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What is Lead Generation?

In the past, companies have relied on traditional marketing techniques—such as email blasts and promotional posters—to draw their audiences in. However, in a world where marketing has become increasingly more chaotic and complex, these tactics are no longer most effective for their brand. Rather than throwing an abundance of information out to the public, lead generation has emerged as a useful tactic in releasing content and ensuring that it will stick. You may be wondering, what is lead generation? To be exact, it is a new marketing technique revolving around stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of forming a sales relationship. In paying closer attention to the needs and wants of your audience, lead generation allows firms to nurture consumers both before and after they buy.


No matter what business your firm may pursue—from B2B to B2C—lead generation can be a useful tactic for you. In utilizing both inbound and outbound tactics, lead generation has emerged as essential for nearly every brand. Through implementing these tactics, you help your brand build relationships, increase awareness, and generate valuable leads. But before diving further, marketers must understand what a lead generation really consists of. So, let’s see!



What is a Lead?


A lead is a representation of interest. In fact, it consists of anyone who expresses interest in your product, service, or brand. Through closely monitoring consumer behavior, we can gather leads in a variety of ways. Some examples include downloading free guides, joining mailing lists, following social media pages, contacting representatives, and much more. Firms work diligently to frame themselves in a way that will attract such leads from audiences worldwide. Although a lead may sound like a general term, there are four specific classifications of leads that help guide both the business and the consumer. Let’s see what they are.


1. Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): An MQL is a lead that has explicitly expressed interest in your brand. These leads are more likely to become a buying consumer than others. Marketing qualified leads are those who have intentionally interacted with businesses and engaged with marketing efforts. Although all leads are valuable, these are definitely the ones to watch!


2. Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): After acquiring an MQL, in comes the sales qualified leads. These individuals have shown clear acknowledgement of marketing efforts and have been put close to the point of purchase. At this rate, businesses should send in the sales team to converse with this consumer and close the deal!


3. Product Qualified Lead (PQL): Through first-hand experiences with your product—whether it be via a free trial or quick test run—product qualified leads are most likely to move towards a product purchase. In sharing a direct experience with your brand, product qualified leads find meaningful value in your business and are incredibly important to pin down.


4. Service Qualified Lead (SQL): Service qualified leads stem from existing and loyal consumers who already use and pay for your product. After initial purchases, most of these consumers will reach back out to your company when seeking to upgrade their usage. Firms should be attentive with these leads and ensure that these consumers continue to feel valued throughout their time with the company.


What Constitutes Lead Generation?


Aside from generating the leads themselves, there are multiple other components of the lead generation strategy that prove instrumental to its success; the first being the lead generation database. As leads begin to flood in, it is necessary that they are attributed to the appropriate sources, properly tracked, scored, and segmented. Doing so through an automated system will greatly increase efficiency and keep all of your data organized.


Next, it is vital that marketers support all aspects of their content and lead-ready channels. Your content will essentially serve as the fuel for the fire of your campaign. In theory, it should drive consumers to your channels, so having those platforms ready for consumer use is an extremely important component of lead generation. In conjunction with those aspects, having an analytics engine is of value to marketers. Through this engine, your business will be able to track returns on your lead generation program.


Last but not least, an important component of lead generation is a marketing technology stack. By this I mean, marketers should have a collection of technologies that allow them to optimize resources and adequately execute their programs. Having the proper technologies will ultimately save your firm money, and grow both your program and company overall at a rapid rate.


How Lead Generation Can Be The Resolution To Your Problems


Oftentimes, when faced with broad marketing messages, consumers’ focus may be drawn elsewhere due to a lack of personalization. Through utilizing lead generation to target specific consumer audiences, brands can greatly increase their brand awareness. In doing so, firms can develop stronger relationships, gain higher quality leads, and ultimately induce sales. Soon enough, your company will optimize buying channels and reap incredible benefits because of it.


If your business struggles with attracting the right types of leads, remember that in most cases, quality trumps quantity. Although it feels great to be able to present an abundance of leads to your sales team, they may be meaningless if they do not convert into active customers. Therefore, in order to make the most out of the leads you have, both the sales and marketing teams must be in agreement about what constitutes a strong lead and how they should be approached. In knowing that 96% of consumers are not ready to purchase after an initial visit to your site, marketers must practice a steady approach to facilitate the highest conversion rates possible.


After putting in the work, it is important for marketers to demonstrate their return on investment (ROI) to their company counterparts. In order to do so, your team must put together a plan and determine what you are measuring, when you will do so, and how you will go about it. It is advised to choose measurements that will exemplify how your work in lead generation has increased marketing effectiveness, generated qualified leads, boosted sales velocity, and more.


Is Lead Generation What’s Right For Your Business?


After diving more thoroughly into the ins and outs of lead generation, it is definitely worth evaluating if this marketing tactic would be beneficial for you and your business. Although it appears relatively complex, putting in the time and effort to understand lead generation is essential for modern-day businesses. Try implementing a lead generation program in your own business and see the results for yourself!


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