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.
Your content is the foundation of your inbound marketing efforts. According to Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action”. Think of content as the fuel to all of your marketing campaigns from email to social. Create content that is impactful to your audience and drives sharing. Through creating high quality content, you can begin to gain your buyer’s trust and start breaking through the noise.
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.
Sales Development reps (SDRs), also often called Inside Sales or Lead Qualification reps, are focused on one thing: reviewing, contacting, and qualifying marketing-generated leads and delivering them to Sales Account Executives. Simply put, SDR teams pass the baton from Marketing to Sales. Why do it this way? Because you want to make sure every single lead Marketing passes to your Sales team is as qualified as possible. Your SDRs should take the time to help each and every lead, offer them value, make a positive impression, create future demand, and become a trusted advisor. This step is critical in the lead generation process because you don’t want to treat your leads as blank faces to be simply questioned, qualified, and harvested.
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.
LeadsOnline is a national online investigative system used by more than 3,000 law enforcement agencies to recover stolen property and solve crimes. Each day, millions of items are added to the LeadsOnline database by businesses including second-hand stores, scrap metal recyclers, pawnshops, and Internet drop-off stores across all 50 states. Those records are instantly available to law enforcement agencies, meaning crimes can be solved in seconds, not months. The LeadsOnline system, compatible with the NCIC, serves as an indispensible, efficient, and money-saving resource for detectives because it provides a cross-jurisdictional, instantaneous, and accurate database that stops criminals from escaping detection by selling stolen items in another city. An official eBay partner, LeadsOnline helps prevent illegal transactions on the eBay website by giving law enforcement access to the world’s largest online marketplace through automatic upload of all eBay transactions into the LeadsOnline database. LeadsOnline also includes LeadsOnlabs, a system for tracking those involved in the illegal manufacture of methamphetamines; a Metal Theft Investigation System designed to track copper and other metal thefts; and cross-checks names of pawn customers against the OFAC SDN list of known terrorists and narcotics traffickers.
Build an email list. There is a system for working with leads. The first step is getting them to be aware of and take an interest in what you have—by visiting your website, for example. The next best step is to ask your leads to sign up for your email list. You can get them to sign up by offering something for free, such as a report or something useful, from your website. For instance, if you're selling wellness products, then you might offer a guide to good-for-you ingredients or recipes. This will allow you to communicate with your prospects and provide valuable information related to your business and the general field that it's in, such as special sales, events, news, and research—and stay top-of-mind to your past, current, and possible future customers. Just be sure that you're following the laws and regulations regarding email marketing.
The quality of your prospect list is the single most important influencing factor in your marketing success because it can eliminate virtually all marketing waste. A list of well qualified prospects can be a priceless gem because if you exploit it properly it will produce tremendous amount of revenue for you from people who have a proven interest in your product or service. Thousands of properly qualified lists are readily available for virtually any marketing purpose and can give you many times more sales. These lists identify the specific businesses, key decision makers and demographic characteristics you desire, within the geographic areas you specify. You can focus only on prospects who are more likely than not your primary target audience for your product or service.
An investor lead is a type of a sales lead. An investor lead is the identity of a person or entity potentially interested in participating in an investment, and represents the first stage of an investment sales process. Investor leads are considered to have some disposable income that they can use to participate in appropriate investment opportunities in exchange for return on investment in the form of interest, dividend, profit sharing or asset appreciation. Investor lead lists are normally generated through investment surveys, investor newsletter subscriptions or through companies raising capital and selling the database of people who expressed an interest in their opportunity. Investor Lead lists are commonly used by small businesses looking to fund their venture or simply needing expansion capital that was not readily available by banks and traditional lending sources.