Grow Your Business with Lead Generation - dummies

Grow Your Business with Lead Generation

By Dayna Rothman

No matter the size of your business, you want it to grow. You need to reach your customers through different marketing channels — social media, search engines, your website, events, and more. By creating a well-thought-out lead generation strategy that maps to business priorities, you effectively grow your business by generating more leads for your sales teams to call.

Marketing has changed. It isn’t enough anymore to purchase an ad in a print magazine, buy a list of leads, and have your sales teams call on a bunch of cold prospects. In today’s world of mobile devices and social media, you need to do more than cold call to close a sale. Plus, having your sales teams call leads that are never going to buy is a huge waste of time and money.

You want to do more than generate more leads, you want to generate better leads (or warm leads). What are warm leads? They are potential customers who are very close to purchasing by the time they reach your sales teams.

But how are you going to grow your business through lead generation?

Find more leads

Every business could use more leads. More leads are more potential customers ready to buy your product or service. Finding an abundance of leads is hard — really hard. And it has become even harder and more complex due to the changing nature of the Internet and the rapid pace at which today’s businesses are expected to grow.

Marketers of yore tried to generate leads through many outbound (and often aggressive tactics) such as cold calling, batch and blast email tactics, tradeshows, print and radio advertising, and list purchasing. Although outbound techniques certainly have their place and are indeed part of a well-rounded lead generation strategy, used alone, they can be a turnoff to many of today’s buyers.

Modern marketers also need to employ tactics like social media, content marketing, SEO, and similar strategies to generate more (and warmer) leads for their sales teams.

Enhance prospect relationships

Even more important than generating a ton of leads is generating a ton of qualified leads that are interested enough in your product or service that they could potentially become customers. Generating leads like they are going out of style won’t matter if they are bad leads. Today’s buyer self-educates. And because of the open nature of the Internet, he has high expectations for customer service. Additionally, today’s buyer values relationships and trust, and likes to interact with brands on a more personal level through social channels such as Facebook and Twitter. He wants to be spoken with, not spoken at.

Companies today need to focus on creating relationships with leads so that when a buyer is ready to purchase, your company is top-of-mind. This is done through engaging leads with educational content, being active on social channels to develop a following, face-to-face interactions at events, and other relationship-building lead generation tactics.

The days of the faceless corporation are over. Your buyers want to engage with you as they would engage with a friend. Consumer companies like Coca-Cola, Nike, and Apple do a great job creating relationships with customers through storytelling, great branding, and creative lead generation tactics. Appealing to your buyer creates brand ambassadors, ultimately helping you grow your company and generate more high-quality leads.

Maximize your spending

Lead generation enables you to maximize your spending as a marketer and ultimately gain greater credibility within an organization. Marketing has been increasingly pressured to produce metrics and be accountable for a budget, and is often scrutinized for wasting expensive sales resources calling on bad leads that are not qualified in any way. Because lead generation provides you with the framework for measureable campaigns, return on investment (ROI) becomes easier to report on.

Lead generation helps you focus on program ROI, evaluate leads to determine sales-readiness, and nurture leads that are not quite yet ready to buy. By being focused and strategic with your lead generation strategy, you can truly begin to maximize your marketing spending while making sure you are focusing on sending qualified leads to sales.

Additionally, tactics like social media, blogging, content marketing, your website, and SEO give you a huge bang for your buck. Instead of renting attention, as you would in paid programs, you are owning your own attention. What is the difference? Well, renting attention is paying someone to borrow their audience — like an event or a paid ad. Owning attention is the ability to develop your own following through content marketing and social media. And when you combine these techniques with paid programs such as events, email marketing, and inside sales, you can truly maximize your spending.

Be more strategic

Creating an integrated lead generation strategy for your business enables you to capture and nurture leads in a more strategic way. Many companies lack a lead acquisition strategy. Marketing managers may place a few ads, start a Facebook page, or create a three-page ebook, but they think of lead generation as a tactical part of marketing. Instead, you need to think of lead generation holistically and strategically in order for it to be effective. Integrate many facets of your marketing department including events, email marketing, social media, paid programs, lead nurturing, and sales to thematically concentrate and maximize your overall efforts.