Generating sales leads is one of the most important jobs in any business. While retaining customers is always the aim, attracting new ones is a task that needs to be tackled on an ongoing basis. And finding the best way to generate high quality sales leads is something that all businesses need to plan for.
Here are 12 top tips on how to generate more leads, ensuring your business has a robust pipeline of new customers.
Understanding sales leads
Before you put a process in place, it is important to understand the different types of leads and where these will come from. There are generally two types of leads:
- Cold leads - people who have had no previous interaction with your company.
- Warm leads - people who have had some interaction with your company, such as expressing interest in a product or signing up for a mailing list.
It's a good idea to put leads through some sort of qualifying process, cutting out the ones that aren’t a good fit and concentrating your efforts on the ones that are.
A sales-qualified lead (SQL) is someone who has indicated an immediate interest in your products or services, and needs to be prioritised.
A marketing-qualified lead (MQL) is someone that has engaged with your marketing on some level indicating that they are likely to become a customer, but may need some relationship-building before they become an SQL.
How to generate leads
Not every lead generation approach will work for every business. That’s why it is important to work through each possible method to see where they fit in - and exclude them if they don’t.
1. Search engine optimisation
Search engine optimisation or SEO should be at the core of your website, and it can be a great source of leads, although it does take time and work. The aim of SEO is to get your website to the top of search engine results when someone searches for a relevant query, and therefore have a better chance of being the one that they choose.
Relevant, useful content such as blog posts and videos play a big part in helping to answer customer questions, and converting them into a lead.
2. Dedicated landing pages
Lead generation landing pages are specific pages on your website designed to general leads or to build a marketing email list.
These dedicated pages cut out many of the normal features of your site, and focus on a single call-to-action (CTA) - usually signing up for a mailing list or to find out more about a product or service.
3. Lead generation companies
Lead generation companies were once something of a gamble because the data they provided often turned out to be old, inaccurate or poor-quality. But the modern lead generating company is a different breed, using online opportunities to create much more high-quality lists. This can be a good place to start building your leads list as a new business.
4. Networking groups
Networking groups can be in-person or online, and are a great way to build those MQLs. You are not always going to make a sales lead straight from these groups, but you can start building relationships that will increase your customer base in the future.
5. Set up referral networks
A referral network is a series of other businesses or professionals who refer leads to you, and you return the favour. This is often done with businesses that are of a similar type (but not competitors), allowing each to refer customers for services or products they don't themselves offer.
6. Existing customer referrals
Another good source of referrals are existing customers. When they are happy with what you have done for them, they are happy to tell others about it. You can even set up a referral system where they receive a small incentive payment for referring customers to you.
For product sellers, affiliate links are a similar concept. Customers tell others about the product, using a unique coded link, and receive a commission payment for any purchases made by a visitor who arrived through that link.
7. Host a webinar or seminar
A webinar that educates and helps clients with problems that your product or service solves can be a great lead-generating activity.
It is important to ensure you give people something for attending, usually good quality information or help, then include a pitch for your services or a hook to get them to sign up to an email list.
In-person seminars can work well for businesses looking to make local connections.
8. Trade shows
Depending on your industry, trade shows can be a good way to generate leads. You get the chance to talk to people face to face when they are interested in what you offer, and this makes for good quality leads.
When collecting leads in this way, keep notes to help you remember who each person was and what you discussed.
9. Online directories
For B2B businesses, online directories can be a great way to showcase your business in addition to your website. These listings have taken over from physical directories such as the Yellow Pages as the place people search for a particular service or business type.
10. Press releases
Press releases are used to create awareness of a new product or service, and often mean working with a specialist in PR to help ensure they are received and promoted in the right places.
Releases are often written to announce business changes, events or new products or services, and generate interest in these with a view to creating sales leads.
11. Direct mail
Leaflets or direct mail can help you generate leads, especially if you are a local business and want to appeal to a local audience.
12. Cold-calling or emailing
While cold calling is still frowned upon by many, there are times when it can work. Cold emailing is another, possibly less intrusive way to generate leads.
The key is to make sure you highlight the benefits of what you offer for the potential customer, and the problems it can solve for them. That way they are more likely to be interested, and respond.
Generate the best leads
Generating quality sales leads is a big part of being in business. Having a process in place helps to streamline this activity, and ensure consistent, reliable results.
Copyright 2019. Article was made possible by site supporter Paul Gordon of 720 Digital Ltd