Lead generation is the utmost objective of any business-to-business (B2B) marketing department. It also has other objectives on the sure list such as brand building, brand steward-ship, public relations, and corporate communications. But providing a sales force with a steady stream of qualified leads is job one.
How to differentiate between what a lead is and what it is not?
A lead is a prospect that has some level of potential of becoming a customer. Hence we need to distinguish a lead from a business inquiry or from a mere list of names with which leads are commonly confused. Normally mailing lists or contact lists of business prospects are often presented as lead lists a misnomer. It generates not only confusion but even ill will in the world of business marketing. A passive list of prospect does not deserve to be called a list of leads.
The process of lead generation is fairly straightforward; still, it does involve a long and somewhat complex series of steps. It begins with a series of outbound and inbound contacts that generates the inquiry and qualify it, to handle the leads to the sales organization, then track the lead through conversion to sales revenue.
The Lead generation Process
Reaching out to prospects and generating a very first response begins the process. To break inquiry generation down, a series of steps are there
- Set campaign objectives
- Analyze and select campaign targets
- Select campaign media
- Develop a message platform
- Develop a campaign offer
- Create communications
- Plan fulfilment materials
Planning for response management is a vital and sometimes sorely neglected part of preparing a lead generation campaign. Response planning has to be started early in the campaign –development process.
It works only if it is designed by the people who manage in inbound media through which the responsive arrives. Put together a cross functional team and then consider the best strategy for each medium.
The big news in inquiry fulfilment is the new trend of content marketing which is sweeping the world of B-to-B marketing. The content assets make excellent fodder for lead generation, as offers to motive response as content for effective lead nurturing to help move prospects along their buying journeys and to stay in touch and intensify relationships with current customers.
Nurturing involves a series of communication intended to build trust and awareness and keep a relationship going until the prospect is ready to buy. We can use a variety of tactics, from newsletters, to surveys, to white papers, to birthday cards.
We should not forget the process of closing the market loop to attribute a closed sale to a marketing campaign. We can make use of different form of tools that helps to close the loop between a lead generation campaigns and an eventual sale.
By applying the tactics and tools we can effectively manage and maximize the lead generation for our business to business markets.