For many organisations, lead generation is one of the most challenging elements of their broader business development program.
How to build a lead generation strategy that gives the sales team a constant flow of quality leads? How to implement a process that keeps the pipeline consistently topped up and the sales team busy?
To succeed, you need a structured, consistent and repeatable process that regularly puts leads into the pipeline. The key word being repeatable.
Without a consistent and repeatable process, you risk your sales team spending time focussed on generating leads, which results in frustrated salespeople and sales leaders who can’t achieve their revenue goals.
DESIGNING YOUR LEAD GENERATION STRATEGY
Every lead generation strategy begins with identifying the best, easiest and most reliable sources of business for an organisation.
There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Different businesses have different ideal lead sources and different processes for optimising those sources.
When designing a lead generation strategy, it’s important to consider budget and available resources.
It should begin with an overarching objective and some facts about what already works for the business in terms of lead generation. Other things to consider include:
Who will manage lead generation activity?
What is the focus? Inbound or outbound activity? What’s the tactical approach?
What needs to be done in terms of content optimisation to complement the strategy?
Remember, a strategy will evolve over time, so it’s never set in stone.
LEAD GENERATION TACTICS
Once the strategy is defined, the tactical approach is planned. Some of the most popular lead generation sources in today’s digital world include:
Social media marketing
Sponsored conferences & events
GENERATING SALES LEADS
It’s important there’s a balance of inbound and outbound activity in any lead generation strategy.
Inbound lead generation – uses high-value content via marketing campaigns, attracting ‘ideal’ prospects and encouraging them to opt-in. The focus is on providing valuable information as opposed to selling outright – enticing prospects who are actively looking for a specific solution. Inbound strategies are valuable in terms of building brand recognition, gaining market attention and boosting web traffic.
Outbound lead generation – includes things like direct mail and cold calling a target list based on demographic breakdown, including industry, job title or even gender. Generally, there is no prior knowledge indicating whether the recipient is interested in a specific solution. An outbound lead generation campaign is designed to spark interest and encourage action from the contact recipient.
Referral marketing – another source of lead generation is asking your network – both personal and business – for introductions and referrals.
LEAD GENERATION TOOLS
The market is saturated with lead generation tools, so it’s important to work out exactly what you need before researching which tools meet your criteria.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a must have tool in B2B sales – helping identify prospects by industry, role, geography or by organisation.
As they say “don’t put all your eggs in the one basket”. It’s important when it comes to lead generation to keep your options open and never rely on one approach. A good lead generation strategy requires a combination approach.
And remember, a strategy is pointless unless you plan your tactical approach and implement it!