Lead generation is not new, but it has found new ground as consumers are finding more places to find competitive products and organizations are losing traction in keeping consumers interested. Without lead generation, according to Lead Genera, businesses often struggle to make sales and see growth.
What is Lead generation?
Lead generation is an extremely important part of the sales process. It’s also a place in the process where many organizations can go wrong. There are numerous ways to generate leads, however, not all of them are created equal.
Before proceeding, let’s take a look at the difference between a lead, a prospect, and a customer for the purposes of this article:
- Lead – A lead is someone you have determined may be interested in your product or service. This may be because they have signed up for information on your website, they match your demographic, they have purchased something similar in the past, etc. A lead can be defined as someone that has been in contact with you, but who you have yet to respond to.
- Prospect – You have now had correspondence of some sort with your lead, qualified them as someone likely to purchase because they have the interest, budget, and power to do so.
- Customer – Once your prospect has made their purchase, they are officially a customer.
In order to generate leads and convert them to become customers, it takes a bit of prospecting. Prospecting refers to the actual search for potential customers with the intent to bring them into the sales funnel as leads and out the other end as customers.
How Prospecting Works
A tried-and-true method for prospecting includes a series of steps that will help you convert your leads more easily. If you think of sales prospecting as you might prospecting for gold, you would want to start where you know there might be some gold. You won’t go to the streets of New York City, you’ll go to the open land of the western United States. So, with sales prospecting, you may start by researching where you know there will be at least a chance for some leads and keep looking until you find that golden sale.
The steps in prospecting look like this:
- Research leads
You could just purchase a list of leads, but that is often just a waste of money. Instead, let them come to you. Start your research with the leads that have come through your website or social media or some other means of letting you know that they are showing an interest.
- Qualify and prioritize leads
Next, you’ll want to qualify the leads. You can use a lead scoring process for this or a list of criteria to determine how qualified they are to be a customer. Do they have a need you can resolve? Do they have the means to purchase it?
- Identify the key decision-makers
Just because they signed up to receive your latest white paper doesn’t mean they are among the decision-makers in the organization. Once you have determined who is interested in what organization, find the folks in the organization that have the buying power.
Once you have these steps covered, you can connect with the powers-that-be and schedule a meeting to discuss how you can help them with their needs.
- Evaluate and resolve objections
Now you’ve met with the organization so you’ll need to determine whether your product or service does meet their business need. This will also be a time to come up with answers to any constraints or objections your prospects may have, such as lack of budget or time.
- Close the sale
Now it’s time to make the sale! Doing all of the work ahead of this step will increase your chances of being able to successfully close a sale.
Just like prospecting for gold, doing your research in advance to find the right time and place to dig will help you find that priceless metal and make your money.
What is Lead Nurturing and why it’s important?
Lead nurturing can be the key to your lead generation efforts. You can have all sorts of leads that come in, but without keeping them warm by nurturing them effectively, they’ll either forget about you or move on to another company that will give them more attention.
Lead nurturing also offers much greater quality leads since your prospects will be more well-informed and kept more interested in your products. It can also be the best way to reactivate dormant leads if you haven’t heard from them in a while.
Leads that are nurtured are likely to spend about 47% more on your product, according to Lead Forensics. Increasing the average value of your product may make lead nurturing worth it in itself, but the fact that you can also build more customer loyalty could be key to sealing more deals.
Focusing your efforts on lead nurturing can also help you establish authority within your industry as those leads continually hear about your strengths and accomplishments. This can give prospects the warm and fuzzy feeling for your organization and keeps you at the top of their
How to Close Deals With Lead Nurturing Campaigns
With a little bit more understanding about prospecting and lead nurturing, let’s take a look at some ways to close deals by using lead nurturing campaigns. There are several types of campaigns you can use to nurture leads, which we have separated by categories below.
- Connection campaigns:
- Welcome Campaign – this is where it all starts! Use this to start your conversation with them with the intent to engage in a long-term relationship.
- Top-of-Mind Campaign – these campaigns are growing in popularity as they make sure your prospects don’t forget about you. These should be sent on a regular basis.
- Re-engagement Campaign – for those leads that went cold, this is a good way to get re-connected.
- Education campaigns:
- Product-focused Campaign – an excellent way to inform your prospects of specifics regarding a particular product that they have shown interest in or may interest them based on other purchases.
- Customer Education Drip Campaign – fill potential customers in on how your products would benefit them over other organizations, doing their research for them.
- Competitive Drips Campaigns – if you still haven’t sold them on your product, perhaps you should tell them how your product differs from the competition and why yours is superior.
- Closing campaigns:
- Industry Expertise Campaigns – this type of campaign will include much of the thought-leadership content marketing that you probably already have that you can send to your prospects to help establish you as an industry expert.
- Authority Perception Campaign – let them know that you are an authority so they know they are making the right decision when they go with you.
- Promotional Drips – now that you have their attention, send a promotional offer or discount to get them to make the purchase.
- Retention campaigns:
- Onboarding Campaign – ensuring your new customer receives proper onboarding by launching this type of campaign will increase the chances of a satisfied customer and one willing to purchase again.
- Discount Campaign – offer your new customer a discount for purchasing again.
- Upsell/Cross-sell Campaign – here is your opportunity to let your new or seasoned customer know about upgrades to their current product or information on others they may be interested in.
- Renewal Campaign – here is where you’ll remind them that it’s time to renew to increase your chances at getting them to do so.
How a CRM Can Help with Lead Generation
Implementing a customer relationship management (CRM) solution such as Agile CRM will help you with every aspect of your lead generation efforts. Agile CRM will allow you to add and access all leads generated, score your leads so you can determine how qualified they are, set up campaigns to nurture your prospects, and automate both sales and marketing processes to save you time and money in the long run.
A CRM will ensure you have all the information you need to capture leads, turn them into prospects, and convert them to customers time and time again.
A Final Word
According to a study by Invespcro, lead nurturing-focused businesses to generate 50% more qualified leads at 33% lower cost. Putting some time and effort into your lead generation game is going to come back to benefit you greatly.
Ensuring you have the right, cost-effective CRM tool and focusing your efforts on turning those leads into prospects so you can convert them more easily is going to help your strategy in numerous ways. Prospecting for gold doesn’t always lead to riches, but focusing your efforts will increase your chances. The same holds true for sales prospecting. Focus your efforts where they will be more likely to purchase and nurture those leads for higher conversion rates and greater success.