Lead Generation is NOT an Easy Shortcut to Sales

Match Song, Marketing Campaign Manager

Lead generation campaigns are a bread-and-butter tactic for any marketer who has to meet pipeline targets. However, every marketer will tell you that CPLs are getting higher, while lead quality is worsening, year-over-year. As a result, lead generation isn’t always the easy, direct path to increased sales that many marketers hope for.


The objective of any lead generation campaign is to capture contact details, and maybe some additional information, about a potential buyer for sales follow-up. The sales team’s goals are to open solid opportunities and ultimately close deals. Successful campaigns should benefit both the customer and the advertiser by offering relevant and informative content that drives quality leads at scale.


As a lead gen marketer, you should be asking yourself the following questions: Am I offering my potential buyers what they’re looking for? Am I leaving a good impression with them regarding our product, service and company? Are they intrigued, eager to leave their information, and wondering what other useful information I might have for them?


If the answer is yes to all the above, your lead generation campaigns are likely reaping great results. If not, here are some key tips to help you improve performance.


6 Tips to Great Lead Generation:


Whether your lead generation campaign is leveraging white papers or free trial downloads or promoting a webinar, you need to syndicate content that is attractive and useful to your target prospect.


1. Define Your Target Audience

Although job titles and industries are the most commonly used filters, in order to capture your pipeline more effectively, you need to dig deeper. If you have influence over the content being used for a lead generation campaign, then you have a chance to dive further and strategically analyze the content. Who is actually interested, and why should they download your content? Through this analysis, you can draft an image of your leads to help discover their key interests and behaviors, along with the best channels to reach them through.


2. Identify the Stage of the Buying Process You Want to Target

Dissect your objectives. Only target one stage in the buying cycle with each campaign and make sure your content is aligned accordingly. This will make your lead generation campaign more effective and direct, both in terms of results and cost-efficiencies. The ultimate goal is to minimize waste by focusing on customers who are in the stage that will most likely engage with your content. If you deliver obsolete information, or your sales team tries to sell a prospect something they aren’t even considering, they will inevitably lose interest.


3. Define (Clearly) What Type of Content Your Prospects Are Looking For

The foundation for all lead generation campaigns is a form-fill exchange between a potential buyer and the seller. There are various factors that will entice you to fill in a form or share contact details online, knowing that leaving your contact details means you’re certain to receive some sort of communication from the vendor. Buyers are typically looking for information that will help inform their purchase decision. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Do your homework, and gather data on relevant and intriguing content.


For B2B, there is a team of buyers. Each member of the team usually has a different role in the buying process and, therefore, has different content needs. For example, a research analyst is a buying influencer and needs information about the overall landscape, the players involved, highlights of what you're offering and how you fit into the space. End-users can be influencers or decision makers and need performance and tactical specifics on how you’re going to impact what they do and the bottom-line. High-level decision makers always need information about efficiency and pricing against business value delivered.


4. Try to Identify What a Prospect Plans To Do with Your Content

One of the main challenges in developing any lead generation campaign is creating great content and serving it to the right person. This proves to be even harder within the B2B landscape, where multiple people are involved in the buying process, and, as mentioned above, look for different types of content. Regardless of who you are trying to reach, a great question to ask yourself is: what are they going to do with this content?


To start, consider who they might share this information with. For B2C advertisers, this might mean thinking about the consumer’s friends, family, or colleagues who influence their personal shopping decisions. For B2B, this means identifying the “buying team” and trying to determine who they will forward the content to. Typically, we can assume the information will flow upwards to the supervisor, but this is why it’s paramount to understand what the buying team looks like. The bottom line is people share information, which means your content needs to be shareable, and, at a minimum, easily accessible through other channels, such as organic search. Considering the other people who will indirectly come in contact with your content will only help further increase results.


5. Don’t Expect a Single Piece of Content to Cover Multiple Buying Stages

“One size fits all” generally does not apply to marketing, especially with regards to lead gen. Segment your target audience and your content and customize your “bait” to each segment. Narrowing your content into discrete distribution paths and moving away from multistage content reduces confusion for prospects. Remember that they’re reviewing a lot of content, and keep it focused so that the message and value is clear.


Also, keep in mind that there are a variety of lead follow-up actions needed from your end and that many apply to certain buying stages. It’s much more difficult for your teams to select the best set of follow-up actions to take for a prospect generated via multistage content. The more segmented and targeted you are, the greater your possibility of creating the “win-win” trade with your prospect.


6. Give Your Content the Highest Possible Chance Of Being Seen

Remember when we mentioned how you should identify your target audience? If you do it correctly, then you should have a clear buyer persona to follow. A C-level audience will not waste time visiting a technical blog for business purposes. Similarly, technical content will get lower attention if it is published on a business focused site like Fortune. We all notice that advertisements are getting more expensive, but they’re also getting harder to drive conversions. Access to mass media makes it easy for your voice to get lost in the crowd. If you don't have a huge budget to maintain branding exposure, make every impression more effective by using intent targeting technology and contextual alignment.

Ultimately, if you plan effectively, your content will be highly valuable, seen by the right prospects, and shared with decision makers. Prospects will see the worth in sharing your content, and they’ll be primed and eager to discuss their unique needs with your sales team.