Now that you have a business, how do you sell your products or services to customers?
How do you educate your customers about your services and solutions? Do you even know who your customers are, and where you could find a good number of potential buyers in a marketplace? If not, read on!
This article will give you an idea of the concept of Lead Generation and the various ways of generating leads.
First Things First – What or Who is a Lead?
A lead is a person who has indicated an interest in your offerings (product or service) in some way, shape, or form. A lead is a prospect that can turn into a paying customer in the future, on the condition that marketing and sales teams tune in their magic.
What is Lead Generation?
As per HubSpot, Lead Generation is “The process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. Some examples of lead generators are job applications, blog posts, coupons, live events, and online content.”
“Lead Generation describes the Marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing a Sales pipeline,” says Marketo.
According to TechTarget, “Lead generation is the use of a computer program, a database, the internet, or a specialized service to obtain or receive information for the purpose of expanding the scope of a business, increasing Sales revenues, looking for a job or for new clients or conducting specialized research. Leads can consist of the names and addresses (or e-mail addresses) of individuals, corporations, institutions or agencies. Lists of leads can be gathered or filtered from targeted databases such as telephone and Internet directories.”
In the simplest of words, Lead Generation is a process that identifies probable customers for your business, gets them to show interest in your offerings, and collects useful data. The data can be in the form of names, e-mail IDs, phone numbers, or firm’s name, etc. These pieces of information can then be used to contact the prospects, educate them, and nurture them to be able to qualify them as Sales Qualified Leads (SQL). The SQLs can then be passed on to the Sales team for further follow-ups and for converting them into customers.
So, if 1000 people visit your website and 100 of them submit their details via a pop-up or registration link, these 100 can be classified as leads as they have shown interest in one or other of your products/services. If you meet 200 people at a conference and 50 of them share their visiting cards or just their phone numbers, those 50 are leads for your business who need engaging and nurturing to be converted into customers in the near future.
Various Channels of Lead Generation
Basically, there are two channels of Lead Generation – Inbound and Outbound.
Inbound Lead Generation is the process of helping potential customers find your company—often before they are even looking to make a purchase—and then turning that early awareness into brand preference, and ultimately, into leads and revenue.
Inbound Lead Generation involves constructive means of educating customers with a well-planned content strategy. Here, you drive them to find your business by means of quality content and SEO, websites, blogs, social media, e-mails, and webinars.
Outbound Lead Generation, on the other hand, involves reaching out to the masses that may or may not be interested in your offering. The most common methods of Outbound Marketing include display ads, direct e-mail, PPC ads, events, and content syndication.
Now, you must be thinking about how e-mails fall into both categories! While Email Marketing is mostly considered an outbound activity, it actually falls into both channels. Email Marketing can be used to reach out to leads that have previously opted-in for your blog updates or registered for a product demo; e-mailing them is part of an inbound marketing campaign. But buying a database of leads from a third party and mass e-mailing is an outbound method which is more spammy and generic. No wonder Outbound leads cost 39% more than inbound leads.
Image source: FreshSales
IDG carried out a survey to ascertain which methods of Lead Generation worked best for companies. It was found that websites, conferences/trade shows, and email marketing proved to be the best channels of communication, while print advertising and direct mail performed the worst.
The three most commonly used B2B lead generation strategies are email marketing (78%), event marketing (73%), and content marketing (67%)
What Metrics to Track in Lead Generation Process?
As part of your Lead Generation efforts, it is necessary to keep track of a few metrics that matter to your business. Some of the common Lead Generation metrics that companies track include:
- Click Through Rate (CTR) – This tells you how many visitors are clicking on a link in your ad creative, landing page, or e-mail.
- Conversion Rate – A measure of how many visitors are performing a specific intended action like filling out a form, opting in for blog updates, product demos, etc.
- Return on Investment (ROI) – It is a measure of how much money you have made with an initial investment. E.g., if you make $18 off each lead, and had initially invested $10 on acquiring per lead, your ROI will be 80%
- Time to Conversion – The time taken to convert a visitor into a verified lead.
Cost Metrics: Cost per Click (CPC), Cost per Mille (CPM), and Cost per Lead are the three most important metrics that fall under this category. They provide insights into the amount you are spending in acquiring each click via a paid advertising campaign or if you are buying impressions via display ads.
The average cost of a B2B sales lead differs by industry. Healthcare leads cost the highest ($60/lead) followed by business/finance ($43/lead). Leads for Marketing products/services and technology are at the low end ($32/lead and $31/lead respectively).
Channel Metrics: Are you getting most of the traffic by website SEO, PPC ads, or social media? Channel metrics provide insights into the performance of various channels/media employed for your Lead Generation efforts. So, checking for metrics like Lead Generation rate by channel and Month-to-date (MTD) channel goals is vital for marketers to optimize their spending on campaigns.
As a result of tracking channel metrics, you would be able to decide which channels to invest more resources in order to attain better ROI.
Here are some additional resources that you may find relevant:
This article was first published by SalesTech Star