These days, lead generation is more than just producing a list of names. It’s a delicate balance of art and science. With marketers juggling a wide range of responsibilities, who has time for trial and error? Set yourself up for success by avoiding these common lead generation pitfalls.

The Content Well is Dry...

Content is the workhorse of lead generation today, from white papers and e-books that prompt prospective buyers to convert on landing pages to ongoing nurturing content that keeps them engaged. Those new to content marketing are often intimidated by the prospect of producing a seemingly endless stream of high quality pieces.

Fortunately, there are a few shortcuts to beef up your content arsenal. Great content can come in a variety of forms and individual buyers may prefer some formulas over others. One best practice is to reuse a topic across multiple pieces. A single concept could result in a white paper, a blog series, a webinar and a case study, with minimal work required to adapt the content.

Another way to quickly produce content is to borrow from others, with permission. If you have a network of partners, share relevant content; before you know it, you’ve doubled your holdings! You can also enlist industry experts to contribute to your blog or co-host a webinar. Speaking of experts, don’t forget to take advantage of industry research by linking to infographics, blog posts and recent reports that may be useful to your target audience. You may be able to license and distribute the reports as a lead generation tool.

A Lead is a Lead is a Lead...

All leads are not created equal. With the Internet providing an infinite amount of choices, today’s buyers often spend a lot of time researching purchases -- and soaking up all that content. Without a system in place, it’s hard to tell the difference between a buyer who’s ready for a sales call and one who just began researching.

Sales and marketing teams should work together to develop the criteria for an ideal lead -- from objective qualifiers such as job title to activity-based criteria such as which content sends the strongest buying signal. From here, marketing can develop workflows. An example of this is a trigger to automatically assign high-priority, “hot” leads to the appropriate salesperson. Cooler leads, which show promise but haven’t shown many buying signals yet, should go into a drip-marketing campaign.

Qualifying leads in this manner helps ensure that the sales team gets access to the hottest leads at the right moment, instead of wasting valuable time calling disinterested prospects. With the right triggers in place, leads will automatically move up the chain of priority, making you look like a lead gen rock star.

On That Guy like White on Rice...

Prospects moving through your sales cycle may be exposed to many different touch points. If you aren’t careful, they’ll get overwhelmed and unsubscribe or stop taking your calls. When setting up nurturing campaigns, allow for several days between messages. That’s why it’s called a drip marketing campaign, and not a flood! Many marketers outline several drip campaigns, with some that are more aggressive for hot prospects and others that are designed for early-stage education.

Sales reps who are calling on leads need full visibility into a prospect’s activity history, including marketing touches like email blasts. This allows them to time their own sales outreach and avoid double-hitting a prospect on the same day. Insight into prospect activity can also help a rep develop effective talking points that build upon a piece of content the prospect just received.

When designing a modern lead generation campaign, don’t get overwhelmed with the complex technology options available. Start small and keep an eye on your campaigns. Solicit feedback from the sales team to gauge the effectiveness of new methods. Treat your prospects like you’d want to be treated and before you know it, you’ll be running a well-oiled marketing machine.

Editor's Note: You may also be interested in reading: