As a lifelong runner, I know how hard it can be to get back in shape after a prolonged break.
When you set out for that “first time in a long time” run, part of you thinks that maybe, “it’ll be a little easier this time.” Sure, for that initial mile, starting all over again might not feel as hard as you remember.
But there’s no two ways about it; whether you’re a novice or have experience, getting back in running shape is tough. And results take time. After all, there’s a reason why people say that patience is one of the key ingredients to being a great runner.
I’d say that the same is true for building a solid lead generation strategy.
After putting in a little work it’s easy to become frustrated when leads don’t start pouring in, rewarding you for those initial efforts.
Just like exercise, though, results only come with dedicated consistency, time, and patience.
That’s why establishing a strong lead generation foundation is essential to ensure that your marketing and sales efforts are optimized for maximum results.
In other words, it pays to adhere to that old adage, “You have to walk before you run.”
So, here are some key aspects involved in building a strong lead generation foundation that can help you reach those much sought-after results.
Define Your Lead Criteria
Here are common lead definitions used by organizations:
Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs): Potential leads have shown some level of interest in your product or service. MQLs are typically generated through marketing efforts such as website visits, content downloads, or social media engagement. They are not yet ready to make a purchasing decision but can be nurtured further.
Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs): SQLs are leads that have been qualified by the sales team and have a higher likelihood of converting into customers. These leads have expressed a strong interest in your offering and are actively engaged in the sales process. They meet specific criteria set by the sales team, indicating their readiness for a sales conversation.
Assignment: This involves assigning leads to the appropriate team, such as marketing or sales, based on their qualification level. MQLs may be handed over to the sales team for further nurturing and conversion into SQLs. Clearly defining the criteria for moving leads from one stage to another is crucial for a smooth lead generation process.
Know the Number of Leads You Need
Before diving into lead generation activities, it's important to determine the number of leads you need to meet your sales goals.
This requires a deep understanding of your sales process, conversion rates, and revenue targets. By analyzing historical data and performance metrics, you can calculate how many leads you need at each stage of the funnel to achieve your desired outcomes.
This knowledge enables you to set realistic targets, allocate resources effectively, and evaluate the success of your lead generation efforts.
Know Your Options
Once you have a clear understanding of your lead criteria and quantity requirements, it's time to explore different lead generation options. Here are some popular inbound and outbound tactics to consider:
Content Marketing: Create valuable, informative content such as blog posts, whitepapers, e-books, and videos to attract and engage your target audience.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your website and content for search engines to increase organic traffic and visibility.
Social Media Marketing: Leverage social media platforms to share content, engage with your audience, and drive traffic to your website.
Email Marketing: Build an email list and send targeted campaigns to nurture leads and encourage conversions.
Cold Calling: Reach out to potential leads directly via phone calls to introduce your product or service.
Paid Advertising: Invest in online advertising platforms such as Google Ads or social media ads to increase your reach and visibility.
Events and Trade Shows: Participate in industry events and trade shows to connect with prospects face-to-face and generate leads.
Direct Mail: Send physical mailers or brochures to targeted prospects to capture their attention and create a personal touch.
By combining different inbound and outbound tactics based on your target audience and industry, you can diversify your lead generation efforts and increase your chances of success.
Lead Generation is an Ongoing Process
Building a strong lead generation foundation is critical for optimizing your lead gen efforts.
By clearly defining your lead criteria, understanding the quantity of leads required, and exploring various lead generation options, you can create a robust strategy that attracts, nurtures, and converts potential customers into loyal clients.
Remember, just as achieving results from running requires patient determination, the same applies to lead generation.
It’s an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, analysis, and refinement. But, with a solid foundation in place, you can supercharge your business growth and achieve long-term success.
And if you laid a solid foundation and still find yourself getting frustrated along the way, remember that you’re just walking before breaking out into a sprint.
Editor's Note: This blog has been updated since its original post date.