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Pop Quiz: what's the one thing that every business wants more of? If you said quality, red hot leads, you're exactly right! Leads are the foundation and lifeblood of every business. Without them, you're dead in the water.
In this complete lead generation guide for sales professionals we'll cover everything you need to know about lead generation.
First we'll discuss what sales lead generation really is and why it's so crucial to the success of your company. Then we'll jump right in to the top strategies you can use to effectively generate leads and how to supercharge your efforts once you have the basics down.
Finally, we'll discuss how to qualify your leads, the most common lead generation challenges, and the top lead gen platforms you should be using. It's all here in this guide. So without further ado, let's get started!
Before we teach you how to generate sales leads, we first need to cover what sales lead generation is. Fortunately, it's not a difficult concept…
Sales lead generation is the process of introducing your company and its product to complete strangers and converting them into potential buyers for your business.
Think back for a moment: have you ever been given a company your email address in exchange for a free ebook, special report, or other downloadable goodie? Then you've been a part of another organization's lead generation strategy!
We'll talk more about sales lead generation strategies later in this guide. But before we get to that, we need to discuss why lead generation is so important.
Lead generation is important because it attracts attention to companies and introduces potential buyers to the solutions a business sells. If nobody knows about an organization's products, it will have an extremely difficult time making a profit.
There are MANY different ways to generate leads. In fact, the rest of this guide is dedicated to the topic! In the next section we'll look at how to generate leads effectively.
Now that we know what lead generation is and why it's important, let's talk about how to effectively generate red hot leads.
Most marketers will agree that the following four elements are crucial to any effective sales lead generation funnel. They are:
To see success with your sales prospecting and lead generation efforts, you'll need to have each of the four elements above in place. Then you'll need to drive traffic to them. We'll talk more about how to drive traffic later in this lead generation guide.
As we just mentioned, the offer is the driving force behind this entire lead generation guide. Without a compelling offer, you'll have an incredibly difficult time generating leads. With that in mind, let's look at six potential offers ideas. Each idea has been proven to work for many different companies in a wide range of industries.
Ebooks and guides make for great offers because they generally contain a lot of important information and teach readers how to do something valuable.
If I was in the middle of remodeling my kitchen and saw an ebook called "The Complete Guide to Installing Granite Countertops," I would be more than happy to fork over my name and email address for a chance to read the content. Your audience is the same way. The key to success is finding a topic they care about and then stuffing your ebook full of quality information on it.
We all love to receive templates and presentations. Why? Because they make our lives easier! Rather than figuring everything out by ourselves, we can shortcut the process and follow a proven template or the steps laid out in a presentation and complete tasks quicker and with less hassle.
Discover a specific problem your target audience is attempting to solve. Then simply create a template or presentation that helps them solve it and give it away for free in exchange for the downloader's email address.
Similar to the templates and presentations offer idea mentioned above, research and reports make for compelling offers because they shorten the amount of time and effort a potential lead has to expend. Sure, your audience could scour the internet and discover the "Top 50 Online Marketing Trends for 2020" on their own. But why would they when they can quickly download all the research you've already conducted for the low price of an email address? It's a no-brainer and that's why research and reports can be very compelling offer types.
Whitepapers are similar to ebooks but they generally deal with more specific issues and are usually written for a much narrower demographic. Because of this, they're a great offer type for potential leads who are farther along in the buying process than simple ebook downloaders.
If "whitepaper" is a common term in your industry, we suggest you use it. The name alone will signal to potential leads that your content is high-quality. If whitepapers are not regularly published in your field, then you might be better off calling your piece of content an ebook so that you avoid confusion.
Live webinars are a popular offer type because they're so engaging. It's the only kind of content on this list that allows a company to directly interact with its target audience.
To host a successful live webinar, first choose a topic that your target audience will enjoy, then promote your digital event to the masses. During the live broadcast, make sure that you deliver quality information and reserve your "pitch" for the end of the presentation. Finally, include FAQ time so that your audience can come to you with any questions or concerns they may have.
Lastly, we have the free trial or demo. This is the most direct offer type and typically reserved for folks nearing the end of the buyer's journey. Because of this, leads that sign up for free trials and demos often become paying customers more quickly than those that download ebooks, templates, research reports, etc.
We should mention that free trials and demos are not just for software companies, though this lead generation strategy works really well for them. Any business can offer a free trial, demo, or sample of some sort. Just get creative and see what you can come up with.
So far, we've covered the mechanics of lead generation and six different offer types you can use to secure new leads. But the typical inbound marketing approach, shown below, isn't the only way to drum up new leads:
Traffic -> CTA -> Landing Page -> Offer -> Form
Here are three other techniques you can use as well:
You can use these three lead generation strategies in conjunction with the others tips and tricks mentioned in this article to really boost your leads numbers!
You now have a solid understanding of how to generate leads for your company. But what if you're an overachiever and want to increase your efforts? We have a few tips to help you do just that! The following three strategies will help you drive traffic into your lead generation sales funnel and capture more leads in less time.
Let's face it, your sales prospecting and lead generation activities are only valuable if the leads you generate actually turn into paying customers at some point in the future. If they don't, you've wasted both time and money.
Fortunately, there's a way to help ensure the leads you're generating will be profitable for your company. We call it lead qualification and it's very important.
Lead qualification is the process of evaluating leads and predicting how likely each one is to become a paying customer. It normally takes place in the early stages of the buyer's journey and is typically conducted by both the marketing and sales teams.
Lead qualification is important because it saves companies time and money. There's no point in marketing to a lead who shows no signs of ever making a purchase. You'd be much better off spending your time on qualified leads. But you won't be able to tell which leads are promising and which aren't until you go through the lead qualification process.
For a person to become a lead for your business, they need to have handed over their contact information. Once you have these details, you can begin to assess the likelihood that a purchase will be made. To do this, you'll want to conduct a little research. Look for:
Before we move on to the next section, we wanted to briefly explain what lead scoring is and how to do it for your company.
In a nutshell, lead scoring is an easy way to qualify leads. You simply assign each lead a numerical value based on their actions regarding your company. The only rule is that everyone in your organization must score leads the same way.
For example, let's say that you decide to keep things extremely simple and just award a single point for every form field a lead fills out, two points for each piece of content they consume, and three points for every social media or blog comment they leave. Based on these criteria, a lead that filled out three form fields, read two blog posts, and posted one social media comment would have a lead score of 10.
The higher a lead scores, the more likely they are to eventually make a purchase. Therefore, these are the leads you should spend a majority of your time cultivating.
Once you start using the tips and strategies in this guide, you'll begin to see more leads pour into your business. But don't be mistaken, things won't automatically become bubbles and rainbows! Even if you do everything right, there will still be specific challenges that you'll need to overcome. Here are the most common ones:
The key to fixing these lead generation issues is to know your audience and to continually experiment. You shouldn't be afraid to try new things as long as you're committed to analyzing the results and optimizing your future actions. The more things you try, the more you'll learn!
You'll also want to make sure that your company has proven lead generation strategies in place. That way new hires have a framework to work within and can find success early in their new roles.
You need to make measurement a priority! If you don't, you'll never be able to truly tell how successful your lead gen efforts are and how to improve them.
There are, of course, many other potential lead generation challenges. But if you're able to solve the three most common ones listed above, you'll be miles ahead of your competitors.
By now you have a thorough understanding of what sales lead generation is and why it's important, and the best strategies for generating quality leads online. Now, let's take a look at a couple of lead generation tools you can use to skyrocket your efforts.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a valuable tool for any marketer or sales person looking to generate leads on their own. If you're not familiar with the tool, it taps into LinkedIn's gigantic database of professionals (500 million people!) and allows its users to target specific audiences based on criteria like industry, occupation, and more.
Once leads are found, Sales Navigator also makes it easy to engage with them in personal ways via InMail Message — the LinkedIn equivalent to email.
Just about every professional worth your time uses LinkedIn to network and move their careers forward. So it makes sense to use a lead generation tool that utilizes the platform. After a 30 day free trial, LinkedIn Sales Navigator can be used for as low as $65 a month.
If you want to spend hours a day scouring LinkedIn for the perfect leads, go ahead. Many top marketers and sellers do just that and find great success. But if you'd rather spend your time on more important, business-building tasks like closing deals, you need Invisible.
Invisible is the future of delegating and allows users to completely offload their sales prospecting and lead generation efforts to a team of highly trained, low-wage workers from other countries.
Here's how it works:
For example, if you were to use Invisible for lead generation, you could email your synthetic assistant and say "Please find me 500 qualified leads by Friday." and your request would be sent and completed exactly as desired, no questions asked.
Does Invisible sound like a service you might like to invest in? We encourage you to get in contact with our team today for a free demo.
Effective lead generation is key to business success. If you can't generate quality leads on a consistent basis, your company will slowly die. Depressing, right? Fortunately, you now know everything you need to know to build an effective lead generation sales funnel.
And don't forget about Invisible. Our platform's revolutionary approach to task delegation will completely change the way you work, make you much more productive, and allow you to focus on the important, business-building tasks that only you can complete. Contact our team today to learn more and receive a no obligation free demo.