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.
The truth is that successful lead generation strategies really differ for each business—and to figure out what works, you’ll have to know both your own business inside and out, plus what you’re really hoping to accomplish. Some industries are just better suited for social media lead generation tactics, while others still rely on word of mouth to generate new business.
Lead generation is a key element in the sales process that has changed in recent years alongside shifts in sales and marketing landscape. Generated leads are no longer an indiscriminate list of names that marketing hands to sales. Leads are generated today by drawing in potential customers using a variety of methods, offering them useful information, building and nurturing relationships, and evaluating which leads are ready to move forward in their buying journey. For more detailed information, visit our blog post on “5 Ways You Can Generate More Qualified Leads ”.
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.