As marketers, our goal is to attract people to our brand. But not just any people: we want to draw prospects with a high likelihood of becoming customers. Good lead-generation tactics can help.
We define lead generation as the process of creating consumer interest for a service or product, with the end goal of turning that interest into revenue.
Leads can be generated when a consumer downloads a piece of content, signs up for a free trial, or creates an account for a free product, for example. They come from organic channels, such as Google search, and paid channels, such as advertising campaigns. My job at Salesforce focuses on paid channels.
Generating mass appeal is nice, but here’s the thing: not all leads are created equal. Running a strong lead-generation program is not about the quantity of leads you generate. It’s about ensuring quality leads by targeting the right people, at the right time in their customer journey, on the right channel, and then delivering the right content to them.
Does this keep you up at night? Don’t worry. Here are three tips to help you improve your lead generation tactics, using examples from how we do things here at Salesforce.
1. How to measure your lead generation tactics
A North Star metric is a key indicator of business growth and can be tied to increases in product engagement, and eventually, revenue. It’s something your entire organization can rally behind.
My team’s North Star metric is when an opportunity reaches the second stage of our sales funnel. At that point, a prospect has been vetted by our sales development team and verified and accepted by an account executive.
The Sales team will estimate the potential revenue from the opportunity, allowing us to also begin tracking a return on our investment. Then we start to build out our measurement framework. We use this metric to measure the success of our lead generation tactics and improve programs.
When measuring, it’s important to gauge which sources are bringing in high-quality leads. Are they social platforms like LinkedIn, email newsletters, or ad partners like Google? Also, make sure the money you’re spending on ads is generating high-quality users.
An example of a high-quality lead is a “hand raiser” – someone who engages with the brand or asks for information (say, requesting a demo or free trial). A passive lead is someone who provides contact info to download an ebook but hasn’t expressed other interest. We pay close attention to hand-raiser leads because they have a higher chance of becoming customers.
We focus on content performance from the highest-quality sources of leads. If traffic is dropping from a top-quality lead source, we react quickly because of the expected downstream effect. Possible tweaks include changing our ad design or ad copy, adjusting our paid investment or updating a call to action (CTA).
2. Develop strategies to get the right leads
You may hear people say that a “lead is a lead,” but that’s a big misconception.
Customer insight and interest is valuable, and social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn generate revenue by offering targeted advertising that uses the customer data they’ve collected. So, a more targeted campaign on LinkedIn will cost significantly more than a general banner ad.
Some leads can be less costly and have huge scale, but are low quality because they aren’t reaching people who are looking for your products or services (and therefore less likely to convert).
Other leads are more expensive but target people who are ready to buy. And then there is everyone in between.
The various channels, targeting options, and content that you pair together to acquire leads can produce hundreds or even thousands of iterations. You have to understand which of these lead generation tactics produces quality leads and at what cost.
Here’s an example of how you can make this work. On LinkedIn, you target sales managers within the financial services industry who have interacted with your business once in the past. You serve them a customer story from a banking customer. These leads might be more expensive, but they’re highly likely to convert, so the cost is worth it.
3. How to test your lead generation tactics
Improving the efficiency of your lead generation tactics is important, no matter if you’re a one-person team at a startup or part of a larger team at an enterprise.
At Salesforce, we improve lead quality and ROI by using Marketing Cloud Intelligence to run tests on our paid ads. You can run a test by delivering two or more versions of ad copy or form pages to different segments of your audience at the same time and seeing which ones perform best.
These tests are done on our highest-trafficked content. We’ve found that even the most basic changes have driven significant returns – and then we can apply those changes to other programs to make them more efficient as well.
For example, we ran a simple test changing the layout of the several fields in a form that readers filled out to access a piece of content. It was simple — just shortening the vertical length of the form. This change increased form submission on desktop computers by 10%. We now do this on all our forms.
Again, not all tests need to be big overhauls of your content. What matters most is that when you do find wins, they are used across many of your programs.
Building the right lead-generation tactics for your business takes some work. But when done efficiently, your tactics will save you money and time while helping to bring in new revenue. Good luck!