Generating leads is easy. There, we've said it. Pick a decent list, say something meaningful, toss in an offer, and plenty of folks will respond. Plenty. If you want more, do it again.

But if you want qualified leads—people that can can progress from being prospects to becoming customers and on to advocates—take the time to fine-tune your data and make sure that your messaging is personal and relevant. It should also have call to action that, in the end, will be indicative of real interest and not the motives of a catalog collector, whitepaper librarian or premium junkie.

Like we said, easy.

Most marketers can deliver a respectable response rate on demand. Truth be told, plowing through a list of suspects (just names on a list) and cultivating a handful of prospects (people with marked potential to buy) is sort of like "Plant seeds. Add water and sunlight."

But what comes next—that is to say, the growing part—can't be expected to happen without proper care and attention.

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