Sales Lead Generation: 8 Tips to Sharpen Your Strategy

May 28, 2019 | Elizabeth Rivelli

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know that lead generation is a frequent topic of discussion. And we have an unconventional stance on the subject. At SnapApp, we live by a very simple motto: More leads aren’t better—better leads are better. Both our sales and marketing teams live and breathe this ideology. It’s what helps both departments work as one unit, so together, we can drive deals forward and influence company growth.

Why Generating Sales-Ready Leads Is a Challenge

Don’t get us wrong—having both quantity and quality is important when it comes to your warm lead pipeline. But if you want to see real results from your lead generation strategy, then focusing on the latter is how you’re going to get there.

Here’s where the challenge lies. Say you host a webinar and 60 people sign up. You want to assume that those 60 people have raised their hand, and therefore, are ready to speak to sales and explore a purchase. But you don’t really know what those leads want, or who they are. Maybe one of your attendees is a college student who signed up to do research on your company. Or, maybe a sales rep who wants to sell your company on their product. It’s no use having 60 new leads in your CRM if only five of them are actually qualified.

At first, shifting your mindset to prioritize quality over quantity can be difficult. After all, marketers have targets to hit and KPIs to reach that are sometimes tied to budget increases or salary bonuses. But finding leads that are truly sales-ready is actually very simple, and it doesn’t require additional marketing campaigns, new content, or complex tools. Marketers can find quality leads by adding qualifying questions to their existing marketing programs, so they can score leads based on intent and send the most promising ones to sales. More on that later.

8 Tips for Generating Qualified Leads

As we’ve discussed, generating sales-ready leads is no easy feat. It requires marketers to lay a strong foundation, work closely with their sales team, and optimize their programs for lead quality. Below, we’ve outlined eight important steps that will greatly improve your lead generation efforts. Ready to get started?

1. Strengthen Alignment With Your Sales Team

The key to a solid lead generation strategy starts internally within your organization, and research proves it. According to Hubspot, one in four companies say their sales and marketing teams are misaligned, or rarely aligned. That’s a huge obstacle when you consider that strong alignment can help businesses become 67 percent better at closing deals. In any company, sales people and marketers need to breakdown their silo mentality, establish consistent communication, and work together to drive company growth. If you haven’t already, set up regular meetings where both teams can review the pipeline, discuss campaign performance, review goals, and communicate unfulfilled needs.

2. Ask the Questions Sales Wants Answered

Marketers invest a lot of time and money running campaigns to generate pipeline. But often times, marketers don’t know what sales is actually looking for in a lead. As part of your ongoing communication with sales, sit down and create a list of lead-qualifying questions that will generate the information sales wants to know before they get on the phone with a prospect. Marketers can then add those questions to their content and campaigns to capture prospect intelligence and qualify leads based on intent. When sales has a better understanding of a lead’s goals, challenges, budget, and KPIs, they can personalize their follow up conversations and offer content that illustrates how your product or service can meet their business needs and solve their pain points.

3. Identify Your Buyer Personas

How well do you know your audience? Before marketers can start generating qualified leads, they first need to understand who they’re targeting. In fact, 93 percent of companies who exceed lead and revenue goals segment their database by buyer persona, according to Cintell. To start, use your lead forms to gather information about your blog readers, website visitors, and webinar attendees. Ask about their company’s size, industry, and their role or title, to segment your audience and create content for each specific persona. Identifying and defining these stages for your buyers will help you develop valuable resources that can move your leads towards a sale.

4. Create Content for Every Stage of the Funnel

After identifying your buyer personas, it’s time to start creating content for sales enablement and nurture campaigns. But marketers need to understand that a one-size-fits-all content strategy won’t cut it. A top-of-the-funnel lead needs to see different content than a lead who has already completed a demo with sales. So make sure you’re creating content that can be used in different points of the buyer journey, and produce resources that illustrate how your product or service can help a prospect meet their goals and get better business results. This blog post can help you get started.

5. Create a Reliable Lead Scoring System

A lot of marketers still rely on demographic and firmographic data, or types of interactions, to score their leads. While that data can be helpful, it doesn’t say much about a prospect’s intent to purchase, or if they’re even a good fit for your product. That’s why marketers should be using lead-qualifying questions within their content and marketing activities to score leads based on their responses. When marketers know about a lead’s goals, budget, tech stack, and so on, they can compare that data with their sales team’s definition of a SQL, and score the lead based on how well they match up.

6. Know When to Disqualify a Lead

As we discussed earlier, marketers should be focused on lead quality over quantity. So they need an effective way to disqualify leads that are not interested, ready, or able to invest in your product or service for any number of reasons. Using qualifying questions is a great way to do this. Say your company makes a software that integrates with HubSpot and Marketo. If a lead responds to your qualifying questions and says they use Eloqua as their marketing automation system, they can be automatically disqualified because your product can’t support their needs. That allows marketing to save sales from fruitless follow up, so they can focus on converting more qualified leads.

7. Create a Robust Nurture Campaign

On average, half of the leads in any CRM system are not yet ready to buy, according to data from Marketo. Marketers need to create an effective nurture program that creates more chances to engage with leads over time, and provide them with content that drives them further down the sales funnel. A good nurture program starts with great content—blog posts, ebooks, webinars, and more. Make sure you’re creating a wide variety of content that can be used to nurture leads at every stage of the buyer journey. An effective nurture program shouldn’t be overlooked, because it can shorten your sales cycle by moving leads through the funnel faster than they would on their own.

8. Create Shared Goals Between Sales and Marketing

A solid lead generation strategy has many elements, and measurement is an important piece. It’s easy for salespeople and marketers to get caught up in their own KPIs, but to really evaluate joint impact, both teams need to identify shared goals that hold each other accountable. If you don’t already, establish a service level agreement (SLA) that outlines these goals. A few common ones are pipeline growth, completed demo requests, and quarterly revenue. Check out this guide for more tips on measuring the success of your marketing campaigns, and proving ROI.

How SnapApp Helps Marketers Qualify Leads

There’s no cookie cutter approach to lead generation. It varies dramatically between companies, and their marketing and sales teams. While webinars might be a goldmine of leads for one company, the secret sauce for another company might be their website. Lead generation can take on many different forms, but one thing remains the same—lead-qualifying questions are the backbone of a successful strategy.

With SnapApp, marketers can use lead-qualifying questions to learn more about their audience, qualify leads based on sales’ criteria, and score leads by intent. The best part? Questions can be layered into existing content and marketing activities, so you can start qualifying leads for sales right away. It’s an effective approach that generates real results in the form of increased revenue, a higher conversion rate, and a shorter sales cycle. Check out our ebook, Why the MQL is Broken, to learn how sales and marketing can work together to qualify leads and turn them into deals.

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