50% of marketers believe lead generation is their top priority.
So, they invest their time, budget, and other important resources to drive in the results.
But this also means that 50% don’t believe lead generation is that important. Why is that?
Because one thing is missing for that 50%; a thorough understanding of the lead generation process.
And due to this, it costs businesses time and essential resources. So, we’ve created this guide to help make the process of lead generation and its execution seamless.
So why not skip the table of content and get to the good part?
But before that, let’s clear out some basics!
- What is a lead and its types?
- What is lead generation?
- Why is lead generation important for businesses?
- Lead generation statistics and marketing trends
- Lead generation types with powerful examples
- 4 Steps for developing a lead generation process
- Actionable lead generation strategies in 2023 that you must try
- Lead Generation tools to streamline productivity, revenue, and whatnot!
- Lead generation ideas to generate high-quality leads
- Why not just buy leads?
- FAQs on lead generation
What is a lead and its types?
A lead is someone who has shown interest in your brand’s product or service in any way.
For instance, downloading a freebie content resource, asking a question in live chat, filling out a contact us form, taking a free trial, etc. A lead is basically your prospective customer.
Let’s understand this better with an example.
My friend Taylor is a marketing head of a real estate company, and his boss had asked him to find suitable email marketing software for their business.
Like every normal person would do, he went on the internet and started his for the “best email marketing software for real estate.”
And Taylor explored almost every other site that appeared on the search results to check the features, compare prices, book demo sessions, and more.
In addition to that, he even checked the company’s social media activities to double-check the brand’s authority.
So, let’s say that the software which Taylor explored the most is ‘X’. Now, if ‘X’ is your product, then Taylor is a definite lead for you.
Moving on! Basically, there are six different types of leads that you should be aware of before we dive deeper into the lead generation process.
1. Cold sales lead
Cold leads are potential customers you found whilst searching for a new business but haven’t yet contacted. You have their contact information to reach out to them, but you don’t know their intent regarding your brand.
Also, cold leads sometimes are totally unaware of your brand’s existence. So, you might need to make extensive efforts to find out whether they can be your potential customers or not.
2. Warm sales lead
Warm leads are the ones that have shown interest in your product or services but haven’t reached a decision stage where they would make a purchase. But, if nurtured, a good sales opportunity could be fostered.
3. Hot sales lead
Hot leads are the ones that have already stated their pain point and are looking for specific solutions. They have also shown keen interest in your brand’s offerings.
But while dealing with hot leads, it is best if your sales professionals are experts in solving their last-minute queries. So, there’s no doubt that the deal will be sealed.
4. IQL (Information qualified leads)
IQLs are generated when they share their contact information in exchange for some valuable content resource. The prospect may or may not know about your brand.
Also, there’s no guarantee that IQLs can be your ideal prospect. Maybe they found the resource helpful and signed up to get access to it.
5. MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads)
MQLs are potential prospects for your company. They consistently engage with your brand but aren’t convinced enough to make a purchasing decision. But with a little nurturing, they can become paying customers.
6. SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads)
SQLs are the contacts who are convinced of the offerings of your brand and are ready to make the purchasing decision. They are the people who are just awaiting a call from your sales team to seal the deal.
Now that we’re clear on what exactly a lead is and its types let’s take it up a notch!
What is lead generation?
Lead generation is the process of increasing awareness about your product or services among your target audience and nurturing them to improve conversion.
Lead generation is your first step towards creating a loyal customer base. It is a multitude of processes that includes efforts in driving potential web traffic, tactics to entice web visitors through content, using lead management tools to capture leads, and nurturing the most assuring ones to get sales.
Lead generation is a process that can be done in various ways. Such as digital marketing, offline marketing, Ad campaigns, and more.
But, if you’re someone who aims to drive in leads using digital marketing, then do check out our blog, Top 6 digital marketing lead generation strategies.
Also, lead generation isn’t an easy-breezy process every day! There might be times you run into obstacles.
So, here are some actionable techniques that you should keep in mind to overcome lead generation chaos 16 Lead generation ideas to boost your ideal customer list.
Why is lead generation important for businesses?
Lead generation is highly vital for a business. Because having a lead generation strategy in place ensures that the business keeps on growing and expanding.
And, from the 100 people that ‘might’ be a customer for your business, only 10-15 might actually convert. So, if an efficient process of lead generation is present, your sales teams won’t have to rely on whims as to whether there are any leads or not.
1. Ensures leads are present in the sales pipeline
Online marketing efforts enable you to get a considerable amount of reach and, as a result, an increased prospect count. Moreover, by targeting your ideal customers, you can ensure an ample number of leads are added to the pipeline in a specific timeframe.
2. Boost revenue
Lead generation efforts can help you attract a massive audience using the right messaging, offers, and content. Additionally, you can also increase sales opportunities with this targeted customer expansion and lead qualification.
3. Improve brand awareness
All the lead generation efforts, like email marketing campaigns, social media promotion, content marketing, and more, make your brand more visible among your target audience.
4. Identify and target SQLs
A high-performing website/landing page, content assets, a good social media presence, and other marketing campaigns can help you pinpoint high-quality leads for your business.
5. Saves your time
Capture leads automatically using things like web forms, chatbots, and a meeting scheduler. Also, you can automate your entire lead generation and management process with CRM, allowing you to focus more on important tasks like converting them.
6. Lets you track and analyze campaigns’ performance
With the support of CRM and marketing automation tools, you can derive valuable insights from reports and analytics. Enabling you to easily optimize lead generation campaigns.
If you still doubt whether the lead generation is a boon or not, check out the latest lead generation statistics and marketing trends below.
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Lead generation statistics and marketing trends
To amplify your conversion rate and build a successful business, lead generation efforts can give you the best ROI.
To support my above statement, here are a few of the latest updated lead generation statics for you:
- Generating high-quality leads is what 79% of B2B marketers worldwide prioritize.
- 68% of marketers said social media marketing enabled them to get more leads.
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and brings 3X more leads compared to traditional marketing ways.
- 77% of marketers said that marketing automation tools boost lead generation.
If you have a strategic sales pipeline, qualifying your leads would be easier for you to get the most likely potential customer list.
Lead generation types with powerful examples
Lead generation is broadly categorized into two types, outbound and inbound.
In outbound lead generation, the marketing and sales team contacts prospects directly. For example, the calls you receive from credit card companies.
Inbound lead generation is when marketers try to entice their target audience with helpful content to share personal information or contact their business reps. E.g., enticing targeted content and email campaigns.
Let’s quickly understand them in more detail.
Outbound lead generation
Outbound lead generation is a process in which the sales team reaches potential audiences via cold calling, emails, cold email, and other direct marketing methods to generate leads.
It is considered a cost-effective way to communicate with likely prospects to know whether they are interested in your product or service. See the image below to get some industry-approved outbound lead generation methods.
Inbound lead generation
Inbound lead generation is the practice in which marketers try to attract web visitors via engaging content, putting up relevant content & campaigns, and providing a solution to attract potential customers.
It is an indirect and most effective way to generate leads online. You get to know about your prospect’s interests if they sign up for your Web Forms, take a free product trial, request a demo, etc.
Check out the image to get some of the best inbound lead generation methods.
Inbound vs outbound lead generation
It is always a matter of discussion among sales and marketing teams about which lead generation technique is better.
It usually depends on the available resource, business type, and market needs.
The table below will be a comparative study, helping you to identify which method is most suitable for your business.
|Inbound Lead Generation||Outbound Lead Generation|
|Pull strategy||Push strategy|
|Dedicated to educating leads regarding brands’ features and benefits for lead generation||Follow a direct selling approach for lead generation|
|Encourages two-way communication||Encourages one-way communication|
|Dependable mostly on valuable content||Require to spend more money to generate leads|
|Reps ask for permission to prospects for contacting||Reps don’t ask for permission and contact prospects directly|
Having established an understanding of lead generation and its various forms, let’s look at the implementation of the lead generation process.
Lead generation isn’t a cakewalk. According to statistics, 61% of marketers said their biggest challenge was generating potential traffic and leads.
To know more lead generation examples, check out 6 Lead generation examples that will help you get more leads.
But, through this simple four-step lead generation process, you can generate a constant flow of leads. Let’s get started!
4 Steps for developing a lead generation process
A lead generation process involves knowing your customers’ persona, creating engaging content to capture leads to segment for nurturing, and performing lead qualification to get the most promising to convert leads for your sales team.
With these four tailormade steps of the lead generation process, you can build an effective lead generation strategy for your business.
STEP 1: Know your buyers’ persona
Before capturing your leads, you must know what your target audience is looking for in a brand like yours.
Identifying the right buyers is the foremost step in lead generation. Otherwise, it would be more like aiming blindly.
You can define your buyers’ persona based on demographics, budgets, requirements, interests, and more.
Conducting quizzes and surveys would be an excellent way to identify and know about your target audience.
Include the following question in your survey to create a mindful buyer persona.
Once you’ve discovered the pain points of your prospects, lead generation will be much easier.
Remember, the better you know about your customer’s persona, the higher the chances of conversions.
STEP 2: Create engaging content to boost conversion
Once you clearly understand your audience and their persona, you should create your lead magnets.
Many actionable lead generation tactics and, most importantly, the content will help you engage your target audience to generate leads.
Your prime focus should be creating highly engaging and valuable lead magnets to which your audience would respond.
Ensure that the content is interesting enough to catch your prospect’s attention and encouraging enough to convince them to share their contact details.
Along with creation, you must know all the best ways to utilize lead magnets for generating high-quality leads through your website, landing pages, social media platforms, etc.
You can offer this valuable content in a gated form and capture leads using Web Forms. See the example below:
Thorough research about customers and understanding their needs would help you build a top-notch content resource.
Here’s something useful: Content marketing strategies for generating leads.
STEP 3: Develop your lead generation database
As we talked about earlier, a lead generation process doesn’t end with capturing the prospect’s contact details.
Once the leads have been collected, the next vital step would be lead qualification and segmentation of those leads into a lead database for swift action.
This way, you not only get to take quick action but also get better sales opportunities.
Also, once the database is in place, segmenting leads by applying various filters, nurturing them within the sales pipeline, and identifying sales-worthy leads becomes much easier.
But, to support such a process, powerful CRM software would be required, wouldn’t you agree?
With the right CRM, manage the entire lead generation process seamlessly.
Manage the entire lead generation process seamlessly.
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STEP 4: Lead qualification to maximize sales
Leads generated through the various practices are not of the same quality. Therefore, you cannot treat all leads the same; Otherwise, you’ll waste your energy, time, and resources.
It is better to qualify the leads to check whether they are ideal for moving further in the sales pipeline. Even with a defined customer persona understanding and high-quality content, you are required to qualify your leads.
The best way to qualify your generated leads is by lead scoring. It helps to find out the likeliness leads for making a purchase.
Lead scoring basically means assigning positive or negative scores to prospects for performing desired or undesired actions.
For example, if a website visitor signs up for a demo session, a positive score is assigned. Whereas if they unsubscribe from a newsletter, a negative score is assigned.
The threshold number for lead scoring is arbitrary. Generally, a 100-lead score is considered.
All in all, lead scoring saves your marketing and sales team’s time and allows them to spend their time only with the sales-ready leads.
If you’re still hesitant about lead scoring, check out this resource; Salesmate Score: Spend your time on the most relevant prospects to have a better visual understanding of them.
If you want to learn more about lead scoring, please refer to the source link.
So, lead qualification is crucial before transferring your leads to the next stage of your sales pipeline.
Lead generation is a process that varies from industry to industry. So, what kind of business do you drive? B2B or B2C?
To get success with B2B lead generation, follow the source link.
To get success with B2C lead generation, follow the source link.
Actionable lead generation strategies in 2023 that you must try
Online lead generation is filled with opportunities to attract, engage and entice your target audience.
It encloses many actionable strategies that you can leverage to capture more leads.
We have discussed the best ways to capture leads through your website and landing pages, but what about driving the potential audience to your site?
We have actionable lead generation strategies for your business to drive potential web traffic. Let’s take a look at a few of them:
1. Content marketing lead generation
Content marketing is a strategy that helps you generate leads by creating and publishing the right content on the right platforms at the right time.
So, there are two main things you need to focus on:
- Building your lead magnets
- Promoting your content in the best way that gives customer engagement, retention, and lead generation.
For most businesses, educational content resources like blogs, articles, and infographics work best to generate leads.
To learn more about content marketing strategies for generating leads and lead generation content ideas, check our resource: 7 Ways to leverage content marketing for lead generation.
2. Email marketing lead generation
Marketers consider email marketing as an incredible lead generation strategy with a 4,000% ROI.
Email marketing is more effective when your emails are personalized, the subject line is catchy, and sent at the right time.
To write an email that converts, follow these 5T’s:
Firstly, you need to have emails to target. You can get emails through various sources like websites, landing pages, social media activities, third-party providers, etc.
Once you’ve emailed in your hand but you don’t know whether they are qualified or not!
Now comes the role of email marketing, which tends to generate quality leads. Email marketing helps in prospecting, and you get sales-worthy leads.
To learn more in-depth, check out our blog, Email marketing lead generation: Benefits, best practices, software, and tools in 2023
To win more sales-ready leads, check the 12 best email lead generation techniques to 10x sales in 2022.
3. Social media marketing lead generation
Using social media marketing for lead generation is a potential strategy as it has massive user engagement.
Features such as a lookalike audience and geo-targeting enable you to enhance your lead generation potential. Social media communities are one of the most potent boosters of lead generation for all industries, from fashion to technology.
Analytics tools can help you build a successful social media lead generation campaign.
Before jumping to social media marketing for the sake of leads, ask the following question yourself:
- Is your audience dedicated to social media users?
- What type of content are your prospects engaging with on social media?
- Can you educate or entertain your audience with your brand’s content?
If the answers seem positive, find the best platform for your brand and kick-start your lead generation via social media.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram are the best social media platforms for brand promotion and lead generation.
To get comprehensive insights on social media organic lead generation and social media lead generation advertising, go to our source link.
4. LinkedIn lead generation
With 822 million members, LinkedIn is a robust platform for lead generation, especially for B2B companies.
You can use this platform to connect with your potential B2B clients and many industry leaders, which will boost your business growth.
LinkedIn is generating leads for B2B companies; here is the reason why:
- Lead gen forms will auto-populate with users’ profile data once they click on CTA. This way, it captures the leads easily.
- Support effective targeting with filters based on the company name, location, job title, interests, previous company, etc.
- Robust search filters as you can build good connections with the right audience and generate sales with the support of LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
- Higher on Ad relevance as per the report, making LinkedIn the best platform to engage your audience with your ad.
- No communication restriction, as LinkedIn allows you to contact anyone through the InMail feature. The response rate of LinkedIn’s Inmail is 3x compared to traditional emailing.
- Get in-depth analytics with LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Premium Business. Prospecting efforts can be scaled up using sales automation software.
LinkedIn is the right platform for you if you are a B2B company, as it has professional data, business context, and news feed products.
5. PPC advertising lead generation
PPC ads are a winning strategy for those with a handsome budget.
As per Statista reports, search, and spending is predicted to surpass approximately $885 billion by 2024.
PPC advertising helps you generate high-quality leads easily and quickly. It enables you to reach your target audience very quickly. But, if you’re not apt at setting up PPC ads, it might burn your precious marketing budget.
It involves many important factors and a strategic understanding of PPC ads to drive a high number of leads.
Essential tips to generate leads with PPC ads:
- Be specific when setting up your ad campaigns & ad groups.
- Target keywords by experimenting with search intent *(commercial, informational, navigational, and transactional).
- Avoid using free and cheap words unless you are marketing a free tool.
- Find what your audience is looking for and make an irresistible offer.
- Invest in good copywriters for ads title and to create high-converting landing pages.
- Attach a form with your ad to increase the probability of lead generation.
- Ad extensions like free trial sign up, register for updates, or contact us.
- Test the ad campaign by changing elements like keywords, headlines, offers, extensions, etc.
Tracking the leads is easy with the support of Google analytics and CRM tools.
If you have an expert PPC marketer on your team, search ads are a great strategy to generate leads.
6. SEO lead generation
SEO can be effective for lead generation as it enables you to rank higher and remain intact to top spaces on SERPs organically once the optimization goal is attained.
It lets your drive massive potential leads as the basis of SEO efforts is to target the likely audience.
All the SEO efforts that you’ve made to rank higher in your target audience search results will drive potential web traffic and sustain it for free.
You must consider numerous essential factors and elements when creating an SEO strategy for lead generation.
To embark on a powerful SEO lead generation strategy, you would want to follow the five measures mentioned below:
High engagement is the core value of SEO, making it an impactful strategy for lead generation. You have abundant opportunities to attract, engage, and sustain your audience with SEO.
Check our content resource to know more about how you can win with SEO lead generation.
7. Referral marketing
Referral marketing is a cost-effective and result-driven strategy for generating high-quality leads.
Whenever you want to see a specialist doctor for something, you always ask your friends and family for recommendations, right?
Same way, your existing customers are a bridge you must utilize to get more new leads for your business.
A customer referral program is effective for almost every industry and business type.
We have listed a few actionable tips for you to make your referral marketing strategy impactful.
Key tips for effective referral marketing:
- Must utilize referral strategy to get email leads
- Encourage referrals by offering exciting rewards
- Offer a reward to both parties (existing customers and potential prospects)
- Motivate your existing happy customers to get you at least 3 referrals
- Happy customer reviews can help you get good leads indirectly
- So how would you approach these social media influencers?
- Start your referrals program with your employees
Leads generated through referrals are easy to convert as they could easily connect with your business’ values. And this is because their family members or acquaintances told them about the business.
8. Offline media
The digital revolution is driving quick results, but offline lead generation has maintained an irreplaceable place of importance.
Offline and online ways of lead generation sometimes work together to achieve the same goal.
For example, you published a newspaper ad and placed a QR code that navigated your readers to the website.
Or somebody visited your website, and you received an inbound call.
So, clearly, we can say many times offline, and online marketing methods need each other’s support to generate leads.
Key tips for generating leads offline:
- Send direct mail sometimes to stand out among competitors.
- Use the art of reciprocation.
- Print Ads in newspapers and magazines if your target audience is offline readers
- Host and leverage such events to discuss your product and services. It will aid in building a good company’s stature among your target community.
- Sponsoring events enables you to build a brand identity and generate leads from the mass audience attending the event.
- Networking with the right people in public events is a potential opportunity to attract ideal prospects. That’s the reason why all Automotive trade shows happen.
You cannot ignore and abandon offline media as it has the strong potential for many B2B and B2C businesses to generate leads.
Deploying a strategy that is a combination of offline and online marketing would be effective for many industries like manufacturing, automotive, and more.
We have some dedicated articles for generation strategies 2022; check them out if you are looking for similar searches.
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Here are some of the most useful lead generation resources that you must check!
- Lead generation strategies b2b
- Lead generation strategies b2c
- Digital marketing lead generation strategies
- Actionable lead generation tips for small businesses
Lead Generation tools to streamline productivity, revenue, and whatnot!
Lead generation tools and software are crucial for a decisive, speedy, and successful lead generation process to boost sales conversion.
They save your team’s time and boost their productivity with automation support.
Lead generation tools like Web Forms, Chatbots, and Live Chat systems enable you to capture leads automatically through your website. Plus, they support in building good brand value and strengthening your customer relationships.
If you are searching for 360° lead generation software that offers all possible ways to help you gain more leads, then you must check out, Salesmate CRM software.
Salesmate is a unified customer platform that supports lead generation and lead management.
Features like Web Forms, Live Chat, Chat Journeys, Meeting Scheduler, Marketing & Sales Automation, and more, all in one place, starting at just $12 per user/ month.
In addition to those features, Salesmate CRM also has In-Built Calling, Email Marketing, Mobile Access, and 700+ business-app integration that you can’t refrain from using it.
If you’re still hesitant. Don’t just take out word for it! Start your 15-day Free trial now!
And, if you want to explore more about lead generation tools, we have the latest research tool to guide you and help you pick the best one.
Lead generation ideas to generate high-quality leads
Till now, we have studied multiple strategies and techniques for lead generation.
Still, this section will help you execute lead generation in a better way.
Go through these actionable lead generation ideas, and assess how you can bring them into action for your business.
- Come up with undeniable gated offers with best practices
- Create helpful videos to deal with prospect’s pain points
- Provide a list of useful tools or resources to your prospects
- Create a practical email course
- Indulge in cross-promotional practices
- Offer templates that simplify prospects’ everyday tasks
- Offer a freemium product
To know more such actionable ways, check our blog, 16 lead generation ideas, and grow your ideal customer list.
If you are looking for ways to generate free online leads, get these 5 best practices to generate leads without spending any money.
1. Go for free guest blogging
The most eminent method to generate a lead for free is through guest blogging. It helps to build brand awareness and helps promote products/services, thus generating leads.
Try to post guest blogs on high authority sites with a considerable size of your target audience.
2. Offer incentives to generate leads
Incentives like referral discounts, sign-up offers, and freebie giveaways can help you through your social media platforms and websites.
Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are best for offering an incentive to generate leads.
3. Influencer outreach
Every industry has some significant, influential people and organizations.
You need to make some effort:
- To find the right influencers
- To engage them for recommendations
Building a sustainable relationship with suitable industry role models get massive new free leads upon recommendations.
4. Offer free products/service trials
Generate quality leads by offering a free trial option for your product or services on your website.
For instance, if you have a SaaS product like CRM software, give a 15 or 30-day free trial after signing up.
It would be best if you nurtured these leads to identify the potential prospects ready to pay you.
5. Conduct an exciting affiliate program
Through affiliate programs, you can generate numerous free leads.
With the program, any person promoting your product/service gets a commission only if they achieve the desired goal.
So, it’s a no-loss scheme for you.
Why not just buy leads?
Buying leads seems like an easy way to get leads for the business. But it’s useless if you think from a buyer’s perspective.
Just think, if you invest your hard-earned money in a brand, you will surely want to research to reach any conclusion.
So, a normal to high-ticket prospect would be a quality lead for you if it comes through engagement and interaction with your brand instead of through a third party.
Buying leads isn’t too worthwhile. Here’s why:
- They are unqualified leads, so you cannot do lead scoring to get qualified leads as a third-party lead generation company captures them.
- Buying leads is an expensive affair. You have to invest extra dollars per lead with no conversion guarantee.
- You don’t know whether it is a hot, warm, or cold lead. So, you have to apply the same energy and steps to all types of leads.
- They are not fresh leads, and many of your competitors are already after them. So, don’t fall into the trap even if your third-party lead provider guarantees you that the leads are unused. Plus, there is no way to testify about it.
We hope this ultimate guide taught you how to build and make your lead generation efforts successful.
We agree lead generation is daunting, but by understanding your buyer’s persona, creating engaging content, and identifying potential platforms for promotion, you can build a conversion-driven lead generation strategy.
You must identify your buyer’s persona to win more potential leads. Plus, once the lead is generated, you must nurture them for maximum conversion.
And taking the support of a smart tool like Salesmate will help you organize, manage, segment, and nurture your leads better.
Salesmate is a robust CRM & automation tool that helps to grow your leads, revenue, and customer relationship. It enables you to identify sales-ready leads with lead scoring.
Want to skyrocket your business with a smart lead generation tool?
FAQs on lead generation
How to capture your leads?
What is the difference between demand generation and lead generation?
The difference lies in the efforts and goals associated.
Demand generation aims to spark audience interest in your brand and educate them. In contrast, lead generation efforts generate quality leads that turn into your paying customer.
What is the difference between lead generation and prospecting?
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