulting company Trust Insights.

This will be used to help our sales and marketing efforts by refining what activities we do and with who our audience would be.


What do you know about B2B marketing and building an ideal customer profile.

So what we’re doing here is a technique called priming.

And essentially, as we’ve talked about in past episodes, this is going into the long term memory of the model and pulling the relevant memories, ideas out of it into short term memory.

So it’s gonna say, Hey, here’s what I know about B2B marketing, you know, complex buying process relationships matters, niche focus, content, thought leadership, and ideal customer profile is a fictionalized representation of the type of company that will derive the most value from your services.

It’s a perfect fit client, firma graphics challenges, a pain points, decision making structure, goals and motivations.

And why this matters, of course, so this is this is pretty decent, but I think I want some more detail about what specific data points should be in the ICP.

Katie Robbert 9:12

You know, as you’re doing that, it’s interesting because we get asked all the time, Who’s your ideal customer? And the short answer is people with money, but obviously, that’s not detailed enough, because then how do we know that the right people are coming into our customer database? So you have to go through this exercise first.

Before you can create anything related to lead gen? Who are you targeting? Who cares?

Christopher Penn 9:39

What exactly so industry company size, location, technology, stack specific business problems, urgency outcomes, they seek titles and roles, influences buying committees, success metrics, competitive concerns.

Astonishingly, this looks a lot like the five P’s weird.

Weird how that happens.


budget growth potential.

So this is all of essentially, what you would want in an ideal customer profile.

Now, here is again, where a lot of marketers are going to go completely and totally off the rails, they’re gonna guess, say, Well, you know, John Wall trusted.

So here’s our ideal customer.

And I think John wants these things like, Well, if you haven’t asked John, and then you don’t actually know.

However, there is a way to do that.

So let’s, let’s take John Wall, say, here is an example of a person who fits our ideal customer profile, from their resume, CV, please infer the components of an ideal customer profile from this resume.

And we’re going to put John’s profile in here from his resume.


Katie Robbert 10:57

I feel like this is where a lot of marketers, myself included, have gotten stuck of, okay, so we know, the basic elements of what we want in a ideal customer, how do we go about finding those things? I remember back again, that sort of same timeframe that I was talking about with the lead gen, a friend of mine was doing business development for a different company.

And I just remember, he was always doing research putting information into a spreadsheet, because they had the ideal customer profile.

And so his job was to find these people.

And so this was obviously pre generative AI, this was, oh gosh, like 2007 Maybe and so there was a lot of limitations.

And so he was just spending hours and weeks combing the internet trying to find potential customers that met this, you know, ideal customer profile and it just like it was all consuming, it took so much time.

Christopher Penn 12:02

So here we have an ideal customer profile based on John.

industry companies that benefit from marketing and sales consulting mid market and larger enterprises US based using tools like Salesforce and CRM systems, pain points, optimizing sales and marketing alignment, effectively using data staying on the cutting edge.

Decision makers, VP of Marketing chief marketing officer, and so on and so forth.

Marketing Strategies, influences John’s goals and focus, increased revenue and growth competitive advantage, measurable results budget, mid market to large enterprise can likely afford the services.

John and his podcast are known for innovation.

So this is already a decent ICP.


Let’s add to it.

This is great.

Great, now, I’m going to give you the CV of a CEO of a CEO who fits our ideal customer profile.

Katie robear.

Katie Robbert 12:55

I was gonna say is it me, it’s you,

Christopher Penn 12:59

you to amend and update our ICP based on this data.

Alright, let’s feed this in.


Instead of having just one perspective, we’re going to have another perspective.

Right? So here’s amendments to the initial ICP Katie’s and add a potential focus on healthcare, right problem, sensitivity companies, sound with ethical issues around data use prioritizing data, literacy, gender diversity, company maturity, focus on outcomes.

So now we’ve got more information here.

Okay, let’s do, let’s add in one of those social media influencers, who, while occasionally irritating, do have large reach now we’ll put in me.

Katie Robbert 13:44

And so you know, I think that this is a really interesting exercise, because what it’s doing is, what generative, what generative is really good at is taking all of this data, finding the commonalities, and then summarizing it for you.

So that because you can do this manually, but it’s definitely going to take you longer just to look at like, basically, the way that I would have done it, you know, back in 2007, is I would have had all three resumes in front of me as a piece of paper.

And I would have kept looking at all of them and trying to manually pick out, you know, what are the things that are common here? What are the elements of each of these profiles that match what we’re trying to build for the ideal customer profile, and it just, it can be done, it just takes longer, and I do recommend, this is a great starting place, but you still need to have that manual human intervention to make sure that generative AI isn’t, as you say, Chris hallucinating and just making things up that it still aligns with your ideal customer profile.

Don’t just let the system tell you what that is.

You as the human have to say yes, this is what it is or no it isn’t.


Christopher Penn 14:58

So now I told it Hey, summarize everything we’ve done so far build a comprehensive ICP based on all the data in bullet point and outline format.

So core for demographics, primary focus, healthcare industry, sensor data, regulatory needs secondary focus technology, retail businesses with an online presence, mid market, enterprise US based technology.

Here’s the main problem.

pain points need to move beyond intuition potential misalignment between teams, ethical duties, its competitive advantage, these are all things that actually are true about the kind of company we really do want, as as prospective customers, values and motivations.

So what we’re going to do now is we’re going to take this, we’re going to copy this, I’m just gonna open up the brand new text document, put it in here, trim off the, you know, the usual, we’re gonna call this Trust Insights, ideal customer profile.

And we’re just going to store this here, and we’ll trim off these important notes cuz we don’t, that’s just talking next.

Okay, great.

We have our target audience, well understood.

What’s the next step in a lead generation program? We’re gonna just ask, okay, well, we did the homework.

We’ve got that part.

What do we do next? targeted content creation.

So this is demand generation, this is not lead generation.

So even here, one of the tools is, is blurring those lines, but lead magnets, okay, so that’s, that’s something I can say, Okay, well, that’s, you know, we need, everyone needs to lead that lead magnets something to attract people.

And we need good landing pages.

So that’s something sensible.

So say, let’s say, let’s focus on lead magnets.

Using the ICP we generated, come up with five ideas for lead magnets for Trust Insights, to develop as a reminder, because we want we know context, windows are a thing.

This is our ICP, and I’m going to paste in the ICP regenerated.

So we’re refreshing its memory, short term memory, to say, remember who these people are? Well, and it’s

Katie Robbert 17:11

interesting, because I feel like, again, lead magnet is one of those terms that’s thrown around, but not really well understood.

And so you still have to understand the difference between demand gen and lead gen and what a lead magnet really is, in order to use a system like Google Gemini or ChatGPT, to assist you, because if you’re just letting the systems tell you what it thinks a lead magnet is, it could be leading you down the wrong road, like the first thing you said, Chris is like, well, this is all demand jet, not lead gen.

And then it had a tiny little blurb in there about lead magnets.

But are they truly lead magnets.

And again, that’s for you and your company to decide.

But you need to make sure you understand what those things are, before you go ahead and just let the system make those decisions for you.

You know, the other thing that’s interesting is that, yes, I have a healthcare background.

But it is like tripling down on health care as the only industry that we should be going after.

And ironically, we do not at this time have any health care clients.

It’s a very regulated industry tricky to work with good if you can get it but also maybe not worth the headache.

Christopher Penn 18:28


And to your point, that’s where you the human, have to make decisions and guidance, say like, let’s de emphasize healthcare because it’s a pain in the butt.

Or, hey, we don’t want to work for a tobacco company, or we don’t want to work for a defense contractor us.

So you as a human have to be the one to put guardrails on this stuff to your point, you can’t just let it run around blind.

So it gave us some ideas for some some ways to do prospect generation, which again, is still falls in the demand generation category.

And some of these things are kind of fun, like you’ll building a workbook building a data driven sales and marketing alignment plant like that actually sounds like it would be fun to to build.

And maybe in another show, we will.

But to your point.

This is not people who are raising their hand saying I think I want to do business with Trust Insights.

What we do know from good old fashioned analytics is when people are seriously considering wanting to work with us.

They visit three pages on our website, the homepage, the Services page, and the about us page.

The About Us page in particular, they they typically look at, you know, sort of midway through the drain like okay, who are these people? So here’s what we’re going to do.

Let’s go to Trust Insights team.

So here’s our team page.

And we know from a lead generation perspective, people are going to check this page because they want to know who we are.

Next, I’d like you to inspect the following page.

One One of the things that Gemini does better than ChatGPT Is it can just go straight out on the web, and bring in data from the web.

So we’ve talked in the past about retrieval, augmented generation, being able to vacuum up data from other sources and use it as a reference.

ChatGPT struggles with this, but ChatGPT has document uploads.

So you can upload PDFs and things, Gemini does not support uploads, but it does go out on the web really well.

So we now have we’ve been told to inspect this page, and let’s do this.


Using our ICP as a reference, what things could we do with this team’s page to align it better with the concerns and pain points of our ICP? So what I’m doing here is saying, we know who our customer is that this fictional example, what can we do with with that page, how to modify the team’s page short success stories, Katie led data driven marketing optimization for this company, to emphasize specialized expertise, emphasize problem solving more tailored bios, how we help how we participate, each of us on a team testimonials, things like that, and linking to some of our thought leadership.

So even just something like that, like having on this page, maybe a link to our favorite piece of content, we have get to know.

But maybe there’s like a signature piece like Katie for you, the academic paper that was published in the Journal of Applied marketing analytics, but you’re the lead author on that should be on here because like, hey, check out Katie’s most recent peer reviewed publication.

So what we’re doing from a lead generation perspective, is we’re saying, here’s the ICP, here’s some content, make the content align with the ICP.


Katie Robbert 21:45

so Okay, so ChatGPT, you can upload a document.

Could you link to a Google Doc, if you made it public? For Google Gemini to read, since you can’t upload information?

Christopher Penn 22:03

Yes, with an asterisk, you have to use the version of Gemini that has extensions enabled, which is not the Google workspace versions, you have to use the personal version of Gemini to link to Google Docs, Google Drive, etc.

Katie Robbert 22:16

Okay, the reason? The reason I bring that up is because I feel like this is a really good start.

But I know that we and this is, you know, a more specific example, we’ve done a lot of work to list the pain points of our ideal customer profile.

And I feel like this version while yes, it was a quick example.

The pain points is where I would want to dig deeper, because it was kind of glossed over.

And so it’s saying, like, wants to make sense of their data wants to do this.


Everybody wants, but how do we dig deeper to really understand the pain points.

And so I know, so like, what I would want to do next with this is bring in that document, I guess we could just like sort of copy and paste all the information into a prompt.

But basically, I would want to say like, you know, let’s update the ideal customer profile with these, this very long list of specific pain points, what keeps people up at night? And how do we align our solutions? And then get into the what is the lead generation plan that we need to put together with that now, what do we do? Because understandably, this feels very generic testimonials, thought leadership.

Okay, great.

Everybody does that.

But that’s still not telling me how we’re solving people’s problems that would want to that that would make them want to come to us and say, you can solve what the problem that I’m having.

I’m aware that I’m having a problem.

To me, that’s what good lead gen is missing.

Putting a bunch of thought leadership out there to be like, we’re so smart.

We do this, like that’s really crappy lead gen, we need to flip it around and put the prospect and the customer first to say, we know that you’re having this problem, or let me help you recognize, first, that you’re having this problem.

And once you’re like, Oh my God, I am having this problem.

I need to find someone who can help me do the thing.

That to me is how I would want to approach for Trust Insights, lead gen, because otherwise you’re just throwing information at people that’s basically gonna fall on deaf ears because they’re not ready to hear it.

So a good lead gen strategy includes putting the customer first helping them recognize that they have problems and then leading them to those solutions.

Christopher Penn 24:50

And we’re not going to do this on the air for obvious reasons.

But here’s the easy solution for that.

Easy, it’s a lot of work but it is doable and you have the data for this every One who’s watching listen to as you have the data for this would take two piles here are the scopes of work that closed the scopes work that did not close, develop the pain points from each pile.

And then why didn’t we win? The pile that didn’t close? How can we change our content to maybe be more clear? Like, yes, we do solve this problem.

We do solve this fall, we just didn’t explain it well, that information lives within our walls.

Here’s everything that we’ve closed, or maybe here’s the top 10 scopes by billable revenue that closed update the ICP, right? Here’s the list of clients that we’ve had in the last five years update the ICP.

One of the things that we say all the time, and our keynotes and our talks is that they’re one of the factors that will differentiate your skill with generative AI.

And the results you get is your data.

And we have all this data, we collect, we have all this data laying around everywhere, it’s on servers, and Google Drive and Dropbox, you name it, it’s in your CRM, we’ve got so much of it.

And it’s just sitting there.

Like that is literally the crops waiting to be harvested.

So if we were to just copy and paste, I mean, it’s it’s not super sophisticated, you just copy and paste all those documents and glue them all together and say, Hey, update my ICP and just keep going with that, you’ll end up with a really robust, prompt, right? I did an example for this over this past weekend with our friend Ashley FOSS over Atlassian.

She asked, like, here’s what I want to do with it generate AI, is it possible, let’s walk through it.

And by the time was done as a five page prompt, but it did exactly what she wanted it to do.

One of the things we have to get people out of the mindset of with generative AI is, you know, just type a two sentence prompt and boom, it’s magics gonna happen? No, you have to use all the data, right? You have the data in from the five Ps somewhere in your organization.

It’s up to us, the collective we to use it well,

Katie Robbert 27:00

it seems like a worthwhile exercise.

Because you’re going to have to do it anyway.

In order to really understand who your customer is, you have to do that work.


So yes, you can use generative AI to help, you know summarize and you know, categorize the data, but you still have to look at all you still have to do the research, you still have to look at all that information, you still have to put the plan together, use generative AI to help you along.

But you still you have to do the work.

It’s not you can’t just say, hey, generative AI, this is my company who’s my customer, it doesn’t know.

It has no idea it’s gonna guess.

And if you’re still at the stage of guessing who your customer is, let us help you do better.

So we can help you build these prompts.

We can help you figure out what data do I have, you may not realize how rich the data is that you’re sitting on.

This is where we say we help you light up dark data.

So you can go to trust services, and we can help you with that we can help you build this robust, ideal customer profile.

And then this really strong lead generation strategy and then you can go conquer the world.


Christopher Penn 28:18

Oh, even that help you just want us to do it.

A reassuringly expensive fee, we will just do it for you.

Any final thoughts on lead generation and generative AI? Katie? Yeah,

Katie Robbert 28:31

lead gen is deeper than just, hey, download this thing that does not make the person in your contact database a lead.

So I just want to like, let’s all just be on the same page about that somebody who was in your database is not a lead, they are just a contact, you have to give them a reason to want to buy from you.

But that’s where you can use generative AI to help you figure out what do they need? You know, so maybe you figure out who it is, but their LinkedIn profile into generative AI and say, you know, what do you see here? What do you what do you see that? I don’t see? You know, so there’s a lot of things that you can do with it.

You know, don’t just say, give me an ideal customer profile, like really do the deep thinking.

That’s to your point, Chris, that’s what’s gonna separate.

You know, the people who are successful with generative AI is the people who really do the deep thinking.

Christopher Penn 29:22


And if you got some examples that you want to share, pop on over to our free slack or go to trust for marketers, where you over 3000 other marketers are asking and answering each other’s questions about AI and analytics every single day.

And wherever it is, you watch or listen to the show.

If there’s a challenge you’d rather have it on.

Instead, go to trust podcast, and you can find us on most channels and while you’re on the channel of your choice, please leave us a rating and a review.

It does help share the show.

Thanks for tuning in.

I will talk to you next time.

Need help with your marketing AI and analytics?

You might also enjoy:

Get unique data, analysis, and perspectives on analytics, insights, machine learning, marketing, and AI in the weekly Trust Insights newsletter, INBOX INSIGHTS. Subscribe now for free; new issues every Wednesday!

Click here to subscribe now »

Want to learn more about data, analytics, and insights? Subscribe to In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast, with new episodes every Wednesday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This