If you’re looking to grow your existing business through lead generation, here are five questions to answer when you’re trying to get started. If you can clearly answer these five questions and you’ll be on your way.

1. Do you really know how and why your customers buy from you?

This is the most fundamental question that every business needs to answer. Why do buyers buy from you and what process do they use to narrow their choices and decide on you? Few businesses can answer that question.

This is why I suggest developing buyer personas based on the teachings of the Buyer Persona Institute, by Adele Revella, including her 5 Rings of Insight™. This was also well documented in Joe Pulluzi’s great book, Epic Content Marketing, which he called, Audience Personas.

2. Do you have content which engages your prospective buyers?

The buyer insights gained in the first question will help you create content which engages your prospective buyers, and teaches you the right words to use. Develop case studies and customer videos. Take a videographer out with you to visit customers. When I hosted Marketing Made Simple TV, I asked my guests to create promotional videos for me, and they all said yes. Global CEO of Young and Rubicam, David Sable, once said, “If you don’t ask, the answer is NO.” Just ask and almost always people say yes.

One local software company featured static customer logos, but those logos beg unanswerable questions:

  • What did the buyers buy from us?
  • What broken process(es) did they solve?
  • What was their ROI?

Logos do not answer these buyer questions. Case studies and customer videos answer these questions. A logo engages eyes only, but videos engage eyes and ears, which is why videos are so important today and why brief customer videos should be a priority for you. They’re also helpful for sales to show to prospective buyers.

In addition, mobile is more and more important today, especially since it was announced by Business News that Google is indexing mobile sites.

3. Do you have lead nurturing set up to earn trust and gain favor?

Creating great content using the proper words from your buyer persona development is the key to setting up lead nurturing in your marketing automation software. You need to map your content to the buying process, which was outlined in How to Find New Customers. Marketo also has a great eBook on lead nurturing. You can use whatever buying process you prefer and you do not have to use this one, but this one works fine.

  • Untroubled/Unaware (Don’t even know they have a problem.)
  • Have Problem (Know the problem, but not how big it is.)
  • Need Solution (It’s big. We need solve it.)
  • Which to Consider? (Who’s on the short list?)
  • Which is Best? (Of the ones we considered, which one is the best choice?)

It’s also strongly suggested that you do Lead Scoring along with Lead Nurturing. Lead scoring is the process of adding points for online behavior. For instance, a visit an online demonstration or customer testimonial may be worth a lot of points, but a visit to your careers page may be assigned negative values. (Job seekers are not buyers.) Set those up in your marketing automation software. Keep testing and experimenting and it will get better and better over time.

4. Do you have landing pages that engage prospective buyers?

Once you’ve earned trust via lead nurturing, the prospective buyer will likely visit your website to learn more. Where are they going? Are they going to a home page or single purpose landing page.

Does the content on your landing page map to the marketing content they recently received from you? Does the landing page invite them to engage with you? You’ve got to ensure everything works together well, so keep working till everything works smoothly together.

5. Do you have a well-defined process of handing qualified leads to salespeople?

Now that your leads are well nurtured and their behaviors are scored, you can assign a point value to hand leads off to sales. Let’s assume a score of 75 matches a time to hand the deal to a salesperson. Don’t hand a lead to Sales too soon, because Brian Carroll found only 5 to 15% of leads are any good.

What happens to the deal that got 75 points you just handed to sales? Did she accept it? A Marketing Lead is not a Sales Accepted lead. “Marketing looks for Mr. Right. Sales looks for Mr. Right Now.” is a great line once said to me. Once marketing hands a lead to sales, it is up to Sales to accept it.

It is not accepted or is not followed up, you need a way to clawback the lead or take it back if it was not followed up in defined amount of time and put it back into Marketing.

Clawbacks were well defined several years ago by Steve Woods of Eloqua in his blog Digital Body Language, which is as useful today as it was in 2009. Marketing facts are marketing facts.

What do you think of these five questions and answers?