In Quest for Qualified Sales Leads

Posted by John Veckerelli on Thu, Jul 19, 2012

Generate Qualified Sales Leads

In a recently released Marketing Sherpa benchmark report on Lead Generation, two charts in the report excerpt caught my attention. In this study which was conducted in early 2012, over 1900 marketers weighed in on their lead generation initiatives and success.

Marketing and Lead Generation

As an integrated marketing firm working with B2B High Tech clients, our ultimate measure of success is revenue lift for the client - not a one-time lift but marketing activities that create a sustainable sales pipeline and revenue. 

You may have the notion that you simply need to perform a new activity to generate qualified business leads or to change your current lead generation ways. Both of these may be true however in our work, we find that multiple coordinated activities that reach targeted sales leads across different channels will not only generate more leads, but higher quality ones.

What marketing activities are most effective?

According to Marketing Sherpa's report, the following chart indicates the effectiveness of lead generation activities. The importance of digital channels cannot be overstated. Most prospective buyers research you before they ever pick up the phone or inquire directly. If they find you on the web (SEO and Paid search), they may look at your website and either include you in their short list or if your site it outdated or not clear, cross you off their list of potential suppliers.

An integrated marketing mix of lead generation activities results in the best targeted sales leads

More traditional lead generation activities such as tradeshows remain an important and effective lead generation tool. Most of our clients exhibit at trade shows however we work with them planning trade show activities that generate the highest ROI. Building in other supporting activities such as email campaigns before, during, and after the tradeshow can boost attendance at their booth and with the right audience. In the event there is a special announcement such as a product launch, coordinating a press release and interview with a key industry publication generates relevant news that has a long shelf life beyond the show.

You'll note in the above chart that survey participants rate the bottom four items, Direct mail, Mobile marketing, Social media, and Print advertising much lower in terms of being "Very Effective". One thing to keep in mind is that Mobile and Social are emerging and effectiveness and a clear ROI are not always visible and emerging too. 

How do the lead generation activity budgets compare?

The next chart from the same study indicates planned year over year marketing budget allocation shifts for 2012. Note that while Social media is not listed as very effective above, it's showing the second to the highest marketing channel budget increase, second only to Website optimization.

Trends in marketing budget allocation

The study confirms what we see across our customer base and that is:

1. Focus on digital channels

  • Have a compelling website that clearly describes what you do and the value you provide
  • Invest in activities such as SEO and Blogging that will help you be found on the web
  • Engage website visitors with relevant information (keeping in mind the different stages of the buying cycle)
  • Start with a solid social media presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and others. Define a cadence of updates you can commit to. Start with once per day.

2. Nurture leads

  • Leads from website visitors to trade show attendees who stopped by your booth are game for lead nurturing. Regular email outreach with company, product, and industry news maintains contact and can help bring along a lead until they are ready to buy.

3. Seek Maximum ROI from traditional marketing activities or stop doing them

  • If you send direct mail or print advertising and you're not sure what you get from it. Stop and redirect the budget to more effective activities. Alternatively, be more selective and targeted such as advertising in an industry specific publication.
  • Since trade shows are costly but are listed as an effective lead generation activity, don't settle for going to the show because "you've always done it." Be selective and look back at the results from the last two years and don't be afraid to say NO. Alternatively, attend the show instead of exhibiting if you don't think it generates qualified sales leads. 

If you have a question on what marketing activities are best for your company, send me a message and I'd be happy to talk through your options.

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Topics: Business Insights, Lead Generation, Marketing Mix, Marketing Strategy, Trade Show Strategy