A typical marketing department handles all sorts of specialized activities. You have visually creative people, writers, trade show experts, public relations specialists and the database whiz. Each of these people has an area of expertise and they operate sometimes totally within that specialty. But at some point, all of what marketing does needs to come together and help bring in and close new sales.
More recently, some companies have implemented “lead generation” titles, dedicating a person whose job it is to be responsible for lead generation. This person plans the outbound campaigns, executes the marketing and studies the results in search of the perfect marketing campaign. With or without that position, marketing needs to generate leads and provide them to sales. It’s really the prime objective.
So, for lead generation to be successful, all the specialists within the marketing department must do their jobs. In addition, there are some steps that you can take to improve the chances that your lead production is up to par.
- Develop a detailed lead generation plan. Sit down with sales at the start of your planning cycle and determine how many “qualified leads” are going to be needed to meet the new revenue goals. Make those numbers the goals for lead generation for the entire marketing department. Track results to those goals. Then, in the event you get behind on goals, you’ll be able to focus better on where the issues lie; are there enough leads or has something changed in our ability to close them?
- Make sure the qualification criteria is well-understood. The most important aspect of successful lead generation is the hand-off between marketing and sales. The exact definition must be understood by both sides and applied evenly across the board. Any discussion with sales concerning lead quality should center on this criteria, not individual campaign dynamics.
- Track leads from cradle to grave. Great strides in CRM quality have been made in the past decade. While there are numerous issues with tracking lead source and additional customer touches, the more you can track, the better. Where did “a lead” enter your system and where did it leave? How many times did we touch each prospect? Once you can effectively count the currency, it becomes much easier to adjust and improve the system.
- Be transparent with campaign results. Today’s CRM and marketing automation tools provide attractive dashboards and data presentation tools. Use these to automatically track and share the up-to-the-minute results on campaigns. Share it with everyone in the company who is interested. Invite conversation about the value of each campaign. You want everyone to feel marketing’s issues and understand what goes in to and comes out of a campaign.
A great deal of effort of every business goes into creating leads to generate new sales. It is indeed one of those mission-critical aspects of a company’s success. If you follow these steps, you’ll be way down the path of creating ample leads, with the least hassle.
Which of these steps does your company do? What is the biggest hurdle to your lead generation?
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