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In today’s data-heavy, research-driven, overcrowded online marketplace, it can be really difficult for marketing professionals to find multiple lead generation sources that are successful. Too often, good software marketing ideas will get started, prove to be a successful lead generation channel, and then get turned away from once that strategy has produced a reliable pipeline.
Why do they turn away? For a couple of reasons:
1. The pipeline has a long buying cycle and extended time is needed to propose, close, and fulfill new sales
2. The direction of their time is shifted away from lead generation to oversight of new product development or service implementation
3. The interest in building up a second lead generation channel from the ground up, in an effort to diversify sources
While many of the reasons listed above may sound like a great problem for your company to have, each reason can cause you to turn away from lead generation. This can quickly result in a dried up pipeline, the Archnemesis of a marketing manager for a growing software company.
Because of this situation, you need to stay focused on lead generation and find several consistent sources for marketing and sales-qualified leads.
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Where traditional marketing methods such as email blasts used to be enough to draw customers, the increase of competition and information abundance is making it more difficult for companies to track, reach, and engage with potential customers. Lead generation, the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing a sales pipeline, allows companies to nurture targets until they’re ready to buy. Lead generation can be useful for any type or size of business, and for both B2C and B2B spaces. Sixty percent of marketers state that lead generation is a key pain point for their company. Determining a good lead is more complex than just targeting people who downloaded your white paper, and it’s important that your sales reps don’t waste their time cold calling unqualified leads when there are ways to narrow down the pool.
When you implement a lead generation program, you increase brand awareness, build relationships, generate qualified leads, and ultimately close deals. The higher quality leads you direct your sales team to, the more of those leads will result in sales. In doing this, you are helping your company grow, while also growing the credibility for your marketing department by showing tangible results and proving yourself to be a valuable part of the revenue team.
Lead generation has been around for a long time, but methods have changed from simply finding a customer early on in their sales journey and sending the sales team their way. The self-directed buyer is inundated with information, so it’s vital to find new, creative ways to cut through the static and reach potential customers. Instead of finding customers through mass advertising and email blasts, marketers must rely on being found and building relationships with their buyers. In the age of information abundance, marketing is going through a massive shift.
“Customers are now smarter, more connected, more informed, more influenced and influential socially, and less likely to respond to campaign-bait. Marketing has to create content people actually want.”
– Tim Barker, Chief Product Officer, DataSift
Simple batch and blast advertising doesn’t appeal to the self-directed buyer, and having a solid lead generation program in place can help you navigate the new complexity surrounding lead generation. Below are a few problems lead generation can help solve.
1. Problem: I need to generate a high volume of leads. If you’re just starting out, a lead generation program can result in increased brand awareness, new relationships, higher quality leads, and more sales. If you’re looking to optimize an existing program, you may want to reevaluate your audience profiles, buyer journey, channels, and tactics. Keep your goals, customer concerns, and challenges in mind, deliver content that solves their pain points, and keep nurturing those relationships—soon you’ll have a funnel filled with qualified leads.
2. Problem: My sales team says that I’m not delivering high-quality leads. There are several reasons why your sales team is struggling to convert leads into customers. First, sales and marketing should be in agreement about what constitutes a qualified lead, and when that lead should be handed off, keeping in mind that 96% of people visiting your website aren’t ready to buy yet. If sales contacts them too soon, they may feel put off—buyers today do not want to feel sold to. Lead quality is important, but it’s a major challenge for marketers, so it may take some time to start bringing in qualified leads.
3. Problem: I’m bringing in leads, but don’t have a strategy around what to do next. Generating leads is just one part of lead generation. Once you bring these leads in, you must utilize lead scoring and nurturing to qualify said leads before sales can do their job. According to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from 75 to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they contact the vendor, after they’ve completed their own research. Keep this in mind when determining what point in the funnel sales should step in.
4. Problem: I need to be able to demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of my marketing team. To show the impact of your marketing team, you’ll need to plan out a strategy and determine what to measure, when to measure, and how to measure. Choose metrics that show how marketing is increasing effectiveness across the board, generating qualified leads, amplifying sales pipeline velocity, and improving sales and marketing alignment through leveraging lead generation software.
5. Problem: My lead generation program isn’t working anymore. If your lead generation strategy has yet to catch up to the age of the self-directed buyer, it’s time to reevaluate. Using modern lead generation software can help leads find you by increasing brand visibility and capturing interest with informational content buyers can use during their own research before they’re ready to purchase.
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