FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT LEAD GENERATION

Some select frequently asked questions about lead generation and Growth Orbit.

What is lead generation?

Lead generation is the process of identifying a B2B company that is interested in the product or service a company offers and engaging with them.

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What is digital lead generation?

In digital marketing, lead generation engages with prospective customers via digital channels (i.e., your website, blog post, email, online ads, social media, etc.) Digital lead generation focuses on providing content to prospective customers of high enough value that they declare interest in your product or service by providing you some or all their contact information. It is important to note, however, that even after this type of engagement most of these contacts won’t be qualified at this time. These leads, commonly referred to as Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), will require further engagement to become actionable leads.

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What is content marketing?

Wikipedia defines Content Marketing as “a form of marketing focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. It is often used by businesses to achieve the following goals: attract attention and generate leads, expand their customer base, generate or increase online sales, increase brand awareness or credibility, and engage an online community of users.” Content marketing can be highly effective. By creating and publishing quality content a business can elevate their status on the internet and organically attract new customers. The challenge with content marketing is that it is time consuming and costly. Developing, publishing, and promoting enough content to stand out in an ever-expanding world wide web on any given topic is not a trivial exercise. Just look at all the content we have created here for that very purpose!

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What is outbound lead generation?

Outbound lead generation is the process of salespeople, Sales Development Representatives (SDRs), or Business Development Representatives (BDRs) proactively reaching out to engage with prospective customers who might not know about your product or service. The goal is to identify companies who have a need for your offering, educate them, and generate interest in your product or service. Ultimately through engagement and productive interactions, these potential customers develop into qualified leads.  This outreach is usually accomplished through a combination of phone calls, emails, voicemails, direct mails, and social media.

 

While outbound lead generation is commonly thought of as “Cold Calling” or “Cold Outreach”, it can be used as an effective method to qualify Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs).  Leads generated through outbound lead generation are considered Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) and are generally much higher in value then MQLs.

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Is lead generation a sales or marketing function?

Organizations fight about this all the time; the correct answer is both. Lead generation is the function where there is significant overlap between sales and marketing which can lead to a lot of tension within an organization. Marketing departments usually work diligently to generate mass quantities of content to be consumed by prospective clients. This consumption is then managed via digital tools. The prospects are “scored” and evaluated until they are ultimately defined as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). These “leads” are then turned over to sales. Sales teams, however, usually have a harder time reaching these new prospects. They either find the leads are not qualified or are unresponsive, and subsequently, give up on their efforts all together.

 

High performing organizations ensure MQLs go through an additional qualifying process before they are handed to salespeople. This helps ensure their sales resources only spend time on highly qualified leads which are more likely to turn into sales

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What is lead generation vs. demand generation?

When a business starts out or launches a new product or service, the brand and/or product are usually unknown. Demand generation is designed to change that by bringing awareness to the new product or service. It gives people a reason to learn and get excited about what you are selling. As awareness of your offering builds, your sales and marketing teams can step in to engage these new emerging prospects and convert them to leads.  

 

However, it is important to keep in mind that demand generation and lead generation are not the same thing. While demand generation can feed your lead generation effort, many of the people or organizations that become interested in your product will not be good prospects. Any new offering will attract interest from competitors, analyst, business students and professors, and/or businesses not suited to buy your offering.  So just because your demand generation effort is producing a lot of traffic, there is more work required to validate it is right kind of traffic. 

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Why is lead generation important?

Lead generation is the first step in growing any business.  It is important because it is central to how a business attracts and engages with prospective customers and develops those prospects into new customers.  The most successful businesses drive revenue growth in a scalable and predictable way, and lead generation is key.

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What is lead nurturing?

It is unusual to convert a new prospect into a customer during your first interaction. Prospects need time to learn and become aware of your company and offerings. At its core, lead nurturing is the process of cultivating prospects that are not quite ready to buy.

 

Successful lead nurturing anticipates the journey your buyer will take to learn about your offering in relation to their needs. The best lead nurturing programs are industry and persona specific, and they tailor their messaging, resources, and selling tools according to their specific buyer’s needs and their step in the buying journey.

 

Nurturing keeps prospects engaged by providing relevant content (such as blog post, whitepapers, eBooks, and webinars) designed for their situation and stage. If done well, lead nurturing can build strong brand loyalty long before a prospect is ready to buy.

 

By cultivating prospects early in the buyer’s journey, companies can increase the conversion of unqualified prospects to qualified opportunities and drive more revenue. Nurturing also helps accelerate active opportunities by giving prospective buyers the information they need to make purchasing decisions. Lead nurturing is about helping buyers along in their buyer’s journey which is why it’s most effective when triggered by prospect activity or behaviors.

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What is a sales development playbook?

A sales development playbook is a guide that sales development reps use to help them navigate the challenging work required to generate qualified leads. Without a proper sales development playbook most lead generation efforts will struggle to succeed. A well-conceived playbook will shorten the ramp-up of new hires, improve consistency and productivity across your entire team and serve as a valuable resource as your lead generation program grows, leans and matures.  

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How do I define my Total Addressable Market (TAM) and why does it matter?

Your Total Addressable Market, or TAM for short, is the total market demand for your product or service. It’s the most amount of revenue your business can possibly generate by selling your product or service to every potential customer within your market. Defining and developing your TAM for a lead generation or ABM program requires identifying all the potential companies that could potentially buy your product or service. If your TAM is not well defined, then your target account data will not be accurate. A poorly defined TAM results in an ineffective sales and marketing program, because it targets companies that are not a good fit for your business. Forrester found that over one-third of all marketing organizations struggle with data accuracy issues.

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What is market segmentation and why does it matter?

Most B2B companies today offer products and services that can serve a vast array of potential clients. Trying to target every company in every industry vertical and geography with the same messaging, approaches, and materials is likely to be less than successful. Organizations are too varied, with diverse pain points and buying processes, and different segments will respond to your sales and marketing efforts differently.

 

So how do you ensure your sales and marketing efforts are focused on the most productive targets? The answer is market segmentation and data analysis.

 

Market segmentation is the process of dividing your sales and marketing results across a diverse and varied market data set into more homogeneous segments. This can include company size, vertical, or geography. Results are divided further into sub-groups based on criteria such as persona, needs, behaviors, and attitudes. Performance data is then analyzed at the segment and sub-segment level to identify the most productive segments. Market segmentation is critical to optimizing any sales and marketing effort to maximize results.

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How much does lead generation cost?

To answer this question, we need to start with the definition of a lead. Some would suggest that any interaction with any potential customer, even a visitor to your website, counts as a lead. Others would only count those companies who have directly expressed interest and had a conversation with sales as actual “qualified leads.”  Let’s narrow this down by defining two types of leads:

 

First, Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are companies that have been attached to your business through some form of marketing activity. This could include web content including blogs and whitepapers, events like trade shows or webinars, or paid forms of advertising such as Pay Per Click, radio, or TV ads.

 

MQLs are generally easier to create, given they are typically generated through automated means (web traffic, PPC, email, etc.), but they also are much less qualified. A person that clicks on an ad or downloads a whitepaper may be a company too small to buy your product, a student doing a research paper, or even a competitor. You should expect that less than 20% of all MQLs you generate will move forward as qualified opportunities.

 

Next, Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are companies that have engaged with a representative of your business who has confirmed the prospect is qualified and has an addressable need. SQLs require real interaction, and if properly qualified, will move forward towards next steps in your pipeline at a much higher rate. You should easily expect SQLs to move to next steps more than 50% of the time.

 

Determining the cost of lead generation first requires a determination of what kind of leads are to be generated.  Marketing Qualified Leads can be generated with content automation and digital tools, and they are typically lower in cost. They can cost anywhere from $10 to $500 per lead or more.  MQLs need to be engaged by a salesperson to be qualified and evaluated to move forward to become an SQL. This process takes time and resources, and as a result, costs significantly more.  High-quality, Sales Qualified Leads can cost anywhere from $500 on up to thousands of dollars per lead.

 

In many businesses, a seasoned sales professional who is newly hired into an outside sales role can work months to identify, qualify, and engage with a new prospect. In this case, the cost of an individual lead would be the fully burdened cost of that sales rep for the duration of the time they took to develop the lead. That could be $10,000 per lead or more.

 

Ultimately, the goal of any lead generation program is to generate the qualified leads you need to support your growth plans at the lowest possible cost. Generating qualified leads at scale involves a lot of variables. The cost and ROI of an effective lead generation program is ultimately a function of your unique business. The greater the value of a new customer the likely higher the cost to generate quality leads.

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Does Growth Orbit provide sales and sales development recruiting services?

Yes. Growth Orbit has recruited and trained hundreds of sales and sales development reps and is actively engaged and recruiting in the market every dayOur business depends on identifying, hiring, and developing top-caliber sales talentThus, our active presence within the market allows our team to collaborate with companies of all sizes to recruit the next generation of top-tier sales talent to drive their business forward. Our proven track record in sales and sales development job placements can be your advantage as we use our deep understanding of the business ecosystems, and relationships, combined with our highly structured, recruiting and testing process, to help your business identify, recruit, and develop the resources they need. 

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Does Growth Orbit offer sales training?

Yes. Growth Orbit has trained hundreds of sales and sales development representatives. Over the years, we have developed and optimized a powerful mix of industry leading methodologies and our own unique curriculum. Great sales training is time-intensive and requires continuous guidance from sales experts and experienced trainers. Simple classroom training is not enough. Successful sales training requires immersive follow-up and coaching. Growth Orbit University teaches a data-driven, results-oriented curriculum that includes:  

  • Sales Fundamentals
  • Basic Selling Skills
  • Effective Navigation 
  • Prospect Engagement & Questioning Skills 
  • Anatomy of a call 
  • Selling Cadence & multi-touch cycle fundamentals
  • Objection handling and managing to productive outcomes 
  • Tech Stack use and best practices 

Growth Orbit University provides participants a solid foundation of critical selling methodologies and a broad array of advanced lead generation skills, regardless of their level of experience. Our structured learning approach, with ongoing coaching and development delivers measurable results.  

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What sales methodologies does Growth Orbit practice?

With years of experience and literally millions of sales engagements we are fans of a wide range of sales methodologies. We believe sales is a process and there is a vast amount of research and defined methodologies that, if practiced appropriately, can lead to better and more consistent outcomesOver the years we have adapted many of these methodologies to our work and have “made them our own.” We have even developed several of our own methodologies for prospect engagement, navigating complex organizations and others. For more on methodologies, we practice and recommend see “Which sales books does Growth Orbit recommend and why?” 

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Which sales books does Growth Orbit recommend and why?

At Growth Orbit, we believe sales is a process and we are not alone.  There are literally tens of thousands of great books about sales and sales methodologies. A good book can serve as a modern-day mentor. They’re like having unparalleled access to the greatest minds in the world of sales. Which is why the very best in sales make time to read books on sales. 

 

But with so many to choose from, how do I decide what makes a good book about sales. Below lists the criteria we use prior to making our recommendations.   

 

  1. Research based – We find more value in sales methodologies that are grounded in research then “tricks” and instruction based on someone’s experience. Two classic examples are SPIN Selling and The Challenger Sale. Both methodologies (which are also detailed in best-selling books) were developed after extensive research into real sales engagements.  We believe this kind of data-driven analysis leads to better recommendations and more proven approaches. 
  2. Look for the data – Not all the best sales books are born out of research projects. Regardless, look for supporting data or a rigorous testing methodology to back up their recommendations.  The Sales Acceleration Formula, by Mark Roberge is a good example. Mark brought an engineer’s mindset to his work with HubSpot and there is a lot be learned about the rigor of his approach. Even a book like Pardon my Interruption, by Matthew Lampros uses meaningful data to support his recommendations.  
  3. There are exceptions – Most books, defined methodologies, and sales training offer something of value. This is especially true for those that have stood the test of time. Sander is one of those. The methodologies and practices taught in Sandler training are mostly the result of one man’s experiences. There is not a lot of supporting data or research. Yet there are some exceptional principles, and practices that are practical and if mastered will lead to better and more predictable outcomes.  
  4. Practice – Many sales methodologies are simple to understand. SPIN (Situation Questions, Problem Questions, Implication Questions and Needs Payoff questions) or The Challenger Sale (Teach, Taylor and Take Control). But that does not mean they are easy to execute on. There are countless 10 minute or less videos on the internet about how to hit a golf ball. That does not mean you can do it effectively after watching a few. Learning a selling methodology and becoming proficient on executing a selling methodology are two different things. Being proficient at selling requires practice.  
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Does Growth Orbit create target lead list?

Yes. Once your Total Addressable Market (TAM), Serviceable Available Market (SAM), and Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) are defined, Growth Orbit will acquire your data from the best list source provider for your market. For example, Discovery.org or Dun & Bradstreet offer reasonably quality target data for most larger businesses. For specialized targets such as retailers or healthcare providers, more specialized list providers may offer better alternatives. Growth Orbit has significant experience working with a wide array of list providers as well as custom list development projects and can provide appropriate guidance for your specific needs. 

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What if I already have a target list?

That’s fine, but when providing market data to Growth Orbit, it is important to have some form of record ID so we can report back updates, data enhancements and additional data elements for each target you provide. If you are providing data from an existing CRM or Marketing Automation system, the system’s unique identifier can serve as that number. Once received, Growth Orbit will clean it up and normalize your data. If needed, we will also enrich the data with the right contacts and attributes. 

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Have a Different Question?

You can call us directly at (770) 881-8408 or ask your question via the contact form. We may even add your question to our frequently asked questions about lead generation.

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