What Is A Lead?
A lead is a person who has in some way, shape, or form indicated interest in your company's product or service.
Your definition of a lead may vary slightly depending on your type of company, what you're selling, where you’re selling and who you’re selling to, but generally we can all agree on what a lead is.
However, the way you handle the lead can be different depending on the type of business you have. Some commoditized B2C products for example, have a fast buying process with fewer information points, and sometimes the goal is to complete the transaction while you have the lead online.
On the other hand, some B2B products which are technical, with a high cost, high consideration, become a more complex purchase. The buying process is not only longer, but a process of nurturing campaigns is required to push the lead down the funnel by providing the lead with more information, while you're slowly building a relationship with them and becoming a trusted advisor.
Why do you need lead generation program?
Depending on your business, a lead generation program is an excellent way of nurturing the lead along the path to buy ... helping to push them down the funnel. The more you understand the buyers needs during the purchasing process the better you'll be able to provide them with the information they need to buy.
As you can see in the diagram below, generating leads is a fundamental point in an individual's journey to becoming a delighted customer of your business. Our job is to push them along the funnel from attract, convert, close and delight.
How do you qualify someone as a lead?
As described earlier, a lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company's product or service.
How do they show that interest?
Essentially, a lead is generated through information collection. That information collection could come as a shopper sharing contact information in exchange for a coupon, or a person filling out a form to download an educational piece of content - such as a white paper, eBook or some useful tips.
These are just a few of the many ways in which you could qualify someone as a lead.
Each of these examples also highlights the fact that the amount of information you can collect to qualify someone as a lead, as well as the that person's level of interest in your company, can vary.
Let's look into these examples in a little more detail.
- Downloading A Coupon: You probably know very little about someone who has stumbled upon one of your online coupons. But if they find the coupon valuable enough, they may be willing to provide their name and email address in exchange for it. Then they become a lead. Although it's not a lot of information, it's enough for a business to know that someone has interest in their company.
- Downloading Content: While the download of a coupon shows an individual has a direct interest in your product or service, content (like a white paper, ebook or webinar) does not. Therefore, in order to truly understand the nature of the person's interest in your business, you'll probably need to collect more information about them - more than an email and name. To do this properly, you'll need enough information for a sales rep to actually understand whether the person is truly interested in your product or service, and whether they're a good fit. The job now is to move this lead along and help them with the buying process - we recommend using marketing automation.
The benefits of using marketing automation technology are numerous - our platform of choice is Hubspot - which we use for improved lead management in the form of scoring, nurturing and segmentation, as well as email and campaign management.
Experts say mastering these functions through marketing automation will enhance efficiencies and help streamline the marketing and sales process. Ultimately, once marketing automation systems are implemented and integrated into CRM platforms, measureable results and granular insights about how to engage with prospects and customers follow.
A March 2014 study by Regalix found an overwhelming percentage of B2B marketers polled worldwide saw benefits from marketing automation in the area of improved lead management, lead nurturing, measureable results and enhanced targeting and personalization.
Interested in talking more? Contact us.
About Terry Marketing
Terry Marketing (www.terrymarketing.com) is an Inbound Marketing Agency providing Inbound Marketing Services to small and medium sized businesses. We're focused on generating traffic, leads and sales and we're experts in the Inbound Marketing, lead generation process and how to increase website traffic, leads and website conversion rates. Terry Marketing is a Hubspot Partner, a certified HootSuite Ambassador agency, and is a certified Google Partner.
David Terry is CEO of Terry Marketing and Professor of Internet Marketing at Laurentian University. He has a deep knowledge in all aspects of Inbound Marketing, the Internet and Web technologies - as well as an understanding of the importance of how branding, marketing strategy and creative execution can impact business results. You can reach him by phone at 416.204.0255 or email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.terrymarketing.com