A lead in terms of sales is a contact that has the potential to become a customer for that business. In more appropriate or simple terms, it is also known as a “prospect”. Someone who gives their contact information to a business can be seen as demonstrating their interest in some way. Marketers implement several lead generation strategies to attract interested prospects. In this article, we will discuss more on lead generation and the best ways to go about it.
Marketing Vs Sales Lead
Before we get into the details of lead generation and the various strategies that exist, it’s important to understand the difference between a marketing qualified lead and a sales qualified Lead. In the case of marketing qualified leads, they are prospects who are more curious. On the other hand, sales qualified leads are those prospects who show a willingness to make a purchase. Further, it should be noted that the marketing actually forwards the leads generated by them to sales to convert them into customers.
You may consider a marketing qualified lead as being a normal lead that’s most likely to become your customer. In the case of marketing qualified leads, you know that they are interested in your product more than any other prospect as it’s based on specific demographics, activities, or behaviors.
A Brief About Lead Generation
The main goal of any lead generation strategy is to attract interested prospects to convert them into customers. We have B2B and B2C companies, and both their lead generation strategies have four components in common as seen below.
- lead Capture initiates the collection of information from a lead.
- Lead Magnets is an incentive to lure or drive prospects to become a lead.
- Lead Qualification is a process that helps to determine how likely will a lead buy.
- Lead Segmentation is a process that segregates leads based on their details and activities.
Traditional Lead Generation
Any business involves getting that next customer. And, without any lead you, you can find yourself out of contention in the business world. There still many businesses that prefer the traditional lead generation approach to capture their leads. Some of the traditional or generic ways of lead generation that are commonly used are discussed below.
Any business needs to be proactive in finding their next lead while creating that impactful impression. The door-to-door approach has been for long, and it is still followed today by many businesses to generate their leads. It can be considered to be a form of cold calling! However, the fear for any agent involved with this type of lead generation is the possibility of facing rejection. A successful experience can still be gained by preparing a script to present your prospects – it may include a clear knowledge of prices in the neighborhood or other information that can potentially influence them. Further, dressing professionally, and leaving behind tangibles like a business card, or a brochure can help to create an impression.
A large network of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances can be useful if you plan to find more leads by the word-of-mouth method. By creating a relationship with this network by sending them greetings, being in touch with them regularly, and interacting during events can help you gather leads.
Today, this type of lead generation method has translated into an online process! There are a lot of opportunities that could come your way using this method – so, get social, and make those meaningful relationships that could gain your business.
Newspaper ads, billboards, and radio advertising are some of the popular ways of lead generation that were used over the years and are still indispensable to many businesses. However, the major hitch with these forms is the high cost involved. But, on the positive side, a well-placed billboard or television ad can easily generate a lot of curiosity that can easily convert into a large number of leads! But today, even if you use this type of method, you still need to make sure to include your digital details in the form of an email or website for prospects to get back to you.
Automated Lead Generation – The Online Way!
We are in a highly digitized world where data plays a big role, and it could be a foolhardy decision for any business to ignore the automated lead generation process. Successful B2B lead generation strategies are rather straightforward, and a must if a business desires to grow. You need to understand your target audience, and along with it know what channels they are active on. A combination of automated lead generation strategies can help you achieve your goals. Typical automated lead generation activities that have proved their cost-effectiveness include content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing. Let’s look at some of them.
Content Optimization for Search Engines
A large number of B2B companies are using content marketing strategies to gain visibility and reach their target audience. In doing so, they take care to put the audience’s information requirements before their own goal! It’s required for you to put up your content marketing strategy that goes hand-in-hand with search engine optimization. And, that’s the hack to obtaining automated leads via content. To optimize your content, you need to carefully shortlist your keywords by identifying their intent. Further, you should optimize your keywords by aligning it with your sales funnel. Creating SEO friendly content holds the key to generating automated lead generation.
Posting Value Offers on Social Media
Attracting your target audience on social media via social profiles, or groups and communities can be an authentic way to automate your lead generation. If you are lucky, you could see them flock to you! For getting lucky, you need to share your best industry-related content, and market statistics that you have. Further, displaying inspiring statuses to address your target market can also help. You need to monitor the ongoing industry conversations, engage in relevant threads, and respond sincerely without giving any hint that you are there to promote the sales of your product or service!
Increasing Online Presence
Being active on social media – be it Facebook or LinkedIn will not help, and is not enough. You need to put yourself online wherever your prospects are likely to be around. you think of being more active on Quora, or Reddit, or Product Hunt. You may also consider increasing your online presence in slack communities, review sites, online forums, or other channels. Remember, your aim is not to irritate prospects with promotions but, to offer value. Starting a conversation, and engaging with them can help you gain their trust. After all, one never knows which conversation may lead to a product demo or a mutual partnership.
Online Referral Programs
Are you aware, referrals can generate up to four times higher conversion rates apart from generating 25 percent higher profit margins! Therefore, it makes sense to plan a referral program accordingly and execute it to perfection. To cite an example, using a simple referral program Dropbox grew 3900% – that’s phenomenal, isn’t it? Understanding existing customers and knowing what can motivate them to recommend your product is very important. Once you devise your referral program by making them understand well, it makes it easy for them to participate in it.
Once your customer base grows, lead generation tools like FirstPromoter or PartnerStack can help you to tide over even bigger challenges – you can track the success of your referral programs. That’s how these software applications can play an effective role – they enable you to run affiliate referral programs and influencer referral programs. A referral program can indeed be a good automated lead generation method.
Online Lead Magnet Creation
This is an effective approach to automate your lead generation. A lead magnet is basically a method that incentivizes your prospects in exchange for their contact details. Most B2B marketing and sales strategies use downloadable content such as eBooks, industry reports, or videos as part of their lead magnet creation. A lead magnet convert is made due to a few utility attractions that a business offers – it may allow them to solve a problem, or achieve a goal, or get expert advice.
Online Word-of-Mouth Amplification
In traditional lead generation, we have known how word-of-mouth works. Though they seem to be similar, this type of lead generation is not the same as running a referral program. Unlike in the referral program, in the word-of-mouth program, the customer does not have to be motivated with a reward. Word-of-mouth can be implemented and amplified online by simply gathering customers say about you in their social media tweets or posts, or on review pages. These are then collated and shared over testimonials or review pages to add credibility to your brand.
Best Lead Generation Tools
If you are looking for lead generation tools to increase your revenue, you may choose from some of the top picks that are web-based and easily available. For lead generation via email marketing there’s OptinMonster, Constant Contact, and Sendinblue. Hunter, AeroLeads, and Voila Norbert are some of the email finder tools. Prospecting and outreach tools include OutreachPlus, Hoovers, and Datanyze. When it comes to CRM tools Hubspot, Pardot, and SharpSpring are some of the popular ones. The most commonly used sales tools are Salesforce, HubSpot Sales, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Further there are communication tools, that talk to visitors who land on your website. It can help you win customers. Included in communications tools are Drift, Intercom, and Bontact. Advertising Tools help you get leads by promoting your business. Some popular lead generation tools that help you to advertise your products and services include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
Automated Vs Generic – Which Lead Generation Strategy You Should Adopt?
The automated lead generation, also commonly referred to as online lead generation has enabled the business to acquire leads much more cost-effectively when compared to traditional activities. Contrary to the online lead generation method where your prospects come to you, in the traditional method you are required to directly contact them. The ease and comfort of online lead generation along with being a cost-effective approach has compelled businesses to maximize their use.
Traditional lead generation can be expensive. And, activities that involve direct contacting like cold calling or going door-to-door can consume a lot of time. Today, the internet is used by almost everyone and has enabled to revolutionize the online lead generation process to reach out to new prospects. The availability of lead generation tools like Google Analytics and Google Keyword Adword Planner allows identification of consumer habits. By understanding how your target audience behaves on the internet, you can successfully plan your lead generation strategies. Choosing an appropriate lead generation strategy is entirely up to you. You may persist with the traditional ways, or implement the online strategy, or even better opt for a combination of the traditional and automated methods. Whatever you choose, you should never ignore the automated way of online lead generation.
Conclusion: Each lead generation method has its pros and cons. It depends on the nature of your business when deciding to implement your lead generation strategy. Online strategy is the most effective if you can provide all answers to common questions of your prospects. However, if your business is part of an unknown industry, you should go the traditional way. Once established, you can easily upgrade to the online automation way. But, if you are unsure of what strategy your business to implement, you should always consult an expert, or hire the services of a reputed consultancy.
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