Lead Generation

What is Lead Generation?

Where traditional marketing methods such as email blasts used to be enough to draw customers, the increase of competition and information abundance is making it more difficult for companies to track, reach, and engage with potential customers. Lead generation, the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing a sales pipeline, allows companies to nurture targets until they’re ready to buy. Lead generation can be useful for any type or size of business, and for both B2C and B2B spaces. Sixty percent of marketers state that lead generation is a key pain point for their company. Determining a good lead is more complex than just targeting people who downloaded your white paper, and it’s important that your sales reps don’t waste their time cold calling unqualified leads when there are ways to narrow down the pool.

When you implement a lead generation program, you increase brand awareness, build relationships, generate qualified leads, and ultimately close deals. The higher quality leads you to direct your sales team too, the more of those leads will result in sales. In doing this, you are helping your company grow, while also growing the credibility of your marketing department by showing tangible results and proving yourself to be a valuable part of the revenue team.

Lead generation has been around for a long time, but methods have changed from simply finding a customer early on in their sales journey and sending the sales team their way. The self-directed buyer is inundated with information, so it’s vital to find new, creative ways to cut through the static and reach potential customers. Instead of finding customers through mass advertising and email blasts, marketers must rely on being found and building relationships with their buyers. In the age of information abundance, marketing is going through a massive shift.

Common problems that lead generation can solve

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Planning, implementing, and optimizing your lead generation program

The first step to developing a lead generation program is to determine what constitutes a good lead and make sure sales and marketing are on the same page. In just five steps, you could have your own lead generation program up and running.

  • Step 1: Define your leads.Start with the basics and determine what makes a good lead for your company. Leads can be defined in many ways, and there are even more ways to identify a qualified lead. For example, Marketo defines a qualified lead as “a prospect that is starting to exhibit buying behavior.” Then, use demographics, firmographics, and BANT (budget, authority, need, and time) to profile and segment your leads.

  • Step 2: Align with sales. Just as sales and marketing must agree on the definition of a good lead, they must agree about when that lead gets directed to sales. If done correctly, this results in a seamless transition and immediate follow-up for qualified leads. To do this, sales and marketing must agree on two main categories of lead stages: marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs)
  • Step 3: Build your road map. Including inbound and outbound efforts.

  • Step 4: Nurture and score your leads. It’s pretty easy to generate top-of-funnel (TOFU) leads, but since those leads aren’t ready to buy, it’s important to focus on middle-of-funnel (MOFU) leads. Utilize nurturing and scoring techniques to make your lead generation efforts worth the investment.
  • Step 5: Measure and optimize. When it comes to lead generation, the more you test, the more you know. Learn how to use A/B testing, calls-to-action (CTAs), imagery, copy choices, and multivariate testing to optimize your lead generation strategy for the best possible results.