It’s also important to understand that operationally we need to break down silos. Effective lead generation relies on marketers’ ability to connect the website user experience your site serves up, plus what you’re doing with SEO and SEM, email marketing, content marketing, and social media strategy, with a well-integrated blend of sales expertise. None of these things can be effective on their own, although we see companies separating out these services and failing to integrate them all the time. Big mistake.
Lead generation falls within the second stage of the inbound marketing methodology. It occurs after you've attracted an audience and are ready to convert those visitors into leads for your sales team (namely sales-qualified leads). As you can see in the diagram below, generating leads is a fundamental point in an individual's journey to becoming a delighted customer.

Don't use CTAs to drive people to your homepage, for instance. Even if your CTA is about your brand or product (and perhaps not an offer like a download), you should still be sending them to a targeted landing page that's relevant to what they are looking for and includes an opt-in form. If you have the opportunity to use a CTA, send them to a page that will convert them into a lead.
Another great post, Neil. And the timing couldn’t be any better – cuz I’m currently working on getting my web tech startup off the ground – http://irememba.com and we just finalized the Mockup for our Pre Launch Signup Landing Page and were playing around with Confirmation Page and Autoresponder copies. Some very good insights for me to keep in the back of my head.
Did you know that 74% of companies that weren’t exceeding revenue goals didn't know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities numbers? How about that over 70% of companies not achieving their revenue goals generate fewer than 100 leads per month, and only 5% generate more than 2,500 leads per month? These are just a few examples of what you’ll find in the report.
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.

Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. You score leads based on the interest they show in your business, their current in the buying cycle, and their fit in regards to your business. Lead scoring helps companies know whether prospects need to be fast-tracked to sales or developed with lead nurturing. Lead scoring is essential to strengthening your revenue cycle, effectively drive more ROI, and align sales and marketing.
Monitor and influence the progress of leads through the sales funnel by presenting them with relevant content based on buyer persona and content mapping. Content can be sent via personalized drip email campaigns or by direct integration using personalized content, for example website messaging that is tailored for lead segments or buyer personas. Apply lead scoring rules as leads consume your lead nurturing content and move them to different lifecycle stages and segments using marketing automation workflows.
Although lead generation no longer revolves around using the phone to identify qualified leads, that doesn’t mean the calling has stopped entirely. To engage and qualify prospective buyers, inside or outsourced teams will often still call prospects who have shown some level of interest. Sometimes they’ll call to highlight a value proposition or event as part of the lead nurturing and engagement process. In other cases, they’ll call simply to ask questions and determine interest as part of the lead qualification process.
How many auto-responder emails should be sent? It is possible that the answer to this question will be determined by the email marketing service provider that you choose. Some email marketing service providers will only allow you to send a maximum of ten auto responder in a sequence. This is typically done to reduce spam complaints and preserve the IP that the email marketing provider is using. Most studies have shown that the ideal number for an auto-responder program will be between 12 and 15 emails. Ten is often not quite enough to convert a user, but more than fifteen increases opt-outs and spam complaints as subscribers who haven't converted then begin to become frustrated. Ultimately, the number of emails that you should send should be based on your content, its engagement level and the amount of time needed to convey it.

The first autoresponders were created within mail transfer agents that found they could not deliver an e-mail to a given address. These create bounce messages such as "your e-mail could not be delivered because..." type responses. Today's autoresponders need to be careful to not generate e-mail backscatter, which can result in the autoresponses being considered E-mail spam.
Emails triggered by milestones, like anniversaries and birthdays, are fun to get -- who doesn't like to celebrate a special occasion? The beauty of anniversary emails, in particular, is that they don't require subscribers to input any extra data, and they can work for a variety of senders. Plus, the timeframe can be modified based on the business model.
The primary purpose of a transactional email is to convey information regarding the action that triggered it. But, due to their high open rates (51.3% compared to 36.6% for email newsletters), transactional emails are an opportunity to introduce or extend the email relationship with customers or subscribers; to anticipate and answer questions; or to cross-sell or up-sell products or services.[3]
An MQL is one step higher than a lead, in terms of the level of engagement with your business. An MQL typically performs an activity, like downloading your ebook, which is a clear indication of their interest in your business. Sometimes an MQL can also be determined based on their demographic profile. MQLs are ready to be nurtured, but they’re not ready to buy just yet. They’re usually handed over by the marketing team to the sales team.
Email is a cornerstone and key component of every marketing campaign. Whether you are hosting an event, sending out a new piece of content, promoting a new service offering, or staying in touch with customers, email should be one of your main forms of communication. According to MarketingSherpa, the most used lead generation tactic is email marketing, with 81% of respondents citing it as the most effective channel. By putting your content in front of prospects, you can find people who might not be looking for you.
Something else to consider is your offer. The more valuable it is to your audience, the more you can ask them to hand over in exchange for it. If you’ve put together a short tip sheet, then ten fields might be too big an ask. On the other hand, if you’ve compiled an industry report filled with valuable insights from leading experts, your prospects might be totally fine with completing a 10-field form.
When an MQL displays sales-ready behavior, like requesting for a demo or signing up for a free trial, they become a sales qualified lead. These leads are usually handed over by the sales team to an Account Executive (AE). SQLs are close to making a purchasing decision, so the quicker the AE acts, the higher their chances of conversion. A good way to identify an SQL is by applying the BANT framework—do they have the Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe to buy from you? http://www.digitalvidya.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/email-campaign.jpg
Lead generation is the process of finding people (leads) who’re likely to become your customers immediately or in the future. “Finding” people implies finding information about people, like their name, email ID or organization’s name, all of which you can use to initiate a business relationship with them. You can generate leads organically and/or by spending money, depending on your resources.
Omnichannel isn’t about making a quicker, cheaper sale with fewer human touchpoints: it’s about creating a system which lets you to nurture your customers at every step of their buyer’s journey.    This white paper from Magento and Premier Technology Partner dotmailer describes how well connected ecommerce and marketing teams and systems are crucial for a … Continue Reading...

Clearly, there has been a huge change in the traditional buying process.  In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even reach the vendor. The reason this is happening more and more is because buyers have so much access to information that they can delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves.
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