Wednesday, 19 October 2016

How to Generate Quality Leads

It’s time we stop wasting sales effort in trying to sell to a lead that is not going to buy. It is important to understand which leads are most likely to turn into real business and how to generate more such leads.

Some businesses, particularly small businesses have limited resources in terms of money, time and people – especially on the sales side. Given that limited capacity they need to make enough sales to maintain and grow your business. It becomes a priority to generate and identify the leads most likely to convert and help maximise the return on your efforts.

We have listed out a few ways that can improve lead generation and ensure to give you a set of leads more qualified and more likely to turn into business deals.

1. Sales and marketing teams should be aligned
One of the most important roles of the marketing team is to generate sales-ready leads for the team (sales) whose job is then to close the deals. In order to ensure you are getting the most ‘ready to buy’ leads, the inbound and outbound marketing channel should rely on targeting the right set of prospects. To achieve this, it is mandatory that your marketing and sales teams are aligned. Fundamental to sales and marketing alignment is making sure the teams communicate well and work together.

2. Emphasise on making data-driven decisions to improve productivity
Historical data can help improve your lead scoring to a great extent. If leveraged well, businesses with this wealth of historical information can avoid wasting time and improve sales team productivity. By getting clarity on how likely a prospect is to convert based on specific kind of interest, action or behaviour pattern, you can score them accordingly and prioritise the leads for sales.

Your historical experience, coupled with some analytics, will give you indications of the likelihood that a customer will convert based on their behaviours. For someone who has downloaded an e-book might be at the top of the funnel whereas somebody that asked to be contacted from your form page is more likely to be ready to purchase. This data can also help you create better buyer profiles to target and most importantly drive better quality leads.

3. Marketing budget should be spent wisely
To generate qualified leads you need to carefully plan and strategize on your target markets and spend your marketing budget frugally. Identifying the prospects and learning from what has worked for you in the past becomes critical. Every campaign should be analysed well and leads need to be tracked all the way from step one to the last one. If you fail to understand how your campaigns translate into solid sales, you will never be able to work on the return on investment (ROI) on your marketing spend. If you’re a small business, and budget is limited, you're going to want to focus on things that are comparatively low on cost rather than expensive marketing campaigns.

In this process, one must also consider how to effectively spend money on staffing and other processes. For instance, it is essential to identify if key people are spending valuable time doing jobs that could be automated, namely sending a follow-up email. By automating these processes, a set of people can act at a strategic level. So it’s time to cut costs by reducing the time and effort spent on processes.

4. Understanding your customer’s journey and improving their experience
The customer journey is the series of processes a customer moves through, right from building awareness to engaging them and making them purchase. It is essential to understand their behaviour in this journey and proving them channels (wherever needed) that can help them with the right kind of information to help build a business case at the appropriate time.
This will dramatically help you realise if your sales and marketing team need improvement anywhere – such as, if you see people continuously dropping out of the (sales) funnel at the same point. It is possible there can be some issue that you as a team are failing to address with desired information or data. Or maybe you are not quickly dealing with an enquiry and follow-up compared with your competitors.

Same way, if you are getting lots of people through to a certain point but they are not ready to buy, you may actually be wasting time following up with those leads. This must be addressed to better understand your prospects’ needs and wants during their customer journey.

5. Testing at every point
Businesses have evolved and so sales and marketing teams can no longer rely on ‘gut’ to tell them what works for them. There are tools to track and measure more easily and quickly.
Most marketing and sales teams can gain benefits by ‘testing’. Any variable can be tested, right from sending emails multiple times in a day or days of the week, to analysing how frequently to send marketing messages that get the best click through rates, or whether leading on price points or offers helps.

Generating leads can be easy but generating qualified leads is much harder. Not anymore! If you leverage these processes for your business and use data effectively, you can vastly improve your lead quality and help grow your sales.

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