Lead generation needs to turn from net to lure. Instead of mass emails and cold calling, you need to focus on what your customers really want. With the right approach, leads will come to you on their own accord – when they’re ready.
Your sales colleagues will only have to reel in the catch.
Not so long ago, lead generation used to go like this: you’d purchase a database or create one through research, which you then target with direct mails, e-mails, cold calling and other.
It’s like throwing out a big net, hoisting it in, and then trying to sort out the few fish that are any good.
It may cause less effort in the short run, but you’ll have to spend much more time sifting out who’s the right contact for you. Not so long ago, the rule of thumb was that as much as 25% of leads were unusable for sales.
Not to mention, surfacing unfit fish – i.e. non-receptive customers – might come to damage your brand’s reputation.
With the advent of inbound marketing, lead generation has become drastically different.
Instead of going after a database with largely generic messages, you have your prospects come to you.
Understanding is key here. That’s why you define very vividly who it is you’re targeting, and what their needs and challenges might be – this is called a persona.
You then address those needs and challenges through strategically sound content that your audience has access to – be it on your website, or any other channel your audience might use.
In the early years of inbound, this meant churning out a plethora of blog posts. Today, the mix has become more balanced, with an emphasis on value:
In other words: you’re using a lure, not a net. Prospects that are attracted to the content you offer, match the personas you defined in the first step. They approach you on their own accord.
It means better quality leads, and a positive reflection on your brand. What’s more, if you developed your content with SEO in mind, relevant prospects can approach you far into the future.
Still, it’d be a mistake to start reeling in your customer once they bite. This is where lead segmentation and nurturing comes into play.