Facebook has been a method for lead generation since its inception. Originally, companies could use outbound links in their posts and information in their bios to attract strangers to their websites. However, when Facebook Ads was launched in 2007, and its algorithm began to favor accounts that used paid advertising, there was a major shift in how businesses used the platform to capture leads. Facebook created Lead Ads for this purpose. Facebook also has a feature that lets you put a simple call-to-action button at the top of your Facebook Page, helping you send Facebook followers directly to your website.
Prospecting is another technique that often provides the link between inbound marketing and sales activities. When leads have been nurtured through to the bottom of the funnel, your sales reps can follow up on them with prospecting activities. Prospecting generally involves targeted communications to individuals — like emails, LinkedIn messages, and phone calls or voicemails — as opposed to content meant to draw an audience. Another way to think about it is that prospecting is a one-to-one conversation, while marketing is one-to-many.
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.
Because lead generation is the first step in the sales process, both quality and quantity are important factors. Quality leads are leads that a salesperson has a good chance of closing, which means they must at least have the potential to become customers. Every lead list will have a number of junk leads – people who are not qualified to buy the product for some reason – but the smaller the percentage of bad leads, the less time salespeople will waste while processing that list. Quantity is also important because even a salesperson with a list of 100% good leads won't be able to close every one of them. A salesperson with 100 good leads might be able to make 10 appointments, out of which 4 will close the sale. Therefore, if a salesperson has a quota of 40 sales per month, she will need 1000 good leads per month just to make the minimum required number of sales.
Search engines also provide lead generation options. Any business with a website can appear on a search engine listing for related searches, and visitors can then click a link and be taken to that company's website. However, some search engines also offer a pay-per-click lead generation option. The search engine posts a link to the company's website at the top of the search results form, making it much more likely that prospective customers will choose to visit that website. However, when a visitor does click the link the search engine charges that company a small fee, as opposed to the free 'general' listings. Companies that use pay-per-click advertising are advised to move cautiously at first, as an overly successful campaign can end up costing far more than expected!
For every industry there are plenty of websites and other ways to get free sales leads such as awards, events and industry associations. Just by doing a few Google searches you will be surprised at what you come up with in terms of finding lists of companies and even contacts for you to prospect. My own background is in IT and have have been a fan of using Deloitte's Technology Fast 500 list and the Inc. 500 and 5000 list.
You should be prepared for every call before picking up the phone. Be proactive and learn everything you can about a consumer before cold-calling him or her. Research is a crucial part of every marketing strategy and will allow you to tailor your sales pitch to specific individuals. Entrepreneur Magazine notes you can just use a basic Google search to find some background information. In most cases, you’ll be able to find social media profiles and blogs so you can learn personal details that will help your sales representatives make successful calls.
If you are looking for a ready made list of companies with contact information, email address and phone numbers all set out for you to start calling then there is a good chance that you will have to pay for such a list (anywhere from 25 cents to over 1 dollar per contact). Apart from the expense, pre-built lists are often outdated and contain a lot of irrelevant information that may end up wasting time.
“Lead nurturing has gone through major transformations over the last 5 years, mainly fueled by an increased need for personalization. In fact, 89% of marketers say their customers today expect and demand a personalized experience. However, if I had to share a few “truths” that remain essential for the success of any lead nurturing campaign, I’d say that your email flow:
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.
Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
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.
Content: While the download of a coupon shows an individual has a direct interest in your product or service, content (like an educational ebook or webinar) does not. Therefore, to truly understand the nature of the person's interest in your business, you'll probably need to collect more information to determine whether the person is interested in your product or service and whether they're a good fit.