Salespeople and marketers like to talk about the funnel. The funnel is a way of describing all of your business’ potential customers, and how some of them will evolve into actual customers. The top of the funnel (TOFU) is full of leads — potential customers, most of whom are just trying to find solutions to the problems they’re experiencing but who may not be ready to purchase right away. The goal is to help guide as many of those leads as possible through the middle of the funnel (MOFU), where there is more interest in your product or business, to the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), where fewer people remain, but they’re the ones who are ready to do business.

Today things are different. Customers have a wealth of information at their fingertips: coffee blogs and review sites, recommendations from friends on social media, and so much more. By the time a customer even thinks about going to a store — and it may well be an online store, at that — they’re less likely to ask a salesperson “What coffee makers do you have?” than “Can you beat this price on the model I already know I want?”
It's tough to figure out if your lead generation strategy is working if you aren't looking at industry data. That's why we partnered with Qualtrics to survey more than 900 marketers from all different industries in North America and Europe to create a demand generation report with data on website visitors, leads, opportunities, customers, and revenue.
Working with lead generation teams in the past I have found that company size is one data element that is a bit harder to track than others. For instance, if you pull up a list of companies using the WhitePages or Manta you will likely end up with companies of all sizes and predominantly small business which make up 80% of businesses out there. Sorting through a list like that may be a hindrance if you plan to sell an enterprise solution costing over $10,000, say.
This mainly happens through digital channels, using inbound marketing techniques and a little bit of old-school outbound marketing (more on that in a minute). Buyers today do so much online information gathering on their own, they’re not so keen on listening to traditional sales pitches. Instead, companies have to meet prospective buyers on their own turf: the internet.

Marketing, of course, is key. People have to know about your revolutionary new coffee maker (or coffee delivery service, or whatever you’re selling) before they can buy it. A go-to marketing strategy in the digital age is to meet your customers where they are — on the internet. Building a great website for your company is a good place to start. From there you can use social media, blogging platforms, and email campaigns to drive traffic back to your site.

Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. You score leads based on the interest they show in your business, their current in the buying cycle, and their fit in regards to your business. Lead scoring helps companies know whether prospects need to be fast-tracked to sales or developed with lead nurturing. Lead scoring is essential to strengthening your revenue cycle, effectively drive more ROI, and align sales and marketing.
How do you do that? You need to create interest by offering a relevant mix of informative and entertaining content that builds a meaningful relationship with your audience. And you have to make sure that you are distributing your content through all the right channels – where your buyer spends time. This section goes into a bit more detail on some of the common tactics for inbound lead generation.
Run pay-per-click (PPC) ads. PPC and landing pages are like peanut butter and jelly—they’re made for each other. PPC ads are your best bet to reaching the right type of prospects because they allow you to build focused and targeted ads to that specific audience. Having a specific landing page also significantly decreases your cost-per-click and improves your CTRs and time-on-page!
Leveraging a lead generation and management system can help you increase conversion rates — how many leads turn into opportunities and, ultimately, sales. As crazy as it sounds, when you’re just starting out and can count your customers on one hand, dropped leads are a real problem for growing businesses. Lead generation software can help not only with finding new leads, but also with keeping track of who they are, how to reach them, and how you found them in the first place.
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