"Lead generation is hard," writes Cliff Langston at MarketingProfs. "Why make it harder by doing it without a strategy?" But vague goals and loosely articulated objectives aren't enough—it's important to document what you plan to do, and how you plan to do it. Especially since you can craft a solid lead generation strategy in as little as half of one business day. Here's how:

Define your target customer. Who is she? How does your value proposition align with her needs? How does she buy what you sell? Be sure that your sales and marketing departments agree on your definition of a qualified lead.

Consider your follow-up tactics. Whether you make contact by phone or email will depend largely on what you learn through experience. "Identify which work[s] best for you," writes Langston. "Vary the sequence, test, and learn."


Determine how you will build your list. You'll start with inbound inquiries—leads acquired when they sent an email, called for more information, registered online, or attended an event. You may also rent or buy lists, but he offers this caveat: "You don't buy a list of leads; you buy a list of names ... and a name becomes a lead when two human beings think it makes sense to continue a conversation."

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