Lead Generation • Your Ultimate Marketing FAQ Guide
Lead Generation
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Lead Generation • Your Ultimate Marketing FAQ Guide

John MusciJohn Musci

July 15, 2021

Welcome to another Ultimate Marketing FAQ. Last time, we told you damn-near everything there is to know about Ads on Reddit. This installment, we’re happily obliterating the world’s collective ignorance around lead generation.

Which is great because…

If you want to grow your company,
you NEED lead generation

What does lead generation mean?

Let’s start with what a lead is: someone who may be interested in what you’re selling. Lead generation, then, is all about finding out how those people are — and helping them find you.

Especially now, since according to Forrester, some buyers will look up three pieces of content by the time you can even publish or send them one.

The proliferation of digital channels has changed a lot about lead generation.

What is lead generation in digital marketing?

In digital marketing, lead generation focuses on getting people to declare their interest in you by sharing giving you something of theirs. An email address, a completed form, a Like on Facebook or an @ mention on Twitter, a download of your free app or guide. After that, as long as you have a way to start a conversation with them, they’re a lead.

Is lead generation sales or marketing?

People fight about this all the time. Lead generation is the space where sales and marketing overlap. And there’s a lot of tension in this space. Marketing works super hard to generate heaps and loads of leads for sales, and then sales comes back and says, “Ah, but they weren’t quality leads!”

The best organizations qualify their leads to make sure their salespeople spend their time and energy on only the leads that are most likely to turn into customers. We’re constantly revamping our lead qualification process — optimizing it to increase conversion rate by 48%.

What is lead generation vs. demand generation?

You have a product or service. Nobody really knows about it and/or has a high opinion of it.

Demand generation changes that. It brings you attention and gives people a reason to get excited about what you’re selling.

Then, lead generation swoops in and scoops up people who are interested, or gives them obvious opportunities to hop in when they feel so-moved.

Always important to keep in mind what the goal of your marketing effort is. What’s good for demand generation isn’t always good for lead generation — and vice versa. You can drive a ton of traffic to your website, but if nobody’s offering you their email address, you need to work on your lead generation.

Here’s 26 practical demand generation strategies for startups that will have people saying shut up and take my money!

And since the rest of this post is about generating leads (not demand), I’ll just leave these excellent demand generation strategies for ecommerce marketplaces here for you, too. 😉

Why is lead generation important?

All that revenue you want?

It comes from customers.

All those customers you want?

They start out as leads.

Lead generation is as essential as the air you breathe, the food you eat, and the decadent craft suds you down. No leads, no customers, no revenue, no business.

The lead generation process

We talk a lot about funnels around here — how to visualize your marketing funnel, for example. Lead generation fills the top of your marketing funnel. Let’s talk a little bit about what happens after that.

How does lead generation work?

After you’ve offered someone something of value (sometimes referred to as a lead magnet) and they’ve given you their interest — let’s say in the form of an email address. Next, you should begin to evaluate how much they’re worth to your company.

This is where lead qualification comes in. Here are the questions we ask when someone requests something of value – a free growth audit – from us.

We can see right away who we can work wonders for, and sets us up to have a great relationship with them.

I mean, we know their industry, goals, budget, and revenue. You can bet the strategist on that call is going to have a ton of ideas ready.

This helps our sales reps spend more quality time on the leads that matter. Which no lead generation effort is complete without.

What are lead generation metrics?

There’s no way to know if your lead gen efforts are working unless you measure them. But it’s not as simple as counting email addresses. You have to follow them all the way through the funnel to see where they drop out.

Nobody’s leads convert at 100%. If you have a funnel, it’s got leaks.

So do what Marketo says, and plan your measurement strategies before you throw yourself headlong into a lead generation frenzy.

Three questions:

  • What will you measure?
  • When will you measure?
  • How will you measure?

Marketo suggests these common lead generation metrics:

  • Marketing percent of contribution to sales pipeline
    The percentage of revenue in the sales pipeline (opportunities) that originated from marketing efforts
  • Marketing percent of contribution to closed revenue
    The percentage of revenue in closed won deals that originated from marketing efforts
  • Quantity of Sales Qualified Leads
    The amount of SQLs sent over to your sales teams
  • Quality of SQLs
    The percentage of SQLs not rejected by sales
  • Cost per inquiry
    Total lead acquisition cost divided by the total number of inquiries
  • Cost per lead
    Total campaign costs divided by quantity of leads
  • Inquiry to Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
    Conversion of initial inquiry to Marketing Qualified Lead
  • MQL to Sales Accepted Lead (SAL)
    Conversion from MQL to Sales Accepted Lead
  • SAL to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
    Conversion from SAL to Sales Qualified Lead
  • SQL to Opportunity
    Conversion from SQL to Opportunity

That way, you can find the gaps.

Lead generation techniques

The biggest question on everyone’s mind is how to increase lead generation. Lucky for you, we’ve got a whole playbook of growth tactics. But first, let’s get you in the right headspace to understand digital lead generation strategies.

What are lead generation campaigns?

Forrester, ever the scholar, gives us a stern look for even asking that question:

Stop thinking about campaigns and start thinking engagement! Marketers who continue to build campaigns, and make offers, around products and product features will be perceived as “tone deaf” to the multichannel customer.  Customers will engage with marketers who meet their needs – their changing needs – for different information and options during the buying journey. Marketers who continue to “go to customer” with product-centric campaigns and offers risk becoming irrelevant.
Buyer Behavior Helps B2B Marketers Guide The Buyer’s Journey

The old way of lead generation: be aggressive.

The new way: be attractive, attentive, and available.

What are some lead generation ideas?

The lead generation methods you can use — and how effective they are — depend entirely upon the digital channel you’re using and the audience you’re courting.

What are the advantages and limitations of the channel?

(e.g. Facebook, Search, App, YouTube, Pinterest, Chat, Email)

What has value to your audience?

How can you deliver that value to them using the channels you have available?

Once you’ve got that figured out, a simple 1-2-3 combo is all you need…

  1. CTA – A Call To Action that invites people to the place where they can get the shiny object you’re offering — in most cases, a landing page. Sometimes, the same page.
  2. Landing page – The place where they get the thing. Be sure to include reasons why they’d want to get the thing, but not TOO many.
  3. Form – This captures the information you need to begin a relationship with people who may want to purchase from you. For us, that’s an email address, business info, and growth goals.

What are some lead generation examples?

We’re always finding new ways to drive leads and traffic. The Ladder Playbook has TONS of lead generation tactics.

Twenty years ago, it was insane to spend thousands of dollars writing a book — only to give it away. Today, everybody’s doing that just to find customers.

Heck, we wrote a tell-all on the audit process we use to grow ourselves and our clients.

You can nab it now for nil: Expert’s Guide to a Growth Marketing Audit

Don’t stop at PDFs, though — get creative with what you offer your future customers. Put a little heart and soul in it.

Some more lead generation ideas:

  • Free Courses
  • Demos
  • Coupons
  • Original Research
  • Templates
  • Webinars
  • Tickets to Events

How does lead generation for business work?

B2B lead generation is remarkably like B2C lead generation. Your leads are still people — they just have more than their own interests to consider. As a result, your B2B lead generation strategies will be slightly different.

Check out these 10 Go-To B2B Marketing Tactics Guaranteed to Increase ROI:

And here are our favorite B2B lead generation tactics for Facebook.

How much does lead generation cost?

Too much! At least if we’re going by Hubspot’s State of Inbound 2018 report — 1 in 3 companies has reducing the cost of contact, lead, and customer acquisition as a top marketing priority.

Of course, you can always go out and find benchmarks for certain industries.

But the truth is, the cost of a lead high or low depending on what a lead is worth to you. What percentage of leads become customers? What is a customer worth to you? This is where full-funnel thinking comes in.

(If you find yourself daydreaming about revenue math, you should definitely throw some numbers into our ROI calculator)

You have to experiment.

When you do, great things can happen, like decreasing your cost per lead on Facebook by 80%.

READ: 4 Inexpensive Lead Generation Strategies That Every Business Should Use

Whatever you try, don’t buy leads (personal contact information outright). If you do, you’re buying low conversion rates and probably a bad reputation, because you’re soliciting people who haven’t directly expressed interest in what you’re selling. Your first interaction with them will likely be bad, lasting, and the last.

Are lead generation companies worth it?

Not in the long run.

You’ll always pay more for leads than you have to. And you’ll also miss out on the valuable knowledge you gain from testing and learning which lead gen techniques work and which ones don’t. You also don’t have as much control over the lead quality. After all, to a lead generation company, leads are leads. It’s up to you to get your money’s worth.

But a growth agency that looks after your full marketing funnel from top to bottom and provides you a complete view of all your weak links and opportunities is worth it.

That’s us, in case you hadn’t guessed.

With Ladder, you get the leads and the lessons.

Ladder powers strategy and performance solutions for fast-growing brands

Talk to a strategist →

Growth is a high velocity game.

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