Lead management is a combination of several things. First you need the right tool to store your leads. There’s no point generating a torrent of leads if you can’t view them all, with context, in one place. And then you need to nurture every lead before they can be convinced about doing business with you. Finally, you’ve got to be able to rank your leads—based on how much (or how little) they engage with your business—so you can reach out to the hottest leads first.
Lead generation firms supply your company with the hot leads you need to acquire new clients, while freeing up your time to spend on other tasks, like product development or quality assurance. Conversely, you could double down on new leads, drumming up business in tandem with leads provided by generation firms. Business expansion is directly correlated to finding new clients and making them happy, and the free time gained to reallocate time on these pursuits is what makes lead generation so powerful.
On the Internet, Web sites and search engines can be excellent sources of leads, although the process can be time consuming. Web sites, such as TechTarget.com, have evolved for the specific purpose of making it easy for personnel to obtain leads. Companies have emerged that specialize in lead generation for a fee. They perform the research, and then provide the client with a list of leads. Services of this kind have been used by insurance companies, real estate agents, wholesalers, marketing firms, private investigators, research scientists and educational institutions.
However, this does not mean that you should sign up every blogger who looks to be even remotely interested in food to your weekly email about organic apples. That’s just silly (and it also violates the CAN-SPAM Act!). Instead, if you see someone mention on Twitter that they’re having a hard time locating organic apples in their area, consider tweeting back to ask if they’ve seen your online shop. Or drop them a short, polite email asking if you can help them.
At a certain point, the prospect’s online behavior – their Digital Body Language – will indicate that they’re ready to engage with Sales in a discussion about purchasing. Marketers can identify this readiness through lead scoring, which matches the individual’s behavior to activities that are known to indicate buying intent. The resulting conversation with Sales will rest on a foundation of buyer education that has been built in the earlier stages of the lead generation process.
In marketing, lead generation 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.