Lead generation can be a very complex aspect of running a business. Due to the complexity, there are a great deal of questions that are regularly asked, such as 'What is lead generation?', 'What does it involve?, 'How do I improve my lead generation efficiency?', and more.
In this article, we've covered six of the most common lead generation questions that we have been asked over the years.
#1 - Is Lead Generation Part of Sales or Marketing?
Rather than being one or the other, lead generation is a part of both sales and marketing. While most leads are generated through a form of marketing, they are generated to help drive sales and increase business opportunities.
Unfortunately, in some situations, there can be mild hostility and tension between the sales and marketing teams within a business. This can be down to a crossover of roles and responsibilities, disagreement of methods, a lack of communication, or unaligned strategies.
To create an effective lead generation process from start to finish, sales and marketing need to work together in harmony rather than constantly clashing with one another.
When creating a lead generation strategy that brings together your sales and marketing teams, you need to develop a clearly laid out, and easily understandable process that both teams can use to effectively work together.
This process should include:
A clearly mapped out document explaining which teams and individuals hold certain roles and responsibilities.
A clear and quick method of communication that both teams can access.
A clear understanding of when information needs to be shared/discussed between departments and the individuals who should be addressed.
An effective lead generation strategy should be able to segment sales and marketing whilst simultaneously bringing them together. This can take a good amount of work to get right, but when done correctly your process for generating new business will be far smoother and more efficient.
#2 - Why is Lead Generation Important for a Business?
Lead generation is a vital part of generating new business opportunities and growing your business. Without some form of lead generation, your business can often struggle to keep up with those competitors who are regularly engaging with potential customers.
For some businesses, gaining new customers may not require a great deal of effort, especially if their offering is filling a large gap in the market, is of a high quality and doesn’t have a large amount of competition.
Other businesses, however, will have to develop and maintain a consistent lead generation strategy to stay ahead of the competition.
Besides keeping up a steady stream of new business and beating the competition, lead generation allows businesses to keep in contact with their audience, build brand awareness, and build a database of prospects and potential clients. It also helps to map out the landscape of the market, and when done correctly can provide value to both the client and the business.
#3 - What Methods Can I Use to Generate Leads?
With lead generation, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, meaning the approach that one business may take to lead generation may not work as well, if at all, for another business. There are a wide variety of inbound and outbound strategies that businesses in all manner of industries and markets can use to generate sales leads.
An inbound strategy relies primarily on reactive marketing, where you target your audience with your marketing and wait for them to take action or express interest.
Outbound strategies are a form of proactive marketing, and often involve direct contact between yourself and your prospective customers. This contact can be over the phone, through email or face-to-face at trade shows.
To maintain an effective and sustainable process of generating leads and other business opportunities, businesses need to create a balanced strategy that includes a variety of both inbound, and outbound marketing strategies.
Each of the above strategies has its advantages and disadvantages and some will be more suited to certain types of businesses and markets than others. If you are unsure how to find out which strategy would be best for your business, take a look at one of our other recent articles: ‘8 Factors to Consider When Developing Your Lead Generation Strategy.’
#4 - What is the Key to Effective Lead Generation?
This may be a surprising revelation to some businesses, but the key to effective lead generation isn't delivering pushy sales pitches over and over again to the same people. It's about delivering value to your prospects through a customer-focused approach, rather than a sales-focused approach.
When it comes to developing your lead generation strategy, you need to think about your prospects and their needs above all else. If your approach is designed to suit yourself rather than your prospects, you aren't going to see a great deal of success.
To ensure that your chosen strategy is suitable for your prospects, you need to ask yourself some questions that can help you refine and tailor your approach to their needs and preferences.
Questions such as:
Which method of communication would be best to reach the prospect?
Which approach to using this method will resonate with them the most?
Which time would be best to contact them?
These are just a few simple questions to ask yourself when creating an effective lead generation strategy. The answers to these questions should influence your decisions when building an approach that is valuable and focused on your customers.
#5 - Should I Outsource my Lead Generation?
Deciding whether to conduct lead generation in-house or outsource it to a professional agency is a decision that can greatly affect your results and ROI. Many lead generation strategies can be conducted in-house by the marketing and sales departments within a business, however, in some situations outsourcing can be the best option in terms of cost, workload, and ROI.
When deciding whether to outsource a particular lead generation strategy, there are a few factors to consider.
One factor is resources. If you are a relatively small business, there are some strategies that will not be viable at your current size. This could be down to not having enough staff to allocate to the strategy or it could be that you would need to acquire additional resources such as software packages, contact lists or office equipment. Outsourcing means you won’t have the hassle of procuring the required resources or going through the recruitment process to acquire the needed staff. Additionally, you can make use of a strategy that would not be feasible for you to conduct in-house.
Time is another factor that can affect this decision. Although some strategies like PPC advertising don’t require a great deal of time to run, other methods such as telemarketing and SEO require a much larger investment of your time in order to be worthwhile. If you don’t have enough time to dedicate to a lead generation activity, then you may not see the results that you were hoping for and the ROI will most likely be disappointing – This is where outsourcing can become your best option.
Budget can also have a big impact on this decision. Some types of lead generation require a larger investment when outsourced in comparison to being conducted in-house, and vice versa. One example is that outsourcing your email marketing is more often than not, going to cost more than if you conducted it yourself. However, with this increased investment, you could see better results, and a greater return on investment.
You should always weigh up your options when deciding on a lead generation strategy, and conduct thorough research into different strategies, what is required to run them successfully, how much time you should ideally allocate to the activity, and how much of your budget you will need to dedicate. This can help you to make the right choice between different strategies and aid the decision of whether to outsource the activity or coordinate it in-house.
#6 - How do I Increase my Lead Quality?
When optimising your lead generation process for quality, you’ll need to focus on two main areas. One is analysing your approach and making improvements and optimisations, the other is your lead qualifying criteria.
If you are facing problems with the quality of your leads, it may be that there are a few issues with your approach. It could be that you have chosen a less effective marketing method, you may be targeting the wrong audience, or your message may not be working as well as you had hoped. By analysing each aspect of your strategy, you can begin to highlight the problem areas within, and start to optimise your approach and increase the quality of your leads.
Your lead qualification criteria and your lead scoring system is a process that allows you to separate the low-quality leads that aren’t worth your time, from the high-quality opportunities that should be prioritised.
Your qualification criteria should cover all of the attributes that you are looking for in your clients. Whether this is the size of their organisation, location of your organisation, the industry that they operate in, or a mixture of aspects, these attributes, known as firmographics, should be used as part of your qualification process.
Another aspect of your qualification process is the model that you use to analyse your opportunities. At Inspired, we use the BANT model for this process.
By using the BANT model, you are able to determine whether a particular prospect has the required budget to go ahead with the sale, whether you are speaking to the right person within that organisation, whether the organisation has a real need for your offering, and what the proposed timeline for the close of the sale will be. These processes help to determine whether an opportunity is worth pursuing and if you will be able to provide your full level of service to the prospect.