A growing business means a profitable business. However, profitability is only possible when the right customers purchase your products and services. It’s far from impossible, but acquiring both clients and prospects is a process that needs to be taken seriously.

To expand your customer base, you need to have a robust lead generation strategy. You’d think that the connection between leads and revenue would mean that most companies have figured out the best ways to collect prospect data. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

In reality, designing the actual lead generation strategy is still a challenge, as 42% of 845 companies admitted having difficulty in planning a tactic for generating leads according to a survey by the Information Technology Services Marketing Association and Rain Group.

The good news is that plotting your strategy for lead generation is as easy as asking the what, who, where, when, and why of the Sales and Marketing processes.

Here are some of the essential questions you need to answer to before you start investing in lead generation:

  1. What Do Your Potential Customers Want?

Assuming that you already know who your targets are (as you should, by now), the next thing to find out is their needs.

Ask what their goals and pain points are to fully understand what value to deliver and how to tailor your message when communicating with them.

This means doing industry research, surveying consumers, consolidating information, and trying to make sense of the data.

  1. What Can Your Business Deliver?

Develop a unique selling proposition (USP) about your business and make sure that the entire organization aligns with and understands it.

The USP informs your target market why they should buy or get your product or service and what makes you different compared to the competitors—what can you promise and deliver to potential customers and what is your value proposition?

The message should be communicated right from the start of the buyer’s journey, as it will make your business stand out.

  1. Who is Your Lead?

You cannot generate a lead without knowing your business’ definition of “lead.” Make sure that all the teams involved in the process (especially the Sales and Marketing departments) agree on who the company is trying to get.

Aside from having a definite explanation of your target lead, this step can also help in Sales and Marketing alignment.

  1. How Do You Reach Leads?

Find out which channels to use to communicate with your leads by learning which websites they usually go to, the frequency of visits, and how they search for information.

Once answered, you can utilize strategies like content marketing, paid advertising, sponsorship, and affiliate programs targeted at your prospects.

From this data, you can then set up surveys, social media monitoring, interviews with current customers, A/B testing, and a lot more to gather information on or drive your leads.

  1. At Which Point in the Sales Process Do You Want to Generate Leads?

Every step of the sales process can generate leads, albeit not of the same quality. Therefore, the approach should differ at each point.

For example, someone who’s in the early stages is still learning about their problem and will probably need more nurturing. However, the same technique will not work if the person is already ready to buy.

Know the stages of your sales funnel inside out, and you’ll be able to zero-in on potential bottlenecks so that you can maximize conversion rates.

  1. What Do You Do With the Lead?

Leads should be directed to the Sales team for the final step (closing), but then, some of them may need to be directed to Marketing for nurturing, as they may not be ready to make the purchase yet.

Lead nurturing is the process of directing leads along the funnel to prepare them for the last part of the buyer’s journey by informing them why they should buy from the business. It’s essential to come up with an effective nurturing process and stick with it

  1. When Do Leads Become Prospects?

To establish if a lead is ready for purchase, your company should first have a method for lead scoring. In lead scoring, a lead can either be a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL).

An SQL is a lead for a person in the Sales team to reach out to, while an MLQ is one that is for Marketing, as further nurturing is needed. There are key indicators needed to determine the score of a lead. Metrics for these indicators can be set through a Service-Level-Agreement (SLA) between the teams.

  1. Where are You Going to Distribute Your Content? 

Any content that earns you a place in customers’ minds as a trustworthy source is worth creating. And you can choose to deliver this content via blog posts, videos, images, infographics, webinars, whitepapers, eBooks, and the like.

Depending on the type of content you create you can learn which distribution channel should be used—websites, blogs, social media accounts, and email are all great options.

You can even leverage gated or exclusive content to collect key information from your prospects in exchange for giving them access to your content. 

  1. What Do You Want Customers to do After Purchase?

Interaction with a lead or customer shouldn’t end after the purchase. After all, satisfied customers can be utilized to gain even more leads and prospects, as they help you put lead generation strategies in the context of the customer journey.

Customers can be beneficial in gaining good publicity, especially in this era of social media.

  1. How Will You Track Your Progress?

Nowadays, there is no better way to track your lead generation progress than through CRM software. It’s reached the point where if you don’t have an effective customer management tool, you’re planning to fail.

With the right CRM software, you can quickly and accurately track the status and success of leads based on the goals and metrics set. In addition to behavioral data, these tools can help store and manage contact data, which can help in your lead qualification process.

Do You Have the Answers?

These questions should be set forth and answered carefully before planning a successful lead generation strategy. Your answers can be used not only as benchmarks for when you move forward, but also to avoid common mistakes, make better, informed decisions, and show where you need improvement in the planning, as well as with the process itself.

So, are you ready to get started with lead generation?