Did you know that you can generate a countless number of leads for your sales team through business partnerships?
Most marketers will agree that generating more leads is more important than increasing sales, building better relationships with customers, and even retaining existing clients. Leads are clearly an important focus for most companies.
Nevertheless, lead generation isn’t always easy. It requires accurate, balanced, and consistent volume and quality. You must ensure you have a strategic plan in order to manage, develop, and move leads through your buying cycle and the sales enablement resources you require to support and transform them into customers.
While there are lots of things to consider when creating a successful sales process, it all begins with generating qualified prospects for salespeople to convert into customers. Let’s see how brand partnerships can help you generate leads.
What Is a Business Partnership?
“Brands partnering” or “business partnerships” are ways for two or more brands to work together to grow each of them.
It could include cross promotion, co‑selling, creating content together, and even branding products and services together.
When you look at it from an outside perspective, there is a huge range of activities falling under the banner of brand collaboration. Most marketing departments would even include some form of brand collaborations within their overall marketing plan.
What Is a Lead?
A lead is anyone or anything that might be interested in what you’re offering. For some people, a lead means a potential new client; for others, it could be any sort of sales opportunity.
While they’re both right, probably the wider definition of a lead is more accurate. This is because the general understanding for a lead is anyone who’s shown interest in your product. Consequently leads can be separated into different types. Let’s see what they are.
What Are Qualified Leads?
A qualified lead is basically any lead that has been passed through some type of qualifying process. We typically think about two different kinds of qualified lead: an MQL (marketing qualified lead) and an SQL (sales qualified lead).
Marketing Qualified Lead
A marketing qualified lead has shown an active desire to learn more about your business and your product. Your marketing team then uses these behaviors as a way to qualify leads.
Behaviors that may turn a lead into an MQL include:
- Downloaded a guide
- Subscribed to your newsletter
- Have multiple visits on your website
- Added a product to their shopping cart
- Other types of interaction with your website
Typically, an MQL doesn’t cover only one of these criteria, it requires a series of them that together create a successful conversion.
Leads are usually scored through a number of points that each action gives. As additional actions are taken more points are added to the lead’s score. On the other hand, if an action that shows a loss of interest is taken, points can be subtracted.
For example, if someone visits your site once, that adds one point; visiting again after an hour adds two points, etc. On the other hand, if the lead unsubscribes from your newsletter it may lose some points.
A qualified lead has reached a certain threshold. It then triggers a series of events which leads to an email campaign being sent out.
Sales Qualified Lead
A qualified lead is a lead that has already been qualified by the company’s sales department. It may be as simple as being contacted by a sales rep.
Lastly, this decision is made by some sort of lead scoring process. This will usually include some sort of demographic determination like the size of the company; the type of business (industries) and the position of the person engaging.
You can qualify leads by asking them about their budget and which pains they might be experiencing. This may also help your marketing team to reach better leads in the future.
So What Does That Mean?
Regardless of whether there are separate marketing and customer support departments, some companies don’t even employ any. That’s why the easiest answer is “it depends”.
There are two key takeaway points here:
1) A high engagement lead is obviously a better lead than one that doesn’t engage at all (and therefore isn’t interested).
2) It’s something that you need to continually monitor and improve over the long term as you get more data.
As you collect more data, you should be able to identify the behaviors that predict whether a lead is most likely going to close down.
Can Partnerships Help You Gain New Business Leads?
There’s a wide variation in the types of stage and definition, so you may wonder which ones you can get from relationships. It depends on the type of lead generation activity or marketing effort that you undertake.
You may want to consider partnering with someone who has an existing following that closely resembles your intended customer base. Some partners may even be willing to trade links for the purpose of improving your site’s domain ranking for search engines.
There are a variety of ways you could partner with others to promote your business online.
- Exchanging backlinks
- Hosting an event
- Cross promotion
- Shared marketing content
- Integration of products
Creating content and exchanging links is great for generating inbound leads (i.e., people who visit your site). However, the sources matter. If your backlinks come from random websites, they’re not likely to convert into real business opportunities. However, if they’ve been generated by articles that solve someone else’s problem, then they’re far more valuable.
For example, if someone takes the effort to watch your video presentation online or attends an offline meeting, they’re likely a qualified prospect.
Partnerships can help your social media efforts, your content production, bring potential clients into your sales funnel through event engagement, and overall help with lead generation.
Finally, Are Business Partnerships Useful for Lead Generation?
If you’re working on social marketing or a content campaign, having brand partnerships could be like a superpower.
One of the best types of partnerships is when you get to use the resources of several different companies to create some really good content. You can then promote that content across their respective websites to drive traffic back to yours. It’s like having twice (or more) the number of people working for your company.
Partnership marketing can be an effective way to attract new prospects, but it’s uncommon for these prospects to buy right away. Rather, it’s about nurturing and engaging these prospects along the buyer’s journey.
To sum up, business partnerships can bring you the best qualified leads and easily help you scale your marketing efforts. Stop missing out on potential prospects and get in touch now.