Lead generation is arguably one of the most essential activities for any business. 85% of B2B marketers say lead generation is their most important content marketing goal, but 61% also say that it is one of their biggest challenges. Simply put, the ability to identify, connect with, and qualify the right prospects is essential for making new sales. Buyers these days are also much savvier, and they expect a more engaging, interactive approach to sales over receiving a cold call. Putting together a strategy for generating leads is an integral part of any marketing strategy.
What is lead generation?
First, let’s define what we’re talking about when we say lead generation. A lead is a person who has shown interest in your products or services. Lead generation is the process your business uses to identify these potential prospects, connect with them, qualify them, and pull them further into your sales funnel. Leads are generally broken down into two main types:
- Marketing qualified lead (MQL) An MQL is a high-quality lead who has indicated an interest in your business or offering. They’ve taken steps to engage with your business but are not quite ready to make a purchase. Some examples of actions that indicate a prospect has become an MQL:
- Provided their email address to sign up for your email list
- Downloaded a free e-book or signed up for a trial
- Filled out forms on your website
- Contacted you for more information
- Clicked on an ad or link that took them to your website
- Sales qualified lead (SQL) This is a lead who your sales team has qualified. MQLs are already warm and more likely to become a customer than a cold lead. SQLs have been qualified to the point that it is obvious they are a good fit for your company and your offering. They are at the point in the funnel where they are ready for your sales team to contact them, answer any questions they have, and close the sale.
Now that we know what lead generation is, let’s talk about some ways to improve it.
Examine your customers’ behaviors
Take the time to examine current and past clients’ and prospects’ behavior and analyze their path from becoming an MQL to purchasing. Evaluate your sales and marketing processes and determine what can be improved upon to help guide new prospects along the same path. Then use that data to create a buyer’s journey that walks new prospects through the consideration process and efficiently pulls them further into your sales funnel, generating new leads. Marketing to your target market with content relevant to their position in the sales/marketing funnel yields 72% higher conversion rates.
Create and share strong content on different channels
Content is a great way to engage with your target market. Insightful content sets you up as a thought leader in your industry and provides your audience with useful, actionable information. Create great content that matches the needs of your target audience and the buyer behaviors you just determined. You can utilize and cross-utilize your content, both in multiple formats, from email marketing to posting on social media, and as part of a blog or resource section on your website. It can be articles you create or share, shorter posts, podcasts, or even videos. No matter what format your content is, it should have strong calls-to-action that direct them to landing pages tailored specifically to their needs with opt-ins or forms to capture the lead.
Analyze the data
Analyzing the data is one of the most important things when evaluating any aspect of digital marketing. You need to know what your main lead-generating activities and channels are and evaluate the data from each of them. Segmenting your audience and having specific landing pages for each journey allows you to see where leads are coming from and which avenues are having the most success in generating leads. It’s the only way to know whether you are getting more leads generated from CTAs on your blog posts or from links you posted on your LinkedIn feed. Once you have that data, use it to shape or refine your strategy further and target the areas where you are getting the most return on your investment.
Lead generation is a proven way to grow revenue. A strong lead generation strategy can help increase revenue by up to 133%. Putting in the effort to better understand your audience and where your leads come from helps direct your marketing strategy and where you allocate your marketing focus and budget.
All the best,