What is lead generation? A beginner's guide
One of the main goals of a business is to make a profit. Profit, in turn, is formed, including through sales. Therefore, the more a company uses effective marketing channels, the more customers it will eventually get. All potential customers who have expressed interest in a product through any marketing channel are called leads. In this article, we will find out what is lead generation in sales and marketing and what tools to use for lead generation? Suppose you are still not familiar with these concepts or it seems to you that lead generation is only for advanced businesses. In that case, we will help you figure it why lead generation is essential and how to generate leads.
What is lead?
A lead is a potential client who has shown interest in a product or service and left their contacts: phone number, email address, etc. A lead is a website visitor who has left his contact information.
After obtaining visitors’ contacts, you will be able to send out profitable offers, inform about promotions and discounts, send presentations, and consult by phone.
Sometimes leads are any conversion actions that the user has taken after interacting with the site. For example, a website visitor added a product to the cart, passed the survey and registered. But the fact is that most often, to perform these actions, he needs to leave contacts.
Since the lead is already interested in your offer, otherwise, he would not leave contacts, he will perceive your calls and messages normally. If you “bomb” a cold client with them, the reaction can differ: from irritation to being blocked.
Therefore, any business is interested in constantly collecting leads and converting them into sales. We'll tell you how to do it.
What is lead generation?
What does lead generation mean? Lead generation is the attraction of visitors interested in your service or goods.
For successful lead generation, it is important:
- to attract visitors to the site;
- to motivate the user to take any action that will allow him to continue interacting with you;
- to offer a product that has value for him.
The trick is not to create lead generation content, but to get visitors interested in your product. Offer benefits that generate natural curiosity, trust, and brand affinity. Only under such conditions will your lead have value.
A list of targeted actions determines the conversion of a regular website visitor into a lead. A business may use one or more criteria, depending on what it does and the marketing strategy. Among the options for converting a user into a lead are:
- newsletter subscription;
- calling the company or ordering a call back;
- an email to the company's email address;
- other expressions of interest in the services of the organization;
- long time spent on the website.
So, what is lead generation? Here is the definition of lead generation: tracking leads and encouraging them to perform targeted actions is called lead generation. It includes activities to find new potential customers and take into account existing ones and methods of motivation.
After attracting traffic, the main task is to turn it into a conversion. The user must not only come to the site but also do something that will make him closer to the order or purchase. Such conversion of visitors into leads is the main task of lead generation. In addition, it is important to maintain and increase the quality of users. The so-called pseudo-leads, which do not actually turn into customers, are everywhere, and the task of a marketer or lead manager is to reduce their number.
There are many methods and ways marketers try to convert a visitor into a lead. This includes almost all methods of attracting relevant traffic and increasing conversions. Almost any action involving a person in a sales funnel can affect the appearance of a new lead.
Leads in Internet marketing
In Internet marketing, the word “leads” usually means contacts of a person or applications that users send through forms on a website or other sites. Such leads are also called MQL - marketing qualified leads.
To understand what leads are in marketing, it is worth remembering the main stages of the marketing funnel and the intentions of people:
Introduction to the product/service - at this stage, the person still does not know anything about the product and does not have a conscious interest in it. So, targeted advertising is tuned to an audience that theoretically may be interested in the offer.
Potential interest - these are the users looking for information about a product/service, or studying offers.
The third stage is when the user has already decided on goods but is still comparing and choosing companies. Of course, the user may be interested in your company in the future. However, the probability that he will make an order from you is quite high.
The key stages of the funnel are an application or an order.
The marketing funnel does not end there because many companies prefer to actively maintain relationships with customers who have already placed an order with the company.
Leads in Internet marketing are any data that allows you to identify the user and continue further interaction with him:
- Data for remarketing (can be called leads only in some cases);
- Email left as a result of subscribing to the newsletter;
- Phone number received through the callback order form;
- Contacting the online chat;
- The data for ordering goods.
Leads in sales
Having received a lead, the sales manager contacts the person and communicates personally. Therefore, in sales, a lead is not a phone or email, but a specific customer who can make a purchase.
Usually, an Internet marketer sends leads to the sales department who are interested in buying: they left an application, took advantage of the product's test period, etc.
However, the sales department can also conduct its own lead generation: with the help of cold calls to the database, personal contacts, etc.
The readiness of a lead to make a purchase is an indicator of the quality of the lead. However, the quality of leads in marketing can only be estimated conditionally. For example, a person who subscribes to a newsletter is less likely to buy a product than someone who adds an item to their shopping cart and requests a callback.
Why is lead generation important?
With well-established marketing communications, leads become customers tomorrow, and with proper service, they become regular ones. This is why lead generation is important and every business needs to generate leads. Lead management allows:
- invest more effectively in marketing;
- optimize the work of sellers by shifting their focus to real, ready-to-buy customers;
- nurture the needs of non-buying customers.
3 different types of lead
There are three types of leads according to the degree of readiness to purchase a product:
Cold - they are considered the most unprofitable customers since they will not buy anything soon. But at the same time, such leads can be fueled by promotions, discounts, and news about your products. In general, do everything so that the client does not forget about your existence. In this case, a cold lead can purchase in the future and become a regular customer.
Warm - they need a product/service now. However, such clients are at the selection stage. They analyze competitors and you, choose a more profitable option for them. To convince them that you are the best, you will have to make an effort. It is not necessary to make the price lower than everyone else, you can lure a warm lead with your customer focus, promotion, gift, etc.
Hot - this is the most desired type. They need a product here and now. They will not compare you with anyone, they are already ready to give money for your product/service. The most common mistake of sellers and marketers is that when they see a hot lead, they relax, and therefore the quality of their services decreases. Because of this, you can lose a client.
All these types of leads are useful not only in terms of theory but also in practice. You can choose the right target audience and set up ads by knowing what types there are.
How to work with different types of leads?
If the company receives 1-2 leads per week, they can be handled manually. But the more leads in the work simultaneously, the more difficult it is to process them. So again, automation tools come to the rescue.
First of all, it is useful to save all received leads in CRM immediately.
Firstly, in the CRM system, it is convenient to sort leads by type, distribute them among employees, and monitor work progress.
Secondly, the CRM system can analyze the progress of leads through the sales funnel: both for each client individually and for dynamics in general. Thanks to this, you can improve how you process different leads, increasing the conversion rate.
Thirdly, work with leads in CRM is largely automated. This saves employees time and helps keep data organized.
Fourthly, the entire history of interaction with each client is stored in CRM.
Each type of lead needs its own approach.
The sales department works with hot leads. Here, the CRM system will help to record the history of previous conversations, organize tasks by priority, and not forget about appointments and calls.
Both sales managers and online marketers can process cold and warm leads. One of the tools often used to “warm-up” leads is mailing letters. In a CRM system, you can quickly segment incoming contacts, use email templates, and plan a series of mailings according to the funnel used by the company.
How to convert leads into sales?
Getting leads is not the end goal. Now you need to process them and convert them into sales:
- Cut off non-target leads and work only with targeted ones.
- Connect with people by phone, email, or messenger.
- Lead the client through the sales funnel: make warm-up mailings, inform about promotions and discounts, provide useful information, consult.
- Handle objections the client may have.
- Help close the deal.
After the transaction is concluded and the lead has become a client, he has made a payment, the work with him does not end. On the contrary, he has become much more loyal to you and your product, he trusts you. There is a much better chance to involve him in a new sales funnel.
How to generate leads: 7 strategies
Let’s consider the popular ways that businesses use. Almost every modern site has at least one such method or even several methods at once.
Lead forms are special forms with an offer (advertising offer) and a contact field. Anything can be an offer – a product or service, the benefits of a purchase, the calculation of the exact cost or quantity of materials. The main thing is to have a field for leaving contacts.
The name speaks for itself: it is like a magnet trying to attract leads, promising them something useful, free, or very profitable in exchange for contacts. For example: a checklist, a selection of articles or an entire e-book, a free trial period, or a huge discount.
There are many options for lead magnets. It is not necessary to ask for contacts directly: you can act more subtly.
Pop-ups appear when viewing a page and invite you to leave contacts. The essence is the same as in lead forms or lead magnets, only such a window appears suddenly.
Many users do not like pop-ups, but it is quite a working tool for business. Just do not abuse the number and size of pop-ups and make sure that they can be immediately closed at will.
A very popular way to get leads is to invite the website visitor to sign up for a newsletter and ask him to leave an email address. When you obtain visitor’s contact, you can send out useful articles and promotional offers, news - any information.
Tests and quizzes
Visitors answer questions, and at the end, they see a form with an offer to leave contact information.
It is considered bad form not to report the test results until you leave a phone number or email address. Passing the test means getting results. But as a bonus, you can offer the visitor a nice discount, a checklist, or any other usefulness - that is what you need.
This is a widget that motivates the user to leave their phone number. Not immediately, but when the person has already studied the site and “warmed up” enough. Then, the manager calls him back at the specified time and begins to advise or sell directly.
A virtual assistant advises website visitors, communicates with them on social networks or instant messengers and makes appointments or consultations.
Processing of all orders starts with the hottest leads and ends with the coldest ones. Just remember that:
- Ads must match the temperature of the lead.
- The team must have a person responsible for the distribution of all applications.
- Leads should be assigned different statuses immediately, at the beginning of work with them.
- With each new project, you need to improve the work of all stages that the lead goes through.
One more thing, you do not need to implement all these items at once. These are just thoughts to think about.