What is Lead Acquisition and How to Get it Right

29th March 2022

What’s the difference between lead generation lead acquisition? We teach you plus share tips on how to optimise your lead acquisition

It’s pretty common for marketers and businesses to confuse lead generation and lead acquisition. But don’t be fooled. They’re not the same. 

Each come with their own challenges. 

In this blog, we’ll delve into: 

So, let’s get stuck in.

💡 Pro Tip

Learn more about lead generation and lead tracking with Ruler’s complete guide. You’ll learn how to effectively track each and every lead through the full customer lifecycle. 

What is a lead?

A lead is someone who has expressed interest in your business’s products or services. 

They’ve given you at least some basic information, indicating that they could be interested in buying from you. They could have given you their contact information, interacted with your website, or subscribed to your blog, for example.

Related: How to track your marketing leads

Now that you have connected with your potential customers and retrieved their contact information (known as lead generation), lead acquisition is the process that comes next.

What is lead acquisition?

Lead acquisition is the period between acquiring a new lead, and the point at which they become your new client.

Let’s look at a typical marketing funnel, otherwise also known as a customer acquisition funnel, to see where lead acquisition fits in.

Related: 5 easy ways to reduce your customer acquisition cost

As the image shows, the top of the funnel is where it all commences – this is your lead generation phase, where people find out about your product or service. 

Related: Full guide to the customer journey stages

Lead nurture, i.e. nurturing leads, is your typical lead acquisition phase, which is towards the bottom of the funnel.

✏️ Note

For tips on how to improve your lead generation, check out our handy cheatsheet.

When a lead has progressed to this phase, you can refer to them as a prospect.  They’re in the process of considering a purchase. This suggests you should concentrate on selling. 

Send them demos, case studies, and pricing comparisons to try and convert them.

Is lead generation the same as lead acquisition?

Lead generation is not the same as lead acquisition. Think of it like this. Lead generation is the very first step in the process. Every inbound lead you get to a form, for example, would be lead generation. 

The next step is where your sales team comes in and qualifies them. Here, you get an idea of the number of valid, valuable leads that you have. This is lead acquisition. 

Related: How to reduce your customer acquisition cost

The final stage is lead conversion. This is where that acquired lead converts into a customer. Each has its own role, challenges and ways to optimise. 

Why is it hard to acquire leads? 

Now we know the difference between lead generation and lead acquisition, the next step is to look at why businesses struggle to acquire leads at all. 

One major reason for low lead conversion is businesses not having their sales and marketing alignment up to scratch. 

When teams are working with different metrics and on different tools, leads likely aren’t getting the best experience from your business. 

According to research from Super Office, nearly one-third of teams found it challenging to ensure that all leads were nurtured with follow-ups – this even outranked closing those deals.

A lack of alignment in your sales and marketing team can mean a lot of your leads simply slip through the cracks – and all of your marketing team’s hard work is wasted! 

But according to Act-On’s report, businesses with a solid sales and marketing alignment are 67% more likely to convert leads and were on average 27% more profitable.

5 easy ways to improve your lead acquisition strategy 

While you might already have your lead generation strategy in place, you might not have completely optimised your lead acquisition strategy. 

Here are five tried and tested strategies for getting your lead acquisition right: 

  1. Repeat what works 
  2. Optimise your lead cadences 
  3. View your full customer journeys
  4. Sort your leads
  5. Use a specialist lead acquisition service 

1. Repeat what works well 

Do you know what strategies bring in the best leads? Probably not. 

It’s hard to connect anonymous marketing touchpoints to closed leads via form fills and phone calls. 

But it’s possible when you have a marketing attribution tool in place. 

Related: Marketing attribution tools you should try 

By understanding what’s bringing in good quality leads, you can simply put more into what’s already working. 

Chances are, you’re generating good leads for acquisition, so you just need to identify them and double down on whatever channel or content is working its magic. 

✏️ Note
Ruler Analytics allows you to view each channel, campaign and piece of content by clicks, leads and revenue. This enables you to see what in your marketing is working hardest for lead acquisition. 

See how Ruler attributes your revenue to your marketing 

2. Optimise your lead cadences

Once you’ve generated a lead, you likely send them information and resources via email. 

And it’s no surprise. Email marketing is one of the most effective strategies for promoting your products or services. It’s also one of the most cost-effective, with a return on investment (ROI) of more than £30 for every £1 invested.

Furthermore, when you combine email with marketing automation solutions, you can deliver personalised communications to your target audience – the ones who are most likely to buy.

When utilising email for marketing objectives, there are a few easy guidelines to follow:

3. View full customer journeys and identify patterns

For all you know, there could be a blog you’ve written that works wonders at generating high-quality leads that convert. 

Of course, if you’re using a marketing attribution tool, then you’ll be able to identify that. 

But there’s another step to the puzzle. 

We know that users don’t land on a website and convert right away. It usually takes multiple touchpoints and lots of content. 

Well, with an attribution tool in place, you can more effectively monitor your customer journeys. 

Related: How to track full customer journeys with Ruler Analytics 

The benefit of this is simple. Let’s say a lead converts into a higher-than-normal amount of revenue. You could go back and view that new customer’s full journey. 

And what might you find? 

Well, you might see that they started on paid and then were retargeted too. That gives you some insight into a specific micro-conversion route that you can then repeat on similar website users. 

4. Sort your leads 

Now we know all leads aren’t created equal, you need to make sure you sort them. 

You can best do this by applying the insight you learned from marketing attribution. 

Or, you can just calculate cost per lead for your leads based on the channel they converted on. 

From there, you’ll have a better understanding of which leads are better quality. And that means when you eventually pass leads over to sales, they’ll have a more defined understanding of the quality too. 

It’ll also allow you to segment leads. Some might not be ready to hear from sales, while some might be right at the bottom of the funnel. 

5. Use a specialist lead acquisition service

If you feel you haven’t got the experience in-house or the time to focus on lead acquisition, then working with a professional company is a great way to convert your leads. I

Instead of having to sift through data to find relevant prospects, a lead acquisition service will provide you with pre-qualified leads and help you build an optimised database to work from.

Final thoughts

Lead acquisition is great, but if you don’t follow up with these prospective clients, then they will never be your clients. 

By following up with a lead, you are showing interest in them, which shows them that you care. Lead acquisition is all about nurturing your leads. 

Using the five strategies above you will most definitely have a great advantage and competitive edge!

Maximise your resources with Ruler. It tracks every touchpoint, interaction and conversion like magic. Find out how Ruler can help you close the loop between leads and revenue. Book a demo today.

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Guest blog written by Lucy Grime at A&S Landscapes