Product qualified leads are contacts who've used your product and taken actions that indicate interest in becoming a paying customer. PQLs typically exist for companies who offer a product trial or a free or limited version of their product (like HubSpot!) with options to upgrade, which is where your sales team comes in. An example of a PQL is a customer who uses your free version but engages or asks about features that are only available upon payment.
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In order to expand a business, you need new clients, new customers. Just how do you go about accomplishing that? That’s what lead generation is all about. There is quite a process from knowing nothing about a business to eventually becoming a promoter of it. This begins with strangers becoming visitors that develop into leads. If everything evolves well, those leads turn into customers. Please and satisfied clients/customers want to spread the word and become a part of referral marketing. Through their conversations with others, whether that is in person, or on social media, they become promoters. Due to their connection, trust, and loyalty they highly recommend it and often provide testimonials. It is now personal.
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In summary, lead generation is not easy but it is a must have process for any business to survive. Some companies survive on inbound alone. However, for many B2B companies and start-ups this is not an option. I liken lead generation to mining for gold. You should never depend solely on one source of leads but have multiple sources for lead generation in case one vein dries up.
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Whether you are hosting a small private function, a large-scale international tradeshow, or an executive-level webinar, event marketing needs to be an integral part of the lead generation mix. After all, events are a critical component of an outbound marketing strategy. Essentially, events offer you the chance to define your brand, clarify the solutions you provide, and establish personal connections with participants. And while they provide you with an invaluable opportunity to engage with prospects and customers, events also give attendees the chance to interact with each other. As every marketer knows, there is no better advertising than the direct words of a satisfied customer. Events also provide a venue to deliver speeches and content that convey your company’s thought leadership and raise your perception in the eyes of buyers. Compared to other marketing tactics, events are more likely to quickly turn a prospect into a strong lead. As a lively, interactive, educational forum, events position your business as a trusted leader in a field of many.
It’s easy to see that social platforms have gained dominance as they are increasingly the preferred way that many people interact. It’s no wonder the professional networking site LinkedIn is the main site that professionals use as a way to stay in contact with people they you meet. However, crafting the right approach is just as critical as cultivating your connections. Don’t send generic invites when requesting to connect. Instead, send a personalized message that reminds them of who you are, and how and where you met. For example:
Let's say you take an online survey to learn more about how to take care of your car. A day or so later, you receive an email from the auto company that created the survey about how they could help you take care of your car. This process would be far less intrusive than if they'd just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about car maintenance, right? This is what it's like to be a lead.
The problem is that information abundance equals attention scarcity. This is known as attention economics. Social scientist Herbert Simon was the first person to discuss this concept when he wrote “in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.”
Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
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Keep a list of people who have contacted you online. These are people you have not met, or haven’t met yet, but who may be leads. Turn them from strangers into leads by enticing them with promotions that appeal to first-time customers. For example, a first month free promotion, no set-up charges, or free installation are all promotions that apply to new customers, rather than repeat ones.
Gone are the days that a marketer only relied on outbound techniques like trade shows, cold calling, and advertisements to get leads. Today’s buyer is in control. According to Forrester, buyers seek out three pieces of content about a vendor for every one piece sent by a marketer, and for every one piece sent by sales. Because of buyer self-education, your job as a marketer is to be heard through the noise and come up with new ways for leads to find you. To be a marketer in today’s world, you need a solid grasp of inbound in order to truly amplify your lead generation impact.