Whether we want it or not, we have all been a sales lead at some point. Signing up for a newsletter or answering a telemarketing call are just a couple of examples of how often we “turn” into sales leads for some business out there. Being a lead is when you open the door to a company.
Leads are like liquid gold in the world of sales.
What Is A “Sales Lead”?
According to Investopedia, a sales lead is a prospective consumer of a product or service that is created when an individual or business shows interest and provides his or her contact information.
Companies acquire sales leads generally through ads, events, opt-in forms, direct emails, and other marketing efforts.
For any entrepreneurs looking to start a new business, without any doubt, generating sales leads is the most complicated task they will need to overcome. Building a great product that actually solves a problem is useless unless companies don’t have people who want to buy it.
You can’t sell without a lead, you can’t have sales without clients, it doesn’t matter what business you are in. Finding those who are interested in buying is hard, and that’s what makes salespeople very important in any company.
Don’t be fooled though. Sales leads are not clients yet. They are potential customers.
Sales Lead Generation Process
In the last decade, technology has made a great impact on the way businesses generate leads. Artificial intelligence and chatbots, just to name a couple, are playing today a crucial role in this technology development.
Back in the days, “world of mouth” was one of the main ways to promote a business, exposure was limited and local. Newsletters were rare and any form of traditional marketing was expensive.
Thanks to the Internet high penetration, at least in the developed world, even small businesses can leverage the web to generate interest in their product or services. Investing in some sort of digital marketing makes sense due to the low-cost barrier.
How To Master Lead Generation
Building a solid lead generation system is not an easy task and having in place a variety of processes is crucial for success. Like any other B2B business, if you are not generating leads online, you are missing out. Recent studies have shown that those business that generated 60% of their leads are 200% more profitable than those who don’t.
Generating sales leads online is not only wise, it’s non-negotiable.
Keep an updated blog
Companies blogs are a natural extension of the business. Blogs indicate success and engagement with your audience. Above anything else, content marketing can be seen as a source of help and advice for your prospects and clients. In the last year, content marketing has become relevant more than ever in finding ways to attract and engage the desired target audience.
Content marketing can help you in establishing your business as the go-to-source for prospects’ and clients’ problems.
- 88 percent of B2B companies currently use content marketing as part of their lead generation strategy
- B2B companies with blogs generate 67 percent more leads per month over companies who don’t blog
- Firms that post at least 15 times per month get 5x more traffic over those that don’t blog
- The most successful B2B content marketers allot the biggest portions of their budget to content marketing: 42 percent of the total budget
- B2B marketers measure blogging success mainly by the quality of sales leads their content marketing efforts net
How To Master It
Content marketing is a long-term strategy. You won’t get sales leads after hitting “publish” on that blog post. It takes time, months, sometimes even years (if you don’t invest) to start getting traction.
The best content for your business is from those who are working within your organization. Brainstorm internally to write down the most common problems and try asking your clients what issues they face. Keep a regular schedule for your blog. At Tenfold, we are big on content, and we try to publish as soon as an idea comes to mind.
Visual Content To Attract Your Desired Audience
Most marketers might think that visual content is mainly for B2C industries, however, those marketers might forget that those decision makers in B2B industries are people too. Despite many not being a fan of visual content, this sits on top of the list of ways to increase social shares and engagements. Social shares drive traffic to your website. If the content is good, then this traffic will be translated into sales leads.
- Infographics grew from 51 percent to 62 percent in use from 2014 to 2015, the biggest leap for any B2B marketing tactic that year
- Humans retain 83 percent of info learned through visuals compared to 20 percent retained just by reading text
- Publishers who use infographics grew their traffic by an average of 12 percent
- 65 percent of the US population are visual learners
How To Master It
If you can write a blog post, you can also create infographics. The essential ingredient in a solid infographic is data. Online there are many tools that can help you create visually appealing infographics, even if you have no graphic design background. Obviously having someone within your team who can support the design will create something that is far away from what you can make with these tools, but, in case you don’t have designers, don’t shy away from trying.
Here below are some visual content ideas:
- Diagrams and Illustrations
- Slideshare Presentations
And online tools you can use to create them:
Increase Your Ranking In Search Engines
Search engines exist to help people find things they need. Considering the huge amount of content available, it’s not an easy task to rank number 1 on major search engines. One of the major problems for many marketers (but not only) is how to get up there and gain organic traffic.
Ranking high in search results is a guaranteed way to generated leads. Your business will get more traffic to your website and grow the desired audience engagement.
- Google gets around 1 trillion searches per year
- 70 percent of links search users click on are unpaid, organic results
- Organic search drives 51 percent of traffic while social media drives 5 percent
- More than 90 percent of users never click to Page 2 of Google
How To Master It
In the last few years, search engines have become smarter than ever. Ranking systems get updated continuously to avoid black hat SEO activities as well as making sure that the result of any research gives back the most relevant information. Back in the days, using tricks to get higher ranking was the norm.
With time, however, Google, together with other search engines have been putting a higher emphasis on valuable, relevant and helpful content. Content marketing is today one of the most important digital marketing “tricks” your business can do. Creating useful and relevant blog posts for your desired audience will create more engagement on your website, which consequently will help your business rank higher.
The returns of getting steady organic traffic are incredibly valuable, therefore you cannot ignore this. You can study SEO or hire an expert to take care of several aspects of how the whole search engine world works to align it with your business goals.
Paid Advertising On Social Media And Google
Paid advertising is probably the biggest question mark for many business owners. To understand whether it is worth or not is often a struggle, due to the fact that many entrepreneurs don’t know the basics of digital marketing.
If you have a good strategy around PPC can be very rewarding, but it needs to be done correctly. You are investing your company funding to attract users by paying for their attention if done without rationale you might be attracting the wrong leads.
- Search ads accounted for $9.1 billion, or 39 percent, of the total web advertising revenue for the first half of 2014
- LinkedIn has 70 million registered users of which 50% are decision makers making it very wise to run paid ads on the platform
- Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Adwords
Generate Those Sales Leads
There might be other thousands of ways to get sales leads in your business, however, these four have been tested and have brought in revenue for many different companies. Remember that any lead generation strategy needs time, patience and testing to get the most out of it.
If you work on your marketing message correctly and are wise on the way you invest and act in digital marketing, sales leads will come to your business.
Have you tested successfully any other activities to generate sales leads? Did you try any of these four and got some good (or bad) results? Let us know your thoughts and experience in the comments section below.