Any salesperson at some point gets the feeling that the market is out of companies and people to sell the product to. As though nothing can be done to get new customers – and this is where lead generation comes in.
What Is the Lead in Sales?
The sales lead definition is as follows: a sales lead is a business or person who can finally become a buyer. In short, it is a potential consumer of your service/product. Lead generation is always the first step of any sales funnel.
Prospect vs Lead
You can easily get tangled up trying to figure out if it is a prospect or a lead in front of you. There is a difference: in any sales process, you generate leads first, then turn them into prospects and then continue moving them throughout your sales funnel. A prospect is a potential customer who fits certain criteria.
For example, a prospect:
- belongs to your target group;
- can make buying decisions;
- has an opportunity to buy.
Any prospect is a lead, but not every lead can become a prospect.
The Importance of Lead Generation
Instead of waiting for a customer to find your website and buy your product or service, you can initiate a sales funnel by yourself. Lead generation allows you to control the number of clients and gives you predictive and stable sales growth.
Now let’s deepen our understanding of lead generation.
What Kinds of Leads Exist?
Before qualifying a person as a lead or prospect, you may have to deal with a huge number of suspects. A suspect is any human being on Earth who could theoretically buy your product/business, and you don’t even know if they are interested in your offer. They can be involved in the sales conversation but not showing any intention or interest in purchasing.
Hot, Warm, and Cold Leads
How can we identify warm, hot or cold leads? By applying the BANT lead qualifying system:
- B – budget: mean that the lead has the money and is ready to run business;
- A – authority: the contact person has the right to decide if they are buying or not;
- N – need: the lead is in need of your product/service;
- T – time frame: the indicated period of time from getting in touch with the lead to closing a deal.
Hot leads match all these criteria. Warm leads usually miss one or two criteria. And cold leads have two or even three dis-qualifiers, so you need to use effort to turn them into a warm or hot lead and close the deal.
Marketing qualified lead
A marketing qualified lead (MQL), also referred to as a warm lead, becomes a lead just because of your marketing strategy. The client saw your advertisement, read your blog, attended your webinar, etc. They were searching for a solution to their problem and found out about your product or service due to any marketing tool. Then they googled the information about you, and voila! You have a marketing qualified lead! Congratulations!
Sales accepted lead
Also called a Sales Ready Lead (SRL), this is a prospect who requested a negotiation and wants to proceed as a buyer.
Sales qualified lead
An SQL is an MQL that reaches the decision stage after getting consultations, demos, and trials. The fastest and most successful sales funnels are with sales qualified leads.
The Best Ways of Lead Generation
Now we need to talk about lead generation strategies. There are many good ways to generate a lead:
- writing for a blog, commenting on other blogs;
- revisiting past or lost opportunities;
- getting referrals from existing clients;
- active use of social networks to find prospects (Linkedin especially is a great network for lead generation);
- using success stories of sales funnels to attract more customers;
- creating great calls to action, offers, landing pages.
To get those Marketing Qualified Leads, we need to implement a strong marketing strategy to generate leads. Here are some great marketing tactics:
- Use Google Ads;
- Send direct emails to potential clients;
- Catch leads through website forms;
- Use your email lists;
- Don’t hesitate to get in touch with your potential leads on social networks.
There is another powerful weapon of lead generation in sales: SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Did you know that more than 50% of customers search for business solutions using Google? This makes SEO a really compelling tool for getting prospects.
Here are some tips on lead generation using SEO:
- First, you need to get a strong understanding of customer’s intent;
- Attempt to use long-tail keywords;
- Create impressive meta descriptions;
- Optimize for mobile users;
- SEO your landing pages.
Lead Generation Sources
If you are looking for specific places to generate leads, start with these:
- Linkedin: the major lead generating source is 277% more effective than any other social network sources.
- Lead generation tools: you can use such tools as Capterra, which is used by 37% of marketers to generate leads. Nimble CRM includes a great prospector tool to help you generate leads and qualify them into prospects.
- Quora: it works when you create a profile with a link to your website and actively answer questions. You bring attention to yourself and show yourself as a good specialist. People get to know about you and your company and come to be your leads. Very simple.
- Website: this is the best and the most obvious way to generate prospects who are interested in your offer.
- Slideshare: collaborating with Linkedin, it has become a great source of leads.
Sales Lead Management
If you have a lack of lead nurturing, no insight into leads’ activities, no initial lead qualification, lack of visibility, lost follow-ups – you definitely need to know how to organize your lead management in a proper way.
The lead management process has five stages:
- Lead capturing: get all lead information from chats, mail, web forms into a system to prevent them from being lost.
- Lead tracking and enrichment: sales lead management software tracks all publicly available information, activities on the websites, downloads, and email engagements. Thus, you can understand their needs, interests and character traits to personalize all your sales efforts.
- Lead qualification: on the basis of all the information you get from a lead management system, you can divide the sales into qualified and unqualified.
- Lead distribution: a good lead management system is able to automatically assign leads to sales reps.
- Lead nurturing: you can nurture interest in your leads if they are not completely sure in their buying decision.
Qualifying a lead is a process of identifying if the prospect fits all “ideal customer” criteria, has a high chance to become and stay your customer for a long time. The best way to do this is by using the BANT technique mentioned above.
CRM for Lead Management
Customer Relationship Management, or CRM, is the best way to organize your sales lead management. Nimble is a simple and smart CRM system that works for you. You can update contacts, access company, and contact insights and manage a deal right from within your existing workflow.
Nimble will help you to build relationships, not spreadsheets. It saves you time by automatically building your contacts. Using Nimble, you get an opportunity to prospect smarter and faster. Try Nimble Prospector while on any social site, a cloud application or website to enrich and create contact records. Prospector captures information such as phone number, email, company, job, title, name, and location.
Nimble allows you to turn conversations into connections, engage in a personal way, keep contacts up to date, reach out easily with measurable results.
An efficiently organized process of lead generation and management will bring your business to success, so don’t neglect it. Have issues in lead generation and management? Use Nimble!