Picking up where we left off in the previous Modern Marketing blog, today we’re talking about two of the most common terms in a marketers vocabulary: lead generation and scale.  In this blog we’ll dive into modern approaches for lead gen, the roles both sales and marketing play in supporting lead gen (spoiler alert: lead generation is a team sport), and how to efficiently scale marketing programs to meet lead gen targets.

A Modern Approach to Lead Generation

We’ve talked about the lead funnels and the roles both sales and marketing play in each funnel stage in previous blogs.  However, we haven’t outlined specific stage objectives or put the concept into a pretty (sort of?) diagram.  Below is that diagram, complete with the usual three funnel stages, plus an introductory stage I refer to as “Aircover”.  Aircover is a term I apply to marketing initiatives that don’t have any immediately attributable value, but still plays a role in the overall marketing mix.  Aircover examples could include brand and awareness advertising (outdoor/out of home) and sponsorships (events, publications).

One of the keys to this diagram is clearly aligning stage objectives and department ownership.  The other key is noting the processes that happen at the Middle of Funnel stage as the lead moves from marketing to sales.  Remember: the difference between a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and a sales qualified lead (SQL) is an active sales opportunity versus a lead who meets qualification criteria.

The next priority for marketers is to build a quarterly approach of programs around these stages.  Start simple and define what marketing activities will play into the Top of Funnel (targeted/paid search and social, MQL nurture campaigns, publisher list rentals, etc.).  Be realistic with what your department and budget can execute.  Then do the same for Middle and Bottom of Funnel, respectively.  It’s likely your marketing program will be “Top of Funnel” heavy and that’s OK.  New lead acquisition is usually the top priority for marketers (as noted in the intro paragraph!).  One thing to consider: if you and your marketing team are really successful in your Top of Funnel activities, it might make sense to put additional weight in Middle of Funnel activities the following quarter.

I have found this kind of organization helps marketing departments of all sizes structure quarterly and annual marketing programs.  It usually identifies a common gap in a lot of marketing plans: Middle of Funnel marketing.  More on that in my next blog!

Scaling Marketing Efforts and Processes

“But can it scale?” Who hasn’t heard that question before?

Virtually every marketer knows how many leads (and marketing qualified leads!) they need to generate per month/quarter/year.  But if I’m being honest, a lot of marketers struggle to understand how much activity is required to meet its lead gen targets.

To help tackle this challenge, I use a “Lead Contribution Grid”.  In its most simple form, it’s a list of all quarterly marketing tactics you intend to run and an estimate of how many leads you expect to generate from each tactic.  In the example below, there’s a quarterly target of 350 marketing qualified leads.  The individual tactics are listed with low and high estimates for each.  To keep things simple you could use a single estimate, but personally I like playing with ranges.  The percentage contribution is the average of low and high expected results divided by 350 (the quarterly target).  Finally the approximate cost for each tactic uses an assumed $50 per marketing qualified lead and multiplies average low and high expected results number.  I find this exercise useful in telling me two things:

  1. Are there enough activities in my quarterly marketing plan to hit my lead target?
  2. Which tactics have the highest contribution towards my target, and thus, where I should prioritize time and resources. In the example below, the Webinar is the single highest contributor to my quarterly target.

I highly recommend using this kind of approach in your marketing program.  This contribution grid, paired with a marketing plan that organizes activities around lead funnel stages is the kind of structure modern, high growth marketing leaders use every day.  Oh, and yes – it definitely scales!

If your marketing program needs guidance and structure in order to meet lead generation targets, please contact us today.  We’d be glad to help organize your marketing program to meet the scale you need to operate at in 2021!

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