My name is Lusha – I help sales professionals save time and meet their goals faster. Today I’d like to cover the lead generation process and all that it entails – from lead generation to lead nurturing, reporting and analytics.
The lead generation process is essential to growth; without generating leads consistently – and most importantly, generating quality leads – there is little room for scalability. And by introducing a clear process to your lead generation, you’ll be able to generate more leads on a constant basis and with less effort.
In this post, I’ll show you what a B2B lead generation process entails and how you can easily build a winning lead generation process.
What is a lead generation process?
As Marketo puts it,
“Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing sales pipeline.”
Simply put, lead generation is all about capturing potential customers’ interest in your products or services so that you can nurture them and ultimately turn them into your paying customers. Because of this, lead generation is extremely important – and should not be left to chance. In fact, it’s best to put together a clear process to follow, so that you can get new leads on a regular basis, with little effort on the sales team’s part.
Here’s how to set up your own lead generation process and what elements are essential to creating a winning lead gen process:
Step 1: Plan your strategy
The first step in creating any process or strategy is to actually plan the strategy:
- Who forms your target audience? The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to create the type of content that gets them to convert, therefore resulting in more leads generated.
- What are your goals? What do you want to achieve, specifically, and how does this align with your overall business goals?
- How will you achieve your goals? Establish how each of your goals will be achieved, who will do what, and set clear deadlines for your actions and goals.
- Establish your platforms: Where will you be delivering your message and what channels will you be using?
- Establish your content/incentives: What incentives will help you capture your target audience’s attention? Depending on the channel, you might need different incentives. For example, on your blog, you could offer an e-book, while on your social channels, you might offer a discount.
- How will you measure your results? Continuously monitor your lead generation results, so that you can find out what works and what doesn’t and optimize your campaigns.
Step 2: Make sure your marketing and sales strategies are aligned
Inbound lead generation is now all about digital; particularly, it’s all about the content.
Social media, blogs, and other digital channels are all great sources of leads, which makes it very important to completely remove the divide between salespeople and marketing people.
Whether it’s lead generation, lead nurturing, or even making a sale, the two (or several) departments need to collaborate in order to ensure maximum results.
Plus, marketing people need to know when they have a hot lead on their hands and need to call in someone from the sales team to further engage the potential customer and get them to convert.
So, what does aligning your marketing and sales strategies require? Put simply:
- A close collaboration between the sales and marketing teams; marketing teams need to know what to do in order to generate leads, nurture them, and know when to call in someone from the sales department. They also need to know what strategies to implement in order to assist the sales department in reaching their goals.
- A shared CRM tool so that all interactions with leads are properly stored (and so that you can properly qualify your leads – which we’ll get to in a bit).
Step 3: It’s all about the content
As we discussed above, content is essential to a winning B2B lead generation process. This is what captures potential leads’ interest, what builds their trust, and what gets them to leave their contact information with you.
When planning your lead generation process, you also need to consider what type of content you will be creating; depending on what your goals are, it will help you decide what content you should publish.
There are numerous types of content that you can create for lead generation, such as:
- Blog posts: Create a blog on your website and generate new blog posts regularly so that potential leads can discover you via your content and keep coming back for more.
- How to guides/whitepapers: Your target audience is looking for content to help them achieve their own goals. Create how-to guides and whitepapers that they can download to generate quality leads.
- Webinars and online courses: Hold a webinar and online course and it will help you generate more high-quality leads. This is a big time investment on the leads’ part and if you’re offering them enough value, you’re one step closer to getting them to buy from you.
- Ebooks: Ebooks are still very popular and great lead generators, either to be downloaded from your website or other, independent platforms. Plus, they don’t have to be very long (even 30-40 pages is enough).
- Videos: Videos are great for converting people, but also for generating more leads. Use them on your blog, on your social channels, as well as on your landing pages. Videos can be promotional, educational, and anything in between – it’s up to you and whatever goals you’ve set.
- Podcasts: Another very popular form of content, podcasts can help you reach a new audience and provide them with value.
Each piece of content you create and publish should take you one step closer to achieving your set goals.
Step 4: Build your landing pages, contact forms, and opt-in forms
Content helps you get people on your website, build their trust, and give them a reason to stick around. However, to actually generate leads, you need to provide them with the opportunity to share their contact information with you.
You can do this with:
- Landing pages
- Site-wide opt-in forms
- Specific content downloads (targeted opt-in forms depending on the page they’re on, on your website)
- Contact forms
And if they don’t leave their contact information, you can always use me (Lusha) to get the information you need so you can reach out to them.
Step 5: Setting up lead scoring and marketing automation
Many leads are not ready at all for conversion when they first come in. That’s where marketing automation comes in; email marketing is one of the most effective lead generation and lead nurturing techniques, and marketing automation helps ensure that you make the most out of every lead.
Another big bonus of using marketing automation is that it allows you to score your leads so that you can establish when they’re ready to buy from you. As useful as this feature is, a surprising number of B2B marketers don’t use it to their advantage: a staggering 79%!
Plus, lead scoring can be automatized and still be very accurate. For example, every time a lead views a product video on your site, they could get an extra 10 points to their score. Or, if they don’t have the right position in their company to make decisions, you could deduct 15 points.
Step 6: Measure your results
I talked about setting goals earlier – and I believe I also mentioned how important it is to measure your results.
Well, since you’ve set these goals already, measuring your results is easy. You know exactly what you wanted to achieve – the question is, have you? If so, how did you do it and how can you not only repeat this success but actually surpass it next time?
If you haven’t reached your goals, what kept you? What went wrong and where? It’s not a tragedy if you haven’t reached your goals; in fact, it might be a great opportunity to learn something valuable about your audience and your strategy.
As long as you use this information to continuously improve your lead generation process, you’re still winning.
Lusha’s 5 cents: Create a lead generation process and stick to it!
Lead generation is vital to the sales process – without new leads coming in regularly, results are most likely to stagnate!
And by creating a process, you’ll know exactly what needs doing, by whom, and by when – which then helps you make sure you always have a steady stream of leads ready to be nurtured and converted.
Start by setting clear goals and targets you want to achieve, and then build your whole process around them. What content and what actions will help you achieve these goals and targets?
Then, sign up for me, Lusha, and you’ll get 5 free credits to get any leads’ phone numbers and email addresses – plus, there’s even a free browser extension to download! Or, if you prefer, you can get the contact API to add premium contact and company information to your product.