The Art of the Lead
Lead Generation is a crucial aspect of any company and the ability to convert these leads into sales separates successful companies from unsuccessful ones. Just imagine that you have created the most awesome product or developed the greatest service in the universe. It will not matter one bit if you aren’t able the find the people who need those services and further convince people to try or buy them.
What is a Lead?
Before we go any further, let us talk about what a lead actually is.
There is a lot of confusion regarding what a ‘lead’ is since everyone has their own definition of what ‘lead’ means. Is it any person who has heard about your product, only people that buy your product, or somewhere in between?
If you are feeling confused, don’t worry. You can use the sales pipeline or sales funnel to help develop a better understanding of leads.
The Sales Funnel
Take a look at the above sales funnel. As you can see, the funnel becomes smaller at each stage and it’s very important to work backward and arrive at the total number of suspects to start off with.
7. Suspects – Everyone in your target segment or persona is a suspect. This is the entire target audience and as such you have a huge pool of suspects to select from. This may range from a few hundred to thousands of names on an excel sheet.
6. Prospects – These are the people or companies about whom you have started some basic research like checking their website or LinkedIn / Facebook page and have more details like the person you can contact, their phone number, or email.
5. Leads – You get in contact with the prospect and see if they are fit your ideal client profile. They might have stopped doing business in the area of interest, may be too complex to handle, etc. Remember that they will also be looking at your accomplishments, and how.
4. Qualified Leads – Now we enter the lead validation stage. You must verify and validate that the lead has a need for your products and services. Validate your assumptions using some of these factors:
- Is there a budget for the project?
- Who and what is driving the requirement?
- Who is championing the project? Decision makers?
- Do you have the technical and business expertise to take on the project?
- Expectations and milestones.
- Project Duration
3. Proposal – Once the lead becomes qualified, the next step involves putting together a proposal and offering your products or services. The way you draft the proposal will vary based on the person you are dealing with. The proposal may contain a reiteration of the scope of work, project plan, committed milestones and targets, your past successes/why you are the best fit, governance model, commercials, and payment information. After you finish, send it across.
2. Negotiation – Next comes the negotiation phase. This is where you defend your proposal either in a direct meeting or over phone/video. You may make changes to the initial offering so that it conforms to the original or revised expectations from the lead.
1. Win / Loss – The end result is either denial or acceptance. The lead will either approve (win) or reject (loss) your proposal. If they accept it, great job. Time to get to work. Only when there is a mutual agreement between the two parties can the project move forward. If not, you can modify the proposal and try again or look for other leads. This is essentially a coin toss – but it doesn’t have to be.
Of course, not everyone goes through all stages of this funnel. For example, if a customer refers you to another person, they jump immediately to the ‘qualified lead’ section. Sometimes a company will shift its industry so what you thought was a good lead actually isn’t. This is quite common in today’s ‘adapt or die’ business environment.
So, to answer the question, a lead is a person or company that you have contacted with the hopes of working with them on an assignment or project.
The Challenge of Lead Generation
Lead generation is one of the biggest problems for small businesses. Just take a look at the following chart:
*Data was taken from the 2017 State of Inbound Report.
Generating traffic and leads is one of the biggest marketing challenges for companies. As you can see from this report, more than 6 out of 10 companies find that generating leads is the most difficult part.
Most companies have no problem with turning leads into customers. Where they struggle is converting the prospects into leads.
This is where digital marketing comes in. Marketing good content and using SEO in a smart manner, you can help your website rise in the rankings, thus making it viewable to more people which will bring in more traffic.
Engaging people when they come onto the site is another way to get them to stay longer on your site. By running effective Facebook campaigns, you can make people who like your page actually buy your products and services.
Outbound vs. Inbound
A key aspect of lead generation is initiating the customer to take action by capturing their interest. Be sure to focus on both inbound marketing (content, social media, SEO) and outbound marketing (emails, cold-calling, door to door advertising, meetings).
The latter is more expensive and time-consuming. Thus it is often forgotten. People usually tend to struggle with regards to outbound marketing. Outbound is the one that feels more like actual sales and marketing since you are directing the response to a single person.
Do not make the mistake of neglecting one marketing type or channel. You need to use all available opportunities to generate leads. Remember, they aren’t just going to fall into your lap. Putting in a lot of effort and utilizing more avenues will increase your chances of getting leads from people.
How to Generate Leads
*Graph from Content Marketing Institute report
You can’t just generate leads out of thin air like a wizard because there has to be some work done on your part. You have to make use of digital marketing tools to market your content in an efficient manner.
There is no way to guarantee that you will receive ‘x’ number of leads from any promotional campaign. However, the better the quality is, the higher the chance of you earning some leads out of it. In a nutshell, the one with the most leads wins – This is the most important rule of the game.
When trying to get leads, go about it in a structured manner. Don’t forget to plan. You need to think about who is most likely to use your products or services. Then, build your campaigns around your target audience. If people like your content, they may tell other people which is basically lead generation through word of mouth.
The nature of the online platform allows you to compete with companies much larger than your own as long as you go about it in a smart way.
Tools for Lead Generation
Here are some actions that you can take to help generate leads:
- Optimize Website – Add a giveaway after collecting email
- Run Facebook Ad Campaigns
- Purchase Linkedin’s Premium Subscription for a month.
- Use Google AdWords and AdSense
- Launch a targeted Email Marketing
- Add a Chatbot to your website
You can’t just persist with the same customers, so look for ways to draw in more prospects. Leads are necessary and vital for the growth of your company so never stop thinking of new ways to improve your content. You should join groups and attend trade fairs related to your field of business to increase the possibility of getting leads.
A bit of effective marketing directed towards the right demographic can go a long way to getting conversions. If you get a conversion, good job. If not, don’t despair. Keep trying and something will click eventually.
Email marketing is an old tactic but emails are still a tried and tested method for generating leads. You can target a vast number of people which means a high probability that at least some of them turn into leads, assuming that you have constructed an good email.
A blog is a great way to pump out fresh content for your website. Plus, you can then share it on Facebook or Twitter and possibly attract new leads.
Generating Leads through Social Media
Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin are good places for finding and generating leads. Facebook ad campaigns and Google AdWords can help get your name out to the world and you should try boosting some of your popular Facebook posts as well, as the possibility that someone follows up is higher.
You need to engage with your customers, preferably directly. This also means monitoring your channels and responding to any complaints as promptly as possible. If you don’t maintain your social media accounts or receive a lot of negative feedback, your odds of getting leads decrease drastically.
You should also keep updating your website and social media pages because if they are empty, people may assume they are dead or that the company has gone defunct. You can add quotes, blogs, newspaper snippets, advice, Anything will do as long as it is fresh content.
Lead Generation from Opteamize
The lead generation package from Opteamize will help your company garner new leads. We will improve the quality of your website by adding new content and refurbishing existing content. This will make it rise in the search rankings and bringing in more visitors to the site.
Our lead generation strategy will get you the customers you deserve. By focusing hard on content and technical SEO, we will transform your site so it gives a better impression on people.
We will work with you to boost traction and traffic and make it head your way. This will eventually generate more people taking a liking to your products and services. If you wish to partner with us and start generating some leads, contact us today.