Most people you meet have hundreds of contacts, which means that virtually anyone you might want to contact or meet is only four to five people away from you. Effective networking is therefore vital to your success. Most people are poor networkers, but you can quickly learn how to get out; meet people; make new contacts; develop quality business relationships based on trust; polish your communication skills; educate the people you meet about what you do and the benefits offered by your product or service; create a lasting impression; quickly build your network, use your contacts database effectively, enjoy your new contacts …and maximise your chances of success.
Lead generation is the method of getting inquiries from potential customers. In the old pre-Internet days of sales, lead generation occurred at places like trade shows – visitors to a company's booth would fill out a card with their contact information and turn it in to receive a call back from that company's sales team. Since the rise of the Internet, many businesses use their websites as a lead generation option. Email also offers lead generation potential, since companies can buy another company's email marketing list or pay them to promote the company on their own marketing emails.
Social Networking sites are a great way to reach out to people all over the world. You can very easily track which social networking site your customers favor and use those sites to advertise your company. Some Social Networking sites go a step ahead and offer you Ad campaigns that fit your goals. You can use these Ad campaigns to gather followers, increase the number of clicks on your website or gather emails.
Depending on the organisation, the definition of the term “lead” may vary. For some companies, a “lead” is a contact already determined to be a prospective customer, whereas other companies consider a “lead” to be any sales contact. But what remains the same across definitions is that a lead will potentially become a future client. Sales teams therefore have a responsibility to convert a maximum amount of leads to maintain a good conversion rate.
Not all of your site visitors are ready to talk to your sales team or see a demo of your product. Someone at the beginning of the buyer's journey might be interested in an informational piece like an ebook or a guide, whereas someone who's more familiar with your company and near the bottom of the journey might be more interested in a free trial or demo.
Lead generation falls within the second stage of the inbound marketing methodology. It occurs after you've attracted an audience and are ready to convert those visitors into leads for your sales team (namely sales-qualified leads). As you can see in the diagram below, generating leads is a fundamental point in an individual's journey to becoming a delighted customer.
Leads may come from various sources or activities, for example, digitally via the Internet, through personal referrals, through telephone calls either by the company or telemarketers, through advertisements, and events. A 2015 study found that 89% of respondents cited email as the most-used channel for generating leads, followed by content marketing, search engine, and finally events. A study from 2014 found that direct traffic, search engines, and web referrals were the three most popular online channels for lead generation, accounting for 93% of leads.