Whether you have a newly established business or a successful one since generations, you will be constantly working on expanding your customer base. It is difficult for any business to grow and expand without new customers. One of the best ways of growing your business is accessing sales leads to get more customers. Read on to know more about leads generation –
What is a lead?
A lead constitutes anyone who has shown an interest in the product or service that you are selling. It can be a person, group of people or even a company. If you are a B2B business your targeted customers may be other organisations or sole proprietors whereas, if you are a B2C company, your target audience are likely to be individuals. Leads can be broadly classified in two ways:
Generating inbound leads is a slow and organic process. The word-of-mouth reviews we give to our friends of a product/service is an example of inbound lead. With time, the inbound lead has become quite modern and upgraded. The posters and flyers made by designers and hosting exhibitions to communicate to a vast group of potential customers are all inbound leads. Even the popular referral and loyalty programs on various websites are a form of inbound lead.
The notifications of offers and sales you get on your smartphone by Myntra, Amazon and such e-commerce sites are an example of outbound leads. It is an approach where leads are initiated to potential customers. The consumers here are contacted even though they have not voluntarily asked for it or showed any interest in a product/service. Outbound leads is a traditional approach compared to inbound leads. Back in the days, those telemarketing phone calls were also a way of generating outbound leads.
Sales is not about selling anymore, but about building trust and educating.
- Siva Devaki
What does lead generation mean?
Lead generation is simply finding ways to get more customers. It is all about attracting potential customers to increase the sales of your organisation. Lead generation is an integral part of the sales process of any company. The intention of it is to gain the customer’s attention and their contact information to eventually make a potential sale. An independent survey conducted by Prospex.ai in the UK found that more than 58 percent of businesses face challenges in lead generation.
Lead generation earlier was limited to people selling door-to-door, conducting exhibitions or calling landlines. With the advent of digitalisation, lead generation has also witnessed an evolution. There are tons of digital channels used to general leads now. The Internet has made it possible to create effective leads using more specific information. Earlier, it was unsaid practice for sales representatives to educate potential buyers on their product/service. Nowadays all consumers have abundant information available on their fingertip immediately. A Google search or a YouTube video is enough for a buyer to know about a product/service these days. From traditional sales pitches, most companies are focused now on generating a strong internet presence.
What are the steps towards lead generation?
It is vital for your sales team to know how to go about generating leads. There are three primary phases involved in lead generation in the form of a funnel.
Awareness and discovery
On the top of the funnel is the first phase – awareness and discovery. The prospective consumers here have just got to know about the product/service. As a sales representative, it is important to create a long-lasting impression while introducing your product.
Interest and engagement
After the first phase, the second phase will be narrow as it will be focused on creating interest and engagement. Here you need to stand apart from the competition, to gain the consumer’s attention.
Decide, Buy and Adopt
This is the last phase of the lead generation funnel. The consumer is already interested in your product and well-informed about it. Now it is all about winning them and compelling them to buy your product/service. Use your USP to your advantage by encouraging the customer to make a purchase.
Why is lead generation so important?
The obvious reason why generating leads is important is to gain customers. These customers in turn increase the sales and profit of your company. Apart from these obvious ones, several other key benefits of lead generation include:
Creates brand awareness
One of the ways leads are generated is by creating blog posts, social media engagements and several other advertisements. It does generate leads but it also builds brand awareness. Your advertisement and promotions directly create an image of how people view your company.
When you are generating leads the initiatives that you take also help in nurturing them. For example, a person downloads your brochure and after reading through it is keen to buy your product or opt for your service. In such cases, you have successfully managed to generate and nurture your lead simultaneously.
When you are generating leads, you will have customer interactions. This will give you data regarding what is working for your products/services. You can use this information to enhance your product.
Lead generation activities do include conducting competitive analysis. This analysis helps in understanding how competitors are attracting customers. The strategies that they are conducting, the language they are using and their outbound and inbound activities. Along with generating leads here, you get a competitive analysis also.
How to create a successful lead generation process?
Generating a stream of leads is vital for any business to prosper and grow in the long run. There are several ways to go about in creating successful leads. Below are some tips that will help you while creating them –
Pick your target audience
Knowing who your target audience establishes the base of your lead. To successfully reach your customer and sell your products, you first need to know who your target audience is. Conduct research and gather data to find who you want to sell your product/service to.
Use Social Media to Connect and Engage
We live in a world where everything it’s all about “graming it.” Whether it is people’s political views or the vacation they took everything is available on their social media. Social media is a great tool for connecting with your target audiences. Along with promotions like giveaways, you can also conduct polls on your different products and get their views. Get on with your marketing team and figure out ways to use social media effectively.
How you sell is more important than what you sell.
- Andy Paul
Use Email newsletters to your advantage
After getting in contact with a potential customer, the next step is to contact them to turn the lead into sales. A consistent and not so in the face way to do so is through email newsletters. It is a consistent way of communicating with your prospects without bothering them.
Choose promotional methods wisely
A promotional plan is needed for generating leads to get your products and services in front of your potential customers. There are several ways to target your audience to promote your business. Rather than indulging in all of it at once, be selective with the methods you choose to apply.
Stand out of the crowd
If you shop online, you may be aware of the typical emails that you receive constantly from e-commerce sites. You know they are those typical ones and you may not bother to even open them. However, if you receive an email that has a compelling subject and seems personalized rather than just a system-generated one, you are bound to be curious about it. Find ways to make your leads stand out from the rest of the typical one to win the attention of your targeted audiences.
Conducting research is a must before generating any leads. Do your homework about your customers, your industry, your products, your competitors, and the current challenges that exist. It will make creating leads a lot easier when you know what is happening in your industry.
Use sales signals
Converting leads into sales takes weeks and even months in some cases. Use sales signals like calling, sending out emails, creating demos, and other ways of communicating with potential customers. Also, sales signals will help you in understanding the potential your current lead holds. The potential customer’s next action will help you in knowing where exactly is your lead in the process.
Lead generation is an efficient system and a long-term continual process. Generating successful leads will make the rest of the sales process quite smooth and productive. Set up a well-streamlined process of lead generation and you will see an increase in your business growth. Also, read our article on ‘sales pitch’ to further enhance your sales and profits.