The Complete Guide to Lead Generation
In this article, we will explore the topic of lead generation in the following sections: 1) what is lead generation, 2) how does lead generation work, 3) types of lead generation, and 4) tactics to lead generation.
WHAT IS LEAD GENERATION
Lead Generation is a term that is used to refer to the generation of consumer and customer inquiry or interest as far as the company’s products and services are concerned. In marketing, this process of stimulating interest is used to develop sales pipeline. All businesses aim to have good quality leads, those which have a higher chance of a desired result. The leads can come from many different sources and practices such as through digital channels, through telemarketers, through personal referrals, through events and even through advertisements, etc.
In recent years, as a result of an increase in web usage and online techniques, lead generation has mostly been using digital mediums like the internet. This is due to the easy access to an abundance of the information present on the web. In fact, according to a study conducted in the year 2014, about 78% respondents thought that email was the most used medium for the generation of leads. This was followed by marketing events and then content marketing.
Lead generation can be used by just about any company, business, and industry. But the companies that mostly use this marketing technique include office suppliers, insurance companies, educational institutions and retail stores, etc. This marketing method is likely to become even more popular in the future and especially for the service oriented industries.
Importance of Lead Generation
In the past few years, the process of purchasing has changed drastically and due to this, the sellers and marketers need newer methods to captivate the consumer interest. But rather than following the approach of mass email blasts and advertising, businesses have started paying more attention to building long-lasting relationships with their buyers. This is where the importance of lead generation comes into play. This marketing technique helps marketers to being found by the buyers in a way that leads to developing effective communication and connection with them. This in turn leads to an increase in the sales and benefits businesses. Lead generation is beneficial not just for the sellers but also for the buyers. The buyers get the opportunity to choose the product or service from many businesses when the marketing method of lead generation is used.
Lead Generation enables businesses to:
- Pay only for the leads received by them;
- Select the services or products they wish to offer to consumers;
- Determine the cost on a per lead basis;
- Control the number of leads;
- Select the area they wish to target.
Challenges of Lead Generation
The quality of leads is the top priority for Lead Generation and naturally, this is also the biggest challenge that marketers face these days. It is a fact that generation of top quality leads is a huge problem for businesses and organizations. Also, some factors that can pose as big barriers for the generation of quality leads include lack of quality data to run campaigns, lack of staff, lack of resources and lack of budgeting and time, etc. The following are some of the other challenges of Lead Generation:
- Lack of strategic direction;
- Lack of resources, staffing, time and budgeting;
- Lack of synchronization between marketing and sales;
- Lack of support from Information Technology;
- Lack of quality research;
- Lack of reliable data and information;
- The economic climate;
- Lack of clear value proposition.
HOW DOES LEAD GENERATION WORK?
Lead Generation is a marketing technique that works by delivering a constant flow of contact information to a service provider or business that is targeted towards a certain service. This technique connects the business to the potential client or consumer. There are several agencies that specialize in offering top quality leads to organizations and businesses. These agencies help develop websites that are aimed at promoting the business and advertising the services and products of the seller. What happens next is that the consumers can find these websites or directories and complete a quote request form. The form is in turn submitted to the agency that further verifies the information of the buyer and matches it to the suitable providers. Then the leads are sent via email or other channels to the right business with the contact information of the buyer and his/her requirements. Thus, a connection between the buyer and seller is established.
Lead Generation Metrics
Many of the best marketing campaigns and programs have set and fixed measurement strategies that are planned much in advance. For your business you must ask yourself some questions as a part of the planning process, as well as you must ask how, what and when will you measure lead generation for your business. Given below are some of the common Lead Generation Metrics which businesses track as a part of their Lead Generation campaigns:
- Cost per lead: total amount of leads and campaign cost.
- Cost per inquiry: total amount of inquiries and total cost of lead acquisition.
- Marketing percentage of contribution to sales pipeline and closed revenue: the percentage of revenue in the sales pipeline and closed won deals respectively which came from marketing techniques.
- The amount of sales qualified leads: the number of SQLs sent to the sales department.
- SQL to opportunity: SQL to opportunity conversion.
- MQL to SAL: MQL to SAL conversion.
- SAL to SQL: SAL to SQL conversion.
- Inquiry to MQL: Initial inquiry to MQL conversion.
- The quality of SQLs: the percentage of SQLs, which haven’t been turned down by the sales department.
TYPES OF LEAD GENERATION
Lead Generation is of two main types: outbound and inbound. Before selecting the category of Lead Generation, one must keep in mind the customer retention marketing techniques used. Both techniques can produce good results, but only if they are chosen carefully and implemented correctly. To know more about Inbound and Outbound Lead Generation methods, you can go through the following given information.
Inbound marketing is a kind of a Lead Generation or marketing technique which helps the prospective customers locate businesses or companies even before they wish to buy products or services and then convert this early knowledge into brand preference. Thus, inbound marketing helps businesses and companies to generate leads and revenue from that point forward. In today’s date and time, marketers do not rely completely on advertisements, marketing events, and cold calling to get leads.
One needs a strong grasp of inbound marketing techniques to raise and improve the impact of Lead Generation. For this purpose, marketers must make efforts to offer a proper and suitable mix both entertaining and useful content that can help one develop a long and meaningful relationship with the consumers. Let’s look at some of the most common examples of inbound marketing:
- Website – A good website is an absolute necessity for any business. A visitor on the website can be converted to a buyer only if the website is created well. This can be either through asking them to sign up for newsletters or filling out other forms. Attention must be paid to the layout, the design, the content, the forms, and Call-To-Action. More details are provided in the section with Tactics to Lead Generation.
- Content and SEO – Content is the mainstay of inbound marketing efforts and content marketing, on the other hand, is a marketing method that helps develop and distribute suitable and informative content to engage consumers. Most search engines consider high-quality content equal to the high-quality website. More details are provided in the section with Tactics to Lead Generation.
- Social Media – Social media marketing is one of the most popular marketing methods today and is a preferred Inbound Lead Generation technique for the majority of businesses. Buyers get an opportunity to research products and services, learn about them and even purchase them through social channels. As far as branding and generating a buzz online is concerned, social mediums are very important. More details are provided in the section with Tactics to Lead Generation.
- Blog – A Blog is a superb place to gain trust of the buyers and audiences. One can reach your blog from anywhere on the web and thus it is important to ensure that the blogs are search engine optimized. A blog must be highly informative, rich in content, without any grammatical mistakes and interesting to read. It must keep the readers curious and should keep them coming back for more.
It is a good idea to keep the marketing a good mix of both inbound and outbound marketing. It is true that inbound marketing has been creating a lot of buzzes, but outbound marketing helps to take forward the efforts of the former and target certain opportunities. Outbound marketing is using outbound mediums to deliver your message as well as information to potential buyers through rented attention and not by making your content your belonging. The methods of outbound marketing are highly target specific and make use of a very obvious Call-To-Action. It enables people to think about your businesses if they haven’t been doing it yet. On an assumption that people are almost about to buy, Outbound Lead Generation can help give a push to the purchasers. While inbound marketing encourages one to make a buying decision, outbound techniques give that needed nudge in the right direction.
The combination of both these marketing techniques can dramatically raise the Leads, increase sharing and raise the number of consumers reading a business’s content. The following are some of the common examples of outbound marketing:
- Pay-Per-Click ads – PPC ads are those for which businesses pay for each click on their ad displayed on the web. These ads are a superb way to draw attention to the latest product, content or service offerings. They can also help one generate good quality leads. More details are provided in the section with Tactics to Lead Generation.
- Display Ads – another good example of outbound marketing is display ads. Such ads are targeted to several behavioral actions and a huge range of demographics. Marketers can choose where they wish their ad to be published, and this enables them to generate more leads.
- Email marketing – for every marketing campaign, email marketing is a key part. An email is the best and easiest form of communication and is thus the most used lead generation tactic across the world. More details are provided in the section with Tactics to Lead Generation.
- Direct mail – Direct Mail is not yet a thing or concept of the past but is still as effective as it used to be. Direct Mail technique can be used to keep consumers aware of new products, new services and changes made. It is a simple way to grab the consumer attention and add more potential customers.
- Events – event marketing is still a popular and trending marketing technique. From small private hostings to big seminars, events help to generate a buzz and help the businesses to directly communicate with its audiences by defining the brand, answering questions and clarifying solutions. More details are provided in the section with Tactics to Lead Generation.
- Content syndication – content syndication is a content sharing method that helps promote press releases, events, articles, and whitepapers. Through this technique, a business’s content can appear on third party sites.
- Sales development reps – SDRs or Inside Sales are aimed at reviewing and approving leads and handing them over to Sales. This is a process that ensures that every marketing lead is passed on to the Sales department to help generate revenue as a final result.
TACTICS TO LEAD GENERATION
According to a B2B Lead Generation Marketing Trends Survey, some of the most effective Lead Generation Tactics that are used by the majority of businesses these days include tradeshows, email marketing, the company website and social media. On the other hand, print advertising and direct mail are the least popular ones. Below are examples of the effective tactics by reading the following given information:
Lead Generation through the website of the company
The company website is the place where the real magic happens. It is on the website that consumers read about the products and services offered by the business or the company and decide whether they wish to purchase those or not. This is why it is very important to create a highly interactive, interesting and engaging website with the top quality website and visual attractions. If the website is good enough, then the conversion of visitors to buyers can be made effective.
Lead generation through Conferences/tradeshows
Event marketing is yet another superb Lead Generation Tactic, which is a good platform to display products and services of the company. Conferences and tradeshows give buyers a chance to connect and communicate with the providers directly. It also enables sellers to solve the doubts of the buyers and introduce themselves personally.
Lead Generation through Email Marketing
For business, email marketing is a solid Lead Generation tactic, one which enables businesses to inform consumers about new events, products, and services. Emails are a superb way of communication and are also the most used and preferred channel. Email marketing is a technique through which even those people can find you who are not even looking for you.
Lead Generation through Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
For every business or organization, having solid, Search Engine Optimized content is an extremely crucial. Content marketing or SEO is a method that helps to put forth valuable and suitable content for consumers and also a way to improve the ranking of your website or blog. High-quality content can be considered as a fuel to all marketing programs from social media to email marketing.
Lead Generation through Telemarketing
Telemarketing is yet another Lead Generation Tactic, which works well for many businesses. Telemarketing is a way through which you can engage customers, reach out to the maximum people and inform consumers about new products and services. Even in spite of the popularity of the digital channels, telemarketing still manages to work well.
Lead Generation through Virtual Events/Webinars
Webinars are similar to traditional seminars, but the main difference is that they are virtual. Conducted on the web, these virtual events are a superb way to generate a certain buzz and attract people to your company by spreading high-quality information. These events are being used increasingly by several businesses, both big and small to captivate the attention of maximum consumers.
Lead Generation through Social Media
Social Media websites and platforms have become much more than just places where people meet and communicate. These platforms are an ideal way to promote and market your business and connect with customers on a more direct and personal level. The abundance of information, the ability to reach out to maximum people and ease of generating a buzz are just some factors that have led to the popularity of social media as a possible Lead Generation Tactic. Some social media platforms that prove wonderful to connect with customers and win their trust include Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Lead Generation through Online Advertising
It’s true that billboards and other forms of physical advertising still work beautifully for most; online advertising too has emerged as a key Lead Generation Tactic in the past few years. Not only is it is a great way to reach out to a range of behavioral actions and demographics, but also this method also is relatively easier and less time-consuming to get into.
Lead Generation through Paid Search/Pay Per Click
Paid Search or Pay per Click ads are yet another effective Lead Generation tactic that help grab attention to the latest services and products offered by a business. With such ads, businesses have to pay for every click on their ad that is either published on a website or search engines.