No matter how good or revolutionary your product is, you have to be a great seller to succeed. Lead generation is a top challenge for 61% of marketers. As generating sales leads ideas can be a challenging task for anyone, we have some proven methods to share with you.
So, let’s get started.
Defining a Sales Lead
A lead, in sales terms, is a person or a company that may eventually become a buyer. It also refers to data that represents a potential client interested in your product or service. However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds.
All leads can be grouped into two categories:
- Marketing-qualified leads – these represent all people interested in your services who will likely be receptive to marketing. However, not all of them are ready to become your customers;
- Sales-qualified leads – these represent people who are not just looking for a specific product but are willing to buy it right now.
The Importance of Lead Generation
Leads represent your potential buyers at the first stage of the buying process. The more leads you capture, the higher the chances that they will transform into your clients. If your business doesn’t focus on lead generation, it is certainly missing out on potential revenue.
As any business is dependent on its clients, sales leads are essential for both B2C and B2B companies. You can generate leads using different channels: website, advertisements, through word of mouth, and more.
Lead Generation Challenges
Despite the variety of channels and methods, companies still struggle to get sales leads. The reasons can be different, from constantly increasing competition and customer demands to an abundance of information that is hard to track.
Here are some common challenges you can face:
- Lead quality – you can get a huge number of random leads but still have low sales rates if they are not interested in making a purchase. You should focus on the target audience and ensure that the people are ready to buy your products.
- Limited resources – you will always be restricted by time, money, and/or resources you can spend on lead generation. You will never be able to try every single method, so focus on tactics that suit your needs and fit your budget.
- Tracking ROI from leads – another common challenge is to understand how effective your lead generation strategy is. Try to compare the costs of getting a lead vs how much profit it generates to see whether it is worth your investments or if you should look for a cheaper strategy.
- Converting leads to customers – you may be surprised, but 96% of visitors on your website are not ready to make a purchase. Turning potential customers into actual buyers might be a challenging task even for experienced teams, but it is a top priority for 69% of marketers.
15 Ways to Generate Sales Leads
Many companies run expensive marketing campaigns and hire professionals to get a steady flow of leads. However, it isn’t the only option. Let’s look in detail at 15 creative ways to generate sales leads that don’t require marketing support.
Use Social Media
About 42% of the current world population uses some kind of social media, so take advantage of such wide coverage. B2B companies can focus on Linkedin as it provides an amazing network for businesses, but expanding to Facebook and Twitter can grant you more benefits.
Try to make as many connections as you can to get more prospects. Use social media to get recommendations from your clients, post special offers, and tell more about your company. Remember that any social media is a fantastic channel to reach your audience and generate sales leads online.
Post Articles on Linkedin
Among all social media, Linkedin has a reputation for the most effective platform for delivering content and engaging with the audience. While most salespeople have an account there, they may not know how to use it effectively.
Use your profile as a blog to promote your brand. Don’t write long and sophisticated essays, simple “Beginner’s guide to…” or “What you should know about…” can be great topics to start. You can also post offers for consultations, invite people to events, etc. Just make your articles useful and informative to engage the audience.
Get Referrals from Current Customers
The best way to prove your company’s professionalism is to let your happy clients speak of it. Try to contact your customers to thank for doing business with you and ask them to share their experience. If they are happy, you can use these referrals to demonstrate the high quality of your work; if not, ask for reasons to see what you can improve.
What is more, you can use this conversation with a customer to ask for other contacts who might be interested in your services.
Work with Your Personal Network
When it comes to business, many people overlook the power of their own personal network. Your neighbors, friends, coworkers can be another valuable lead generation source as they might know somebody interested in your services. You have built-in trust with those people so they can easily spread the word about your company.
Just inform potentially useful acquaintances of your needs and ask them to send you a message in case if they find a match.
Face-to-face interactions still work great in our digital era, so you can take advantage of them for sales leads generation. Attend networking events, bring business cards, offer to connect via social media, and just have fun with live communication.
According to Marketing Charts, events help to generate the majority of qualified leads for B2B companies. So, make networking events a part of your daily routine to not miss any opportunity to grow your reach.
Revisit Closed/Lost Opportunities
In the past, you might have had some interactions with companies that expressed interest in your service but haven’t purchased it. They already know a lot about your offers, so are more qualified than new leads and worth more efforts.
Get in touch with such companies every six months and ask if they have changed their priorities. To maintain communication, you can send them relevant articles and personalized emails to stay at the top of their mind and be the first one they contact when the right moment comes.
Implement an Email Sequence
Your prospects might receive tons of emails every day, so you need to be creative to grab their attention. A great strategy here is to develop an email sequence with a clear purpose for each message.
Here is an example you can follow:
- Address pain points;
- Explain the value;
- Mention a big client;
- Qualify your message;
- Include a product description;
- The final reach.
Write for a Blog
If you focus on blogging, you have 13 times higher chances to see positive ROI, according to HubSpot. Blogs help your company to stay visible, display their expertise, and educate readers. So, if you don’t have a blog yet, you should definitely start one right now.
Write about the topic you are proficient in: your product/service, marketing optimization, management, etc., and share your posts with customers using the company’s website and social media pages.
Word of Mouth Marketing
It might be the oldest marketing technique that still drives 13% of consumer sales, and the increasing power of social media makes word of mouth an impressive power able of boosting or ruining brands’ reputation.
Customers’ referrals can help you to promote your company by generating sales leads without dedicated marketing support. And after a friend’s recommendation, consumers are 90% likely to make a purchase and trust the company. Just focus on providing great customer experience and let your clients advertise your brand.
Develop Your Website
Just think: 88% of people consider abandoning a website after a bad experience. If you don’t have attractive, user-friendly, and interesting website, you might miss out on a massive audience and potential profit. Last year, people spent more than $500 billion online just in the US.
Your webpages need to grab users’ attention from the first seconds. Place CTAs, use attractive pictures, and choose a familiar layout so people will intuitively know where to look. Make sure that the pages don’t look outdated and load as fast as possible. And last but not least, fill the website with useful information, as your content can help to generate 3 times more leads compared to traditional marketing techniques.
Instead of investing in massive ad campaigns, you can optimize your website for search engines to generate organic traffic. All of your webpages are scanned and analyzed by algorithms that rank your website based on different criteria. To adopt a basic SEO strategy, focus on the quality of your content, update your information and blog posts to make your website naturally rank higher.
Offer Freebies or Promotional Items
If you struggle to find sales leads, free promotional offers can quickly attract more people to your company. Use all channels you have to spread the word about your promotions among your potential customers. Offer free trials or promotional items, create discounts, and let your clients benefit from free add-ons.
Such actions do not just attract more potential customers, but also increase the loyalty of the existing ones.
If you want to grow your reach, you should develop solid brand recognition. However, it can be quite challenging without your own wide audience. In this case, you can leverage someone else’s readers by guest posting.
To get in touch with more people, post material on other websites with a huge number of active users and provide links back to your website. It is an easy way to generate more traffic on your website that will result in more sales leads.
Share Videos on YouTube
The second most popular social network worldwide, YouTube gives you access to an impressive audience of almost 2 billion people. It’s not just a video hosting platform; it has a powerful search engine and keeps posts for a very long time. Therefore, starting a YouTube channel can be a great decision if you want to generate more leads and have long-term traffic.
Share videos about your company, an event you have attended, post tutorials and guides on how to use your products. Remember that 64% of people are more likely to make a purchase online after they watched a video about it.
This method will require some investments, but advertisements have been proved to be effective in generating leads for years. What is more, there are some options that work great with marketing automation. Many social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter can let you post lead generation ads, which help you to easily collect email addresses within the social media.
They make it almost effortless for users to share their contacts, making these ads an effective way to enlarge your database. Just make sure you complement lead ads with valuable content because they won’t work on their own.
Use a CRM System
Businesses usually have to deal with massive amounts of customer data, so CRM systems can help them to organize this information and automate simple processes, saving not just time but money. What is more, the automation of lead management can increase revenue by up to 10% just in 6-9 months.
Use a CRM to automatically collect email addresses, sort, and segment both customers and prospects and send relevant personalized messages.
For example, Nimble automatically combines contacts, social media connections, communications, inboxes, and calendar appointments with over 160 apps and CRMs into one unified relationship manager for sales teams.
Business intelligence is critical for your sales success because it helps you identify which contacts and companies to connect with. Nimble saves you time by delivering sales intelligence to every contact with the people and company details you need to be prepared. Details include industry, company size, location, employee count, revenue and more to help target the right companies.
Is It a Good Idea to Buy Sales Leads?
You can definitely get new leads without marketing support, but it will take a lot of work. So, you might consider buying leads online and getting an entire database of contacts without much effort.
Purchased leads might work pretty well as long as you are buying them legally from trustworthy parties. For example, UpLead is quite an effective business leads marketplace. However, working through a third party removes your chance to add a personal touch.
What is more, purchased leads cannot be as qualified as those you have acquired by yourself, and converting leads to customers will take less time for those who are already interested in your company.
To sum it up, you can purchase leads, but in most cases, they will perform worse than organic prospects.
How to Track Your Leads
To keep your eyes open and understand how effective your strategy is, you should find a way to track your leads. The simplest way to do it is to optimize your CRM for sales leads tracking. Use it to monitor the conversations with potential customers and even analyze how many customers you have acquired.
There is also a special lead management software that can handle more specific tasks like automatically uploading databases, assigning leads to a salesperson, generating reports, measuring ROI, etc.
Sales Leads Management
After capturing the leads, you still need to organize your database, create several categories, and implement different strategies to get as many customers as possible. For effective sales leads management, you can use lead scoring, assigning your potential customers a value based on their information. This method helps to separate the most prospective leads from those who are not ready to buy yet.
You can score the leads by:
- Email behavior and history;
- Social engagement;
- Online behavior, etc.
Creating a Lead Generation Strategy
There is no ultimate best way to generate sales leads that will work for all companies, so you should develop own strategy. Start with creating relevant content, as it plays a leading role in most marketing tactics. You can also equip your website with lead magnets: small incentives that offer customers some sort of value in exchange for contact information.
If you are on a budget and don’t have a lot of resources, make some priorities and focus on them. For example, you can start posting articles on social media to engage with more people, and then invest in ads to reach new audiences. And don’t forget to score your leads to focus on those that are more likely to make a purchase.
Call to Action: How to Generate Sales Leads
You should capture your visitor’s attention from the first glance because they may simply not look twice. That’s why you should create clear and effective call-to-action that will consistently speak to customers over all possible channels. Use CTAs in your targeted emails, place them at the top of your website, and include them in ads to persuade people to contact you right now.
You can always buy some leads online, but acquiring your own leads is worth the effort. To increase lead generation, you should communicate with customers on social media, increase your visibility by posting blog articles, and attend networking events. You can also offer them some incentives such as free trials and products, and focus on providing a fantastic experience, letting the word of mouth work for you.