Do You Know Lead Generation?

No matter what kind of business you are, identifying and targeting potential customers is essential to your growth and prosperity. Creating these opportunities – or leads – can be a long and arduous process and is one of the biggest tasks facing most businesses.

With 61% of all marketers saying that generating leads is their top challenge, let’s look at what lead generation is, what forms can it take, and which strategy is the right one for you?

What is Lead Generation?

Let’s start at the beginning. In a nutshell, lead generation refers to the process of creating and capturing interest in a product or service, with the explicit purpose of developing a sales pipeline. By identifying a target audience, understanding where they spend their time, and delivering the right message at the right moment, businesses can build a sales pipeline, ultimately expanding their client base in order to grow. 

With the proliferation of online channels allowing access to target audiences like never before, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your lead generation process is working effectively and that resources aren’t being wasted.

The Buying Journey and How It Has Changed

With constantly evolving technology shaping much of the change in business processes, the buying journey has developed significantly in recent years. 

Lead generation used to be very different. A business would simply purchase a list of names and then follow those up using cold-calling sales tactics. This meant that a lot of the time, the first introduction a potential customer would have to a product or service was through direct communication with a seller.

Lead Generation: The Evolution

In an age of information, the average customer is well-informed, and they know what they are looking for. It is likely that a customer will have done their own research and consulted several sources of information before even considering communicating with a business that offers what they are after. 

Equally, as traditional practices of cold calling have been overused and abused, potential customers are much more skeptical of hard sales practices. As such, businesses have had to find new ways of capturing attention within competitive markets.

Lead generation has evolved. Businesses must now gather and process information from both offline and online sources, using a combination of research, marketing, and other online tactics to expand their reach, better understand their potential customers and bring them into their world.

The Key Strategies

Lead generation has several elements to it. While you need to find your customers, your customers also need to find you. These two processes can be categorized as either inbound or outbound marketing, which together constitutes the core structure of lead generation.

Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is the process of taking various steps in order to increase the likelihood of your business being approached by customers. This can be divided into two key areas. 

  • Content Creation: The creation of relevant content that presents your business as the solution to the customer’s problem. This can range from social media posts and infographics to website blogs and videos. 
  • Content Promotion: Once the content has been created, it needs to be seen. Using techniques including Search Engine Optimization, Pay Per Click advertising, PR and social media activity, the likelihood of potential customers finding you has increased dramatically in recent years.

Outbound Marketing

On the other side of the lead generation coin, it is essential to reach out to potential customers who may require your services but aren’t actively searching for them.

  • Email Marketing: Emails can be used to distribute information about your product or services, provide details of upcoming events, and to retain contact with both past and future customers. Lead-follow-up emails get as much as 10 times the response rate than standalone emails.
  • Event Marketing: Whilst email allows you to reach people from afar, in-person events offer a unique opportunity to build personal relations, distribute your brand identity and go into significant depth about your propositions to an engaged audience.
  • Display Adverts: Placing a banner, image or animation that advertises your business in strategic locations online expands your reach and allows for new people to meet your brand.
  • Content Syndication: This is the process of replicating your content over several platforms. With the permission of other site holders, your content can be posted across numerous different destinations online, significantly expanding your reach.

Lead Scoring

During the process of lead generation, some leads are bound to be more promising than others. To determine which leads are worth prioritizing, lead scoring is used to rank potential leads so that sales and marketing can narrow down their searches and hit key targets.

Explicit Lead Scoring

Every business has their idea of the ‘ideal customer’. Explicit lead scoring is the process of determining how closely a lead’s profile is to match this ideal customer status, using demographic data such as job title, industry, and location.

Implicit Lead Scoring

Rather than estimating how likely a customer is to interact with you, implicit lead scoring measures how much a lead is already aware of your business. By monitoring indicators like site visits and responsiveness to emails, leads can be ranked in terms of how likely they are to approach you.

The Success Metrics

How do you measure success in lead generation? There are several key indicators to consider when determining whether your lead generation is getting results:

Return On Investment (ROI)

How much did your lead generation campaign cost? Compare this with the amount of profit generated to determine your ROI.

Click-Through Rate

If you divide the total number of clicks with the number of page views, you can determine the success rate of a call to action.

Sales Qualified Leads

When a lead is identified as being worth pursuing by the sales team, it becomes an SQL. The number of SQLs identified is sure to give you some indication of how successful your campaign has been.

What is the right lead generation strategy for your business?

As we have described, every business’ needs are different. There is no “one size fits all” approach to lead generation and understanding that is the first step towards getting the most out of the process. 

Lead generation is all about understanding your audience and being able to identify opportunities as and when they arise. Your ideal customer is specific to your business, so each stage of the strategy needs to be carefully considered and tailored around your individual needs. 

If you’re looking to accelerate your business’ growth with sales-ready leads, book a consultation with RPM today.