The digital marketing world is dynamic and constantly changing. Disruption is everywhere—technology, customer demands and tactics are never stagnant—and it’s important for your business to stay ahead of the disruption, change with it and grow. One way to do that is by developing a lead generation strategy.
What Is Lead Generation in Marketing?
Lead generation marketing is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into customers that have an interest in purchasing your company’s products or services.
Sounds easy enough, right?
Actually, lead generation is tough. In fact, according to this HubSpot report on the future of inbound marketing and sales, 63% of marketers said that their company’s top marketing challenge is generating traffic and qualified leads. By generating leads, you’ll set your sales team up for success and ultimately drive revenue for your business.
How to Qualify Leads
There are two main lead groups: marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs).
- MQLs: MQLs are contacts who have identified themselves as more deeply engaged, marketing-ready contacts than your usual target personas but who have not yet become full-fledged opportunities.
- A lead becomes an MQL based on what web pages they’ve visited, what they’ve downloaded (case studies, ebooks, etc.) and similar engagement with a business’s content.
- SQLs: SQLs are contacts that your sales team has accepted as worthy of a direct sales follow-up.
- An MQL becomes an SQL once the customer has filled out a form that says they’re ready to make a purchase or a decision (i.e., Request a Quote, Request a Consultation, Select This Product, etc.)
Examples of what to ask for in a lead generation form include:
- Full name: Asking for each lead’s first and last name allows you to personalize your communication with them.
- Email: By having a prospect’s email address, you can add them to email campaigns that feature targeted messaging and content geared toward pushing them further through the buyer’s journey.
- Job title/industry: Knowing an individual’s role and industry upfront will save you time in the long run as it will help ensure you are nurturing a sales-ready lead from the get-go.
Sales needs to engage with the best leads, and lead scoring is a way to ensure that. Lead scoring is a lead-qualifying technique that involves assigning a value to each lead so that your sales team can prioritize their outreach. Company size, industry segment, job title or geographic location may be valuable information to your business about a lead. Lead scoring and qualification reduce sales efforts by:
- Ensuring your sales team is only communicating with qualified leads that are ready to become customers
- Providing your sales team detailed information (aka lead intelligence) about each lead
By attaching values to each of your leads based on their professional information and the behavior they’ve shown on your website, you can help determine when your leads are ready to talk with a salesperson.
Why Score Leads?
- To increase revenue
- To increase sales-ready leads
- To increase sales productivity
- To boost marketing effectiveness
Using Your Persona Data to Understand User Behavior
In order to attract new customers and expand upon existing relationships, your company needs to align both sales and marketing. After all, how can you expect to increase sales if your marketing and sales are not aligned? To do this, today’s B2B companies need to think about how their buyers buy and what motivates them.
Business relationships start with communication, and who your buyer personas are plays a big role. A buyer persona is a fictional, generalized representation of your ideal customer or prospect that helps you understand who your target customer is and how you can best interact with them.
Developing buyer personas upfront that include demographics, pain points, goals and objectives helps marketers target their efforts to attract the right prospects for the sales team (SQLs).
In addition to creating buyer personas, you need to have data collection processes in place, such as marketing automation software (e.g., HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot, etc.), Google Analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) software to ensure you’re seeing the full picture of the buyer, including:
- Geographic location
- What pages they’ve visited
- Number of times they’ve visited your website
- Where and when they converted
How Content Can Engage a User to Convert
There are plenty of lead generation strategies to help generate quality leads to fill your sales pipeline, but perhaps the most beneficial is having a content marketing strategy.
An impactful content marketing strategy—based on your buyer personas’ goals, interests and objectives—helps establish you as a thought leader within your industry and help your company excel in today’s consumer-driven marketplace. Articles promoting thought leadership, infographics and videos are just some of the most effective content formats for engaging customers and prospects.
Once you create content, don’t forget to promote it using various online marketing methods such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media and email.
Leveraging Paid Efforts to Drive More Leads
Search engine marketing (SEM) works alongside organic (non-paid) SEO efforts to get you found in online searches. And just like SEO, SEM—which includes pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and paid placement—requires a strategy to ensure your paid advertising gets you found on that first page.
PPC advertising has its perks and can bring users to your business. This blog explains why Google Ads is the best platform for you to execute your PPC strategy on.
Though we’ve only named a few lead generation strategies, you will be better positioned to drive qualified leads to your sales team and generate revenue for your business.