Lead generation is the marketing process of gathering and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing a sales pipeline. Lead generation marketing often uses digital channels, and in recent years, from the rise of new online and social techniques, has been undergoing substantial changes. Especially because of the abundance of information that readily available online which 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 on to sales.
Why is Lead Generation Important?
In recent years the buying process has significantly changed, and marketers now need to find new and innovative ways to reach consumers and get noticed over all the noise out there. Instead of finding customers with mass advertising and email blasts, marketers are now focusing on being found and learning how to build continuous relationships with consumers.
>> The problem: Information abundance = very low attention span. (aka Attention Economics)
With the growth of the internet, the world has changed from one of information scarcity to one of information abundance. In fact, according to Alphabet Inc chairman Eric Schmidt
“there was 5 Exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization and 2003, but that much information is now created every two days and the pace is rapidly increasing”.
Consumers are overwhelmed with all the noise and they are getting better and better at ignoring the messages they don’t want to hear and researching what they do want to learn about on their own.
Which brings us to…
The New Buying Process
In the old world of information scarcity, the concept of “lead generation” meant marketing profs found the names of potential prospects and passed them to sales. Those prospects expected that they would have to talk to sales and sales expected to speak to uneducated early stage buyers that may not yet be qualified. This has all changed. Today, consumers can do their own research and can find an array of educational resources through search engines, social media, and other online channels. Through various content resources, today’s consumer can learn a great deal about a product or service even before ever having to even speak to a sales person. So companies must make sure that they build their digital presence… STAT!
Creating a solid lead generation marketing strategy will help you build trust and capture the interest of your prospects before they are even ready to contact sales… think how happy sales will be turning leads into revenue faster.
Taking them down the sales funnel
With the new prospect it’s important to note that your marketing efforts don’t end once a new lead comes into your system – what we call Top of the Funnel (TOFU) marketing. Many companies do a good job at generating leads, but the problem is that most new leads are not ready to buy just yet. And if a sales rep does engage and the lead isn’t ready to talk with them, it reinforces the notion that marketing sourced leads are not so great. As a result leads get lost, ignored, or snatched up by your competitors. We don’t want that!
To prevent this from happening, good lead generation marketers will invest in lead nurturing and other Middle of the Funnel (MOFU) techniques to build relationships and trust—earning the lead’s business once he or she is finally ready to buy. Engage these leads through relevant content and make sure that you get your timing right. Adding value is key.
Lead generation marketing has moved beyond simply discussing TOFU. Take a more wholistic approach and include MOFU in all your strategic discussions to make sure that you have a good process for turning leads into sales.