Smarketing is the process of aligning marketing and sales teams within an organization around common goals with a main objective of increasing revenue. Smarketing is important because it is the point at which marketing can most effectively hand off qualified leads to sales. Without collaboration at this critical stage, a significant amount of leads can be lost.
A qualified lead is a lead who has expressed interest in your products or services and meets buying criteria as established by sales and marketing teams within your organization. Understanding the necessary criteria for a lead to be qualified is important as it helps direct the sales and marketing teams to invest time in leads who are most likely to convert into customers.
Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers into leads. The primary objective of lead generation is to bring visitors in with content offers and guide them through the buyer’s journey until they are ready to become a customer. Lead generation takes place within the second stage of inbound marketing the conversion stage.
Lead nurturing, also known as drip marketing or marketing automation, is the process of building relationships by providing relevant content offers to leads and customers that align with where they are in the buyer’s journey and sales funnel. The purpose of lead nurturing is to provide information and answers to prospects at the appropriate time in order to guide them towards becoming customers.
The term lead refers to a contact who has submitted a form on a website or landing page in return for a content offer. At this stage, at least some information about the individual is known. Ways in which an individual can become a lead include downloading an eBook, submitting a survey response or signing up for a newsletter among other options.
An inbound marketing strategy brings all of an organization’s inbound marketing goals together and places them into one comprehensive plan. An inbound marketing strategy should focus on how you will meet the needs of and deepen engagement with your audience and how you will grow and maintain sales. The first step in creating an inbound marketing strategy is understanding where you currently are. Only by understanding your current state, are you able to create goals that are truly relevant, realistic and achievable.
Inbound marketing tactics are specific marketing activities that are conducted in support of your inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing tactics are defined and followed in accordance to your inbound marketing plan. There are a wide variety of inbound marketing tactics that an organization can utilize. Some of these include search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click ads (PPC), blogs, email campaigns, social media, landing pages, videos, podcasts, eBooks, whitepapers, product demos and trials and the list goes on.
Social media monitoring, also known as social media listening, is the process of actively monitoring what is being said about your company, competitors or a specific topic across social media platforms. Social media monitoring allows you to gain insight into public opinion, identify influencers and industry trends, provide customer support and reach prospects.
A Marketing Qualified Lead, commonly referred to as MQL, is a contact who is more deeply engaged than a typical lead, but requires additional nurturing before becoming sales ready. It is important to keep MQLs warm, so to speak, by continuing to foster interest in your products or services until they are ready to make a purchase decision.
A sales qualified lead (SQL) is a prospective customer who has displayed intent to buy your company's products or services and has met lead qualification criteria. Once a prospect reaches the SQL stage, they are ready to be contacted by your sales department. In order to effectively qualify contacts as they move through the buyer’s journey, sales and marketing teams within your organization need to identify and agree upon qualities a prospect must have and actions they must take in order to advance to the next lifecycle stage.