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Lead Generation 101: What Is It and How to Do It Right

Trevor Johnson

For new and established businesses alike, leads can make or break your sales goals. Generating leads can provide organizations with valuable sources of intel for future selling but ultimately (and hopefully) results in new business.

A lead is traditionally a person who has shown interest in your company’s services or products and has given valuable information such as contact information and additional background information, like the user's employer, industry and job function. Lead generation strives to initiate action from a potential customer. For example, your company may create an e-book to serve as a resource to potential new customers. A user that submits their information receives something of value in return – in this case the e-book. This user is now considered a lead in your marketing database. The goal of a successful lead generation program is to generate as many "qualified leads" as possible – or leads that fit the defined target customers that your business is after.

Lead generation is beneficial for B2B and technology companies because it can reduce sales cycles, eliminate the cold call and better target potential customers. Here are the most important steps to remember when investing in lead generation:

  • Align your messaging: Lead generation can be considered an extension of your marketing strategy, and it is important that messaging is aligned. For example, if your newsletter links to your company’s blog posts, the language and messaging should mirror one another.
  • Target your audience: Sales and marketing teams need to work together and share what they know about their audience. Collaborating and sharing goals across sales and marketing teams can generate a higher quality of leads that are more likely to continue all the way through the sales pipeline. For example, if sales sees success in a specific industry like manufacturing, they need to communicate that to the marketing team to target an audience of manufacturers rather than retailers.
  • Grab attention: The content in your lead generation program should be interesting and attract the attention of your customer in order to actually capture their information. Remember to make this top-of-funnel material speak to a larger industry trend, and refrain from being too niche. Get the prospect’s attention by showing content that exactly matches what they want to see – based on their job title, industry, what they’re searching for or any other information you have about them. It's also important to share use cases and client case studies across various industries to show agility.
  • Stay constantly connected: Now that you have direct access to your lead (email), you can add the contact to your newsletter. This way they begin to see your offerings and receive messaging directly from the source – you. When sales teams are tasked with reaching out and targeting customers, they can look to these “warm leads” who have already shown interest and are now more familiar with your company.
  • Understand your leads: Your leads aren’t valuable if you don’t know how to use them. Make sure you know the kind of lead you’re looking for when you build your campaign. Every potential customer who completes a form won’t be interested in a call with your sales team. Likewise, your sales team doesn’t have the bandwidth to personally contact every person that has shown interest. One way to do so is by filtering data sets to look for job titles that make sales decisions like “director” versus an entry-level staff member.
  • Track and measure: In order to truly understand the success of lead generation, businesses must be confident in their measurement and tracking programs. Understanding what tactics and campaigns are best performing will help improve and optimize current marketing activities as well as better align your strategies moving forward. Whether it’s comparing content pieces, audiences, landing pages or messaging, lead generation programs that understand every piece of the puzzle often lead to high success.

Lead generation allows potential customers to raise their hands and show interest in your company – and isn’t that what every company is looking for? By aligning your sales and marketing teams, building exciting content and properly leveraging the potential customers your campaign brings in, an investment in lead generation can be a powerful engine for growth. To learn more about lead generation and start your own campaign, visit us here.