All eyes are on you, Marketing Manager, to feed the sales team ready-to-close leads. But how do you find leads and prime them for buying? Welcome to lead generation marketing.

What is Lead Generation Marketing? 

Lead gen marketing is what businesses do to attract ideal customers. Your content marketing — think blog posts, email sequences, and whitepapers — nurtures the target lead, getting them interested in your product or service. 

When the prospect is ready to buy, your sales team carries them over the finish line to close the deal.

Here’s the thing, in a HubSpot survey, only 7% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were very high quality.

Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of lead generation marketing, including: 

  • Identifying the right-fit customers
  • When to turn your marketing leads over to sales
  • Generating leads with content

What Is a Lead in Marketing (and How Do You Know if They’re the Right Fit)?

A marketing lead is someone who has engaged with your content and taken some sort of action.

Maybe your website visitor handed over their email to receive blog alerts or asked a question on your chatbot.

However, not all marketing leads are equal. How do you sort the tire kickers from the people who’ll value your product or service? 

Create Your Ideal Customer Profiles (ICPs) 

To ensure your marketing lead generation process will work, take the time to build out comprehensive ideal customer profiles

That includes working with your sales team to identify the target buyer’s demographics, firmographics, preferred social media platforms, and where they are in the buyer’s journey.

You’ll also use your customer personas to guide future marketing and sales efforts.

The better you understand your customers — and continue to solve their business problems — the more likely you are to secure their ongoing business (such as crucial annual renewals). 

Once you have your ICPs mapped out, you can focus on building a stream of ready-to-buy prospects or marketing qualified leads

What Are Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)?

Marketing qualified leads are the people who’ve interacted with your content. Maybe they handed over their email to learn more about your offer — an indication they’re worth pursuing. 

How do you know when your MQL is ready to talk to sales? 

You can track their buying signals. Did they:

  • Visit a product page multiple times? 
  • Read several blog posts? 
  • Start your free trial?

Knowing prospects’ buying behaviors and developing a lead scoring system will determine when your sales team needs to step in. 

Also, work with sales — talk to them about what they need in the way of leads to close more deals.

“With ZoomInfo, we’ve increased the number of meetings scheduled by 85% and have decreased our email bounce rates by 13%” – David Donnelly, Digital Marketing Manager at Digitcom

(see the case study)

How to Use Content Marketing to Generate Leads

Your content marketing (inbound) efforts are critical for attracting your ideal customer. 

In fact, roughly 60% of marketers stated Content Marketing is ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ to their overall strategy. 

Of course, the success of your content marketing depends on your content marketing strategy. The overall goal is to stimulate prospects‘ interest in your product or service. 

For instance, your B2B blog is a powerful tool for attracting prospective customers.

Engaging blog posts with clear, persuasive calls to action (such as asking them to sign up for a demo or register for a webinar) will bring prospects closer to your brand.

However, at this point in their buying journey, prospects are probably not ready to talk to your sales rep. 

That’s where your inbound email and social media marketing come in.

1. Email Marketing Lead Generation

When a prospect starts your free trial or downloads a white paper, you need to keep them engaged with your brand. 

Sending an automated email sequence will nurture their interest in your product. For example, maybe a prospect started your free trial, but they haven’t used it.

An automated email with a how-to video and practical tips will keep them engaged with your product. 

Moreover, the email sequence allows you to ‘ask for the sale’ and move them over to your sales team.

2. Lead Generation Through Social Media Marketing

The great thing about social media marketing is it’s cost-effective and relatively straightforward to implement — from sharing your latest blog post to announcing an upcoming webinar.

Take Twitter, for instance. In the last 6 months of 2020, there were 6.5 billion users on desktop & mobile web. 

ZoomInfo on Twitter

Chances are you can reach your ideal B2B customers — including influencers and decision-makers — on Twitter.

[Related Read] Lead Generation Through Virtual Events: Covid-19 Lessons

Lead Generation Marketing: Assess, Adjust, Repeat

Your lead generation marketing’s success depends on understanding your ideal customer and how your product or service will solve their business problem. 

Once you know that, you can nurture leads with content then hand them to your sales team to close the deal. 

To ensure your lead gen marketing works long-term, ask your marketing and sales teams: “What can we do better or differently to qualify — and convert — even more leads?” 

You’ve got the marketing side of lead generation down. Let’s do a deep dive into Lead Generation Strategy

About the author

Sharyn Inzunza

Sharyn Inzunza is a Senior Content Writer at ZoomInfo, the leading B2B contact database and sales intelligence solution for go-to-market teams.

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