When you think of lead generation, you probably think of a CRM and all the data that is contained in it. You might also think of social media tactics, such as creating compelling content to drive traffic to your website. But if you really think about it, how do you know it’s working? How do you know you’re actually generating leads?
To do this, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you have lead qualification criteria?
- Are you segmenting your marketing efforts?
- Is your sales team tracking the leads they receive from your marketing efforts?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, you’re not generating leads. You may be driving traffic or growing your social media following, but you’re not generating leads.
If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you’re on the right track. You’re generating leads. But are you measuring the number of leads that you’re generating? Are you measuring the quality of those leads?
Lead Generation Best Practices
When I say “lead generation,” I’m talking about marketing efforts that have the sole purpose of generating a qualified lead for your sales team. To achieve this, your marketing efforts need to fall into one of these two buckets:
- Qualifying and segmenting your leads
- Automating your lead qualification
Before we get into the specifics of these, let’s define what a qualified lead is.
A qualified lead is someone who is most likely to become a customer. They’re not just someone who filled out your contact form on your website—there’s plenty of data you can use to qualify leads. Here are a few examples of data that you can collect and use to qualify leads:
- Web form data: name, phone number, email address
- Demographic information: age, gender, education level
- In-store data: location, time-of-visit, length-of-visit
- Conversion data: page views, leads generated
Lead Qualification Criteria
Lead qualification criteria is the set of rules that you have in place to determine whether a lead is qualified or not. These criteria can be based on an individual’s demographics, or they could be based on a combination of factors. For example, you may have age and gender-based criteria. If a lead meets both of those criteria, then they’re qualified.
In your CRM, you can create lead qualification criteria and implement them in your marketing automation system. There are two ways to do this:
- Create multiple lists for leads based on their qualification status.
- Create one list and add conditional fields.
The first method is great if you have a large number of leads coming in from various channels. But if you don’t have that many leads, the second method is a better option.
Let’s take a look at how you can use conditional fields in your CRM to segment your leads based on their qualification status.
Let’s say that we have a lead that has met all of our qualification criteria, so we want to add them to our qualified lead list. But let’s say we want to add some additional information to the lead’s contact record. To do this, we need to create a new field in our CRM and assign it a value if the lead is qualified. Then, if the lead isn’t qualified, we can set this field to null.
In your marketing automation system, you can create a rule that runs after a web form has been submitted and perform an update to your CRM. This rule can make the changes to your CRM based on the value of the conditional field that you created.
Automating Lead Qualification
In addition to qualifying leads manually, you can also automate the process by using tags and triggers. I like to use triggers because they’re easy to set up, and you can use them in your marketing automation system as well as in your CRM. The benefit of using triggers is that you can take action on a lead before they’re even qualified.
For example, if your sales team is only interested in adding new clients to its database, then you can create a trigger that adds a new lead to their database when the lead is first submitted. Then, you can create an additional trigger that sends an email to the sales team when the lead has been qualified.
But maybe you’re not interested in adding new leads to your database. Maybe you’re more interested in generating revenue. In that case, you could use a trigger to update the status of your lead when they’ve completed certain actions on your website. For example, if a lead downloads a white paper or completes a demo request form, then they can be considered qualified.
Segmenting Your Leads
In lead generation, once you’ve qualified your leads, you need to segment them into different lists or campaigns so that you can target them with different messages. For example, let’s say that you have three different services:
- Service A: Website design
- Service B: Digital marketing services
- Service C: Lead generation
Now, let’s say that you have a web form on your website. When someone fills out that form, you can use their information to determine which service is the best fit for them and send them the appropriate salesperson’s contact details.
Using your lead qualification criteria, you can set up your marketing automation system to add leads to the appropriate list in your CRM once they’ve submitted your web form. This way, when someone fills out your form, and you determine that they’re interested in website design, they’ll be added to a website design list in your CRM.
Now, if you run an AdWords campaign for website design, you can target your ads to website design leads only. If you run an AdWords campaign for digital marketing services, you can target those ads to digital marketing leads only. And if you run an AdWords campaign for lead generation, you can target those ads to the appropriate leads.
Automating lead qualification and segmenting your leads is a great way to make sure that you’re delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. But it’s also a great way to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Measuring your results
Once you start using conditional fields and triggers in your CRM and marketing automation system, you can start to see what kind of leads are coming in from each channel. For example, if you run an AdWords campaign and a certain percentage of your leads are coming in through that campaign, you can use that information to tell you how effective your AdWords campaign is.
But you can also use this information to improve your marketing efforts. For example, if you notice that an AdWords campaign isn’t bringing in the kind of leads you’d hoped for, you can change your campaign’s messaging or targeting to fit your audience better. Or perhaps you’re targeting the wrong audience entirely.
This is just one example of how using lead qualification in your marketing automation system can help you improve your marketing efforts. You can use this same process to determine which leads are coming from each of your other channels and use that information to improve the effectiveness of your marketing.
Using lead qualification in your CRM and marketing automation system can help you create a more effective marketing campaign. By using their lead qualification information, you’ll be able to better target your leads with the right message at the right time. And by measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns, you’ll be able to improve them over time.
It’s hard to come up with a definition of lead generation that is sure to stand the test of time, but it’s something that we’re certain of lead generation as a concept isn’t going away anytime soon. It will also help you, and your company generate leads for business, no matter what you’re selling, and can be a crucial part of increasing your bottom line. In short, it’s a valuable concept to remember.