Outbound

What is a Lead? How is it Generated?

Photo by  Startaê Team  on  Unsplash

You’ve got a product or service that is ready to sell, you feel it will be wildly successful, as if the world is your oyster. But there’s an issue: you’re not generating the sales you expected. You’re not creating any leads. You have not yet done proper research or marketing, and it is hurting your ability to find, and maintain customers. How do you solve this? Through obtaining leads, and nurturing them through the sales process.

But what is a lead you ask?

A lead is any person, individual or organization with an interest in what you are selling. They are potential future clients, and they are your biggest hope for attaining better revenue streams. Not only are they interested in your product, but they are also the right type of person who would be most likely to buy your product. They are not just a mere prospect of clicking through your website, but they are themselves involved in learning more and dive deeper into the consideration of purchasing.

Marketers face the challenge of finding and nurturing quality leads. For too long marketers sought quantity over quality, finding every possible lead and wasting energy on each one. There was no personalization, no ability to distinguish which lead is most likely to follow through with the purchase. This was because marketers had no idea of who they wanted their leads to be. They never defined their target market and never searched for leads accordingly. But now, understanding your ideal clients wants to play a big role in determining who can be a potential need.

Here’s an example:

Imagine your company is the newest aviation company being developed, trying to compete with the likes of Boeing, and your competitive advantage lies in the fuel-saving benefits of the plans you develop. Are you going to target any customer who might be interested in purchasing a plane? Or will you be looking for a more specific segment, such as for commercial uses / governmental uses? If you wanted to aim your focus commercially, a possible description for the ideal customer could be “companies who are tired of spending most of their money on gas, who want to be more competitive in their markets and need a new solution with reliable aircrafts”. One company that might jump on this opportunity would be Southwest Airlines, because they have already seen the benefits of having less money on fuel. Should the relationship with Southwest be positive, you can use this experience to further sell yourself to other companies and generate even more leads.

Once you have defined your target customer, it is time to generate leads.

A lead can be generated in a few ways, including: showing prospects the value you can add to their lives, solving a pain point they are facing, and through creating information that is easy to quickly digest. The first two points relate to what you plan on selling more than on marketing efforts, and the last relates entirely to marketing and catching the attention of your leads. Still, the first two relate to what content should be present within your marketing materials. For example, if we go back to the previous example, the marketing materials of the new aviation company should be sure to include their competitive advantage (fuel-saving plans) and how that would benefit the companies who bought from them (solving the pain points they have been dealing with). But the final aspect of generating leads them all together.

In the world we live in today, there is so much data and information to sort through, it can seem overwhelming. For this reason, the content your company produces within your marketing materials need to be easy to digest, and visually appealing. If your advertisements only have paragraphs of information, you will be easily forgotten. If they have imagery, color and catch the eye with ease, they will be much more memorable. Anything that can slow your ideal customer down, give them pause in their daily activities while they sift through the massive amounts of information coming at them, will be helpful for your company. 

Lead generation done so well, it was wrong:

One group that figured out how to get attention, and utilized it extremely well, helped advertise for the Fyre Festival. This was a festival planned for 2016, which became a complete disaster, but had thousands of people pay to attend. The man explained that you only have 1-2 seconds of time to get someone’s attention on social media (if you’re lucky). So the marketing team had to figure out a way to stand out: a completely orange tile posted to the Instagram pages of social influencers, with a link to a 1-minute video of a place that could be paradise. This was the entirety of the advertising they did, and it worked. From there, they had a social media presence, and even though the festival did not even happen due to horrible organizational mistakes, there was no denying that their marketing plans had worked.

Now, ideally, your company will not be producing marketing content for a product or service that you have not fully realized. You also will not be duping millennials out of their money. But, the lesson learned is clear: you need to find a way to stand out, or your efforts will get drowned by the content surrounding your customers. This is very true in the B2B market, because for the longest time it was the biggest differentiation among competitors. Having materials that make you stand out in a positive and memorable way from the rest will be key to attaining more deals.

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