Lead generation is a win-win for both the buyer and seller. Buyers can request information from several businesses that offer the product or service that they are looking for, then the seller is given the opportunity to make its pitch to people who have given their permission. These are some of the hottest leads. Conversion rates on leads received in this way generally have a much higher success rate than cold contacts.
How do you attract and handle leads? It's a simple question, but few of the companies we talk to have a definitive answer. More often than not, there is no process in place for generating and managing leads from first conversion through sales closing. If a process exists, it's commonly a mix of manual sorting and inefficient communications that risk losing leads and the all-important timing between a bottom-funnel request and a sales response. Here are 10 steps you should take to improve your lead generation and management process.
The Modern Marketing lead generation process begins much earlier in the buying cycle than it used to. Through social media and sharing, educational webinars, and search, marketers seek to be found wherever their prospective buyers may be looking for relevant information on the business challenges that the marketer’s solutions can solve. As a prospect engages with the organization, the education process can move into lead nurturing. By providing valuable content over time, the marketer will be able to remain top-of-mind and slowly educate the prospect on key considerations for the purchase decision.
Gone are the days that a marketer only relied on outbound techniques like trade shows, cold calling, and advertisements to get leads. Today’s buyer is in control. According to Forrester, buyers seek out three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece sent by a marketer, and for every one piece sent by sales. Because of buyer self-education, your job as a marketer is to be heard through the noise and come up with new ways for leads to find you. To be a marketer in today’s world, you need a solid grasp of inbound in order to truly amplify your lead generation impact.
Lead Qualification and Filtering is the process of determining whether a lead is ready to be passed on to sales based on things like customer demographics and behaviours. Some leads will be filtered out, because they are not yet at that stage or appear less promising than others – focussing on unqualified leads is a waste of time and resources. Customer relationship management (CRM) software can be used to track and evaluate leads before distributing them to sales.
To evaluate your user experience, sit down and browse your website as if you were a lead. Is everything where you would want it to be, if you were learning about your company for the first time? Is the navigation clear and easy to follow? If not, plan to make changes right away – or, if you want a second opinion, consider having some user experience testing done to determine where your website’s weaknesses are.
The outbound method involves a proactive attempt to reach out to your audience. This usually begins with purchasing lead lists. You then contact these leads by calling them directly (cold calling) or sending them physical mails (direct mail). For a wider reach, businesses look beyond lead lists and use billboards, print ads, television ads, and radio ads. The emphasis here is on budget, media connections, and how much marketing muscle you can flex.
By being selective with your direct mail efforts, you can invest more in the physical item you’re sending out. Plus, you can offer better discounts, coupons, or other enticements to get new leads to take the next step. Think of direct mail as your first foray into getting someone to go to your website or call you, rather than your final step in getting new clients.