Sales pipelines are only as good as the leads you put into them. Fill your pipeline with quality leads, and it’ll reflect a sales team that’s actively closing deals and generating revenue. Fill the pipe with unqualified leads, and it’ll show sales reps working hard with not much to show for it because the leads are actually nowhere near ready to buy.
Lead generation is the method of getting inquiries from potential customers. In the old pre-Internet days of sales, lead generation occurred at places like trade shows – visitors to a company's booth would fill out a card with their contact information and turn it in to receive a call back from that company's sales team. Since the rise of the Internet, many businesses use their websites as a lead generation option. Email also offers lead generation potential, since companies can buy another company's email marketing list or pay them to promote the company on their own marketing emails. Most marketing experts recommend that companies use at least 10 different lead generation methods to ensure that their pipelines remain full.
Sales Development reps (SDRs), also often called Inside Sales or Lead Qualification reps, are focused on one thing: reviewing, contacting, and qualifying marketing-generated leads and delivering them to Sales Account Executives. Simply put, SDR teams pass the baton from Marketing to Sales. Why do it this way? Because you want to make sure every single lead Marketing passes to your Sales team is as qualified as possible. Your SDRs should take the time to help each and every lead, offer them value, make a positive impression, create future demand, and become a trusted advisor. This step is critical in the lead generation process because you don’t want to treat your leads as blank faces to be simply questioned, qualified, and harvested.
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Organically attracting users to your site takes a lot of time and effort, and those lead generation tactics ebb and flow with consumer demand and general brand awareness. To help make up for an organic pipeline that has slowed to a trickle, many sales and marketing teams turn to lead generation companies to keep sales teams busy and expand their customer base.
In marketing, lead generation (/ˈliːd/) is the initiation of consumer interest or enquiry into products or services of a business. Leads can be created for purposes such as list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for sales leads. The methods for generating leads typically fall under the umbrella of advertising, but may also include non-paid sources such as organic search engine results or referrals from existing customers.
The Harvard Business Review recommends dividing your cold-calling efforts into two separate tasks: prospecting leads and then blitzing the best prospects. The former should be completed before the latter so you know who your best leads are and have more time to call them multiple times. The news source notes that prospecting should be done early, but blitzing requires careful timing. Consider waiting until late in the day or early the next day to catch consumers before they become busy.
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Leveraging a lead generation and management system can help you increase conversion rates — how many leads turn into opportunities and, ultimately, sales. As crazy as it sounds, when you’re just starting out and can count your customers on one hand, dropped leads are a real problem for growing businesses. Lead generation software can help not only with finding new leads, but also with keeping track of who they are, how to reach them, and how you found them in the first place.