This blog was written before Pardot was renamed to Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. You can read more about the name change and what it means here.
The end-to-end process of lead generation can feel like having a dozen balls in the air at once, particularly when it’s done 100% manually. Pardot lead generation automates the repetitive parts and helps us improve but only if we have the right basics in place.
By basics, I mean the foundations that get us started on the right foot and allow us to grow, optimise and improve over time.
For example, any great lead generation strategy needs to take into account the full customer journey, from initial awareness to marketing-qualified lead, and then sales-ready.
In a hurry? Skip to the parts that most interest you using the links below:
Start with a lead generation plan
There’s plenty to consider, which is why I always recommend starting with a documented plan that outlines:
- The desired audience
- Lead definitions
- How we’ll target prospects at all stages of the marketing funnel
- Content and assets required
- Lead grading and scoring criteria
- Roles and responsibilities
- Lead management process
- Targets and KPIs
- Reporting and measurement process
It’s important to get all of this information down on paper so that everybody in the team is clear on the plan and what’s expected of them. Doing this upfront saves time and avoids misunderstandings and mishaps.
Not only that, having a plan that includes targets means we have metrics and measurements that justify whether our lead generation efforts are working… or not.
Once we have a documented plan of action, we can set to work creating everything we’ll need for our Pardot lead generation activity.
So what are those basic elements that usually make up automated lead generation?
Pardot lead generation - what else do we need?
An engaging landing page
When prospects land on a web page, whether it’s from organic search, a paid social advertising campaign, or Google Ads, we have just a few seconds to grab their attention.
Once we have their attention, we have to keep it.
Landing page design and the content we include on a page is so important.
If we truly want to generate leads, we can’t afford to ignore user experience or branding and design - no matter how enticing our offer is.
Want a prospect to download an ebook? Make it easy and attractive for them to do so. When it comes to web design, remember the quote from Steve Krug, “Don’t make me think”.
A lead magnet
As much as a poor landing page can stop us generating a lead despite the offer, a great landing page with a less than exciting offer is just as bad.
The best way to generate leads is to use a lead magnet’ i.e. give them something that they naturally gravitate towards because they need or desire it.
For example, a guide that solves a huge pain point, a relevant case study that inspires them, or even an interactive tool that is fun to use and informative.
So many businesses default to the typical sign up for our newsletter’ message, which is useful for general opt-ins and something we use at MarCloud with great success. However, a tailored lead magnet takes targeted lead generation to the next level!
A single and obvious call to action
On a page that’s designed to generate leads, we should be making it extremely obvious what action we need a prospect to take next.
We can’t doubt ourselves and chuck in two or three calls to action, just in case the first one isn’t enticing enough.
Great lead generation is about aligning our offer with everything we know about our target audience and their point in the sales journey.
If we’ve got something they want or need, we should be confident in pushing that single message. If we’re not confident, perhaps we don’t know them well enough…
Don’t forget the paradox of choice; give somebody too many options and they’ll choose none at all.
A short form
A lead generation form is the last reason a potential lead might decide not to share their information with us and exit the site.
The way we ask for personal data matters and ideally, it shouldn’t include more than five questions. Ask for the most essential information only and save additional questions for later down the track.
Of course, if we already know a prospect and we’re trying to re-engage them or nurture them further, we should absolutely be using pre-filled and dynamic Pardot forms.
An Engagement Studio
Added a new prospect to your Pardot list? Great news! What’s next?
Generating a known prospect in the system is not the same as generating a lead.
A prospect is a person of interest while a lead is a person of interest who is also interested in us.
Just because somebody downloads one ebook doesn’t necessarily mean they are interested in our business (so please hold that almost immediate follow up call).
The process of generating the lead is still happening at this point and it’s up to us to kick-off a solid nurture program using Engagement Studio by setting up automated emails that are directly relevant and tailored to the prospect.
Lead scoring and grading
Now we’re really getting into the perks of running Pardot lead generation campaigns!
With lead grading telling us how perfectly a prospect fits our ideal customer and lead scoring telling us how interested the prospect is in us, we can rest easy knowing that as soon as they are sales-ready, we’ll know about it.
We can set up notifications for the relevant members of our marketing and sales team so that sales-ready leads are automatically sent to them for follow up.
Lead grading and scoring are often overlooked by businesses new to Pardot but it’s invaluable to set this up if we want to create a lead generation machine that simplifies internal processes.
The right integration with Salesforce
When the sales team are using one software and marketing are using another, things can get siloed very quickly.
Before kicking off any lead generation activities, make sure Pardot and Salesforce are talking to each other and syncing correctly.
We’ve written plenty of blogs on this topic, so feel free to navigate to these using the links below:
Fast, automated lead generation is one of the core reasons businesses invest in Pardot. With the capability to run lead gen campaigns but also have access to in-depth and accurate analytics, it’s the best way to test, learn and improve.
If you’d like to chat more about lead generation with Pardot and how MarCloud can help support you with this, send us a message!