The difference between success and failure for any entrepreneur lies in planning. Progress and momentum need to be directed, especially where marketing and sales are concerned. To that end, smart business leaders know how crucial it is to plan out their lead generation process carefully.
Starting your journey means defining exactly what lead generation is and how it impacts generating revenue. Inside sales depend primarily on lead generation, but it also has a significant impact on outside sales, too. Once you have established the role of lead generation in your business, you are ready to establish your protocols and procedures. Here are seven key steps for an effective lead generation process.
What is Lead Generation?
In brief, lead generation is the business process for attracting your target audience and converting them into paying customers. Conversion may take place now or later, but having a process is the only way to successfully close sales. Fortunately, planning for lead generation is a straightforward process.
Why a Seven-Step Process?
When presented with a task of significant importance, the best strategy is often to break it down into parts. Trying to tackle anything with multiple moving parts as a whole tends to lead to frustration and failure. Establishing steps in a process is far more effective, and it also aids in making the process understandable to all stakeholders. Here are the seven most effective steps for lead generation that have helped thousands of businesses establish lasting growth.
Seven Most Effective Steps for Lead Generation Process
1. Develop a Plan
Failing to plan is planning to fail. Lead generation begins with a content plan that details how you will reach your target audience. Furthermore, your plan will also need to cover the methods you will employ. Your marketing team will need to brainstorm ideas that align with your sales objectives. That will be key to every strategy session.
Marketing will also need to do some extensive market research. Building customer personas is one of the best ways to make sense of collected sales data. Moreover, you gain insight into who your best customers are and how they buy products and services. Best of all, establishing these personas enhances your overall content plan and focuses it for maximum effect.
2. Create Meaningful Content
As terms go, content can have many meanings. It covers an ever-expanding variety of media on ever-expanding platforms. Videos, blogs, webinars, e-books and podcasts are all included under the umbrella of content. Choosing the right content to promote your products and services is critical to a successful lead generation process.
The best strategies for meaningful content creation typically involve demographic analysis. For example, internet users under 30 typically respond better to videos of thirty seconds or less. Linking that video to a blog with more in-depth information is how you make the content meaningful. Focus your content around solving problems using your products and services for your prime target audience. Solutions garner clicks and inspire potential customers with a desire to learn more.
3. Distribute Strategically
After you have developed meaningful content, you are ready to distribute it for consumption by your audience. Thanks to the continued evolution of the internet, there is a vast multitude of platforms for distributing your carefully crafted content. Social media posts, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, video posts and more are all proven successful distribution methods. That being said, it is important to not overlook other platforms like email in your distribution plan.
Social media may be ascendant as the most viewed content platform on the internet, but email remains a strong contender for lead generation. Moreover, marketing to existing customers for repeat business is simplified when you collect contact information for orders. Your business probably has an existing database or contacts right now that can easily be leveraged with your content to generate additional leads.
Timing is also a factor with the distribution. Sending email newsletters at 10:00 a.m. on weekdays coincides with most working professionals’ first break of the day. Most will check social media and email via a mobile device, giving your content primetime for exposure. Bottom line — a well-planned distribution can make all the difference for your lead generation process.
4. Capture Using Effective CTAs
All distributed content should direct leads toward more information and leave their information for special offers and incentives. This is critical to converting leads into sales dollars and earning an ROI (return-on-investment) for your marketing dollars. The primary method for conversion in all content marketing is leveraging calls-to-action (CTAs).
CTAs are direct asks written into your distributed marketing content. You are prompting your leads for action regarding the solutions provided by your product/service. Your ask could be signing up for a newsletter via email or for a webinar. What the actual ask is does not matter, the point is that you are asking to continue and expand the relationship established by your content.
The final step for CTAs is to create a landing page (usually a contact form) where interested parties can respond. If you are selling a service, your sign-up page can pull double duty: visitors can sign up for service (think free trial), or sign up for more information. So long as you have a place for the next steps, the form it takes is unimportant.
5. Analyze Your Data
No matter how good your content is or how well you plan your process, it will be ineffective if you do not measure your results. Traffic to your website or social media pages is important, but what it tells you about marketing effectiveness is more so. There are many ways to measure success, but site analytics is going to give you the most accurate performance readings. Site analytics are the metrics (measurements) of how visitors interact with your website or social media account. Reading various metrics can tell you how effective your content is at directing traffic from leads into sales.
One of the most effective metrics is mapping clicks. What do your visitors click the most, and how long do they spend on that page? Do they enter their information or go to the contact page? How many are signing up for service after reading content on other pages? All of this information helps you determine if your content is having the desired effect on potential customers. Once you have analyzed your analytics, you can use your findings to refocus your content to increase its effectiveness. More effective content leads to the next and possibly most important step: establishing relationships between your brand and new customers.
6. Cultivate Leads Through Strong Relationships
All the steps of your lead generation process should follow a natural progression to this phase: relationship building. Data capture from site analytics is key to this phase. The information collected allows you to “continue the conversation” that began with a visit to your website or social media platform.
Cultivating leads is all about keeping customers informed about your products and services and continuing toward a buying decision. Email marketing and remarketing to these customers become your best tools in this pursuit. Keep your business in the forefront of their minds, so you are their first choice when the time comes to make a purchase.
7. Convert Leads Through Integrity and Trustworthiness
Closing a sale is making a promise to deliver the results of your product or service. Conversion from lead to a customer means keeping that promise through integrity and trustworthiness. Integrity is always doing right by your customers regardless of the circumstances. That means if there is a problem that arises during their customer journey, you stand ready and willing to make it right. By the same token, trustworthiness means that your customers can always count on your business to show integrity consistently.
The customer experience you provide is just as important as the lead generation process. If you begin with the end in mind (integrity and trustworthiness), the sales will take care of themselves. When your product does what it says on the box and you stand by your product, you will always be your customers’ first choice. Trust and integrity create the one sure path to limitless growth potential. Make those values your primary values and your success is assured.
Building a lead generation process from the ground up does not have to be complicated. If you have positioned yourself as a trusted brand that provides quality products and services, you are already halfway there. Your lead generation becomes a natural extension of your core values, and you attract new business by capitalizing on these values.
The two most important phases are always going to be analyzing your data to measure success and cultivating relationships. Your content will reach the right customers the first time, and your established reputation will close deals for you.
If you have not set up a process yet or your current process needs revision, do not wait to get started. Call a meeting with marketing and start evaluating what is working and not working today. The sooner you refine and improve your lead generation process, the faster you will achieve success and growth.
Contact Selling Revolution Today
If you have not set up a process yet or your current process needs revision, do not wait to get started. Contact the experts at Selling Revolution today. We have helped countless businesses train their sales teams on effective lead generation. Click here to sign up for your first 20-minute strategy call with one of our sales professionals.