Here is a quote from a great article that summarizes our goals for taking action on lead generation:
marketing automation platforms. In response, they’re taking a dramatically different approach to the way they cultivate and nurture leads before flagging them as ready for follow-up from Sales.
Educating Prospects Over Time
“The modern lead generation process begins much earlier in the buying cycle than it used to. Through social media and sharing, educational webinars, and search, marketers seek to be found wherever their prospective buyers may be looking for relevant information on the business challenges that the marketer’s solutions can solve. As a prospect engages with the organization, the education process can move into lead nurturing. By providing valuable content over time, the marketer will be able to remain top-of-mind and slowly educate the prospect on the key considerations for the purchase decision.
“At a certain point, the prospect’s online behavior – their digital body language – will indicate that they’re ready to engage with Sales in a later-stage discussion about purchasing. Marketers can identify this readiness through lead scoring, which matches the individual’s behavior to activities that are known to indicate buying intent. The resulting conversation with Sales will involve contracts, pricing, and service levels, and will rest on a foundation of buyer education that has been built in the earlier stages of the lead generation process.”
So the goal is to provide good content that finds its way to people who are looking for what you have to offer. Then begin an interaction with these prospects, but initially it is not specifically related to making a sale. It’s about nurturing the prospect and bringing them along to the point where they are ready to consider a purchase. Because of all this, the first connection with these prospects probably won’t be a demo or a sales presentation. It will be the delivery of content, either online or live at webinars and seminars. You may end up with a large group of people who will never buy from you, but will follow you and gain great value from you for their businesses. They may end up referring many people to you, however, especially if they are involved in the industry as channels (integrators, consultants, marketers, etc.)
The upside to all this is that it’s affordable – just takes time, creative content work and consistency. You don’t have to spend a lot. The downside is that this is going to take time. It’s not designed to generate sales tomorrow. But it will build your community consistently and put you into a position for a stronger pipeline in the next few months.