Building a lead generation strategy aligned with your target audience is crucial for attracting sales leads and achieving revenue goals. Marketing teams execute most lead generation strategies, but salespeople can take great advantage of them.
The Importance of Sales Leads
The definition of sales lead varies depending on the company, but it generally refers to prospects who enter the sales funnel. Generating sales leads is crucial to:
- Fill the sales pipeline with qualified leads: High-quality leads allow companies to have a more targeted sales approach, optimizing resources and workforce.
- Increase revenue: Qualified sales leads are more likely to become paying customers, as their needs align with your offers.
- Offer New Opportunities: The leads you generate can serve as a guide for identifying new market segments and customers.
What is a Sales Funnel?
To generate sales leads, it’s essential to have a good understanding of the sales funnel and its three main stages: Top of the Funnel (TOFU), Middle of the Funnel (MOFU), and Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU). Each stage categorizes leads according to what they need to move forward in the buyer’s journey.
Top of the funnel
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Many lead generation strategies at the TOFU rely on marketing, but sales teams can also leverage them.
TOFU leads know they have a problem but still haven’t identified it. As most of them don’t know your brand yet, the best method to attract TOFU leads is to educate them with relevant content such as:
- Blog Posts: Share blog posts with relevant content to your prospects.
- White Papers: This content format provides in-depth information about a complex topic or issue. Salespeople can use it to explain how particular solutions help solve pain points.
- Research Reports: Similar to a white paper, this contains in-depth information about a particular topic. The difference is that research reports outline a systematic investigation’s data, process, and findings, making them shorter and easier to understand. Salespeople can use this as compelling evidence of the benefits they’re claiming.
- E-Books: The main difference between e-books and other educational content formats is their detailed step-by-step instructions on how to solve problems. Salespeople share e-books with leads to help them decide what solution works best for their pain points.
The TOFU stage is a strategic moment to build trust and establish credibility. Providing unique, relevant, and valuable information is the best way to help leads define their problems and move to the next stage in the buyer journey.
Middle of the funnel
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MOFU leads have clear problems and are aware of the solutions to solve them.
Like TOFU leads, MOFU leads are not yet ready to buy. Instead of overwhelming them with sales pitches, continue to nurture these leads with in-depth information that solves their problems.
The sales and marketing team work together at this stage. The marketing team creates high-quality content that resonates with the lead, while the sales team leverages this content to attract new customers.
Examples of content for MOFU leads include:
- Comparison guides: Salespeople can share this content with leads to highlight the positives and negatives of products or services.
- Webinars: Webinars allow salespeople to engage with MOFU leads and showcase their knowledge for a particular niche. It also humanizes the brand they represent, increasing audience engagement while providing in-depth information about a topic.
- Podcasts: Podcast content enables MOFU leads to gather solutions to their problems while multitasking.
- Videos: An informative and entertaining video educates the MOFU audience about their problems and the solutions you have.
Bottom of the funnel
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BOFU leads are highly-qualified and ready to buy. They are well-informed about their problems and already know the solutions you have to offer.
At this stage, salespeople still take advantage of content produced by marketing teams, but their involvement is more direct.
Here is BOFU lead generation content with the direct involvement of salespeople.
- Publishing case studies: Case studies use real-life examples to provide in-depth information about a solution’s effectiveness. Salespeople can cite these case studies as tangible evidence for the benefits of the products and services they represent.
- Presenting live demos: Salespeople can exhibit solutions through live demo presentations. This also gives them the opportunity to answer leads’ questions in real-time.
- Offering Consultations: Offering consultations is a cost-effective way to connect with leads and create a positive impression.
Lead Generation Strategies for Salespeople
Sales and marketing are distinct practices, but they can have overlapping goals. While marketers generate leads using automated tools and content that resonate with their target audience, salespeople utilize more direct approaches. These include:
Imagine your AEs making individual calls to every lead to determine who’s interested in your products and services. Every time they call, they’ll have to introduce themselves, explain why they’re calling, and ask if the lead has time to chat. Not only is this process inefficient, but you’ll also push your AEs to the limit, risking burnout and high turnover rates.
An appointment setting program can solve these issues. SDRs’ main task is to qualify and prospect leads so AEs can focus on closing deals and discovering new sales opportunities.
SDRs conduct lead qualification to determine whether the lead fits the company’s ICP and buyer persona. If the lead fits, SDRs encourage them to book appointments with the AEs.
Some of the questions SDRs ask when qualifying leads include:
- What are your pain points?
- How big is your company?
- Where are you located?
- Are you a decision-maker in your company?
- Do you currently have a solution to your problem, and is it working for you?
Appointment setting fills your sales pipeline with qualified leads to prevent opportunity shortages. The more qualified leads, the higher the chances of sales conversion.
Aside from preventing churn, appointment setting offers the following benefits:
- Create Good Impression with Leads: SDRs build positive rapports with leads by being professional, enthusiastic, and informative.
- Position Your Brand as an Authority: Discovery calls are two-way conversations. Leads can ask about solutions, allowing SDRs to showcase their knowledge about the niche.
- Collect Valuable Data: SDRs uncover valuable information that can help understand the leads and market trends.
- Unburden Account Executives: AEs will have more time to focus on closing deals instead of finding prospects for the sales pipeline.
Cold emailing is an email marketing technique to reach out to prospects that haven’t interacted with your company before. It’s different from other types of email marketing campaigns in terms of:
- Content: Cold email content is persuasive and highly personalized. It’s designed to resonate with a particular target audience.
- Recipients: Cold email recipients have no previous contact with your business. They are often compiled through lead prospecting, which is the process of researching potential customers.
- Volume: Most email marketing campaigns involve sending emails to as many recipients as possible, but cold emailing reaches only prospects who fit the company’s ICP and buyer persona.
To create a successful cold email campaign, you need to:
- Focus on benefits instead of features: Highlight how your products and services can positively impact your target audience’s daily life.
- Include a straightforward call-to-action (CTA): A clear and concise CTA will guide readers on what to do after reading your email.
- Keep it short and straight to the point: Most people have a short attention span, so immediately state your email’s purpose.
Cold emailing can be more labor-intensive than other types of email marketing campaigns because it requires a high level of personalization, but when done right, it has a significant impact on business objectives.
Salespeople can leverage the blogs produced by the marketing team to make them persuasive when closing deals with leads. They can use the data and statistics in the content to educate and nurture leads about their pain points and the solutions for them.
High-quality blogs have the following characteristics:
- Relevance: The blog content must satisfy the search intent of the leads. For example, if your target keyword is “how to ride a bike,” the content must be mostly about teaching readers how to bike instead of discussing what bike is best for them.
- Quality: Quality blogs are well-researched and have a good flow, making them easy and enjoyable to read.
- Consistency: To yield the best results, sharing blogs with leads must be done consistently.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing increases brand awareness and reputation, making it easier to attract sales leads’ attention. You can leverage social media tools to reach your target audience by:
- Sharing testimonials as social proof
- Launching targeted ads with special offers as an incentive
- Taking advantage of social media sponsorship
- Building a referral program
Social media marketing allows you to build meaningful relationships with customers, raising the chances of repeat business.
Tips to Build an Effective Sales Process
An efficient sales process can help maximize resources and yield better results. Here are tips for implementing it in your business:
Assess your current sales process
The first step to building an efficient sales process is to audit your current setup and look for potential funnel leaks. You can use data and behavioral analytic tools to identify these leaks. Data tools will pinpoint your funnel leak, while behavioral analytics tools will tell you why it’s happening.
Once you have identified where it is and why it’s occurring, it will be easier to find the solutions.
Understand your target customers
An effective sales process resonates with your target customers. You need a good understanding of who your potential clients are and which are their pain points to curate content and strategies that will attract their attention.
You can understand your target customers by creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and a buyer persona. Also known as ideal buyer profile, an ICP defines the businesses that would benefit the most from your products and services, while buyer personas are research-based profiles representing people who’ll benefit from your offerings.
Build a lead generation strategy
The hardest part of sales is having enough leads to convert into paying customers. That is why having a lead generation strategy that resonates with your target customers and is tailored to your market is crucial.
One of the most direct strategies to generate sales leads is through appointment setting. When done right, it can fill your pipeline with highly qualified leads that have higher chances of becoming paying customers.
Learn how to make an effective sales pitch
A good sales pitch communicates your company’s value proposition and differentiates you from your competitors. It’s essential to find a persuasive tone without being pushy or pressuring.
Timing is also critical when making an effective sales pitch. If you do it too early, the lead might feel overwhelmed. If you do it too late, you might lose to your competition. Understanding the sales funnel will help determine the best time to throw a sales pitch.
Attracting sales leads is possible with a successful lead generation strategy. To do that, you need to understand the sales funnel and make your sales process efficient.