How to Create A Successful Lead Generation Strategy

Finding qualified leads is one of the biggest issues keeping sales people awake at night — and it’s because most businesses don’t have a great lead generation strategy, or they don’t have the resources to fix the one they do have in place.

Spending some time analyzing your current market, audiences, and lead-gen approaches can make all the difference between a strategy that’s successful and one that results in unpleasant conversations at the end of every quarter.

In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into what an effective lead generation strategy looks like in 2023 and actionable steps to build one for your business.

Quick Takeaways

  • Only 12% of companies are fully satisfied with their current lead-to-sales conversion rates. The root of this problem often lies with their lead generation strategy.
  • Lead-gen must be highly targeted to the right audiences rather than aimed at casting the widest net possible.
  • Key first steps in developing a successful lead generation strategy include: defining your target audience, creating a compelling value proposition, and setting KPI-driven goals.
  • Easy conversion points and omnichannel engagement make for the most seamless buyer experience before and after lead conversion.
  • Lead scoring and lead qualification enable efficient, effective prioritization and follow up for leads in your pipeline.
  • Marketing and sales alignment is essential to lead-gen and overall business growth.

Why Is a Lead Generation Strategy So Important?

Too many companies and marketing teams think that lead generation is about casting the widest net possible—in other words, blasting your message as far and wide as you can—to generate the maximum amount of leads. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t account for lead quality, a crucial factor in whether or not the leads in your pipeline will actually convert to sales.

Today, only 12% of companies report being “very satisfied” with their lead-to-sales conversion rates, and an additional 64% say they’re only “neutral” or “somewhat satisfied.” In addition, an alarming 25% say they’re “somewhat unsatisfied” or “very unsatisfied.”

Bar chart shows company satisfaction levels with lead-to-sales conversion rates, with only 12% reporting to be “very satisfied” with their current performance.

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Much of the problem marketing and sales teams experience as it relates to lead conversion is rooted in flaws that exist in their initial lead generation strategy.

When you create an intentional and focused lead conversion strategy, you can be confident your marketing and sales efforts are targeted to the right audiences—those most in need of and best fit to purchase what you have to offer.

An effective lead generation strategy balances the goal of generating a high volume of leads with ensuring that those leads are high quality and worth pursuing so that your teams can avoid the pitfall of chasing poor leads that will never convert.

Let’s look at 8 steps you can take right now to create a lead generation strategy that delivers more business for your company.

How to Create a Successful Lead Generation Strategy for Your Business

Define Your Target Audiences

Step one in the development of every successful lead generation strategy is defining your target audience—the buyers you’ll design your marketing messages to reach. Your target audience should be made up of the organizations and purchase decision makers in need of your solutions.

Start by clearly defining the problems your solutions solve. What needs do they address? What problems do they solve? What goals do they help users accomplish?

After you answer these questions fully, use the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and buyer persona frameworks to define audience traits and motivations. ICPs describe target customers at the organizational level, while personas describe individual decision makers within them. Together, these two frameworks help you develop a multi-level marketing message that resonates with the right people.

Create a Compelling Value Proposition

Next, develop your value proposition (VP). A value proposition outlines for your audience how your solutions deliver value for them. The best value propositions are compelling enough to make audiences feel like they must have your solutions. Strategyzer’s Value Proposition Canvas is a helpful tool for developing an effective VP for your business.

Set Goals and Identify KPIs

Your lead generation strategy should be rooted in clearly defined goals and measurable KPIs to help you track and evaluate performance over time. The SMART goal framework is a commonly used one for defining goals.

Graphic showing the SMART goal framework: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound.

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The KPIs you choose may vary depending on your unique goals and the type of business you run. Some of the most common and important lead-gen KPIs to consider are number of leads, lead conversion rate, number of sessions, engagement metrics, and total lead value.

For specific lead-gen marketing campaigns, you may also want to include KPIs like open rate, bounce rate, and click-through rate to measure performance of your outreach efforts.

Choose Your Marketing Channels

According to McKinsey, buyers use more than 10 channels to interact with brands throughout the entirety of their purchase journey. At the same time, we know it takes multiple touches (6-8 on average) before a potential lead takes action to convert.

Together, these insights tell us that companies need lead generation strategies that engage leads across multiple channels and ensure targeted follow up until they enter the pipeline.

Because different audiences have different preferred channels, preferences, and behaviors, it is important to know your unique audience and meet them where they are. Some channels (like email or SEO) may be consistent across all types of audiences, while others (like preferred social media platforms) will vary based on age and other demographics.

Another key to successful channel-based lead generation is moving from a multichannel to omnichannel strategy. While multichannel engagement includes several channels, omnichannel engagement connects interactions across those channels for a more seamless experience.

Graphic demonstrating the difference between omnichannel (integrated customer engagement channels) and multichannel (multiple non-integrated channels).

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Create Easy, Obvious Conversion Points

How easy is it for interested potential leads to enter your pipeline? Your lead generation strategy should aim to remove all potential barriers to conversion and make it easy for leads to share their information. Make CTAs clear and compelling, subscription buttons prominent, and forms easy to complete. Motivate leads to take action with accurate targeting and emphasis on the value your solutions can deliver.

Qualify and Score New Leads

Lead qualification and lead scoring are essential processes for assessing the quality of new leads as they enter your pipeline and prioritizing them for appropriate follow up. Qualification involves evaluating new leads against specific criteria that categorizes them as follows:

  • Marketing Qualified (MQL) — Show fit with ICP/personas but need to be nurtured by your marketing team before they’re ready for sales communication
  • Sales Accepted (SAL) — Ready for handoff from marketing to sales and officially accepted by your sales team
  • Sales Qualified (SQL) — Have high fit and high purchase intent, are ready for direct engagement with your sales team

Lead scoring assigns numerical values to specific lead attributes and behaviors (as shown in the lead scoring example template below) so that they can be prioritized according to conversion potential and you can target your efforts to move them through your pipeline more efficiently.

Example lead scoring template showing how point values are assigned to lead behaviors and attributes.

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Fortunately, both lead scoring and lead qualification can be highly automated using marketing automation tools in conjunction with your CRM, so your marketing and sales teams can focus on actual lead engagement.

Implement Lead Nurturing Campaigns

Lead nurturing is the process of cultivating leads who have high potential but are not yet ready to buy. When executed effectively, lead nurturing builds trust and keeps leads engaged until they reach purchase readiness. Nurturing tactics most often include email campaigns, but can also involve things like event invitations, outreach from sales development reps, and dynamic content sharing to address unique questions and concerts.

Companies that nurture their leads well are able to generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost and avoid high-potential leads falling out of the pipeline due to lack of engagement.

Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost.

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Align Your Marketing and Sales Teams

Your lead generation strategy requires buy-in and participation from both your marketing and sales teams—and it needs to be a collaborative effort. While marketing and sales misalignment is a challenge as old as time in the B2B world, overcoming it is critical to lead-gen success.

In fact, LinkedIn research reports that 87% of marketing and sales leaders say that collaboration between their teams enables critical business growth, and 85% say sales and marketing alignment is the largest opportunity for improving business performance today. Some steps you can take to make this alignment a reality include:

  • Starting at the top—get your leads committed to greater collaboration
  • Be clear about your marketing and sales processes and each team’s responsibilities
  • Set shared goals and celebrate wins toward achieving them
  • Adopt the right marketing and sales software tools to enable ongoing collaboration
  • Meet frequently with representatives from both teams to align strategies

Over to You

Ready to launch a lead generation strategy that consistently delivers results? If so, RevBoss can help. Our outbound email software and lead generation services are custom-built for startups, consultancies, marketing agencies, and other B2B organizations.

Schedule a quick call with us today to find out how we can help you win more clients.