Lead generation is the act of stimulating interest amongst your target audience for a particular product or service so you can draw them into your sales pipeline.
Because lead generation helps to feed the early stages of your sales process, a robust strategy is essential to successful sales. Despite this, too many businesses fail to take their lead generation strategy seriously. And instead of continuously attracting new opportunities into their sales funnel, they rely on a reactive approach when the leads dry up. As you can see, this tactic is inefficient, ineffective and can seriously harm the profit potential of your business.
In comparison, with a robust strategy in place that’s working hard to attract a constant stream of fresh leads, often on an automated basis, your organisation can thrive.
So if you’re planning to give your lead generation an overhaul, here are six key aspects you should consider to help make it a success:
#1: Start with a plan
With a plan, you can carefully focus your resources to ensure your lead generation strategy delivers the results you need. Your plan should identify two key aspects.
- Firstly, you should set targets. It’s especially important to figure out the number of leads you need to attract to achieve your sales targets (your conversion statistics will help you calculate this).
- Secondly, determine the most suitable lead generation tactics to attract the number of prospects you need and nudge them into your sales funnel.
#2: Integration of inbound and outbound marketing
When determining your lead generation tactics, it’s worth creating the right mix of inbound and outbound strategies.
Inbound marketing is in vogue right now because it responds to the new way people are making their buying decisions. We’re in an age of information abundance and this has transformed the relationships sales force teams have with customers. That said, it’s a mistake to dismiss traditional outbound techniques such as cold-calling altogether. You can still generate quality leads using this tactic; you just need a different approach. In addition, you’ll also want to explore the benefits of social search and ensure you have a robust strategy in place for acquiring leads via social media.
#3: Clarify the relationship between marketing and sales
Also create clear boundaries between sales and marketing and clarify the roles of each department. Ideally, you want your sales reps to work with prospects that have been well qualified instead of wasting their time on people who aren’t really interested. Therefore it’s well worth establishing a process to ensure sales are only referred to hot leads. That way your conversion rates will be much higher. This means that you need to have a robust process in place for qualifying those leads so you can differentiate simple enquires from hot prospects.
#4: Decide what you can manage
Without careful sales lead management, lead generation can become labour intensive. In addition, because a large number of fresh enquires will never convert into anything, lead nurturing can be costly. Therefore it makes sense to automate elements of your lead generation process to help you distinguish the warm leads from the potential time wasters.
A good example of automated follow-up is after prospective clients download your lead magnet from your website. It’s well worth creating an autoresponder sequence to stay in touch with these leads and stoke their interest further in your company and your products / services.
Avoid the temptation to flood inboxes with a constant stream of sales messages and instead use the autoresponder to add value in the form of useful, relevant and interesting content coupled with invitations to buy (or take the next step along your sales process – whatever that may be).
That way, your follow up process becomes less labour intensive, you get to nurture relationships and filter out the genuine leads from the people who are just interested in the free stuff.
#5: Get the right resources, staff and budget
Changing times and the emergence of content marketing as a powerful lead generator means businesses need to reassess the investment and focus of their lead generation strategy. The changing role of cold-calling means savvy businesses are reviewing their outbound tactics. In addition, the pressure to consistently create top-notch content that gets consumed and shared means many businesses are acknowledging the importance of thinking like a publisher. As a result, new skills may be needed to get the best returns.
#6: Explore a pipeline management tool
Lead generation techniques will feed prospects into your sales process allowing you to deploy the tactics and techniques from your sales playbook to nudge them closer to a paying customer.
But to maximise the chances of a lead getting followed up and nurtured, it’s well worth investing in lead pipeline management software such as Pipeliner CRM.
Pipeliner CRM makes it easy for you to manage your customer relationships and track the progress of prospects as they move through your sales pipeline. For example, you can track your sales opportunities, qualify those hot leads and give visibility to the performance of your sales pipeline. This smart, intuitive, easy-to-use software application is the perfect tool to support your lead generation strategy, and ensure leads and opportunities are quickly followed up, and nothing leaks.