Lead generation is vital to growing a healthy business. Successful lead gen is equal parts art, science, and perseverance: There’s an art to generating and nurturing leads, plenty of science powering automated lead management tools, and a healthy dose of perseverance involved all along the way. A mere 2% of sales are made on first contact, and most sales only come after a lengthy nurturing process. The need for quality leads — and tools to help you nurture and manage them — is real.
Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. You score leads based on the interest they show in your business, their current in the buying cycle, and their fit in regards to your business. Lead scoring helps companies know whether prospects need to be fast-tracked to sales or developed with lead nurturing. Lead scoring is essential to strengthening your revenue cycle, effectively drive more ROI, and align sales and marketing.
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.
Gone are the days that a marketer only relied on outbound techniques like trade shows, cold calling, and advertisements to get leads. Today’s buyer is in control. According to Forrester, buyers seek out three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece sent by a marketer, and for every one piece sent by sales. Because of buyer self-education, your job as a marketer is to be heard through the noise and come up with new ways for leads to find you. To be a marketer in today’s world, you need a solid grasp of inbound in order to truly amplify your lead generation impact.
Affiliate marketing is the art of marketing products, services or information for others. It doesn't require that you ever house or warehouse a single thing. But it does require that you have an audience to market those things to online. Without that audience, whether it's through search engines like Google or social media channels like Facebook, you'll find a difficult time with affiliate marketing.
Clearly, there has been a huge change in the traditional buying process. In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even reach the vendor. The reason this is happening more and more is because buyers have so much access to information that they can delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves.