The Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation

A set of strategies that attracts potential customers and moves them through your sales funnel is called lead generation. This involves engaging prospects and capturing their attention, as well as nurturing them to become customers. A variety of methods are used by small businesses to generate leads, including inbound marketing, prospecting and even buying verified lead lists.

You create a way to get people interested in your product or services through lead generation. Inbound lead generation is where you create a blog post, video, or other engaging content that encourages prospects to contact you. You can also do it through outbound leadgeneration where you actively reach out to your audience and make contact with them.

The process of generating leads is simple. It involves attracting potential customers and capturing their information. This applies regardless of whether your leads are generated through digital advertising, organic searches, or in-person interactions.

Strategies and tactics for lead generation

Most sales management strategies for lead generation fall into two categories: inbound and outbound campaigns. Although the goal is the same as the strategy, the results can be very different. Outbound leads are generated using paid advertising and prospecting. Inbound leads can be attracted through organic methods. Outbound strategies are about customers finding you. Inbound strategies refer to leads finding you.

Let’s take a look at these two types and give you examples of strategies to use them.

Inbound Lead Generation

Inbound strategies to generate leads focus primarily on making it easier for potential customers to find you online. If a customer searches online for a business similar to yours in their area, they want you to be the first result. Inbound lead generation is a great strategy because leads already know they are interested in the product and have a need.

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These are the main tactics to generate inbound leads:

  • Search organically:Organic search accounts for more than half of all internet traffic. This means that it is crucial to incorporate organic search into your marketing strategy if you wish to generate leads online. Optimizing your website and content will help it rank high and be easily found.
  • Word of mouth:You can get potential customers to inquire about your business through organic word of mouth.
  • ReferralsReferrals are a passive method of lead generation because you don’t have control over whether someone asks for a referral. You can encourage your customers to refer friends. Find out how to make an inviting referral.This article has a great referral program.
  • Get in touch with us:It is easy to forget that one of the most important ways to generate inbound leads from your website visitors is to provide a contact form that allows them to let you know that they are interested.
  • Paid search advertisingAdvertising is generally considered an outbound strategy. Search advertising, however, is a cross-sectional strategy because it targets customers searching for products or services via search.
  • Content marketingThis is linked to organic search but also includes creating content like blog posts, podcasts and webinars that can be shared via social media or other channels.

To learn how to build and lead a sales team that generates and qualifies top leads, download our complete Sales Management eBook.

Outbound Lead Generation

You reach out to prospects in order to generate leads using outbound strategies. Advertising is an example of outbound lead generation. The potential lead may not be interested in your product right away, but you want to make them aware about your business and give them incentive to get in touch with you. You are contacting the lead and not expecting them to come to you.

Some of the most popular outbound lead generation strategies include:

  • Cold callingCold calling is making outbound calls to people that you don’t know. Many sales reps find cold calling intimidating. OurA beginner’s guide for cold callingThis resource is full of great tips and tricks to make this tactic even more efficient.
  • Cold emailSimilar to cold callingCold emailingThis happens when outbound emails are sent and crafted. You can either purchase email lists or have an agency send out emails to your address from an existing email database with the same target audience.
  • Buy leadsIn the sense that buying leads is part lead generation, it’s also the beginning point to generating leads. You purchase lists that are representative of your target audience. Then you call or email the people on the list to generate leads. Those who are interested in your products and services will become your leads.
  • Trade showsAnother common way to generate outbound leads is to pay for an opportunity to display at an event where many of your potential customers will be. The goal of this type of lead generation is to increase awareness and collect as much information as possible.
  • AdvertisingAdvertising is one of most popular ways to generate leads. This type of content prompts your target audience, based on your ad, to enter your sales funnel.


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Prospecting vs Lead Generation

Prospecting is one of the most popular forms of outbound lead generation. Prospecting is where a salesperson gathers a list or potential customers within a specific area and then attempts to get them to contact them to generate interest. Real estate agents may also prospect in certain neighborhoods, handing out flyers or business cards in hopes of generating new listings.

Sales professionals will often be provided with a list from companies. The salesperson will then decide which leads are most suitable for the target audience and contact them directly. Prospecting could be as simple as making cold calls to potential leads. Prospecting could also be as simple as walking down the main street in your town and introducing you to the businesses there.

Lead Generation Examples

Although lead generation can look different depending on the product or service that you sell, the market and industry you serve, as well as your target customer, it is important that you select a lead generation strategy that suits you. This means creating a strategy to get the attention of the right audience, and then capturing their information and interest for future outreach.

These are just a few of the many ways that you can generate leads.

Get a Freebie

You can create a free offer online or in person. It’s often associated with online businesses that are able to attract leads. This could be done through advertising, social media marketing, or organic search. You can offer a free trial or offer additional value via a digital asset. These allow you to collect information about individuals who might be interested in your products or services.

The Social Media Campaign

Social media is a great way to generate leads. You can build a following and generate leads that can be nurtured into customers. You can also target your lead generation efforts through social media by targeting people who are already interested in your business. After you have established that you are interested in your business, you can then use content marketing tactics to convert them into leads.

The Email Newsletter

If you have helpful content on your site about your product or services, it is possible to generate leads by creating an email subscription. Your site visitors can sign up to your email list. This gives you information about potential customers for your product or service. You would then create email marketing campaigns to increase their interest and get them closer to purchasing your product or service.

Lead Generation Best Practices

When creating your strategy, there are many best practices for lead generation that you should consider. These are:

  • Knowing your target audience
  • Knowing where they are and how to get their attention is key.
  • Software with sufficient data storage and organizational tools should be used
  • Follow-up with prospects is important

Here are some lead generation best practices that you should consider before developing your strategy.

Know your target audience

Knowing your target audience is one of the best ways to generate leads before you put a system in place. This means creating and understanding customer personas that you can use to dial in your lead generation efforts. This will allow you to attract the best leads and increase your chances of them becoming customers.


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Your potential customer will benefit from your added value

A great way to generate leads is communicating with potential customers that you are interested in their needs and can help them. This is done by offering value to potential customers even before they become customers. Offer them educational content or resources that will help them do their jobs better and make their lives easier. This can create a sense of affection and interest in your company which can lead to new leads.

Make a repeatable process

Whatever method you use to generate leads, the key is to create a repeatable process you can reuse over and over again. Write down the steps or create workflows that automate the process to keep leads moving through your sales funnel.

Use Lead Generation Tools

When you’re generating leads, you’ll need adequate software, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software or a database, to house the leads you’ve captured and to manage your communication with them throughout your sales cycle. Although we’ve given an overview of the software options you should be considering, it is a good idea to have the right tools in place to attract and capture leads.

Follow up quickly with qualified leads

While we’ll be discussing lead qualification further, one of the most important principles in lead generation is that time matters. Your lead may have expressed interest in your services and provided their contact information. This indicates that they are considering purchasing. You should follow up with your lead within a reasonable time. You can be sure they will find a competitor if you don’t.

It’s easy to contact you

No matter how a lead discovers your business, contact information should always be easy to find. It should be easy to find if the lead is contacting you via your website. A contact form allows leads to provide more information, which is another great way of collecting information. To streamline your lead generation process, contact forms can be linked directly to your CRM.

Lead Generation Metrics

It’s crucial to determine early the metrics that will help you measure the effectiveness and efficiency of your lead generation efforts. Your CRM or business management software can assist you in keeping track of which leads are coming from. It’s possible to look at the cost of those leads as well as the revenue you have gotten from them. Your CRM software will help you to identify key metrics and create insightful reports.

These are some reports and metrics that can be used to measure lead generation effectiveness.

  • Email metrics report:Email campaigns should use a email metrics report to track click-through rates, measure links clicked and open rates.
  • Telephone reportsTo gauge the quality of your phone outreach data, create a report with talk time. This will allow you to determine how long it takes to engage prospects. It will also show the percentage of good numbers.
  • Qualified-to-unqualified leads ratio:Calculate the percentage of qualified leads to determine how qualified they are.
  • Actionable-vs-non-actionable leads:If you purchase leads, it is possible to receive them with incorrect contact information and phone numbers.
  • Leads-to-sales ratio (conversion rate):Your conversion rate, or the percentage of leads that led to a sale, is a way to determine how likely your lead source will take action or make purchase.
  • Leads-to-opportunities:This metric will also allow you to see how many of your leads actually become opportunities. If you receive leads from trade shows but some of them are more successful at generating opportunities than others, it is worth considering changing the trade shows that you attend.
  • Opportunities-to-deals won:Another important indicator is the percentage of opportunities won. This will show you how serious your prospects really are.
  • Return on investment (ROI).It is important to determine your return on investment. It is important to measure your return on investment.
  • Cost-per-clickTo determine if your ad is cost-effective, you should know how much it costs per click.
  • Cost-per-leadThis is important as you will need to track how much you spend on each lead. Some leads are as cheap as pennies, while others can run up to a few hundred dollars.

Industry-specific Lead Generation

Each industry has its own proven methods of generating leads. Inbound strategies are where content is created such as videos or blog posts to attract prospects into sales funnels. Some rely on cold outreach methods such as cold calls and email outreach to generate leads. Many companies employ a mix of both traditional and new approaches.

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