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An effective lead generation strategy helps set your sales team up for success. Build a sales pipeline of the right prospects with this deep dive into what lead generation is, why you need it, and how it works.
Lead generation is the process of identifying potential customers for your business or service and guiding them into your sales pipeline. The goal of lead generation is to pre-qualify interested buyers, filling your sales pipeline to help close deals more quickly.
Generating leads can occur across a variety channels, including both online and in person. The more you expand your reach, the more potential customers you can identify, increasing the number of leads in your sales pipeline. Lead generation saves a tremendous amount of time for the sales team, allowing them to focus on the most high-value contacts.
Although every business has their own process, lead generation often follows these stages:
Identifying potentially interested individuals and laying the foundation for lead nurture.
Beginning to build a trusted connection, helping the lead feel comfortable with your company and what you offer.
Determining whether or not this lead is ready to move forward, often the point at which the lead is handed to the sales team.
Lead generation paves the way towards gaining new customers, and offers the following benefits:
You may be curious about how lead generation relates to demand generation. Although there are similarities, they are different.
Focuses on identifying and qualifying potential customers and adding them to your sales pipeline.
Lead generation aims to capture the contact information of potential customers.
Examples of lead generation:
Focuses on building awareness and creating demand for your product or service.
Demand generation aims to convey the value of what your business offers, without requiring the audience to provide any information.
Examples of demand generation:
The goal of lead generation is to identify and pre-qualify potential customers for your sales pipeline. However, not all individuals are ready to purchase immediately. As a result, your lead generation and marketing strategies should fit the needs of the potential customer, regardless of where they fall in the sales process. These categories are often used to help define the different stages a potential customer follows throughout the lead generation process.
Here are some additional terms commonly associated with lead generation.
There are a variety of ways to connect with potential customers and begin generating leads. Inbound marketing and outbound marketing offer a variety of approaches—so it’s helpful to understand these terms and how different lead generation approaches fit within them.
Inbound marketing focuses on attracting customers prior to the point at which they require your product or service. The goal of inbound marketing is to help the customer learn more about the value your company provides.
Examples of inbound marketing include:
Content marketing. Creating blog posts, infographics, videos, and eBooks, content marketing aims to provide useful and valuable information that helps your audience. Doing so conveys the value your company provides and helps build trust with your audience.
Social media. On Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social media platform where your audience stays active, regular social media posts are a great way to keep your audience engaged.
Outbound marketing proactively reaches out to the customer to create awareness. Highly targeted and using a clear call-to-action, outbound marketing is often associated with advertising.
Examples of outbound marketing include:
Advertising. On the web, in print, on TV, or on the radio, advertising is a classic approach to help promote awareness and drive responses to the call-to-action.
Telemarketing. Although no longer as common as it was in the past, telemarketing goes to a list of individuals and aims to engage and inspire them to take the next step.
Examples of lead generation that are both inbound and outbound marketing:
Email marketing. Current email marketing providers require opt-ins, which means subscribers have given permission to receive messages. However, email marketing pushes communications out to recipients, which can be categorised as outbound marketing. Email marketing is a great way to send targeted messages to help drive responses on the call-to-action.
Events. Most know that face-to-face events are a tried-and-true formula to help your company get more visibility and drive awareness amongst event attendees. But digital, or virtual, events can help you reach more people and generate leads more cost effectively—while still building the trusted relationships that fuel your sales pipeline.
As you begin building your lead generation strategy, consider these steps—and how to customise them for your business, budget, and goals.
As you roll out your lead generation strategy, you will need to have the infrastructure in place to capture contact information for your new leads. A lead-capture form can be embedded on a webpage, letting you link to it from any communication you have with your audience. You can also create a series of lead-capture forms, helping you target and segment lead lists however fits your company best.
What type of information does your ideal customer often look for? Offering useful and informative resources helps build trust with potential new leads. Here are some ideas that could help you generate leads:
Now that you have a lead-capture form and high-value resources you can use to engage your audience, it’s time to run a lead-generation campaign. Build out a lead generation strategy and select the media or sources you will use to help reach your audience.
Outline your objective.
Select the media outlets you will use.
Clarify your call-to-action.
Build a plan for how your sales team will follow up with the new leads.
Lead generation software and marketing automation help streamline the many tasks associated with marketing your business. Automation helps keep everyone organised with a single place to find contacts, see sales progress, run and manage campaigns, and build trusted relationships with potential and current customers.
Lead generation software is a perfect tool to drive your lead generation efforts, letting you create and manage campaigns with convenience. Lead generation software helps you:
See if lead generation software is right for your business—Dynamics 365 Marketing helps you find and nurture leads, score lead readiness, create marketing content, and personalise the customer journey.