Lead generation is a three part process. It starts with initiating contact with potential customers. Then it involves qualifying their interest. And finally, guiding their interactions until they make a purchase decision.
And it all starts with defining what you want, and want you don’t.
New marketing procedures are often plagued by one simple problem. The definitions surrounding the operations are vague.
Define what a lead means for your organisation. Explain what you want them to do using key performance indicators. And set out a guide on what you want them to experience in order for them to make this decision.
Line up your outcomes with actions.
Ask your team members for inputs on the tools they will need to make it all happen. These usually include a content management system (CMS) and a customer relationship management (CRM) system.
Your team will need to find a CMS that handles page development, blogs, social media integration, email capture mechanisms. It will need to integrate with the CRM. automatically updated contact details as they are captured.
In addition, your team members need to be able to use these tools. If the training costs more than the return it delivers, then you gain nothing.
Start mapping the buyer’s journey.
With every campaign, the aim is to capture the details of potential leads. This could be through comments on your blogs, interactions through social media, or even emails captured to access premium content.
Use these interactions to define where each contact is in the buyer’s journey. Have they discover an unfulfilled need? Do they see your organisation as a potential solution? Will peer validation help them decide to make a purchase? As you identify where leads sit on the buyer’s journey, you can develop content that makes it easier for a contact to convert.
Nurture your leads.
Once you validate a potential lead, it’s time to reach out. Use actionable content that brings value to a contact’s life. This helps build trust and grows your presence.
Automate the process.
Technology helps take the guesswork out of lead generation. Use your CRM system to take the guesswork out of the picture by ranking contacts by their readiness to buy. Set up your CRM to automatically transfer contacts from marketing to sales when they hit a set of pre-determined triggers. These triggers should be in line with the definitions of what a lead means to various elements in the team.
Communication is key.
The right message at the right moment helps convert contacts to customers. This means that it’s critical for your organisation’s sales teams to know your lead nurture system inside and out. If they are unable to determine the quality of a lead at a glance and act immediately, then there is a problem.
Of course, this works both ways. The lead information is only as good as the details your sales and marketing people provide. So it’s important that both teams keep the lead information updated, with every interaction logged and noted as soon as it occurs.
Automated alerts can go a long way in improving both of these processes. They make it easy to know when it’s time to follow up with a contact. And can prompt staff to update details after each step.
The devil in the details
A dedicated lead generation process makes it easy to see what’s working, and where there are bottlenecks in the system. Analytics tools can identify links between sales and marketing activities and the quality of the customer relationship. This data can help your teams decide if the system is working – if it does what they want – or if it requires tweaking.