Lead generation and how to bring results
Lead generation is one of the biggest challenges in a competitive market. It is about finding a target audience who can become potential buyers of a service/product and then, it’s about understanding what they do, their businesses, challenges and future plans. After that, over time, it becomes a process through which a business attracts and engages its target audiences in a manner that will make them more open to sharing with you information about themselves that will help you understand them better.
Now that we’ve established what lead generation means, we should understand what a lead is. A lead is a person who expresses an interest in what you have to offer, but who hasn't bought anything yet or who is still waiting to be persuaded to buy. That means the business doesn’t know when the sale will be made or when the lead will decide to buy.
A lead vs a prospect
We should also mention that there’s a slight difference between a lead and a prospect. They’re not the same thing. You can understand lead generation as the first step in a sales strategy. A lead is a person who has provided you with at least a few details or a basic amount of information that show the interest in buying from you. Therefore, a lead is a potential customer. A prospect, on the other hand, is a qualified lead, as thebalancesmb.com says. Furthermore, a qualified lead is a person who fits your target audience and has the power to make decisions, to buy your products or services.
These terms are also available when we talk about B2B companies. So, a lead or a prospect could be another company, not necessarily a person.
The importance of lead generation
Now, going back to our subject…why is lead generation important?
Because it can be crucial for the growth of your business.
It is extremely important to gather information at the beginning of the sales process because this gives you the opportunity and possibility to influence the decisions the leads take. And that’s especially because we live in a competitive market where everyone is trying to attract the attention of potential buyers. So, if you have some information through which you can get closer to your potential customer, while your competitors don’t, it’s most likely that you will be the one who gets his attention. And this is also building trust, visibility, awareness and interest in your business. Another important thing is making sure that you’re in the first 3 options in your potential buyers’ minds. How can you do that? Well…building a community is most likely that will help you establish a long-term relationship with your potential customers.
Outbound vs inbound
As searchenginejournal.com suggests, there are two main categories of lead generation activities: outbound lead generation - which involves cold calls, direct mail, advertising, email marketing and inbound lead generation - which means focusing on SEO, Social Media and ads campaigns. Now, if you don’t know what is the best approach for your business, you should know that there’s no recipe to follow. This should be a customized approach, based on the buyer persona, in order to be able to reach your business’s needs. This is the way we work at Kaaymedia for each customer who requests our help.
Of course, some general questions can help you get, at least, an idea of what would be the best option for your business.
Where do your customers come from? Do they find out about you through a physical location or online? Or maybe both?
Who do you need to talk to? To people in charge of companies? To people who can make decisions? Or just to regular people? In other words, who are your targets? And where do you find them?
Are you willing to allocate a budget for various marketing and sales activities? If not, what are the most important activities that can help you grow?
Even if not all the options are suitable for any type of business, nowadays it is more than recommended to choose activities from both categories, outbound and inbound lead generation.
How to improve your lead generation techniques?
This is a rather difficult process, which takes time and must be constantly adjusted, because the market is constantly changing, so you have to be aware of the needs of the target audiences and how you can meet them as efficiently as possible.
Firstly, your website should be informative, intuitive and easy to use, to give the best UX (user experience) on the website, to the interested party. The main purpose of the website should be to give the information people need. On the other hand, dedicated sales presentations and landing pages should rather have a more interactive purpose with the potential customers (sales presentation, interactive demo presentation of a product or anything through which you can get to the next step with the potential customer: a phone call, online or face to face meeting). Then, another important step is using the right call to action that makes people do something you want them to do (to visit your website, to complete a form, to click on a specific button and so on). Valuable content for those who are interested (or in most cases, not so interested that they are already buying) in what you offer is very important because it keeps people coming back and paying attention to what you have to say and they will be more open to doing what you ask them to do, later. Being consistent, without trying to just sell is what builds a network and a connection between you and your potential customers.
Combine different lead generation activities, both inbound and outbound. Talk directly to potential leads. Try to observe the way they think, ask them things that show you’re interested in helping them, not just questions with a “yes” or “no” answer. Avoid unexpected voice calls by arranging upfront meetings. This way, you avoid the possibility of interrupting someone from some important tasks and the possibility of creating a feeling of discomfort with a potential lead, that could affect the connection between you. Come back and see if anything has changed since your last discussion. The follow-ups show the potential client that you care about him, that you have not forgotten about him and that you are still willing to offer your help. Keep in mind that, most people respond to the second or third follow-up message. Social Media helps you socialize and it gets you to know better your audience. Emails shouldn’t be the first engagement model because - reason number 1 - you don’t want to land in spam and reason number 2 - it may be too early. Email is often used for internal and/or external daily work communication, where your place might not be “reserved” yet.
And last, but not least, pay attention to the way your messages could be interpreted by the people who receive them. Find out if you are too coercive, if you make a judgment, if you could offend that person in any way, or if your messages have many more meanings and how they could be interpreted.
In the end, pop-ups, newsletters through email marketing, chatbots, influencer marketing, video guides on a specific platform and collecting the information or data (while being careful with the GDPR guideline) are all strategies for lead generation. Understanding your audiences, creating the content that responds to their needs and identifying the channels you should be present on will build a great foundation for your lead generation strategy.