Generate Leads Meaning: Qualify, Nurture and Cultivate
Are all leads the same? If you think they are, then you might want to think a little bit more about your lead generation and management process.
Take your leads: How do you qualify them? Or, maybe the better question is—do you even qualify them at all? Are they open and qualified, nurtured or dismissed, or have they been returned to marketing?
That last question points to a key element of any good lead management system: It shouldn’t just be under the purvey of the sales department. The entire company needs to understand lead management, and the entire company needs to buy into collective responsibilities and processes. One of the key ways to streamline that process is by using software. It helps to eliminate repetition and make data instantly accessible by everyone, no matter where they are. How else can this help? The following recent graphics provided by Sales Force, explains it beautifully.
Generating qualified leads is a multi-phase, multi-department process and lead management bridges the gap between marketing and sales. It’s a customer acquisition process which identifies potential buyers (leads), educates them, engages them, and ultimately when the leads are considered qualified they get passed from marketing to sales.
Your marketing team should be running through a list of qualifications that rates a lead and looks something like this:
- Rating a lead based on their activity – understanding what phase of buying the lead may be in is critical ie: do they need more nurturing, etc..
- Background Insight – the marketing team must be able to provide extensive information on the lead’s activity during the lead generation and nurturing processes.
- Lead Profile for Sales Team – having enough detailed information to fully understand the potential customer will be essential in landing that customer. This can include: business structure, current products/services, revenue model, and key decision makers.
- Provide a Representative for immediate contact in order to avoid loss or lapse in landing the lead.
Following a consistent process to Generate Leads Meaning leads will significantly improve the likely hood of an actual conversion. This infographic clearly illustrates the Full Lead Management Process:
A recent study by Demand Gen found that the three biggest obstacles to sales and marketing alignment were:
- Communication (49%)
- Broken and/or flawed processes (42%)
- Working towards different metrics (40%)
“There is no question that, when Sales and Marketing work well together, companies see substantial improvement on important performance metrics: Sales cycles are shorter, market-entry costs go down, and the cost of sales is lower.” July-August 2006 Harvard Business Review
Marketing research is generally based on broad insights based on a wide array of demographic generalizations; however the sales team can provide very important insights about the leads they’re interacting with the most. When marketing and sales work together they are able to create comprehensive buyer personas which will better target their ideal customer.
Let’s take a look at how sales and marketing need to work together:
We’ve touched on how important communication is between marketing and sales. Much of this importance is due to the evolution of the customer journey and how content should be delivered for a really personalized message.
It’s pretty clear that the buying process has changed dramatically over the years. In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even reach the vendor. Why? because buyers have so much access to information that they can delay talking to sales until they are almost experts themselves.
With so much self-education on the buyers’ end, you can see how important it is to engage new leads through relevant content and monitoring these leads so that you can make sure that you get your timing right for the sales team.
Ultimately the your goals as a business is to not only generate new leads, but to improve the likelihood of converting that lead to a sale. Businesses that adopt symbiotic lead generation techniques between marketing and sales are more likely to land more sales by turning leads into full-fledged customers.
The benefit — increase in profit margins for the business.
Sales are entirely about customer experience and to that end your business goals should be running a united front between marketing and sales departments in order to capture the attention of potential customers, communicate on a personal level and ultimately win their loyalty.
According to the Sales Lead Management Association, organizations fail to follow up on 80% of all leads generated, indicating there is a clear gap where many companies can improve. Don’t be one of these companies and learn how to revitalize your lead management process here.