Lead Generation Path Way

Prioritizing Your Lead Generation Strategy – Part 3 of 3 in a Series

In part 1 of this 3 part series, I discussed Setting Lead Generation Metrics for your lead generation strategy. In part 2, I talked about Establishing Lead Generation Goals and using the S.M.A.R.T method to write goals.

In part 3, the final part to this series, I discuss 4 categories of prioritization for your lead generation objectives along with several types of tactical communication vehicles to help communicate your message that drives leads.

Looking back to part 1, you assembled your lead generation team and answered several important questions for setting key metrics. You and your team also identified areas of focus from these questions. Now it is time to categorize, prioritize, and generate your leads. We’ll begin by prioritizing your leads into the categories listed below.

Lead Generation Category Breakdown

Is your lead generation priority to:

  • Generate awareness
  • Acquire prospects
  • Nurture prospects
  • Qualify sales readiness

Category Explanation:

Generating awareness allows prospects to learn more about your business and expertise. Generating awareness activities may include:

  • Creating content for your website
  • Blogging
  • News stories about your business
  • Press Releases
  • Tradeshows
  • Community events
  • Seminars
  • Social Media networks
  • Search Engine Marketing, like PPC
  • Paid email broadcasts

Acquiring prospects is the process of prospects identifying themselves by giving you permission to contact them. This can occur through:

  • Landing pages on your website
  • Business card collections at trade shows and events
  • Calls directly from prospects
  • Direct mail responses

Note that acquiring prospects typically occurs through the generating awareness phase. When awareness is created about your business or product, interested prospects will inquire for more information through several types of communication channels.

Nurturing requires prospects to actively engage with your content. Content can include videos on your website or third party websites. Content may also include blog postings, infographics, or webinars.

Qualifying sales readiness is where the prospect meets a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) definition and signals sales readiness. (See Sidebar for more on MQL)

A few ways to qualify a prospects sales readiness include, but are not limited too:

  • Providing quotes
  • Giving DEMOS
  • Product/solution webinars
  • Consultation
  • Providing trials

Once you identified priorities to these four categories, the next step is to develop your tactical marketing strategy. Tactical marketing is the “how is it going to get done” part of your strategy. How will you communicate your marketing message to prospects to generate awareness, acquire, nurture, and qualify them?

Below is a list of various types of marketing communication vehicles to carry out the tactical strategy. Note, this is a partial list.

  • Website
  • Direct Mail
  • Email Broadcasts
  • Social Media
  • Event Marketing
  • Search Engine Marketing (Pay-per-click ads)
  • Company Blog
  • Video

SIDEBAR: What is a Marketing Qualified Lead (MGL)?

A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) is a lead generated by one of your tactical strategies that your marketing team feels it is a qualified lead. It is a lead that is pushed to the sales team based on predetermined set of metrics. For more information on identifying and qualifying MQL’s, see this article titled, “7 Steps to Defining a Marketing-Qualified Lead (MQL).”

Next Steps

Generating leads takes some planning. Gather your lead generation team, which could be your marketing and sales team or just a few key stakeholders of your small business. Identify your objectives based on a set of key metric questions, prioritize, and execute your strategy.

Measure the success and quality of you leads throughout the process. If you find that you are not meeting your objectives, analyze the reasons why and make adjustments to your plan to correct for the deficiencies.

Lead Generation Goals

Establishing Lead Generation Goals – Part 2 of 3 in a Series

In part 1 of this 3 part series on Establishing Lead Generation Goals for Your Business, I introduce a series of lead generation metric questions to ask your sales and marketing team. By answering the questions in part 1, you began to formulate your lead generation goals. In this section, part 2, I discuss the process for Establishing Lead Generation Goals.

Looking back at part 1, where there any answers to the questions that resonate with you or your team? These are the building blocks to your goals. They help you determine what you are trying to accomplish with your business.

Essentially, are you seeking more social media conversions? Perhaps you are interested in increasing brand awareness with your business or product and services. Maybe you are seeking more leads or better-qualified leads that result in higher conversions.

The answers to your questions do not necessarily lead to one specific lead generation goal. It’s possible, and probable that you want to create multiple lead generation campaigns, each with their own set of goals. The questions in part 1 are just to help you understand what is important now, and what you may want to focus on at a later date.

Once your area, or areas, of concentration are established, the next step is developing measurable goals. See the article on “Writing S.M.A.R.T. Marketing Goals” for a detailed explanation on writing time-bound, measurable goals.

Finally, establishing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are essential for gauging success in reaching your lead generation goals.  KPIs are the litmus test to each established goal and if you are on the right path to achieving success. If you are not meeting KPIs, it’s time to make adjustments to your strategy and/or goal. If you are hitting your KPIs, then your goal may be too easy and you need to make changes to your goal. See the Sidebar below for an example of establishing KPIs.

SIDEBAR: Establishing Lead Generation KPIs

To establish Key Performance Indicators for lead generation goals, let’s assume that one of your S.M.A.R.T. lead generation goals is to generate 5 new qualified leads in your pipeline per week from a specific landing page on your website. For simplicity sake, let’s assume you are currently generating 3 qualified leads per week from this specific landing page. To acquire the 3 qualified leads, you are publishing 3 new pieces of content to you site weekly and that drives 300 unique visits to your landing page.

To get to your lead generation goal of 5 new qualified leads per week, let’s make the assumption that you need to drive an additional 200 unique visitors to your website. As a result, you need to publish 2 additional pieces of content, a total of 5 content items, per week.

The KPI you set to get to 5 new weekly qualified leads is 5 new content pieces per week. In theory, this should get you to your goal.

If you fall short of the 500 weekly unique visitors after you publish your 5 content items per week, you are not reaching your KPI, and thus, you may be at risk of missing your target goal of 5 new qualified weekly leads. At this point, you will need to explore why your KPI is lower than expected. A possible outcome could be your content is not the right subject matter for your target audience.

Next Steps

Once you establish your lead generation goals and campaigns, you are ready to develop the roadmap and plan for reaching your goals. This is the topic of part 3 in Establishing Lead Generation Goals for your Business.

Setting Lead Generation Metrics – Initial Questions Part 1 of 3

In part 1 of this 3 part Marketing Tips series on lead generation goals, I examine the initial questions to ask your lead generation team as a primer to setting your lead generation key metrics and goals.

Setting Lead Generation Key Metrics

Your first task is to establish benchmarks for both a sales and marketing processes. Depending on your company structure, you’ll want to work with your lead generation team to tackle and answer the following questions.

Your lead generation team may consist of you, your sales staff, and marketing team. It can also include top level key decision makers (or the C-Suite), depending on the structure and size of your company. If you’re a small business, your team may be just you and an employee or your spouse.

Creating two categories, sales and marketing processes, answer the following questions with your team.

Sales Processes

  • What is the average sales price for your products or services?
  • What is your average sales cycle? Is it one week, 6 months, or some other time duration?
  • What are your quarterly revenue goals? (you can establish yearly goals, but it’s best to set quarterly goals to measure your progress and make corrections if you miss your target goal for one quarter.)
  • What are your current percentage of leads that turn in to a sale?
  • How do you define an opportunity and what are the steps it takes to move that opportunity toward a sales. (see sidebar below for an example opportunity)
  • How many influencers does it take at a prospects business to influence a sales? (See sidebar for an example)
  • How is your sales team divided? Do you have inside sales, outside sales, or a combination of both?
  • What are done with leads that do not turn into opportunities? Are they discarded/deleted? Do you remarked to these leads?
  • What percentage of leads generated by your marketing department are considered “good” leads?
  • Where does the sales team look outside of marketing to find good leads?

Marketing Processes

  • Is your business currently participating in any lead generation programs? If so, what are they?
  • Is your company actively engaged in blogging?
  • Is your company producing content? If so, what types of content are they generating? Infographics? Webinars? Videos?
  • Are you active in social media streams as a company?
  • Assuming you are using a Customer Relations Management (CRM) tool what happens to those leads once they are entered into the system?
  • What is the cost per lead? This can vary depending on the types of products and marketing channels used.
  • Do you have a lead scoring and lead nurturing program?
  • Do you currently track marketing metrics? If so, how is this done?
  • What is the conversion rate for leads generated from marketing to opportunities? From leads generated from sales people to opportunities. Is there a difference in lead quality?
  • What are your sales success rates from leads?
  • How does marketing contribute to the sales pipeline?
  • What is marketing’s contribution to closed sales revenue?

SIDEBAR: Defining a Sales Lead Opportunity

lead-generation-pipelineGenerally speaking, an opportunity is a contact or account that has been qualified and is 75% or higher probability of turning into a sale. The sales person will have qualified the opportunity by having made contact with them, provided them with supporting marketing collateral, and discussed sales options. In other words, the opportunity is in the sales cycle.

As the old sales adage goes, “The opportunity is a deal that you have the possibility to close.”

Next Steps

The answers to these questions are the beginning to developing your lead generation goals. Goals are very different for each organization and are dynamic in nature. That is, they can change as the business climate and company goals change. This is why revisiting your lead generation goals on a quarterly basis with your team is important.

In part 2, I help you formulate goals and develop a path toward a lead generation plan.