In a competitive online marketplace, securing high quality leads for your sales team can make the difference between success and failure for your business.
Those organizations with clear lead generation strategies have considerable advantage over those who don’t take lead generation marketing seriously. Here we’ll show you how to develop a solid strategy.
What is a lead generation strategy?
No business survives without sales, and attracting potential customers is essential to success. So far, so obvious.
However, many organizations fail because they don’t give enough thought to how they approach lead generation. An intelligent lead generation strategy will use measurement and business intelligence to build a picture of the type of prospects that are most lucrative to a business, and maximize ways of attracting those leads.
Traditional tools used in lead generation include;
- Direct mail
- Trade shows
- Email marketing
- Blogging and social media
- Organic search
- Advertising in print, on radio and on television
There is no magic bullet – clear analytics, a solid CRM system and a detailed sales funnel are essential ingredients but the most important element is a detailed overview of which channels work best for your organization, and ensuring you are implementing best practice across all of your marketing channels.
How to measure lead generation
When it comes to measuring the efficiency of different lead generation strategies, it is worth remembering that ‘more’ is not always ‘better’. There is no point in drowning your sales team with thousands of leads who are not ready to make a purchase.
Instead, smart lead generation marketing will segment leads into those that are sales ready, those that need more time and attention from your marketing team, and those that are highly unlikely to make a purchase (and so can be discarded from the pile).
If you are pushing customers into your sales funnel too early then your efficiency will clearly be impacted and you won’t be able to identify whether the channels you have been using to acquire those leads have been successful or not.
Your internal processes for identifying potential sales-ready leads are absolutely crucial and until you have those right, you won’t be generating reliable metrics to help with lead generation measurement.
One method that can help ensure quality lead generation is lead scoring. Again, it may not suit all businesses – you’ll need to assess your sales funnel and see if it makes sense for you. Crucially, it can result in lower numbers being passed to the sales team – but of significantly higher quality.
Lead scoring requires a solid CRM for gathering detailed information about potential leads, as well as a good understanding of your own site’s web analytics and intelligently structured lead generation campaigns that capture information to help with the scoring.
Qualifications could include job title, the company size and the company industry, but a good lead scoring system should also incorporate previous interactions – which can be weighted differently depending on your own business.
For example, viewing a certain product page or requesting a demonstration of a product may be allocated a score, as well as how active they are on your website (pages viewed, forms completed etc.). Different activities will need different scores; the specifics will depend on your business.
However, it is a method that should be constantly reviewed so that it can be refined and honed – for example, if people who request a demo then never go on to buy from you in the sales funnel, then the value of that activity should be lowered in your scoring system.
Calculating scores for each of your leads is complex, and the scores you allocate will change over time. As a result, lead management software is worth the investment rather than trying to calculate scores manually.
How to increase lead generation
The secret to generating more leads is to understand the channels available to you, and making sure that you are making the most of each of them. Just because a channel isn’t working for you in terms of quality lead generation, does not mean that it never will; it may just be that you are not using it efficiently.
The following tips might help you to refine your existing activity to help maximize the potential for attracting more leads. The key then is to monitor each channel, continually assessing how effective it is for your business and allocating your resources accordingly.
Clear calls to action
Make sure the calls to action (CTAs) on your website and digital marketing efforts are clear, and positioned in places that are easy to find. Making it clear what the user will get and placing it high on the page will get you more clicks on the action you want them to take, such as making a purchase or signing up to a newsletter.
Optimize form performance
Improve your forms so that you capture the information you need without losing people. If your forms are suffering from a high drop off rate, look at where people are leaving and consider omitting questions if they are causing people to leave.
Get to the point
Be clear about what you’re offering. Get to the point quickly, in all your communications, without three paragraphs of waffle getting in the way. Concentrate on the benefits of your product or service rather than its features, and keep your marketing communications short and focused.
Reach out and engage
Take your content to your customers. If you only produce hard-selling marketing content, people will find it harder to connect with your offering. No-one likes to feel ‘sold to’.
Instead, consider creating content that allows potential customers to find you in a softer, more organic way (making sure to link back to your own site, of course). This can involve developing an engaging social media persona where you answer questions or provide informative articles about your industry in blog or vlog form.
You could also reach out on forums such as LinkedIn, Reddit and Quora to help those asking for advice. By establishing yourself as a thought leader or a responsive, caring organization within your sector, you can garner significant goodwill that can be converted into sales leads over time.
Give them something for nothing
On a similar note, publishing whitepapers or free e-books can help you to acquire new customers. In exchange for their email address and some other useful information you can use later, you’ll provide them with something useful – and a well-timed follow up can pique their interest and convert them into a sales prospect.
The approaches we have explored here can help you find ways to improve the quality and frequency of your lead generation. However, gathering, storing, evaluating and updating your data – and assessing the efficiency of the different channels you use – can help to give you a real advantage when it comes to beating your rivals to the best sales leads and prospects.
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