At this stage you’ve landed in front of your prospect, either by them actively searching and finding your or you actively searching for them. As mentioned above, lead generation is a top of the funnel activity, and this is often where Marketing acquires the lead. Here your prospect may or may not even realize they have a problem… or that your solution to their problem even exists.
The focus of the lead generation stage is to:
- Build authority & trust
- Present a solution to their problem
- And like Ben said above, to get them to identify themselves as a fit for your prospect profile
Common lead generation activities include both inbound and outbound efforts such as:
- Branding, which includes building authority in your market, increasing trust with your audience, and increasing community and client engagement
- Content Marketing through webinars, guides, reports, blogs and articles, podcasts and so much more
- Events & Trade-shows (either virtual or in-person)
- Social Media Ads – advertising on social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Google, targeted websites
- Influencer marketing via strategic partnerships
- Personal outreach through messaging, email, or cold-calling
- And more
With many of these tasks, sales and marketing might overlap – for example, usually “marketing” doesn’t engage in one-on-one personal outreach while sales does.
***As a side note, another overlap area is of course sharing the knowledge of the audience; both marketing and sales have “insider” knowledge from either the data collected from marketing campaigns and/or the direct questions, comments, and concerns that the sales team hears everyday in speaking with prospects. This knowledge needs to be shared and used to refine the brand messaging and the type of content marketing that your audience will relate to and be moved to action by.
Now, it’s reasonable to assume that if you want more qualified sales appointments, you may not be able to do everything on that list all at once, but you’ll want to focus on what will WORK. Our answer – especially if you have limited resources – has always been to really hone in on who your audience is, define a clear prospect profile, and engage with them in personal outreach; to build a personal relationship.
However, the more you can do to build authority and trust, including providing valuable content (ie specific and relevant), the more receptive your prospects will be to starting real business conversations. This is why we always promote a multi-channel lead generation strategy, especially because your prospects do a lot of their own research.
The data shows that prospects are researching vendors now more than ever and they rely heavily on reviews and recommendations from peers, friends and family.
As shown in the chart below, they are taking more of the buyer journey into their own hands through personal research and recommendations and out of your marketing funnel and away from your sales team.
How to address this?
First, ensure that your company provides excellent service and that your clients are engaged so that they’ll be willing to provide recommendations and referrals that potential prospects will consider.
Second, use a multi-channel lead generation approach to increase the amount and types of touchpoints with your prospects. They’re not just on one channel. You shouldn’t be either.