The increasing popularity of social channels has directly attributed to information abundance. Through social networks, buyers have been able to research and learn about products and services through influencers and peers. Additionally, a profound shift has taken place within social media channels. Although social is still important for branding and generating buzz, lead generation is becoming more and more important. By tapping into all the social media channels, from Facebook and Twitter to LinkedIn and Google+, you can be where your customers are and create that trust.
An MQL is one step higher than a lead, in terms of the level of engagement with your business. An MQL typically performs an activity, like downloading your ebook, which is a clear indication of their interest in your business. Sometimes an MQL can also be determined based on their demographic profile. MQLs are ready to be nurtured, but they’re not ready to buy just yet. They’re usually handed over by the marketing team to the sales team.
Not all of your site visitors are ready to talk to your sales team or see a demo of your product. Someone at the beginning of the buyer's journey might be interested in an informational piece like an ebook or a guide, whereas someone who's more familiar with your company and near the bottom of the journey might be more interested in a free trial or demo.
When an MQL displays sales-ready behavior, like requesting for a demo or signing up for a free trial, they become a sales qualified lead. These leads are usually handed over by the sales team to an Account Executive (AE). SQLs are close to making a purchasing decision, so the quicker the AE acts, the higher their chances of conversion. A good way to identify an SQL is by applying the BANT framework—do they have the Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe to buy from you?
With Pay-per-Click (PPC ) ads you pay for each click on your ad which is displayed on a search engine such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing, or on a website. For PPC on search engines, your ads show up as sponsored results on the top and side of the organic search terms. PPC ads are a terrific way to draw attention to your latest content or service offerings. They are also highly targeted so they can generate very high quality leads. Advertisers bid on keyword phrases relevant to their target markets and your ads will display when a keyword query matches your chosen keyword list.
Marketing works with Sales to establish key criteria for lead segmentation and scoring. Hopefully, you have already created a comprehensive list of buyer personas and a detailed buyer journey for each persona. If not, check out these resources. Now plan how you will capture this information through landing pages and forms, using a progressive profiling approach so that conversion rates are kept high. Identify relevant pages and events that, if visited or triggered, also allow you to update lead profiles during the buyer journey. Access LinkedIn, Data.com, Hoovers and other business data sites you can use to cross-reference leads and further develop their profiles. Some of these sources can be directly integrated through HubSpot and Salesforce apps and APIs.
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Although lead generation no longer revolves around using the phone to identify qualified leads, that doesn’t mean the calling has stopped entirely. To engage and qualify prospective buyers, inside or outsourced teams will often still call prospects who have shown some level of interest. Sometimes they’ll call to highlight a value proposition or event as part of the lead nurturing and engagement process. In other cases, they’ll call simply to ask questions and determine interest as part of the lead qualification process.
A sales qualified lead is nearly ready to make a purchase, but may have more specific questions or needs to be addressed by the sales team. At this stage, sales staff continues nurturing the relationship that marketing initiated. Because these leads have already been qualified, they are more likely to turn into sales, and the latter part of the sales cycle tends to move more quickly. Strong marketing-sales alignment can result in more effective lead generation and higher conversion rates.
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The biggest culprit here are landing pages and, in particular, your forms. Forms separate your leads from non-leads, and have a huge impact on your conversion rates and overall lead generation results. If you haven’t already, I’d recommend optimising your forms – or using a tool like Leadformly to ensure that you’re not leaving leads behind from your marketing campaigns.
Whether you’re dealing with consumer or business leads, successful lead scoring depends on a number of factors, such as high-quality content, well-defined buyer personas, relevant interactions, and involvement of the sales team. Lead generation software can be a useful tool, as often includes automated lead scoring. Learn more about how to generate leads on the blog.
Cost per click advertising (e.g. AdWords, Yahoo! Search Marketing) overcomes this problem by charging advertisers only when the consumer clicks on the advertisement. However, due to increased competition, search keywords have become very expensive. A 2007 Doubleclick Performics Search trends report shows that there were nearly six times as many keywords with a cost per click (CPC) of more than $1 in January 2007 than the prior year. The cost per keyword increased by 33% and the cost per click rose by as much as 55%.