Your business growth heavily depends on a permanent acquisition of new customers. And you can achieve it by building a seamlessly working lead generation process.
This guide will cover the basic components, strategies, techniques, tools and ways to improve your company’s lead gen.
Lead gen is a very complex process that is also a part of various business operations. That’s why there are plenty of ways to define it. For example, it is the first of many stages of a sales process, and arguably the most important one.
Or: It is the activity that aims to feed your business with customers. Or: it is an inalienable part of a marketing team’s effort. Or: It is the process of turning individuals/businesses into leads. Or:
Lead generation is systematically creating awareness and evoking interest of potential buyers in your product or services.
In our opinion, this definition is the closest to the very essence of lead gen. We’d like to point out several keywords in it.
1. Potential buyers, also known as target audience. Not all individuals or businesses are in equal need of your product and service. That’s why it’s crucially important to address the target audience.
2. Awareness and interest. A business needs to inform and draw attention of potential buyers, as well as make them “care.”
3. Creating. Some experts would use the word gaining. In our opinion, “create” reflects a more active position of business in this process.
4. Systematically. A company needs consistent strategy, aligned operation of several departments, and regular activities to make this process work and bring results.
What businesses need to generate leads and why?
There’s a popular quote: if your business doesn’t grow it dies (even if it doesn’t seem so on the surface). So, the simplest answer to this question is “all businesses.”
Benefits of lead gen:
1. Sustainability. Customer churn is inevitable. So your business can’t survive on retention alone.
2. Growth. Your business can’t expand without extra resources, above all money. You can only gain it through new buyers.
3. Expansion. When a business creates a new product/service or decides to expand to a new market, they need to build a new customer base there.
4. Influence. The more new businesses you attract, the more referrals you can potentially get, and the more brands you can add to your customer base.
5. Keeping potential. Certain products or services have longer sales cycles and the purchase heavily depends on a customer’s budget. Some leads might remain “dormant” for months or even years until they are ready for the next stage of their buying journey. That’s when they can recall your outreach.
Let’s take a closer look why different types of businesses need to generate:
1. Startups are rapidly growing businesses. That’s why they need a lot of money to invest in that growth.
2. Small businesses are often heavily dependent on day-to-day income. They need constant feed of potential customers for sustainability.
3. Medium companies are in a safer position when it comes to sustainability than small businesses. Often they would want to grow through expansion to new markets or promotion of new products.
4. Enterprises. It might seem that these types of companies are established businesses with brand, reputation, and solid client base. However, enterprises are vulnerable to stagnation, followed by decline. That’s why they shouldn’t stop the demand generation.
How to Generate Leads in the Digital Era
In the past, businesses mostly attracted leads through advertisements, networking, and direct outreach to potential clients.
Advertisers used any type of media available, from printed journals to TV, to banners, to aviation. In many cases, they would give false information and promises. It was hard if not impossible for their customers to find credible data about the products/services they were buying.
Networking included getting referrals from existing customers and for B2B – meeting your potential buyers at various events.
Direct outreach started with door-to-door sales and purchase offer send outs. Then it expanded to cold calls.
The internet changed sales and marketing processes dramatically. Let’s take a look at the key changes of the digital era:
Lead Generation Strategies and Tactics
Let’s take a look at types of lead generation strategies
It is an active pursuit of potential clients, i.e. direct outreach.
Types of outbound marketing:
It is a strategy of building an Internet presence.
Inbound marketing includes:
From our own experience and experience of our clients, we know that combining Inbound and Outbound marketing is the best strategy for the business.
Here are some ideas to support this argument:
Similar to lead gen, there’s no single definition of a lead. Some identify it as contact data you’ve collected about a potential customer. Others talk about an interest in your company that a certain person has demonstrated.
Sales teams, however, state that not all people who showed interest and provided their contact data are proper material for customers. We suggest the following definition:
A lead is an identified individual who became aware and showed interest in your product/service and who matches your ideal customer profile.
Here’s an example: content writers often visit the websites of competitors to see the strengths and weaknesses of the copy and educate themselves. They might even provide their contact data in exchange for a gated whitepaper. They’ve shown interest in your product, however, they don’t match your ICP. Therefore they cannot be considered leads.
This brings us to two important topics: lead quality and qualification.
Like we mentioned above, not all individuals that are interested in our product/service can be a good match. That’s why it’s crucial to define certain guidelines for “lead quality.”
There are two main instruments to attain this goal:
ICP is the set of features that you find in your customers and/or in the customers of your competitors. If you expand with the new product or to the new market, it is the features of a customer that you consider to be the best fit for your business.
ICP helps you sift out individuals/businesses that:
ICP is used by:
Lead qualification is the process of determining whether a lead matches the ICP and has an intention to become a customer.
There are several types of qualified leads:
It is a lead that has contacted your business via inbound channels, has been approved by a marketing team as a potential buyer and passed to a sales team. Some companies would use tracking apps that provide contact data of all the visitors of the website.
To qualify a lead, marketing would use lead scoring. They analyze the lead if the lead matches certain criteria and assign a certain number of points for each match. The higher the score is, the higher the quality of the lead is.
The criteria for lead scoring include:
As mentioned above, marketing passes MQLs to a sales team. That’s the point of rapture. More often than not, sales wouldn’t accept certain leads because they don’t match their own criteria. That’s why companies need a powerful marketing-sales alignment.
This being said, sales continue working with accepted MQLs to turn them into SQLs and guide through a buying process up to the purchase.
SQL is a lead that has demonstrated an interest in purchasing a product/service.
In the outbound process, the sales development team generates SQLs.
Different sales organizations have different criteria for SQLs.
One of the benefits of the digital era is the abundance of software tools that can help you automate your lead generation efforts. In this section of the article, we would provide the types of tools your inbound and outbound teams will need to make their work more efficient.
These tools can help you:
There many different CRMs, we suggest choosing it depending on the complexity of your sales process. For example, tools like Salesforce will be great for large enterprises as they are hard to maintain (you need a team of programmers), contain tons of different features that might be redundant for teams that manage short and simple sales cycles.
Examples: Salesforce, Hubspot Sales Hub, Pipedrive, Zoho.
These are tools that help you:
Examples: WordPress, Hubspot, Joomla.
These solutions are necessary for:
Examples: Ahrefs, Semrush, Google Analytics, Google Search Console (non interchangeable).
They are necessary:
Examples: LinkedIn Sales Navigator, ZoomInfo, Prospect.io
Sales use these solutions to:
Examples: MailChimp, Gong, Ameyo.
When it comes to sales process efficiency, businesses often use the two following indicators:
2. Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is the amount of money your business can get from one client.
Obviously, your CLV cannot be lower than CAC. Furthermore, the healthy CLV-to-CAC ratio is 3 to 1. That means your customer needs to generate revenue that is three times as big as the cost of their acquisition.
The goal of any business is to increase CLV while decreasing CAC. And one of the efficient ways to do it is to improve the ROI of your lead generation.
One of the most efficient ways to achieve it is to outsource your lead generation. It has a number of benefits:
How do we know all that? Our company Growthonics provides outsourcing lead generation services and helps clients in the UK to improve their lead gen ROI.
Ready to outsource your lead generation?
Book a call with Growthonics today to learn how we can support your business growth.