Because lead generation is the first step of the sales process, both quality and quantity are important factors. Quality leads are leads that a salesperson has a good chance of closing, which means they must at least have the potential to become customers. Every lead list will have a number of junk leads – people who are not qualified to buy the product for some reason – but the smaller the percentage of bad leads, the less time salespeople will waste while processing that list. Quantity is also important because even a salesperson with a list of 100% good leads won't be able to close every one of them.
Following the alignment process (Step #1), every sales rep should understand how to use the CRM and other lead intelligence tools to be able to quickly evaluate sales qualified leads and reach out to them quickly. Lead intelligence will help reps formulate a strategy for engaging with their prospects, gain their interest and trust, and develop a relationship that leads to a closed sale. This process is called sales nurturing. Every rep needs to update the CRM following every communication to keep lead status up-to-date and make sure that Marketing doesn't step on the sales process with inappropriate content. Once a sale is consummated, Customer Service should be notified via the CRM and take over managing the account. Sales also needs to set up automated reminders for following up with their customers and setting the table for up-sells and retained services. Marketing and Product Development also need to stay in the loop to send supporting, customer-centric content that educates customers on best practices and upcoming releases.
Lead generation used to involve purchasing lists of names and sales representatives cold calling people at home, but modern advances in technology have made it possible for us to now generate leads based on specific criteria and information. Companies collect information about potential buyers and then tailor marketing methods and sales pitches to the prospects’ needs.
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.