Lead generation is the method of getting inquiries from potential customers. In the old pre-Internet days of sales, lead generation occurred at places like trade shows – visitors to a company's booth would fill out a card with their contact information and turn it in to receive a call back from that company's sales team. Since the rise of the Internet, many businesses use their websites as a lead generation option. Email also offers lead generation potential, since companies can buy another company's email marketing list or pay them to promote the company on their own marketing emails. Most marketing experts recommend that companies use at least 10 different lead generation methods to ensure that their pipelines remain full.
Customer journeys today are quite a bit different from a generation ago. Buyers are knowledgeable, they want to feel kinship with your brand, and they want you to answer their questions and respond to their needs — but not until they’re ready. Crafting a solid lead generation strategy can help you find leads, separate the “ready to buys” from the “just lookings,” and nurture the qualified ones down the funnel and through your sales pipeline. It’s the difference between waiting for something good to happen to you, and getting out there to make your business grow.
Product qualified leads are contacts who've used your product and taken actions that indicate interest in becoming a paying customer. PQLs typically exist for companies who offer a product trial or a free or limited version of their product (like HubSpot!) with options to upgrade, which is where your sales team comes in. An example of a PQL is a customer who uses your free version but engages or asks about features that are only available upon payment.
BoldLeads is ready to nurture each lead, both in the short-term and over long periods of time, with a CRM that allows for SMS texts, drip emails, and ongoing marketing campaigns. With reminders and notices, BoldLeads also helps agents stay engaged with leads without letting things fall through the cracks. Real Geeks and Market Leader both include equivalent lead-nurturing capabilities.
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Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
Not all of your site visitors are ready to talk to your sales team or see a demo of your product. Someone at the beginning of the buyer's journey might be interested in an informational piece like an ebook or a guide, whereas someone who's more familiar with your company and near the bottom of the journey might be more interested in a free trial or demo.
Nurturing is so aptly named because it’s all about giving your new relationship what it needs to prosper. Some leads will want regular emails, some will want quick responses to questions on social media, and others will want an 800 number and a conversation to learn more about your offerings. Developing an effective lead nurturing strategy pays off: Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost and boast 9% more sales reps making quota than companies that struggle with nurturing.
Whether you are hosting a small private function, a large-scale international tradeshow, or an executive-level webinar, event marketing needs to be an integral part of the lead generation mix. After all, events are a critical component of an outbound marketing strategy. Essentially, events offer you the chance to define your brand, clarify the solutions you provide, and establish personal connections with participants. And while they provide you with an invaluable opportunity to engage with prospects and customers, events also give attendees the chance to interact with each other. As every marketer knows, there is no better advertising than the direct words of a satisfied customer. Events also provide a venue to deliver speeches and content that convey your company’s thought leadership and raise your perception in the eyes of buyers. Compared to other marketing tactics, events are more likely to quickly turn a prospect into a strong lead. As a lively, interactive, educational forum, events position your business as a trusted leader in a field of many.