What is lead generation?

What is lead generation?

If you want to be successful with your sales and marketing efforts, the first step is defining your leads. As a marketer or a salesperson, your strategy is centered around driving leads into your sales pipeline. A lead is an individual that is a good fit for purchasing your product. These are the specific personas that you want to go after in order to close a deal so that you can grow your business. 

If you are a part of a B2B company, that is a business that sells to other businesses, you are likely selling into a group of leads that make up an account or a company. This group of leads is generally part of a decision group. As a sales or marketing organization, you need to make sure that you’re speaking to all of the individuals that make up this decision group in an account, but not just anyone that comes to your website constitutes as a lead and certainly not a good lead. 

There are plenty of people that will fill out forms, that you’ll meet at events, that while they are particularly considered a lead, they might not be a good fit for what you’re selling. So what is a good lead? So according to Marketo, a good lead is a qualified prospect that is starting to exhibit buying behavior. So there’s two aspects to this definition from Marketo. So first, a qualified prospect, so somebody that’s a good fit for your company or product, and somebody that is starting to exhibit buying behavior, so this person has shown some sort of intent. So according to Craig Rosenberg, founder of TOPO, which is a B2B analyst firm, there are two elements to a lead, demographic and psychographic. 

When it comes to the psychographic element, your definition of a lead will depend on your company, who you’re selling to and what you’re selling. So number one is demographics. So this can be considered fit. How good is a lead’s fit for your company or service or product that you’re selling? So demographic information could be what type of company this person comes from, what their title might be, where do they live, what type of industry are they in, what their company size is and what type of products do they sell. 

So for instance, you might sell into a specific sized company, maybe only enterprise companies, and maybe you’re selling into Director of IT. And then if you’re a salesperson focusing on a specific territory, you’re looking at only companies in New York. So these are some examples of how demographics can play into your lead definition. So then there’s number two, engagement. Website activity, how often have they been on your site and what pages are they looking at. 

Download history, have they downloaded any type of content, have they watched any type of videos. Event attendance, have they attended your booth at a trade show, have you seen these people attend a speaking session or maybe even a smaller field event. Discussions with sales, has this company had numerous discussions with your sales team. Or program activity, if you’re in a marketing department that’s running multiple programs like email and social, are they engaging with those programs. 

So number three is intent. Intent really shows a buyer’s intention to purchase your product or service. This is different in engagement which merely shows activity. Intent actually shows the thoughtfulness of a lead looking into your product or service. So this could be online activity that might be outside of your website so clicking on various ads, downloading reports that are on contents and occasion websites, engagement with competitors, so is this person or company looking at competitor websites, are they tweeting or retweeting competitors on social. And engagement with topic-specific content, again people that are downloading content across the web that is related to your product or service. 

Something like intent is a little bit difficult to track. You do have to have a third party service in order to do so. However, this type of information is readily available and it can help as you define your lead. Obviously, you want to be selling into folks that have an intention to buy what you’re offering. So the fourth thing that you should look at when defining your leads is something called BANT. BANT criteria stands for budget, authority, need and time. So let’s go over BANT and this is generally once the salesperson starts speaking to that lead, that’s how they can determine this type of information. 

Budget, can this lead afford your product or service? So sometimes a person will be interested in what you’re doing. However, when your salesperson gets on the phone with them and tells them about the pricing for your product or service, you might determine that this lead actually cannot afford your product or service. Authority, does your lead have the authority to purchase your product? Is he or she the decision maker? So this doesn’t necessarily mean that your lead is not qualified. 

The person that you may be speaking to might be part of that decision making group. However, you should determine whether you are speaking directly to the decision maker and if you’re not, have that person put you in connection with the decision maker. Need, does your lead have a need for your product? Is there a pain that you can solve? And then time, what is your lead’s purchasing timeline? Is it next week? Is it two months? Is it two years? Determining all these things as you do your BANT qualification will really help you move that lead forward in the purchase process.

We help your business grow in sales with our Digital Marketing Strategies and Tactics that has been used in many companies for over a decade.