Sales pipelines are only as good as the leads you put into them. Fill your pipeline with quality leads, and it’ll reflect a sales team that’s actively closing deals and generating revenue. Fill the pipe with unqualified leads, and it’ll show sales reps working hard with not much to show for it because the leads are actually nowhere near ready to buy.
Of course you want to fill the top of your marketing funnel with lots of leads. But as soon as they enter the funnel, you also want to start qualifying them to see which ones are worth the additional time and effort to guide toward the bottom. Lead scoring and grading help you do just that, calculating a lead’s value to your company (score) and likelihood of converting to an active customer (grade). Using lead scoring and grading together can be an effective way to ensure that only high-quality leads are passed on to your sales team. Lead management software can automate lead scoring and grading as well.
By definition, there’s less room at the bottom of the funnel than at the top, so manage your leads wisely to ensure that only active, qualified sales leads make it to the bottom and into the pipeline. Otherwise you’re going to flood your sales pipe with leads that aren’t actually ready to buy. They’ll sit still and clog the pipeline, taking up time your sales reps should be spending working active deals.
Developing a strong internet presence is a key part of lead generation. This is often accomplished using inbound marketing techniques like content marketing, website forms, and search engine optimization. These are topics unto themselves, but they boil down to using content that you publish to drive prospective customers back to your website. The digital age has made it easier for companies to research and understand their prospective leads. When you get a bead on what buyers want and need, you can tailor your online presence to better draw them in. From there, it’s important to develop and nurture relationships with them, which we’ll talk more about in a later section of this article.
When we talk about marketing on the internet, we're talking about driving traffic or boosting visibility via a number of means. Any type of advertising done on the internet to promote any product, person, service, business or place for that matter, can be deemed as online marketing. However, to succeed in this arena, whether it's SEO, social media, email marketing or beyond, you need to ensure you adhere to the three pillars of trust first and foremost.
Sales Development reps (SDRs), also often called Inside Sales or Lead Qualification reps, are focused on one thing: reviewing, contacting, and qualifying marketing-generated leads and delivering them to Sales Account Executives. Simply put, SDR teams pass the baton from Marketing to Sales. Why do it this way? Because you want to make sure every single lead Marketing passes to your Sales team is as qualified as possible. Your SDRs should take the time to help each and every lead, offer them value, make a positive impression, create future demand, and become a trusted advisor. This step is critical in the lead generation process because you don’t want to treat your leads as blank faces to be simply questioned, qualified, and harvested.
For instance, you might use Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences to get your message in front of an audience similar to your core demographic. Or, you could pay a social media influencer to share images of your products to her already well-established community. Paid social media can attract new customers to your brand or product, but you’ll want to conduct market research and A/B testing before investing too much in one social media channel.