What is Lead Generation?
Unfortunately, the term lead generation does not have a uniform definition, but we define it as follows:
Lead generation is a set of marketing activities aimed at acquiring new customers.
The lead generation process begins with connecting with potential customers, after which the goal is to build meaningful relationships with them. B2B companies mostly perform lead generation, but B2B companies also benefit from it, especially when the purchasing process takes a little longer, as is often the case with more expensive products.
Lead generation is increasingly taking place online. However, it can also take place by post (direct mailings), telephone (cold calling), or at an event (for example, a trade fair).
Why is lead generation in B2B important?
Although lead generation also occurs in b2c, it is a profitable strategy to generate leads, especially for b2b companies. In business-to-business, it is even more important to build a good and long-term relationship with potential customers.
In B2B, we are dealing with a more complicated buying process that takes longer. This buying process is also called the buyer journey. Various people are often involved in the buyer journey from different disciplines. This group of people forms the Decision-Making Unit (DMU).
There are several influencers and decision-makers in the DMU. The more people within the DMU you help during the buying process, the greater the order will be awarded. For this reason, B2B lead generation is critical.
How to generate good leads?
Do you want to generate good leads for your organization and preferably a lot? Then you need a strategy!
Follow the steps in the model below to strategically initiate lead generation and then scale it up using marketing automation.
As you can read in the step-by-step plan, we see lead generation as broader than just generating the lead itself. The process that follows is at least as important, especially when you want to have a high-scoring chance to get the lead as a customer!
To Learn more about Lead Generation, visit the best lead generation agency, Help For Sales.
Online lead generation model in 5 steps
- Drawing up a lead profile: the buyer persona
- Attract new website visitors
- Generate leads: convert website visitors to leads
- Validate leads with lead scoring
- Driving leads forward during their buying process with lead nurturing
1. Drawing up a lead profile: the buyer persona
We aim to generate qualitative leads. This means that the lead must fit your organization. A lead should be a potential customer.
We draw up a buyer persona profile to clarify what a qualitative lead is. This is an example profile of your ideal customer.
The buyer persona helps you draw up a lead profile and enables you to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer. You learn more about the needs, pain points, and ambitions, in short, the world of your potential customer! In inbound marketing, this is called the buyer journey. You later use this valuable information to help the lead optimally during the various phases of the buying process.
2. Attract new website visitors
Attracting new website visitors is a combination of offering the right content and using the right channels.
Potential leads only visit your website when you offer them the right content, and this content can be found. A good content marketing strategy is extremely important here.
A content marketing strategy starts with analyzing the needs of your ideal customer. Try to empathize with your leads fully and ask yourself what problems they encounter and how they can be solved.
You then substantiate the assumptions utilizing buyer persona interviews with your (potential) customers. That is the start of your content strategy.
An important fact in content marketing is that your buyer persona’s needs evolve during the buying process (buyer journey). These changing needs also come to the fore during a thorough buyer persona research.
Another research that provides valuable insights is keyword research. This research brings up the online question of your target audience.
There are many different forms of content that you can use to help your leads. Consider, for example, blog posts, infographics, videos, manuals, checklists, white papers, and Slideshare presentations.
Once you’ve developed the content, it’s time to make sure that the content comes to the eye of your potential customers.
There are many different ways to do this. In inbound marketing, we prefer channels that do not disturb potential customers with what they are doing. Instead, we go for content that is found by the target audience.
- SEO: Draw up an SEO strategy to remain findable for your target group in the long term. Search engine optimization is perhaps the most effective way of content distribution. If someone finds your content because they were looking for it themselves, the chances are that person is interested in what you have to say.
- Search Engine Advertising (SEA): At the other end of the search engine spectrum is advertising in search engines. SEA allows you to be immediately findable for your target group on relevant keywords, but on the other hand, you pay for every click.
- Social media: Also, distribute your content via social media. Build followers and share your content in a personal way. Social media is a particularly suitable channel for entering into a dialogue with your target group.
- Blogging: with blogging, you can substantially increase your reach among your target group. This applies to blogging on your website and guest blogging on online platforms within your field.
3. Initiate lead generation
In step two, you ensured that visitors land on your website. Now is the time to start generating leads.
This step will convert website visitors into leads for your organization. You do this utilizing a conversion path.
The conversion path
The pages your visitors land on are usually not pages where you can generate leads. So you have to map out a path for the visitor to find these pages easily. This is called a conversion path.
The conversion path takes your lead to a landing page with a form on it. On this landing page, you make a so-called content offer. This means that you offer the lead value in exchange for his / her contact details. Think of a white paper, e-book, manual, template, or checklist. Therefore, this content is not public on your website but behind the proverbial ‘lock and key’ of a form, which is why this content is also called gated content.
A conversion path consists of these elements:
- CTA: in phase 1 of lead generation, you attract a visitor, and they land on one of your pages, for example, a blog post. Place an attractive call to action on this page that invites the visitor to download content.
- Landing page: Utilizing the call to action, the visitor continues his way to a landing page. Here you describe briefly but to what you are offering to the visitor. When you do this correctly, you convert the visitor to a lead.
- Form: With the form, you collect the lead’s contact details. Make sure it is prominent on the landing page and that the number of questions is in proportion to the value of the content you are offering.
- Thank you page: After downloading, redirect the visitor to a thank you page. This allows you to promote another conversion, and it enables Google Analytics to measure the conversion. In addition to the button with which the document is downloaded, place a CTA for another content offer, or encourage the lead to subscribe to your email list. Please note: you need explicit permission for this under privacy legislation (AVG)!
- Thank you email: a thank you email is useful for the lead because you again offer the option to download the content piece. In addition, the thank you email is also an opportunity to build a relationship with your lead. For example, ask about his / her areas of interest to offer content that is tailored to the person in the future.
4. Validate & qualify leads
In the previous step, you generated the actual lead. You are now in possession of the contact details. In the traditional lead process, you would now call to follow up the lead, but we see this differently with inbound marketing!
You may now have the lead’s contact details, but this does not mean that the lead is ready (or willing) to contact your organization.
That’s why we’re going to do two things: we validate the lead to determine if it is a good fit for your organization (this step), and then we consistently advance the lead throughout the purchasing process (the next step).
You have roughly two options when validating leads:
- Validate: exclude leads that do not fit well enough with your organization.
- Qualifying: Scoring leads to determine follow-up timing and prioritization of sales.
5. Moving leads forward with lead nurturing
Lead nurturing is also referred to as heating a lead. Although this is not untrue, at Cliptoo, we prefer to think from the customer’s point of view. They want to be helped during the buying process, which is exactly what we strive for in the lead nurturing.
During the lead process, you have the unique opportunity to learn more about the needs of your leads. You already know this partly from the buyer persona research and the keyword research, but you supplement this knowledge by asking your leads thoughtful questions.
When a lead becomes familiar with your organization, they are willing to provide you with more information. You request this information in phases to overwhelm the lead with tons of form fields.
Marketing automation helps you in this process. In addition, marketing automation also ensures that you send your leads relevant content tailored to interests and interactions on your website.
Also checkout the best Tips to Optimize Lead Generation.
Lead generation tips & advice
Finally, we give you nine golden tips for effective lead generation:
Tip 1: make sure your form is not too long
The more fields your form has, the higher the threshold for generating leads. Don’t let your forms affect your conversion rate!
Tip 2: supply and demand must be in balance
The more you give away, the more you can ask for a return. For example, have you written a thick e-book full of valuable knowledge? Then it is best to request some more information from the lead in return.
Tip 3: manage the lead’s expectations
Always be honest and transparent about what you offer the lead. It is fatal when someone is disappointed or even feels misled after reading your white paper or e-book.
Tip 4: put the form above the fold
This means that your visitors do not have to scroll on your landing page to view or fill in the form.
Tip 5: Improve the conversion paths
There are two main places where you can improve the conversion path: at the call to action (CTAs) and on the landing pages. With the CTAs, you aim for the highest possible click-through rate and landing pages for the highest possible conversion percentage. You improve both KPIs with A / B or multivariate tests.
Here are ten golden tips for CTAs.
Tip 6: visualize your content offering
Pictures speak more than 1000 words is the saying for a reason. So are you offering a white paper? Then visualize it on the landing page. This makes your lead generation a lot more effective!
Tip 7: use customer reviews or quotes on your landing page
This instills confidence in your website visitors.
Tip 8: use marketing automation
This allows you to intelligently provide your leads with the right content at the right time. In addition, marketing automation helps you to validate leads.
Tip 9: don’t forget chats
Nowadays, there are live chat possibilities on a website, but chatbots are also becoming more useful and intelligent. Chatbots can boost your lead generation!
Tip 10: Bring all information from leads together in a CRM
All information from leads and customers comes together in the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Not only information from the sales process but also the marketing process. And if possible: for customers also from the Service Process. Only then will you have a 360-degree lead and customer view and maximize the opportunities for succession. Don’t have a good CRM in-house yet? Check out HubSpot’s 100% Free CRM!