Free sales leads are not that hard to find at all but you do need to do some work in order to be able to turn them into cold call lists. In this article I will show you some of the main resources professional sales people and lead generation organizations use in creating lists of companies to cold call. As you will see, most of the information you need to get started making cold calls is right at your fingertips!
By definition, there’s less room at the bottom of the funnel than at the top, so manage your leads wisely to ensure that only active, qualified sales leads make it to the bottom and into the pipeline. Otherwise you’re going to flood your sales pipe with leads that aren’t actually ready to buy. They’ll sit still and clog the pipeline, taking up time your sales reps should be spending working active deals.
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Each lead generation technique usually has a tradeoff between quality and quantity. For example, a form on the company website that visitors can fill in to request a call back will generate high-quality leads – these visitors are very likely to buy since they're interested enough to want to hear more – but probably won't generate a lot of leads. On the other hand, a lead list that's based on a newsletter subscription list from another company may generate a lot of leads, but they won't be nearly as interested or qualified. This tradeoff is another reason why companies are wise to use many lead generation methods.
Cost per acquisition advertising (e.g. TalkLocal, Thumbtack) addresses the risk of CPM and CPC advertising by charging only by the lead. Like CPC, the price per lead can be bid up by demand. Also, like CPC, there are ways in which providers can commit fraud by manufacturing leads or blending one source of lead with another (example: search-driven leads with co-registration leads) to generate higher profits. For such marketers looking to pay only for specific actions/acquisition, there are two options: CPL advertising (or online lead generation) and CPA advertising (also referred to as affiliate marketing). In CPL campaigns, advertisers pay for an interested lead — i.e. the contact information of a person interested in the advertiser's product or service. CPL campaigns are suitable for brand marketers and direct response marketers looking to engage consumers at multiple touchpoints — by building a newsletter list, community site, reward program or member acquisition program. In CPA campaigns, the advertiser typically pays for a completed sale involving a credit card transaction.
Content is a great way to guide users to a landing page. Typically, you create content to provide visitors with useful, free information. You can include CTAs anywhere in your content — inline, bottom-of-post, in the hero, or even on the side panel. The more delighted a visitor is with your content, the more likely they are to click your call-to-action and move onto your landing page.
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Today things are different. Customers have a wealth of information at their fingertips: coffee blogs and review sites, recommendations from friends on social media, and so much more. By the time a customer even thinks about going to a store — and it may well be an online store, at that — they’re less likely to ask a salesperson “What coffee makers do you have?” than “Can you beat this price on the model I already know I want?”
Clearly, there has been a huge change in the traditional buying process. In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their buying journey before they even reach the vendor. The reason this is happening more and more is because buyers have so much access to information that they can delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves.
Don't use CTAs to drive people to your homepage, for instance. Even if your CTA is about your brand or product (and perhaps not an offer like a download), you should still be sending them to a targeted landing page that's relevant to what they are looking for and includes an opt-in form. If you have the opportunity to use a CTA, send them to a page that will convert them into a lead.
The beauty of lead management software is that it can help you capture information at a point of contact with your organization such as a landing page visit, white paper download, or email open. Based on the action, leads are scored and the next action defined. Having information about when and how your customers are interacting with your brand online allows you to create a one-to-one customer journey and helps your salespeople personally focus on well-qualified sales leads, while other leads can be automatically nurtured.
For each of the sources of free sales leads listed below, you will still have to put some work into creating a sales lead sheet in Excel or in your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application if you use one. After reading this article you should have no problem compiling lists of companies for you to contact and I tackle the question of identifying contacts within each company in another article.
If you are looking for a list of free sales leads who are already interested in your company, product or service then that is not likely to happen, unfortunately. The reason for this is that unless you – or someone else – has actively marketed your message, how can you suppose that there are people out there that are going to be automatically interested in what you have to say? The closest you can come is by defining who your ideal customer is and then going after those kinds of companies.
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