One of our clients, the owner of a software company, recently told me, “We are never going to be happy with what we have, we are always going to want more.” By “more,” he was referring to leads, but he ultimately meant that he would always want more customers, more business.
Another client, a VP of Sales & Marketing, loved to say that his tech company wanted “more, better, faster.” Again, he was saying they wanted more leads, better leads, faster leads. But what he really meant was that they wanted more customers. After all, leads do not pay the bills, right?
Marketing teams are under tremendous pressure to deliver “more” to their Sales teams, and high-quality leads are what we are tasked to deliver. We’ll dive into this “more, better, faster leads” topic over the course of a few articles, starting with “more.”
So without further ado, here's how you can drive more leads to your business.
1. Nail Down Your Lead Language
Make sure your Marketing and Sales teams are speaking the same language. Working together, hammer out the definitions of your Leads, Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and Opportunities and how you will score people as they move through these stages. Here are some other tips on the roles of Marketing and Sales in this process.
A basic outline of these contact lifecycle stage definitions may start like this:
- Contact / Lead: We have this person’s contact information and they have some attribute(s)—they hold a certain position or work at a company we are targeting, for example. Or this person has taken some action (behavior) that shows potential to become qualified—they stopped by our booth at a trade show and gave their business card, they downloaded an informational resource on our website, etc.
- Marketing Qualified Lead: This person has more qualifying attributes and/or shown a little more interest/engagement—multiple site visits, more time spent on site, email opens and clicks, interest in more middle-of-the-funnel resources that discuss how your company could potentially solve their problem or address their needs. These people are typically handled by Marketing and nurtured until they are moved to the SQL stage.
- Sales Qualified Lead: This is where the hand-off to Sales happens. This person has requested a consultation, demo, conversation or other contact with your company or they have exhibited enough attributes/behaviors on your site to score them as qualified for a conversation with Sales.
- Opportunity: If Sales connects with an SQL and it is agreed they will move into active conversation, this person becomes an Opportunity.
Why is this step so important? Here is just one fun fact: Sales and marketing team alignment can help companies get 67% better at closing deals (Source: Marketo and Reachforce). See eight other stats supporting the importance of sales and marketing alignment.
2. Know Your Numbers
To understand how to get more Opportunities, you need to know how many of them you really need to meet your customer or revenue goals. This calculator can help you get those numbers quickly.
Knowing you need 10 new customers per month, for example, it will become clear that you need:
- 10X number of Opportunities to work, depending on your close rate
- A bigger number of Qualified Leads to try to convert to Opportunities
- An even bigger number of Contacts to vet and nurture to become Qualified Leads
- An even bigger number of Site Visitors to potentially convert to Contacts
While website visits is an excellent metric to track and work to grow, the best Sales teams will not ignore the potential to identify and pursue Contacts from other sources (trade shows and other live events, account-based marketing programs, co-marketing and customer referral programs, and keeping in touch with employers, clients and colleagues during the natural flow of a career through different positions and companies).
Once you know where you are starting and what you need, the real work begins.
3. Plug Away – Consistently & Strategically
Dozens of tactics exist to drive visits, contacts, qualified leads and opportunities, but success begins when you:
- Clarify the numbers you want to achieve, the tactics you are going to use, and the investment in time and resources you are willing to make to reach your desired ROI.
- Commit to executing strategically and consistently, measuring and refining along the way as you gather insights.
There is no magic bullet to get more leads. The best marketing programs depend on top-notch messaging; consistent, quality execution; and close alignment with sales programs—and of course some patience and perseverance. It’s not about one kick-ass campaign, it’s about a long-term commitment.
Commit to the three-step approach of Nailing Down Your Lead Language, Knowing Your Numbers, and Executing Consistently, and your business is bound to get more leads—but more importantly, more business.
Coming Up: How to Increase the Quality of Your Leads