Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing sales pipeline. In today’s complex marketing climate, lead generation has become a popular strategy to help create demand and get your marketing messages heard across multiple channels. Lead generation helps your company increase brand awareness, build relationships, generate qualified leads, and ultimately close deals.
But how do you get started? What are all of the channels you need to perfect? And how do you measure and optimize your efforts?
Why is Lead Generation Important?
Just because someone downloaded a whitepaper doesn’t mean he or she wants to talk to a sales rep. You don’t want your sales teams wasting time cold calling from a list of unqualified leads. Simply put, cold calling doesn’t work in today’s world of information abundance. You want your sales team closing deals and spending time actively selling, instead of wasting time calling down a list of cold leads. The secret is to use SEO based strategies to attract qualified traffic from the beginning rendering more of your leads pre-qualified.
Lead generation can help your sales teams spend more time selling and less time with administrative tasks and prospecting, because you are giving them warm, well qualified leads. In fact, according to a recent benchmark study by Marketo, companies with mature lead generation practices achieve better sales productivity and higher revenue growth.
Mature companies achieve 133% greater revenue versus their plan than average companies, and 174% more than the least mature companies. Additionally, at companies using mature lead generation techniques, sales reps spend 73% of their time selling (versus administration, training, etc), compared to average companies, where reps spend only 57% of their time selling.
If you can generate more leads for your sales team, not only are you helping your company grow, but you are also helping marketing’s credibility. You are no longer seen as a cost center, but as a viable part of the revenue team.
How Has Lead Generation Evolved?
Traditional lead generation has undergone substantial changes in recent years, thanks to new online and social marketing techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer”. It’s also led to the emergence of new ways to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
Marketers need to find new ways to reach their potential customers and get heard through the noise. Instead of finding customers through mass advertising and email blasts, marketers must now focus on being found, and learn to build enduring relationships with buyers. This massive shift has sparked a huge transformation in marketing.
According to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they contact the vendor, making it difficult to influence the buyer’s decisions. Buyers can now delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves. Luckily, a solid lead generation strategy will help you build trust and capture the interest of your buyers during the self-education process, and before they’re ready to contact sales.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself
- How to define a lead and his or her buying journey?
- How to build a robust lead generation strategy through marketing automation?
- How content marketing, social media, and paid programs contribute to lead generation?
- How to use Middle-of-Funnel (MOFU) marketing to build enduring customer relationships?
- How to measure, test, and optimize your lead generation campaigns?
Article Courtesy of Marketo