How does lead generation work? How do I generate leads?
These are questions that we get all the time, Most companies during entrepreneurship understand that they need to generate more leads, but when it comes to implementing specific strategies, most don’t know where to begin.
61% of B2B marketers name lead generation as one of their biggest challenges, so it’s no surprise that there’s so much contradicting information online about the subject.
To change this, we’ve decided to take a deep dive into the subject of lead generation and its best practices in modern days, going through everything you need to know to ensure that you never run short on leads again.
But before we explore how to obtain leads in 2020, let’s start with the basics.
- What is Lead Generation?
- How Lead Generation works?
- How to improve Lead Generation?
- What is Lead Nurturing?
- What is Lead Funnel/ Sales Funnel?
- Optimizations your Lead Generation effort
- Final words on Lead Generation
CHAPTER-1 : What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process of generating consumer interest for a product or service with the goal of turning that interest into a sale.
Lead generation is a core part of the sales funnel for many B2B companies since their products can cost thousands of dollars and web visitors are less likely to buy their product or service directly from the website. Collecting new leads allows the businesses to educate and nurture prospective customers through e-mail marketing, before reaching out to qualified leads directly via salespeople.
Lead generation is also important for ecommerce and other businesses, as e-mail marketing is still one of the most effective channels for marketing online, and gathering a prospective customer’s contact info allows the business to market to them later, even if they do not make a purchase immediately.
CHAPTER-2 : How Lead Generation Works
There are two main components to the lead generation process: getting traffic to your site and then convincing them to share their contact information with you.
The first step of the process is finding an effective way to attract prospects to your website. Depending on your company’s goals and budgetary constraints, there are many ways to start attracting prospects to your site. The following are the some of the key ways which businesses use to drive traffic:
- Search Engine Marketing (SEM) – SEM is a form of online advertising that involves paying search engines (such as Google or Bing) to display ads in their search results. Because search is the primary way people navigate the web, this can be a big source of traffic.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Search engine optimization is similar to SEM, in that it involves getting traffic from search engines, but rather than paying search engines for ads, SEO involves optimizing your website for search engine algorithms so that it appears higher in the organic search results.
- Social Media – Social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn have grown to become some of the most popular sites on the web, and are beginning to rival search as major sources of traffic. You can drive traffic from social networks by posting content to social media platforms or paying for ads that run on the networks.
- Display Ads – This type of advertising comes in various forms such as video, image, audio or text. These ads can be purchased on relevant websites in order to drive that traffic to your own site, usually via Pay-Per-Click (PPC) models.
- Offline Events – Online marketing can often begin offline. Events such as industry conferences and meetups can be good ways to network with potential new customers, inform them about your brand, and get them to your website. These can be events that you attend as a guest, events that you sponsor, or events that you host yourself.
Once visitors start arriving to your site, the next step is to convert them into leads via an online form. This can be done in using many different lead generation tactics but involves getting users interested in your product or service and getting them to submit their contact info, often through the use of an incentive (known as a “lead magnet”).
Here are common marketing strategies that businesses generate leads for their businesses:
- Content – Providing high-quality content in exchange for contact information is a common practice in lead generation. This content can be anything from a white paper, case study or infographic to an ebook or exclusive video. The idea is to entice potential customers in your target audience with a piece of content that is relevant to your business and require them to provide their contact info before they can get access to the content.
- Webinars – A webinar is a live video session which your visitors can view and participate in. Webinars typically last between half and hour to an hour and provide information and educational material about a specific topic. Because webinars are interactive and require a big investment in time, they can be a great way to not only create a lead but also to educate and convert them.
- Landing Pages – The best lead generation tool of all is your product. If you have a compelling product that solves a major pain point, visitors will want to provide their contact information even without any incentives. Presenting your product in the most attractive way is often done through landing pages or sales pages, which help educate and convert prospective customers. Landing page optimization is the key to making sure you are getting the most out of these pages.
Once a lead is created, if the customer is in the target market, the lead becomes a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and the digital marketing team will begin nurturing the lead via marketing campaigns. This nurturing process typically involves marketing automation campaigns to specific email lists to follow-up with content that helps to educate and persuade the prospects to eventually mature into sales leads.
After a lead has been nurtured, a prospect can be convinced to make an inbound purchase on the website or by reaching out to a salesperson, turning them into a sales qualified lead. In enterprise sales, it is often the sales team that reaches out to the prospect to close the deal.
CHAPTER-3 :How To Improve Your Lead Generation
Aside from driving more traffic to your site, there are many ways in which you can optimize your website in order to drive more leads.
Since content is often a key incentive for driving leads, experiment with different pieces of content, call-to-action(cta) placement and lead magnets to determine what type of content performs best. This typically involves identifying your key buyer personas, and creating content that would be compelling and useful to drive quality leads.
Beyond incentives, often a key part of the conversion funnel that can be optimized is the lead form. Although it is beneficial from a business standpoint to collect as much information as possible about a prospect, more forms fields leads to a reduction in form submissions. Experiment with different form lengths to see what is optimal in terms of lead capture and lead information. There are many other aspects of a site that can be optimized as well, from having a clear call-to-action to making the site distraction free and easy to navigate so that users can easily get to the content that you want them to. Exploring the data in an analytics platform can be helpful to visualize how potential leads are navigating around your site. For more lead generation ideas, see our post on 50 B2B lead generation ideas.
CHAPTER-4 : What Is Lead Nurturing?
Lead nurturing is the process of developing relationships with potential buyers, and moving them down your sales funnel.
In other words, lead nurturing helps companies to guide prospective customers towards the decision to buy by answering questions, showing how to overcome obstacles, and positioning the product as the ultimate solution to their main problem.
Your customers don’t always reach your site ready to buy immediately, so you need to have a method for taking them from where they are at in their customer journey and helping them move forward.
With lead nurturing, you’re reaching out to your consumers via different touch points, and providing them with the information they need to move on to the next stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
Why It’s Important?
Before we talk about how to nurture leads, we must understand why lead nurturing is so important for the success of your business.
The numbers don’t lie:
If you simply sell to those who are ready to buy and ignore the rest of your leads, you’re reducing your potential revenue by half, right off the bat.
On top of that, lead nurturing is a great strategy for companies who want to increase their sales without increasing their marketing budget.
According to research from Forrester, companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost.
Okay, one more statistic for the road:
Despite the many advantages of lead nurturing, a study by MarketingSherpa shows that only 36% of marketers actively nurture their sales leads.
Here’s what this means:
By working on your lead nurturing strategy, you can gain a leg up on your competition and grow your business while simultaneously reducing the cost of acquiring new customers.
Then let’s move on to figuring out how you can identify which leads to nurture.
Which Leads To Nurture?
To make the most out of your lead nurturing efforts, you need to know which leads are worth nurturing to not waste time on those that aren’t likely to convert.
Luckily, if you know what to look for, identifying different types of leads doesn’t have to be a complicated process.
In fact, you can basically sort all of your leads into five main segments. All of your leads will either…
- Buy immediately without prompting
- Require some time to consider their options, but will buy subsequently without prompting
- Will buy without prompting, but can be persuaded to make a larger purchase
- Require nurturing before they will buy
- Will not buy regardless of how much you nurture them
Now, in order to have your lead nurturing efforts be productive, you’ll only want to reach out to the third and fourth categories of leads.
The first two categories will make a purchase anyway, so there’s no point in nurturing them.
And the last category won’t make a purchase, so again, don’t waste your time on them.
Now, the question is: how can you identify the third and fourth categories of leads? Easy. Develop a lead scoring strategy, and use this to rank your leads based on the revenue they’re likely to contribute to your company
CHAPTER-5 : What is a lead funnel?
A lead funnel, much like a sales funnel, is the pathway and the series of steps that a lead has to cross, right from being just another lead, to an interested prospect, to a hot opportunity to finally becoming a paying customer. This funnel is best comprehended as a visual representation which is split into the various stages that make up the funnel.
Constructing a lead funnel is absolutely essential for any business if ROI is something they are aiming for. But, before planning a building a lead funnel, you need to be aware of the different stages of the lead funnel.
Stages of the lead funnel:
I’ll take you through each stage one at a time so that you have a thorough understanding of how they work. You can safely assume that your marketing and sales teams have a role to play in each stage of your funnel.
Marketing part of the funnel
This is the first stage of any type of funnel. Because the only way that you can get anyone to buy from you is if they are aware of your business. This the first job for marketers. Increase awareness of the brand. The best bet for product discovery at this stage is through PPC campaigns and search engine marketing. If you have the right audience (and the budget), you can go for traditional methods of advertising as well, such as radio, television ads, newspapers, billboards, etc.
In this step, the general assumption is that your audience is not aware of you and what you have to offer. So, your method of reaching out to them should be about letting them know exactly what you are and how you can add value to their life. I was just browsing through my own Facebook looking for examples when I found this ad.
It tells you of their brand name, the need that they are looking to solve as well as the services that they offer. Now, I am aware of them and I have entered the first step of their funnel.
The next part is about getting your audience to willingly give you their contact details by submitting a form or something equivalent to that. Why is this important? Because, when they voluntarily allow you to contact them, it indicates that they are interested in you. And, secondly, you would be able to further nurture them and push them into the next stage.
So, how do you convince them to give up their contact information? Thankfully, there are many ways in which you can capture leads. Let me give you a few examples.
PPC campaigns: Most online paid advertising platforms will allow you to link a landing page. You can create an informative and concise landing page with a relevant CTA. This will encourage your audience to submit the form. All platforms such as LinkedIn, AdWords, Facebook etc give you this option. In fact, Facebook has designed a whole ad format called Lead Ads that deals primarily with lead capture.
Organic search: By writing relevant articles that rank for keywords to your business, you can attract traffic to your website. SEO is still very relevant and it is one of the cheapest methods in which you can ensure that you get unlimited traffic. But, you need to figure out the right keyword for your business and try to rank in the 1-5 position. It doesn’t end there though. After the visitor enters your page, you need to have a relevant CTA. This could be a related e-book they could download or a webinar they could attend. Look how WordStream uses an exit intent pop-up to capture leads.
Third party integrations: There are many aggregators in the market where people go to. You can find an aggregator for your business and register with them. Some common ones are JustDial, Sulekha.com, 99acres, OLX, etc. These marketplaces keep providing you leads for a price.
Offline marketing: Other than online methods, you can also conduct events or attend trade shows where people who belong to your industry are likely to attend. You can then use a good tool to capture your leads right there.
These are just some methods in which you get people to sign up with you. Now instead of vague metrics like views and traffic, you now have the email/phone number of actual people who are interested in what you have to offer. Now you have leads.
CHAPTER-6 : Optimizing your Lead Generation Efforts – What is your Main Business Target?
Lead generation is a very powerful lever to feed your hungry sales team and drive more sales in a non e-commerce, non retail world. That’s the ultimate goal here: scale your business faster providing more sales to your growth strategy, every day, every week, every month. Marketing generates a steady, predictive, scalable high quality lead flow your sales reps are happy to handle. Leads that convert into sales at a cost-effective CAC. The perfect growth machine every VP is looking for.
Optimizing lead generation is like working on a puzzle. One piece at a time.
The problem with lead generation is that one, there is no such thing as a transparent exchange available for you to be sure of the price you pay to generate one sale; and two, you are the factory. Optimizing your funnel in a very competitive and volatile market feels like climbing stairs up and down without taking a break. It is exhausting and frustrating. Productivity gain are not linear in this industry, they suddenly surge when you crack a piece of the puzzle. Lucky you!
Because Sales volume and CAC are not linearly correlated, you will shortly experience that setting too aggressive CAC targets to your team will end up lowering your sales volume. So, shooting for high sales volume objectives will mechanically increase your CAC.
This is why you have to choose which target you want to fight for first, higher Sales Volume or Lower CAC. Focus your efforts and deploy iterative tactics to get the best out of your lead generation process in the long run. Start with Volume first, before considering any CAC optimization moves.
CHAPTER-6 : A Final Word On Lead Generation
By now, you probably have a much better understanding of what is lead generation, how lead generation works, as well as what are some of the best lead generation techniques that work in 2020.
So now, it’s time to get started on implementing those strategies in your company.
As a beginner, you can start with the basic steps such as creating a website, publishing relevant content, including contact information on the website, and utilizing opt-ins.
For advanced users, lead generation marketing trends such as partnering with influencers, segmentation & personalization, lead generation software, video marketing, and chatbots are the way to go in 2020.
Having invested in all these, you also need to have a secret weapon that will help you turn visitors to leads more effectively than ever before.
After all, if someone makes their way to your site, that means they have at least some interest in your product or service, so don’t let these website visitors (and potential leads) churn or bounce from your page.
You can use Albacross as a solo tool to get maximum results with the least amount of time/money invested.
Better still, you can also use it with any other lead generation method to enhance its efficiency. Most importantly, use it to capture the information of your site’s visitors so that you can convert them into paying customers.