April 17, 2020
One of the top sentiments marketers communicate to me, whether they are potential clients or acquaintances in the field, is this: generating qualified inbound leads is really, really challenging. And it’s a tough feat for marketers to pull off. Your sales team can only achieve so much with their outbound efforts and it’s up to you as the marketer to ensure that their pipelines get filled, and filled with leads that will actually convert into demos and wins. But the truth is that generating the right type of leads that will convert into demos and are worth nurturing in the full sales funnel is only half the battle. Because if you can finally tap into a viable source of qualified leads that will convert at a cost that makes sense for your target CPA, your sales team will start expecting more. And, often when marketers try to increase the volume of qualified inbound leads they are generating by running more ads, the cost per lead skyrockets. It’s a vicious cycle, but surprisingly most marketers have come to accept it as “just the way it is.”
While I can certainly empathize with the sentiment and the difficulty, I work for a demand generation platform that guarantees qualified inbound leads. We promise our clients that we will generate them qualified inbound leads, in the quantity that they request, and they pay us on a cost per lead basis. And often, once a batch has been delivered, they’re ready for us to generate them another batch, in an even higher quantity. And so, in the process of generating hundreds of thousands of qualified inbound leads for clients in various industries, I’ve become a bit of an expert on how to generate qualified inbound leads, and lots of them. Here are a few pointers that have helped me in my role immensely, and that most marketers tend to overlook.
Create a user story, complete with pain points, opportunities, objections, and solutions with your ideal client in mind. Make sure that you collaborate with your sales team on this one. After all, they’re on the phone with your users more than anyone else. Link your product or service as the solution to your user’s pain points, and then develop content that they will find useful. Write whitepapers that will educate your users, and that aren’t just glorified advertisements for your product or service. Provide your users with valuable content that will set the tone for a sales call. Another tip here: this collaboration between sales and marketing needs to translate all the way down to the ad level. A lot of times, by the time your SDR has called a new lead, the lead hasn't read your offer yet. So try to acknowledge their pain points starting at the ad level. If you’re hitting the right pain, you’ll get a higher CTR and conversion, and your sales team can develop a script that transitions seamlessly from the ad that enticed the lead to fill out their info in the first place. It’s all about booking demos, and your content is the catalyst that will set the stage for a successful demo set conversation.
When you are creating digital lead generation campaigns, there will be plenty of opportunities to extend your reach. Digital ad networks make it incredibly easy for marketers to double or triple their selected audience, claiming that your ads will be seen by “similar” eyes to what you’ve specified for your target demographic. But it’s not worth it. Hear me now, marketers: don’t use Facebook targeting or lookalike audiences. Sure, you’ll get impressive reach and impressions data to report on, and you might even start seeing immediate results and start generating leads, but in the end, it won’t be worth your budget. Here’s what I know: I’ve heard from clients that when they use network targeting and lookalike audiences and then analyze the results, typically only 1 in 4 leads is actually even qualified to set a demo. This means that you’re feeding your sales team with 75% unqualified leads, and they are spending their time, energy, and payroll dollars chasing leads that shouldn’t have been targeted in the first place and will never even be qualified to set a demo. Define the audience you are targeting, and find a digital advertising solution that targets only that audience, not their spouses, children, and siblings.
Finding a solution that generates qualified inbound leads and can actually be scaled to meet any demand increase is a challenge, but I’ve learned from experience that it can be done, and these 3 strategies have helped me refine the process and continue to experience ROI in my lead gen efforts. It’s true that generating qualified inbound leads is a universal challenge for marketers, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be the most difficult part of your job. When I’m able to deliver high quantities of qualified leads to sales teams, and hear about the success they are having in booking demos and closing deals, it ends up becoming the most rewarding and engaging part of my workflow. Once you, as an evolving marketer, are able to shift your perspective and nail down the right process, delivering more qualified inbound leads can easily turn into the best part of your job.
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