In the pre-Internet era, few companies really needed external referrals from existing customers. That changed dramatically as e-commerce, social media, and online referral networks allowed new companies to sell their goods directly to consumers.
More competition means more demand for innovation, which ultimately refers to attracting customers with strong purchasing power.
Getting the right customers begins with exciting the right prospective clients — a process that is also known as lead generation marketing (or lead gen). There are a plethora of channels to access the ideal potential audience, but the key is in the design and execution of the appropriate lead generation strategies.
In this article, we'll share a few strategies to help you generate qualified leads. We’ll cover why your company should invest in lead generation, a few effective lead generation strategies, and pointers on getting started.
As the online and digital marketing landscape continues to evolve, businesses are constantly pushed to create and execute efficient lead generation campaigns to stay relevant. A strong sales pipeline will give you a good idea about the flow of qualified prospects, and if the company is capable of converting them into a paying customer.
Direct lead generation is the backbone of almost every business’s marketing and sales strategy. It is a sales process intended to lead to immediate paying customers.
Unlike inbound marketing efforts, direct lead involves identifying a target audience through outbound marketing activities. This includes getting on phone calls, sending emails, and face-to-face meetings. The sales funnel is formed by connecting with your audience at the first point of contact and taking them through buying the product or service.
A typical activity for direct lead generation is to organize webinars on topics relevant to your industry. Use this to showcase your product to a vast audience, get their feedback, and gauge interest. From there, identify your top prospects and follow up until the sales funnel closes.
Nothing can beat free offers. We’ve all used free tools at one time or the other. Incentive-driven lead generation involves using promotions, rewards, giveaways, and prizes to entice consumers to take action. This B2B lead generation process is most effective for businesses that want to establish trust in a new market.
Of course, not every company can afford to offer free services or products for business leads. It is simply unsustainable for many, and especially if your products are a bit pricey. In that case, we recommend incorporating a freemium model for your B2B lead generation strategies instead of giving out free tools.
This is an inbound lead generation strategy that is often integrated into an in-depth sales pipeline. Content leads are a great way to build relationships with existing active clients that are already using products similar to the one you're selling.
Content lead generation takes the form of sharing informative, engaging blog posts, providing enough value for site visitors to explore the services offered. You can generate a lot of qualified leads from consistently publishing high-quality content over a long period.
For some, most leads captured from social media end up becoming lasting clients. They engage with your content and whenever they log in, you’re there to remind them why your product is the solution they’ve been looking for.
Social media lead generation primarily involves demonstrating how valuable you are to the communities your company is set to serve. From Twitter to Facebook groups, every social media channel is now a viable place to shine. And if you want to take it up a notch, partnering with relevant influencers can take you far and wide.
B2B Lead generation is not a one size fits all strategy. It is critical to note that everything your company does in perfecting an ideal buyer's journey should depend on your industry, product, and a lot of other factors. In other words, this blog post is merely a map and not a guide.
Sales and marketing teams with the resources to implement more than one of these will almost certainly capture more leads compared to others restricted by an inflexible budget. The strategies outlined above can help your business to start generating leads irrespective of your industry.
In most cases, generating more leads equates to more sales. This is especially true for B2B lead generation. It is critical to realize that if your marketing team doesn’t have the tools or skills to collect qualified leads, you’re missing out on an invaluable part of the buyer journey.
Each of the lead generation strategies covered above involves trial and error. The magic is to strike the right balance between attracting too many leads and giving them enough time to decide if they should go on and purchase the product.
This also gives you a breathing window to keep optimizing the landing page necessary to convert new leads, fine-tune your social media engagements, and generally better your lead generation process. Regardless, the best lead generation strategies are honed from engaging with your customers, taking feedback, re-evaluating your lead generation strategy, and scaling the process as you grow.
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