Understand and Effectively Use Leads in Marketing
Table of contents
- What is a lead in marketing?
- The Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
- The Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
- What is the evolution from lead to customer?
- Lead acquisition
- Qualifying the lead
- Lead nurturing
- Lead activation: transitioning to customer status
- How to generate qualified leads?
- Identify your buyer’s persona
- Segment your contact lists
- Optimize your retention and conversion rate
- Build customer loyalty:
- Analyze your results
- LaGrowthMachine: A sales automation software to boost your leads
- Key takeaways:
Marketing lead, sales lead, prospect, customer… there are so many concepts you need to master to develop your business. For each of them, it is necessary to set up dedicated strategies.
Many companies make the mistake of putting them all in the same basket and miss out on potential sales.
LaGrowthMachine is the ideal solution to generate leads more efficiently and move them through your conversion funnel. All of this while reducing your time spent and drastically reducing your marketing expenses. But you need to know how to manage them.
What is the definition of marketing leads? How do you differentiate its qualification stages? What strategy should you adopt to convert leads into customers?
These are the questions we will answer in our guide to lead marketing. Let’s start by detailing the different types of leads you’ll be facing.
What is a lead in marketing?
A lead is the baseline of a potential customer. In concrete terms, it refers to any individual who has shown an interest in your company or your services, without being qualified.
Initially, you know very little about your lead. Their first name, their last name, their email, even their phone number, in the best of cases… but that’s all.
In concrete terms, a lead:
- is interested in and discovers your services
- has a problem to solve
- concerns exclusively the marketing teams
Unlike the prospect, they are not yet in a conversion perspective. That’s why you have to be very careful not to confuse lead and prospect.
If you do, you risk being a bit too pushy and driving them away before they have even shown any interest in your brand.
This is also why we make a difference between a marketing lead and a sales lead, although the two are closely linked.
The Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)
This is a lead that you have already managed to move up your sales funnel.
Through the content you have proposed, you have gathered valuable personal information on their behavior, their socio-professional category…
Theirs needs are identified and they know that you have the answer to their problems.
The Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)
As soon as your MQL is sufficiently enriched, you have the opportunity to move them into this second category.
At this point, the marketing teams leave the rest to the sales teams. The latter will be able to use all the information they have previously gathered to convert the prospect into a customer.
As you can see, it’s simply the transition to the sales act.
Now that you know the difference between a marketing lead, a sales lead and a prospect, you need to know how to move them from one stage to the next.
This is what we will see together.
What is the evolution from lead to customer?
In order for them to become qualified prospects, it is up to you to gather as much information about your leads as possible by offering them the best possible user experience.
The further you push them in your conversion funnel, the more likely you are to convert your lead into a customer.
To help you visualize their progression, you can refer to the TOFU (Top of The Funnel), MOFU (Middle of the Funnel), and BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel) methods.
Below, we will see the different stages through which it passes.
There are different ways to acquire leads:
- Prospecting emailing
- Social media acquisition
- Community management
- SEO (through a blog, for example)
- Online or offline display advertising
- Radio and TV advertising…
Once this is done, you have no information about them except what they have given you. In most cases, this is very little.
It makes sense! Neither you nor I want to give away all our private information to a company that asks us for it. In the best case, we leave our contact information. But we don’t tell them about our interests, our shopping habits, our professional situation…
However, it is all this information that will help us refine our proposal and make sales. Let’s go fishing.
Qualifying the lead
There are many ways to qualify a lead. This is an integral step in your lead generation strategy.
To gather valuable information about your potential customer, you need to design a dedicated conversion funnel.
Once you have identified your lead’s trigger, it’s time to show that you can meet their needs.
In order not to miss out, it is better to develop a precise mapping before you start the pure action phase. Determine the content you are going to submit to your audience as well as its timing.
The more logical and relevant the sequence is for your prospect, the higher the probability that they will progress through your funnel.
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Lead nurturing has become a favorite step for growth marketers. Although it may sound crude, this step simply means encouraging your lead’s progression through your funnel by using a good content strategy.
Prepare a content framework in advance and imagine trigger scenarios.
Which content will best match a lead’s action? Which tool will allow you to multiply the contact points?
This is a fundamental question when you know that converting a prospect into a customer requires an average of 5 to 20 contact points.
Here are some examples of content that can help you nurture your lead:
- A white paper
- A newsletter
- A webinar
- A conference
- A blog post dedicated to the issues
- An adapted social media post
- An email marketing campaign
- Retargeting (SEA or SMA)
Lead activation: transitioning to customer status
Do you remember? This is the moment when your MQL becomes a SQL. That’s why it’s so important for a company to align its sales force with its marketing team.
Once you’ve gathered enough information about your lead, it is theoretically in the buying decision phase. All the sales team has to do is set up a meeting or send an email to close the deal.
Quick Tip 💡
At this precise moment, at the bottom of the funnel (BOFU), they have to rely on data collected by the marketing team. The more customized the message, the easier the conversion will be. It’s simple: 45% of online shoppers are more likely to shop on a site that offers personalized recommendations.
How to generate qualified leads?
Now that we have reviewed the different lead qualification methods, let’s move on to lead generation methods.
Unlike the outreach strategy, inbound marketing is the perfect solution to qualify leads. It is divided into several steps.
Identify your buyer’s persona
If you don’t know who you’re talking to, how can you deliver relevant content to them?
By imagining beforehand the buying behaviors of your potential customers as well as their socio-demographic data, you will know exactly how to talk to them.
For each target, define their potential problems and find a way to meet their needs.
Segment your contact lists
Once you’ve generated leads, you’ll probably end up with a lot of contacts.
Each of them can’t be treated individually… and you can’t contact them all in the same way either.
The easiest way is to gather them into contact lists segmented according to the information collected, such as:
- Hierarchical level
- Purchasing behavior…
Optimize your retention and conversion rate
As we have seen above, the final goal of your lead generation strategy is to convert MQLs into SQL before triggering a purchase.
This is where the implementation of content adapted to each target comes into play (lead nurturing), but also lead scoring.
This is what will help you qualify your prospects’ tendency to take action. For each lever used by your potential customer, assign points to them.
Let’s take a concrete example, that you can shape according to your wishes:
- From 0 to 5 points (lead): You publish a blog post on Linkedin. A user of the platform clicks on it (+5 points)
- From 5 points to 50 points (marketing lead): A call-to-action in the article sends them to a white paper on the subject. They click on it (+5 points) and fill in their details to download it (+20 points). You send them a satisfaction email which they open (+5 points). You have cleverly added a video proposal to introduce your products to them. They click on the Calendly link and select a time slot (+15 points).
- 50 points and more (sales lead): the sales team takes over and provides a demonstration of your services (+30 points). At the end of the call, the team sends them a summary with the link to the page to subscribe to your product. The prospect clicks on it (+50 points) and then leaves the cart. A follow-up email is sent and also opened. The prospect converts and thus becomes a customer.
Build customer loyalty:
You have successfully generated your first customers, thanks to a well thought-out conversion funnel. Congratulations! Now it would be a shame to let them go.
The greatest strength of a company is a loyal customer, which we call a promoter. On average, acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer.
To keep them, there are many solutions:
- Organization of exclusive events (VIP evenings, workshops)
- Satisfaction surveys
- Birthday gifts (promotion, goodies…)
- Exclusive contents…
Analyze your results
At LaGrowthMachine, we can’t stress enough how important it is to measure your actions.
If you don’t know which strategy worked well and which lever underperformed, it’s like throwing bags of money into an incinerator.
Cut the campaigns that aren’t proving themselves and look for ways to optimize the ones that are generating business. And repeat once you’ve found the perfect recipe.
All of these actions take a lot of time. Fortunately, you can make your life much easier by choosing the right tool.
LaGrowthMachine: A sales automation software to boost your leads
All you have to do is take a look at our customer feedback to see just how effective an automation tool can be.
By automating your lead generation strategy, you will save a lot of time on your daily routine. And for every minute you save on tedious tasks, you can instead focus on increasing your sales.
With our tool, you can:
- Create a multi-channel prospecting workflow (Email, Twitter, Linkedin)
- Automatically enrich your leads
- Manage your leads in the way that seems best suited to your business
- Set KPIs and measure all the performances of your campaigns
- Integrate many complementary tools (including your CRM) to improve your data. This is the fastest and most efficient solution to be sure to set up and monitor your lead generation strategy properly.
Each marketing lead has its own specificities.
Between the different qualification steps, the different content that needs to be pushed to them, the timeframe to be taken into account… it’s best to be well-armed before going into battle. Here’s how to review your battle plan at a glance:
- A lead is a person who is interested in your services
- It is necessary to qualify them in order to convert them into a prospect
- A marketing lead is a cold or moderately hot lead
- A sales lead is close to a purchase
- To qualify a lead, it is essential to map your prospecting plan
- The TOFU-MOFU-BOFU method can help you see things more clearly
- Don’t forget to deploy a mix of lead nurturing and lead scoring strategies
- Loyalty significantly reduces your expenses compared to lead acquisition