Leads, people, LEADS! Today, we’re discussing the right way to go about business to business lead generation.
First things first: what is a lead?
Traditionally, when we’re talking about “leads” we’re referring to someone who has shown interest in your offering, and taken some type of action towards it.
This definition has sort of fallen out of vogue because “taking action” has become increasingly easy in the digital age, the bar to entry is too low. Someone downloading an information packet doesn’t mean they’re going to buy, it’s barely a step above handing someone a pamphlet. This is what we refer to as a “Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL),” and it’s a vanity metric. All it can tell you is that someone interacted with your marketing, it doesn’t tell you if they’re in a position to buy, or even interested in your offering, it just means they took steps to learn more. This doesn’t mean the info is useless (a prospect who opens every email you send them can be a viable lead), it just means that you shouldn’t try to push a sale on them alone.
“Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)” are those who’ve made contact with your sales team, and are usually further along in the buying process, or at the very least, actively interested in your offering. These are going to be far fewer in number than MQLs, but far more viable.
Don’t pounce on every MQL that rolls your way.
Burn it into your memory. Just because someone downloaded a paper, signed up for a webinar, etc, doesn’t mean they’re looking to buy, it just means they want to know more. Immediately hitting them with a sales call is not only a waste of time, but can be counterproductive and off putting. Keep them in the loop, offer more information, but don’t immediately kick their contact information over to sales.
Know Your Ideal Customer Profile.
This one doesn’t require much explanation, if you don’t know what your ideal prospect looks like, you can’t sell to them. You need criteria as to what a good lead looks like for your business.
Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket.
Attracting new prospects is something that requires the implementation of multiple strategies and methods, both traditional and digital, used simultaneously. There is no silver bullet, “this one thing will generate you countless good leads” method.
Your marketing plan needs to be integrated, you need to be everywhere at once. The end goal being to become the first name a prospect thinks of when they have a problem you can solve. This is a difficult balancing act however, as the line between “omnipresent” and “annoying” can become quite thin. Receiving the occasional promotion or announcement because you signed up for a mailing list and seeing the occasional web ad is different from say, getting an inbox filled with promotions and every ad being the same thing.