Lead generation is the use of a computer program, a database, the Internet, or a specialized service to obtain or receive information for the purpose of expanding the scope of a business, increasing sales revenues, looking for a job or for new clients or conducting specialized research. Leads can consist of the names and addresses (or e-mail addresses) of individuals, corporations, institutions or agencies. Lists of leads can be gathered or filtered from targeted databases such as telephone and Internet directories.
Attention scarcity is driving a shift from “rented attention” to “owned attention”. Historically, most marketing has been about renting attention other people have built. An example of this would be if you purchased an ad in a magazine or rented a tradeshow booth. But in the noisy, crowded market that today’s buyers live in, rented attention becomes less effective as attention becomes even scarcer. Of course, this is not an either-or proposition; you will ideally use a mix of rented vs. owned attention for your lead generation efforts to be affective.
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.
None of this works, let alone improves, without closely monitoring the performance of every aspect of your lead generation and lead management process. Account Reps, Consultants and Technologists need to use analytics tools to optimize each step in the process and make strategic decisions to improve results. Each team needs to know how to generate the right reports from your Marketing, Sales and Customer Service systems in accordance with the SLA created in Step #1. Reports are shared with other teams and Management in order to ensure compliance with the SLA, to make better budgeting and staffing decisions and to allow senior managers to assess performance.
Social media is undoubtedly one of the most effective sources for lead generation and the 1.8 billion users of social networks definitely won’t lie, as reported by the 2014 Global Digital Statistics, Stats and Facts. The report also indicated that more than 135 million users of the top social networks were added in 2012, with Facebook jumping to an astounding 1.184 billion active users.
At the other end of the spectrum is buying leads. This is also not the best option since it can be very expensive and may result in leads that may not actually be interested in your products or business. These are not great leads, either. The best leads will always be the ones you generate yourself—people who have shown some sort of interest in what you have to offer.
But to make this tactic work now, you have to digitize these swaps to make the most of them. Use a great small business CRM to keep track of each individual lead and what kind of returns you’re getting from the companies that are providing you with leads. Taking a “big data” approach to beneficiary relationships will help you go far beyond having a big pile of telephone numbers to cold-call.
Just because you paid for the lead, it doesn’t mean that you should get emotionally attached to each one. Buying leads is, and always will be, a sorting process to find your next business partners. If you are terrible at the phone, either, buy MLM leads or get a job at a telemarketing company. Gaining experience on the phone is worth its weight in gold. Every big recruiter or enroller is good on the phone. Most of them used to be terrible but experience made them better.
My point in doing this video and blog post is to say that anything that you do where you are reaching out to people and exposing your products and/or business will work. And...the most important point I really wanted to make is this. Down time is bad time. If you have the time, you should be doing something that is revenue producing and productive.
Lead generation often uses digital channels, and has been undergoing substantial changes in recent years from the rise of new online and social techniques. In particular, the abundance of information readily available online has led to the rise of the “self-directed buyer” and the emergence of new techniques to develop and qualify potential leads before passing them to sales.
Sales leads are generated on the basis of demographic criteria such as FICO score (United States), income, age, household income, psychographic, etc. These leads are resold to multiple advertisers. Sales leads are typically followed up through phone calls by the sales force. Sales leads are commonly found in the mortgage, insurance and finance industries.