Marketing for Lead Generation
04.04.2016 / Posted in Articles, Strategy
Ask a company what they hope to get from their marketing efforts and almost all of them will tell you, “Leads, leads, leads!” How do you generate those elusive leads? The best course of action is to start with a lead generation strategy.
Lead generation is a unique marketing strategy in that it relies on cooperation from the sales team much more than other marketing strategy types. Marketing attracts new leads and nurtures them to ensure they continue to move through the sales funnel. Eventually, however, marketing typically hands these leads off to sales, who can then focus on converting the lead.
So how does marketing fulfill their part of the deal?
Attract New Leads
Marketing’s first task is to attract potential customers and implement a way to capture information about them for subsequent marketing and sales efforts. There are many ways to entice prospects to interact with your company—intriguing content and eye-catching advertisements are both great places to start—but it is also important to keep track of who does the interacting.
This can be accomplished, for example, by monitoring who opens direct marketing emails or who engages with your brand on social media channels. You can even take it one step further by asking prospective customers to enter contact information such as an email address before downloading useful content.
Tracking this type of information serves two purposes. First, it makes it relatively easy to measure not only the number of leads in the pipeline but also the success of your marketing efforts. Second, the information you gather in this initial stage will help you with the next phase of lead generation: nurturing your leads.
Cultivate Prospective Customers
For the majority of products and services out there, especially those offered by B2B companies, prospects will not make an immediate purchasing decision. It makes sense—after all, would you want to base your choice to purchase a new piece of critical equipment or software on one email? More likely than not, you would research your options and make an educated decision weeks or months after you received that initial email.
Savvy marketers know that sales cycles can be lengthy and they make sure to stay in front of prospective customers while they weigh their options. As we know, familiarity with your company is a huge motivating factor for a purchase and the best way to increase familiarity is to ensure that your prospects encounter your company frequently.
This is where that information you’ve been gathering comes into play. By analyzing the type of product/service your leads are most interested in or the content format that they respond to the best, you can better tailor your approach to meet their specific needs. For example, if you sell computers and sound systems and you see that certain leads are commenting on your Facebook posts about your computers, share content with those leads that focuses on your computer line.
Additionally, you can conduct qualitative and quantitative research on your target audience(s) to provide tailored content and messaging. If you find that your audience has a particular pain point, show them how your product or service can help solve the problem. When you provide content that aligns with your prospective customer’s interests, your company is more likely to be seen as helpful instead of pushy, which increases your likeability with the prospect. (And if you haven’t already heard, marketing automation can be an invaluable resource for those who want to provide tailored content to their leads.)
Evaluate When Sales Should Step In
Throughout this process it is important to keep track of where your prospects are in the sales pipeline. You can do this by analyzing factors such as how often and to what extent the prospect interacts with your company or how soon they are likely to make a purchase. This step is extremely important because it helps you determine whether a lead should stay in the cultivation phase or whether it’s time to hand a lead over to the sales team.
Remember, the marketing team brings in leads but often times it’s the sales team who closes the deal. To ensure your prospect has the best experience possible, the marketing team should share the information that they’ve gathered about the prospect so far. It’s a huge turnoff if someone has been interacting with your company for months and then has to start from square one with a sales rep who has no idea what they’re interested in, what industry they’re part of, etc. (For other best practices on smooth interaction between marketing and sales, read our article on the subject).
Time to Plan!
The sooner you develop your marketing strategy, the sooner you can have new leads coming in the door. Not sure where to start? Call FrogDog—strategy is what we do best!