How do you attract and handle leads? It's a simple question, but few of the companies we talk to have a definitive answer. More often than not, there is no process in place for generating and managing leads from first conversion through sales closing. If a process exists, it's commonly a mix of manual sorting and inefficient communications that risk losing leads and the all-important timing between a bottom-funnel request and a sales response. Here are 10 steps you should take to improve your lead generation and management process.
Autoresponder makes it easy to send a welcome email to new contacts—and make your first impression count. You can also set up an email series for similar customers, like contacts in the same area or customers who attended an event, and even segment contacts based on the content they click to create more targeted lists and send more relevant emails.
It's tough to figure out if your lead generation strategy is working if you aren't looking at industry data. That's why we partnered with Qualtrics to survey more than 900 marketers from all different industries in North America and Europe to create a demand generation report with data on website visitors, leads, opportunities, customers, and revenue.
Not all of your site visitors are ready to talk to your sales team or see a demo of your product. Someone at the beginning of the buyer's journey might be interested in an informational piece like an ebook or a guide, whereas someone who's more familiar with your company and near the bottom of the journey might be more interested in a free trial or demo.
A sales qualified lead is nearly ready to make a purchase, but may have more specific questions or needs to be addressed by the sales team. At this stage, sales staff continues nurturing the relationship that marketing initiated. Because these leads have already been qualified, they are more likely to turn into sales, and the latter part of the sales cycle tends to move more quickly. Strong marketing-sales alignment can result in more effective lead generation and higher conversion rates.
Auto responders present an excellent opportunity to create email marketing results with minimal effort after the initial build out. However, the key to success is to think through the process during the build out and to monitor the program carefully for the first several months in order to optimize it. We'll discuss auto responders throughout the remainder of this book when talking about email design, implementation, tracking and optimization.
Whether you already have a list of subscribers or are starting from scratch, email marketing services can help. All of the services we cover let you add contacts manually using copy and paste or by uploading CSV or Microsoft Excel files. Some integrate with third-party software enabling you to import Gmail and other webmail contacts, Salesforce.com and other customer relationship management (CRM) data, or other software where you might have contacts stored. Depending on the size and location of your list, third-party integration could be key. Verify whether you can export contacts as well (and how easy it is to do so) should you leave the service. Managing users who unsubscribe should also be easy so you're not accidentally contacting anyone who has opted out of your newsletters.
Flexibility is necessary, but not always easy—especially when you’re trying to get both your marketing and sales teams up to speed. Best practices around the many complex things that comprise marketing today, including website best practices, mobile viewability, email, SEO/SEM, marketing automation, content marketing, and social media change so swiftly that many people find it difficult, if not downright impossible, to keep up.
Direct Mail. “Just like each of the above all on their own could be a standalone marketing campaign to feed your business enough leads forever, this could as well. You can generate these letters and target all kinds of lists, so you can get very specific and never ever run out of potential campaigns. I use melissadata.com for my lists, but there are many companies that can and will sell you lists. I then use a done-for-you service. They create, print, stamp and send to us to drop in the mail. It cannot get any easier than that. These letters we use are in hand written font and made to look like you wrote it out on a yellow pad of paper. They're mailed in invitation- type envelopes so they get opened and not tossed in the waste basket.”
In the old world of information scarcity, the concept of “lead generation” meant marketing found the names of potential buyers and passed them to sales. Buyers expected that they would have to talk to sales and sales expected to speak to uneducated early stage buyers that may not yet be qualified. This has all changed. Today, buyers can do their own research online and can find a variety of educational resources through search engines, social media, and other online channels. Through content resources, today’s buyer can learn a great deal about a product or service before ever having to even speak to a sales person. So businesses must make sure that they build their digital presence.
Form-Scraping Tool: A form scraping tool that collects submissions on your website's existing forms helps you automatically consolidate all your leads into your contact database, regardless of which form visitors submitted on your website. HubSpot customers can create and embed forms using HubSpot, which automatically populate into your CMS. Non-HubSpot customers can use a form creation tool like Contact Form 7, JetPack, or Google Forms, and then use HubSpot's free collected forms feature to automatically capture form submissions and input them to a contact database.
Expired Listings. “These are listings that realtors had on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and they didn’t sell. I personally love these because they tend to be more frustrated already, having not sold with a realtor. This will many times translate into immediate appointments opposed to the ‘for sale by owners’ that need some time typically. Where do you get expired listings? It used to be that you had to work with someone that was licensed to get them. Now there are services that offer them so it's super easy to get a constant feed of them.”
Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States' Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, or their Internet service provider's acceptable use policy.
Lead generation is evolving, and the modern marketer needs to understand that an integrated marketing strategy is table stakes today. Want to know more? Download Marketo’s resource The Definitive Guide to Lead Generation, which includes a lot more information about lead gen, a really awesome sales and marketing alignment checklist that we use all the time, and other information that will get you on your way (registration required.)
Online surveys: Consumers are asked to complete a survey, including their demographic information and product and lifestyle interests. This information is used as a sales lead for advertisers, who purchase the consumer's information if provided. The consumer may 'opt-in' to receive correspondence from the advertiser and is therefore considered a qualified lead.