76% of B2B buyers use three or more channels when researching a potential purchase (Blue Nile Research). The modern buying process provides an opportunity for marketers to place relevant and compelling content where their prospects are in order to drive awareness … and ultimately, engagement.
But without your lead generation fundamentals in place, you’ll miss out on potential revenue.
Lead generation is a robust process! But if you master these three fundamental components, you’ll be in far better shape than a lot of companies in the market today:
1) Define your Target Audience
In order to conduct effective lead generation, you much first understand your audience. The anchors for defining your audience are the development of personas and your prospect’s buying journey.
A persona is a customer-centric profile grouping of your audience intended to sharpen messaging, content and enhance the prospect/customer experience. There are three core attributes for persona development:
- Prospect Pain Points – Identify challenges such as lack of qualified leads or limited budget, and incorporate into content and messaging to illustrate that you understand your audience.
- Prospect Business Objectives – Demonstrating that you understand what it is your audience is trying to accomplish or experiences in the workplace, establishes credibility and increases the propensity for engagement.
- Information Sources – Knowing where your audience goes to gather information is critical to understand what topics are top of mind and having a viable channel to distribute your content.
The Buying Journey is often confused with the Sales Cycle, but they are vastly different:
The Sales Cycle is an internal organization perspective of how the prospect progresses after engaging with sales. (Think of things like opportunity stages in your CRM.)
The Buying Journey is a customer-centric view of what your prospect experiences when buying products or services in your space. For example, the first stage of the Buying Journey is typically awareness. Awareness can be driven by marketing conditions, internal initiatives or by you as a marketer.
The development of a Buying Journey has become a common practice for modern marketers, but the challenge is integrating it into your marketing strategy. (Related: Our How to map an Amazing Customer Journey On-Demand webinar!)
2) Build Trust Through Content Marketing
One of the most often-quoted lead generation statistics is a from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), where 85% of those surveyed identified lead generation as a top goal. While the data may be a bit old, there’s no arguing that any good marketer has to fill the pipeline with leads – and revenue.
From a more recent CMI study:
96% of the most successful content marketers agree their audience views their organization as a credible and trusted resource. (Content Marketing Institute, 2019)
How does your program stack up against initial goals? When implementing content marketing, you must first have a plan and then nurture your leads.
- Content Marketing Plan – The lack of a plan will be apparent to your prospects as they engage with your business and will hinder your ability to drive quality leads. After mapping your content to personas and buying journey stages, you must ensure that all prominent lead sources such as a contact us form or event attendee have a journey or supportive campaign to keep them engaged and demonstrate that you can add value to their business.Don’t be afraid to have multiple steps in your plan – in fact, you should! For example, you may have 3-4 great “how-to” pieces of content you could advertise, and then remarket something to readers of those articles that is a guide, whitepaper, or something more in-depth that you can ask for an email address with. (Mutiple stages of content will “warm” people up even more before you ask for an email, making them more likely to be willing to give it to you)
- Lead Nurturing – The most effective method of keeping your audience engaged is lead nurturing via email and outbound methods such as re-marketing. Expertise in lead nurturing results in a 50% increase in sales-ready leads, along with a 33% decrease in its cost (Forrester Research via HubSpot).Start with a lead nurturing campaign that addresses your most prominent persona and then expand to additional personas that marketing and sales believes will most influence pipeline and revenue.
3) Lead Management Process
Lead Management is the process used to manage leads internally after their initial engagement and also provides intelligence as to where marketer’s should be applying their funds. Without an effective lead management process, marketers are flying blind as to what’s working and where budget should be allocated. There are six steps to developing a lead management framework.
- Establish Metrics
- Define a Sales Ready Lead
- Create a Common Funnel with Stages and Statuses
- Architect Lead Processing and Routing
- Develop Lead Scoring Model
- Implement Sales and Marketing SLA
When refining your lead generation approach or developing a strategy, keep in mind that your audience has a choice. Make their choice easy by ensuring your content taps into what keeps your prospects up at night, and nurture your leads to establish credibility and enhance the prospect experience.
Download our Proven Success Formula for Lead Management to learn how to develop a lead management business case at your organization and establish your framework. Or, read more about the key parts of successful lead management!