Customers are the lifeblood of your business, but no one ever said attracting them was easy. Research shows that 68% of businesses struggle to generate leads and it’s no wonder why.
To successfully attract a lead, you need to identify their needs, work out how to sell to them, and build their desire for your product.
Crucially, you also need to stand out. Marketing experts estimate that people view between 4,000 – 10,000 ads daily, though most of us only notice less than 100. So even if customers notice your ad, you still need to stand out against roughly 99 others to win a lead.
Naturally, you need a robust lead generation strategy. That’s what this article is all about. We’ll cover what lead generation is, lead generation vs. sales, and eight ways to improve your lead generation strategy.
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process of identifying, targeting, and making contact with leads (sometimes called “sales prospects”).
We generally classify sales prospects as either Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) or Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).
MQLs are moderately invested in your offerings and need more coaching or marketing to make a purchase. SQLs have the ability, intention, and desire to make a purchase and just need a push to say “yes.”
Here’s a diagram that shows how MQLs become SQLs.
Lead generation isn’t usually the responsibility of one team. Instead, marketers, sales teams, administration staff, and customer service representatives contribute to lead generation through various tactics. Four of these lead generation tactics include:
- Outbound marketing (including marketing through TV, print media, radio, mail, and branded billboards)
- Inbound marketing (including marketing on your blog, website, and social media)
- Market research
What is Sales?
Sales is the process of turning a lead into a customer by selling them a product or service. Your sales team, customer service team, marketing team, and company website all play a role in sales.
The best way to conceptualize the difference between sales and leads is by looking at the four stages of the sales funnel. These stages include:
- Awareness = when potential customers first learn about your brand, services, or product
- Interest = when leads seek further information
- Desire = when leads develop a connection to you and start to consider making a purchase
- Action = when leads make a purchase and convert to customers
Most marketers would think of the “awareness” and “interest” phases as lead generation and the “desire” and “action” stages as sales. However, it’s crucial to note that the lines between lead generation and sales are blurred — so there is no exact “point” when lead generation becomes sales.
8 strategies for amazing sales lead generation
Lead generation and sales are inherently linked, and thus, using strong lead generation tools and strategies will improve your sales.
Here are eight such strategies:
Search Engine Optimization (or “SEO”) is the practice of adjusting and altering your website and its contents to perform better in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Ranking high in search results is key in attracting organic traffic to your website, as 28.5% of Google users click on the first result, 15.7% click on the second, and 11% click on the third. The more traffic your website gets, the more sales leads you reach.
If you aren’t a seasoned marketer, embracing SEO may seem tricky. But there are many simple ways to improve your website’s on-page and off-page SEO.
On-page SEO includes any SEO efforts on your website or web pages, including:
- Optimizing your content with keywords
- Using alt text and image titles
- Using high-quality images
- Using search engine-friendly URLs
- Marketing your content with optimized titles, headers, meta descriptions, and meta titles
- Optimizing your website for mobile traffic (as mobile devices account for 54.8% of global website traffic)
- Speeding up your website with a WordPress plugin like WP Rocket or W3
Off-page SEO includes actions taken outside your website, like white-hat link building (the process of building backlinks from reputable websites), digital public relations, and guest blogging. If you’d like to learn more about off-page SEO, check out this guide.
Leverage existing customers
When we think of high-quality leads, we tend to think of new leads who’ve never heard of your brand. This isn’t necessarily bad, but you may miss out on potential customers if you only focus on fresh prospects.
Research from Bain and Company shows that increasing your customer retention rate by 5% can increase your profits by 25%. Selling to previous customers is also 6 – 7 times cheaper than selling to a new one.
You can target existing customers through the channels they’ve engaged with you on — like their email with email marketing or phone with SMS marketing. Consider offering them a special deal to get them interested in new offerings or products. This could be anything from an exclusive 25% discount to free shipping to a special gift.
Alternatively, you can leverage your existing customers for referrals. Research from Nielsen shows that 92% of consumers trust referral marketing, and the best referrals come from friends, family, and trusted colleagues.
For best results with referring marketing, target customers that are promoters or passives of your business instead of detractors. They are your strongest supporters.
Create compelling landing pages
Research shows that 96% of fresh website visitors are MQLs that aren’t ready to purchase. And as landing pages are the first thing new sales leads see when they enter your website, they are vital in retaining leads.
Creating a compelling landing page can help you capture leads, as you can grab the lead’s interest and get them invested in your product.
To optimize your landing page for leads, try including these things:
- Video marketing, infographics, and images that grab the visitor’s attention
- Clean, simple design that highlights key elements of the page
- Trust signals that tell visitors which well-known brands or customers like your goods
- Testimonials that provide social proof for your offerings
- A strong Call-To-Action (CTA) that uses action phrases like “buy now” or “download for free”
You could also add your payment gateway directly to your landing page. This will increase your lead conversion rate as you reduce the time and effort it takes for a lead to make a purchase.
Additionally, you could increase conversions by adding a live chat feature to your website that allows leads to speak with your sales team instantly.
Use personalization tactics
Imagine you are looking for new invoicing software for your brand, and you research two potential options before chatting to a salesperson. Are you more likely to schedule a call with a salesperson from the brand that personalized their offering to you or not?
Research from Statista shows that 44% of consumers are willing to switch to a brand that offers them personalized marketing communication. Additionally, only 10% of consumers believe personalization is “not important at all.”
There are many great ways to personalize your communications for leads. First and foremost, ask for a lead’s name upfront so you can address all social media communication, live chats, emails, and website pop-ups to them.
Next, ask new sales leads what they are interested in so you can link them to the content they are looking for. For example, if you were selling sales outreach software, you could do this with a website pop-up that asked, “are you interested in sales monitoring tools, VoIP call software, or sales data analysis?”
Finally, use website personalization to tailor the content you show leads using their search history.
Use a lead magnet
A lead magnet is a tool you use to ask a lead to give you their name and contact information. They work like this: a prospect finds your lead magnet and wants the reward you offer them. They give you the information, and you reward them.
Provided they are free and valuable to the prospect, lead magnets can be anything:
- Exclusive guides
- Free shipping
- Web apps
- Calendars or planners
- A calculator or generator
- A free trial to your services or software
For best results, identify your value offering and use it to market your lead magnet. Your value offering (sometimes called your “Unique Selling Point” or “USP”) is the thing that makes you different from competitors.
For example, if you sell video call software and your value offering is instant customer service, you could offer a free trial with copy like, “test out our uninterrupted calls by speaking to one of our experts. The current wait for an expert is x seconds.” Replace “x” with the number of seconds it takes to connect to a customer service officer.
Track all your outreach
Many businesses use the “spray and pray” technique to generate sales leads. This technique sees you send out lead generation content to everyone you have contact information for and hope that a small percentage engage with you.
Spray and pray has its merits, but there is a smarter alternative: targeted lead generation.
When you use targeted lead generation, you use a buyer persona to identify MQLs and SQLs, reach out to each member of your target audience with carefully planned communication, and follow up to nurture the lead.
The trick here is that you track your outreach to tailor your approach to each lead. For example, your sales team could record notes on each meeting to build on what they discussed in the next conversation.
Tracking your outreach allows your sales team to nurture your leads and increase your revenue (as nurtured sales leads spend 47% more than non-nurtured leads).
You can also use this approach to cross-sell and up-sell leads by introducing them to new products, offering upgrades, promoting supplementary products, or creating tailored package deals.
Use social media lead generation
It’s a mistake to underestimate the power of social media. In 2021, 4.2 billion people use social media, and the average user spends 145 minutes on their favorite social media platforms daily. Naturally, leveraging social media can increase the number of sales leads you reach.
There are two primary methods you can use to generate social media leads:
- Organic outreach (i.e., posting content for free)
- Paid outreach through social media advertisements
Ideally, you should use both approaches. Posting free content allows you to nurture an authentic relationship with your followers that will pay off long-term. Paid social media advertisements target users by their demographic information and browsing habits, so you can use them to introduce your brand to people who fit into your Ideal Prospect Profile (IPP).
We don’t have time to dive into the nuances of social media marketing right now, so check out our “social media marketing strategy and reporting” guide for more information.
Measure KPIs and strategy performance
If you don’t measure your lead generation campaign, you won’t know when it’s working. Naturally, you need to monitor your lead generation process with Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like your lead conversion rate, customer satisfaction scores, cart abandonment rates, product returns, and reviews and ratings.
Additionally, you’ll want to set SMART goals as performance targets. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reliable, and Time-Bound. They generally follow a format like this: “we will (metric) by (time).” For example, “we will increase sales leads by 10% by the end of February.”
Many marketers find measuring performance difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. Leveraging tools like ClicData can help you:
- Track your lead performance with live dashboards
- Track your MQLs and SQLs
- Measure the Return on Investment (ROI) of your marketing ads
- Monitor your email marketing performance
- Build data-driven marketing reports
ClicData can also help you sort through your data and uncover Business Intelligence (BI) insights.
BI insights are vital pieces of information that can inform your future sales, product, marketing, and ecommerce strategies. For example, it would be a BI insight to say that more of your MQLs become SQLs when you personalize your sales communication for them.
The secret to generating leads: data
Lead generation is an integral part of your sales strategy, and thus, it’s crucial to develop your strategy carefully.
Target people in your IPP, make your offer personal, and nurture your sales leads carefully for best results. You should also vary your lead generation tactics to include SEO, landing pages, existing customer outreach, and social media.
Of course, you’ll need to measure your strategy with BI software like ClicData to optimize your results. To see how ClicData can transform your business, start a 15-day free trial here.
About the author
Mark Quadros is a Saas Content Marketer that helps brands create and distribute rad content. On a similar note, Mark loves content and contributes to several authoritative blogs like HubSpot, CoSchedule, Foundr, etc. Connect with him via LinkedIn or Twitter.