Do you sometimes wonder who to contact next with your offer?
Do you have a problem with finding prospects for your business?
As one of the most important elements of the sales process, it’s no surprise that lead generation is a cause for many problems to so many business people.
Let’s face it, it’s much easier to sell to someone who has indicated their interest in what you are offering than to a complete stranger (especially if neither of you know each other).
But here is the problem, where do you find leads? How can you get the people who might be interested in what you sell?
There is only one way to do this, by generating leads for your business. By finding people who are interested in what you are selling and starting to build a relationship with them.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation is a set of techniques that you can use to generate the customer interest or inquiry into your products or services but also, through which you can get certain information about your prospects that will help you progress them in the sales process.
In other words, it is a way to find out which of your potential customers are interested in buying from you now or in a relatively near future.
Lead generation is one of the most crucial aspects of sales. Thanks to it, you do not have to contact people at random. Instead you have a list of those who have already indicated that they might be interested in what you are selling.
Such leads are often called warm leads, meaning that the chance of them buying is quite high.
This is usually contrasted with a cold lead, someone who has not indicated any interest in your offering and seemingly, shows a very small potential for the sale.
What is a lead?
In short, a lead is a potential sales contact. It is a person that signaled an interest in what you are offering by either inquiring directly about it or trading their contact details in exchange for free information provided by you.
Traditionally, the best places where businesses used to gain qualified leads were trade shows, at which visitors could ask about the product and in return for information, give their contact details.
Other quite common ways to gain new leads used to be referrals from existing customers, or through direct response marketing.
In today’s world a lot of lead generation activity has moved online and a lead is usually a person that complete an action on a landing page.
A landing page is a page on a website with a form through which a person volunteers their contact information in exchange for free information that you offer (see example of our landing page for reference).
In both online and offline lead generation, the aim is to gain the prospects contact details which then can be used to further progress the person in the sales process.
Why you need to generate leads?
The main reason for doing so would be to generate a list of potential clients that you could further contact with your offer. Without leads, with no people to sell to, all your sales efforts will be in vain. Therefore, the first action you should take when launching your company’s sales process is to blend various lead generation techniques into it.
What information do you need from your leads?
This is actually a quite tricky question to answer. On one end, the more information you gather the better you will be able to target the prospect with your sales tactics. On the other hand, by asking for some sensitive information, such as gender, age or even a phone number, you might greatly discourage people from offering any.
I guess the best way to answer this is by saying that you should ask for the least information you need to take the prospect further in the sales process.
In most cases, that means that a name and an email should be enough, although you might want to get their phone number or location as well.
How to generate leads (offline and online)
The key in generating leads is to interest your prospect so much that they will be willing to trade their contact details in exchange for the information.
In the online world, the best leads generation techniques include:
- Website contact form
- Newsletter sign-up form
- Google ads (pointing to a landing page)
- Social media
- Google Local
- Guest posting
- Free giveaways
- Banner Ads
When it comes to your offline marketing activities, some of the lead generation techniques might include:
- Strategic alliances
- Business listings
- Industry publications
- Corporate events
- Trade shows
- Networking events
- Networking groups
- Phone book
- Area directories
- Press releases
- Direct mail
- In-store promotions
- Point of sale marketing
- Community groups
- Local press column
Something to remember when you start generating leads for your business
Don’t settle for one or two techniques. In most cases that won’t be enough. Instead, try to find at least five that can bring you the best results. This way you will get the variety of leads you need for a healthy sales funnel.