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Traditionally, it's the marketing department's job to dig up new and promising leads, which they pass along to the sales team to follow up on and convert into customers. This system allows each department to focus on its strengths and minimize its weaknesses.
But what if your company doesn't have the resources to employ a marketing team? Or what if you simply want to take your success as a salesperson into your own hands and generate your own leads? Then this handy guide to lead generation strategies will help!
In this article, we'll look at what sales leads are and eight ways you can consistently generate them for you and your company. Let's get started!
Let's start with a definition:
A sales lead is any potential buyer of your company's products. This lead could be an individual or a business and can be found through marketing, advertising, networking, and referral efforts. But it's important to note that a sales lead is not the same thing as a prospect.
A prospect is an individual or business that's been qualified and found to be both interested in an organization's offerings and a great fit for the company's products. In simpler terms, a prospect is a sales lead who's open to the idea of purchasing the products a company sells.
The ultimate goal of every business is to create a lead generation sales funnel that turns leads into prospects and prospects into paying customers in the most efficient way possible.
Great, you now know exactly what a sales lead is! Now let's cover eight lead generation strategies that you can use today to start filling your pipeline. The ideas below range in complexity but each has been proven to work and is worth experimenting with. First up...
This is an often overlooked sales prospecting and lead generation strategy, which is unfortunate because it's actually one of the easiest to complete.
Take a look at your personal network — former colleagues, peers you've met at conferences and networking events, your friends, family members, and casual acquaintances — and ask yourself if any of them have connections that would benefit you. Better yet, talk business with these folks and ask them yourself!
You might be surprised to find that neighbor Jim's brother is the CEO of XYZ company, a perfect candidate for your organization's solutions. Or that Amy, a former colleague of yours, now works for ABC Inc., one of your business' dream clients.
Tapping into your personal network can be extremely powerful because you've already built up a rapport and trust with these people. You have a foot in the door, so to speak. We suggest you take full advantage of it.
The next step beyond tapping your personal network for connections is securing customer referrals. This is a bit trickier because, in all likelihood, you don't have a personal relationship with any of your customers.
But all is not lost. Follow these five simple steps to increase your customer referral rate and supercharge your inside sales lead generation efforts:
Next up: offer a free trial or demo to potential leads. One of the best ways to turn leads into prospects and, eventually, into paying customers is to give them a taste of the solutions your company offers. If they try your product and like it, selling it to them becomes pretty simple.
This strategy is standard for SaaS companies but businesses in other industries can benefit from it as well. For example, an auto mechanic shop could offer one free oil change to brand new customers. A content creation company could agree to write an initial blog post for potential customers free of charge. And a business coach could set aside time to meet with a potential student for a free 30-minute consultation.
Free trials and demos are enticing to leads because there's no risk involved. If they don't enjoy the product or service, they're not obligated to purchase anything. And they work for companies because they give them an amazing opportunity to build trust.
Lost leads are a potential gold mine — if you take the time to follow up with them. Most salespeople don't, which is a huge mistake.
But first, what's a lost lead? A lost lead is any individual or business that showed interest in your company's products but for one reason or another, never became a paying customer. Maybe their boss asked them to focus on a different initiative, or their funds ran out. Who knows?
What we do know is that things are constantly changing. A lead that once stalled out in the early stages of the buyer's journey may now be ready to buy. And because these potential leads already know your business and the products you sell, they'll be more likely to make a purchase
So make a list of all your lost leads and commit to contacting them every six months. Eventually you'll see your lead generation strategy efforts bear fruit.
Modern sales folk have an incredible advantage over those who sold before the turn of the century: social media. Sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter give us access to billions of people, at least some of which will be interested in buying your company's products.
But to truly capitalize of this amazing opportunity, you need to get a few things right:
We'll be honest, it takes a lot of effort to write stand-out blog posts, or to shoot engaging videos, or to record listen-worthy podcasts. But if you can create great content and promote it effectively, you'll see your sales generation lead funnel fill up quickly.
The kind of content you create should be dictated by the audience you're hoping to sell to and their preferences. But no matter what, always keep these three tips in mind:
If you really want to supercharge your sales lead generation efforts, you could always invest in paid advertisements. Google Adwords and Facebook Ads are the main avenues but other search engines and social media platforms present advertising opportunities as well.
First, find the avenue that will be best for your target audience and personal sales lead generation goals. Facebook may have more users than Instagram but if your ideal customers prefer the 'gram, that will be a more effective advertising channel.
Once you know which ad platform(s) you'll be using, learn the ins and outs of how they work. There are countless resources online ready to teach you every tip and trick imaginable. Dig in and study up. The better you know your platform, the more successful your ads will be.
Lastly, always analyze your results. Paid advertisements are an amazing way to lose money fast if you don't know what you're doing. Prevent this by viewing your metrics on a regular basis and optimizing your ads.
Finally, you can host a product demo webinar to boost your sales lead generation success rate. Product demo webinars are useful because they allow salespeople to demonstrate their products for a large group of people and answer their burning questions without having to travel.
Product demo webinars are also beneficial for potential leads because they'll never feel pressured to buy anything like they might during a typical sales call or in-person demo. This means more potential leads will feel comfortable attending your webinars.
And last but certainly not least, product demo webinars have the advantage of being recorded, which means you can reuse the recordings to create auto sales lead generation funnels. Imagine recording a single webinar and then using the replay to collect new leads for months afterwards! How incredibly sweet would that be?
All of the sales lead generation strategies listed above have been proven to work and will make it easy for your customers to find you. But just because it's easy for potential leads doesn't mean it's easy for the sales professionals behind the tactics.
It takes a lot of work to secure customer referrals, follow up with lost leads, and create amazing content. That doesn't mean you shouldn't do these things, but it does mean you should always be on the lookout for legitimate ways to shortcut the process without sacrificing quality.
Invisible is the future of outsourced lead generation and is especially useful for salespeople like yourself. Did you know that the average knowledge worker spends 41% of their time doing repetitive digital work? That's equates to roughly 820 hours a year — 820 hours that you could be using to close more deals and bring in more revenue. Invisible gives you these hours back!
Think of us as the human Zapier for your sales lead generation efforts. We use advanced technology to automate your sales prospecting, but connecting you with highly-trained, low-wage workers in other countries to drum up quality leads based on your specific criteria.
You simply tell us the kind of leads you want and your preferred process for finding them. We'll then learn your process, optimize it if necessary, and deliver you your leads at the regularity of your choosing — all for an incredibly affordable monthly price.
In a nutshell, we do the menial tasks you hate so that you can focus on the big-picture things that really matter. Intrigued? Contact our team today to learn more.
B2B sales lead generation is a crucial skill for any salesperson working at a company without a dedicated marketing team, or those who simply want to take their career into their own hands. By implementing a few of the sales prospecting and lead generation tips in this article, you'll be able to keep your pipeline full of red hot leads!
Here are the eight strategies again:
And when you're ready to outsource your sales operations and lead generation efforts entirely to a team of qualified, tech-powered, low-wage workers, contact Invisible. We'll build you a custom prospecting system and send you red hot leads at the frequency of your choosing. That way you can focus on your core business business propositions, not menial tasks that any $10 an hour worker can accomplish. Get in touch with our sales team today to learn more about how to automate your sales processes.