Sales Lead Generation: a Guide for Sales Managers
It doesn’t matter how great your product or service is when you don’t have customers to pay for it. Sales lead generation is the most important part of any sales funnel. In this guide we’ll learn everything we need to know about lead generation, so let’s start with the beginning.
Who is the Lead?
A lead is a potential customer who has responded in some way to a company’s marketing communication. This reaction means the independent provision of contact information (phone number, email, social media account, etc.) for further cooperation. In theory, a lead is a person who is not yet a real consumer of a product or service but is ready to become one.
Leads are people who have shown interest in your product, or service and may become customers of the company. A lead can be considered a person who:
- clicked on an advertisement
- subscribed to the newsletter;
- left contacts in the questionnaire;
- has already made an order, etc.
Lead generation is the search and attraction of those same potential customers and the collection of their contact information (email, phone number, links to social media pages) for further effective work with them.
Thus, sales lead generation is aimed at ensuring that you don’t waste time and money on customers who are not interested at all but focus on potential customers as much as possible. This is especially important if you have, for example, a very expensive or exclusive product.
What are the types of leads?
The simplest classification of leads is by the degree of “warmth” or readiness to purchase a product or service. They can be cold, warm, and hot.
These are people who are at the beginning of the sales cycle. They know nothing about the company, products, or services or are not interested in the company’s marketing initiatives. “Cold leads need to be nurtured carefully and for a longer period to get them to the stage of direct sales.
Warm leads are people who have already shown interest in a service or product. They have liked posts on social media, filled out a form on the website, subscribed to an email newsletter, etc. At this stage of warming up, leads need the right support from the marketing department. After determining their qualifications, they will either transfer them to the sales department or continue to work with them to learn more about their needs and how to meet them.
Hot leads are people who are at the bottom of the sales funnel and are ready to buy a product or pay for a service. The sales team works with them to bring them to the final transaction.
How to work with different types of leads?
Marketers mostly work with both targeted and non-targeted leads. In the second case, it is an assessment of the probability of a user’s transition to the target category. It is possible if a potential customer is interested in an alternative offer or if there is an unidentified need.
The processing of targeted leads differs depending on their type. When working with cold and warm leads, remarketing, current offers, email newsletters, and messages in messengers will help. The main thing is to keep in touch so as not to miss the moment when a potential customer is ready to place an order. This is the main task of lead generation: not only to generate new leads but also to promote existing ones from lower levels of engagement to higher ones.
With hot leads, speed is important. You need to respond quickly to a customer’s request, consult, and provide quality service.
Stages of Lead Processing
The work that is carried out throughout the entire customer journey – from their contact with the company to the closing of the transaction (making a purchase) – is called lead management and is a complex process.
Lead processing consists of 4 stages:
- Lead generation. Generating leads through various marketing channels. The digital team develops a strategy and identifies effective lead-generation methods. Lead generation is the most important stage, as it determines the number of potential customers of the company.
- Enrichment and tracking. Collecting additional data about a potential customer will help segment leads and set up the most appropriate communication with each of them. This step also includes tracking the user’s path on the website.
- Classification and scoring. Determining how targeted the lead is, what type (cold, warm, hot), and at what stage of the marketing funnel it is. The priority is to work with warm and hot leads.
- Lead nurturing. Interaction with potential customers, the ultimate goal of which is to conclude a deal (receive an order). For this purpose, the optimal method of communication for each type of lead is determined. The methodology of lead nurturing depends on the specifics of the business, but it should reveal all the benefits and value of the offer and, as a result, encourage the purchase.
How to Attract Sales Leads Efficiently?
There is no quick fix or single way to generate leads. Let’s look at which lead generation channels should be used by everyone – from beginners to pros.
1. Search engines
To generate leads through search engines, you need to have a website and engage in SEO optimization. This means working with the queries of search engine users (for example, Google). To effectively use this lead generation tool, you need to collect a semantic core of high-frequency and low-frequency queries and gradually process them. Those who already have a website need to conduct an audit and update the content based on key queries. Goal: improve the ranking of the site in the search results. The higher the ranking, the more organic traffic and the better the company’s visibility on the Internet.
2. Social media
The more touchpoints a lead has with the brand, the higher the level of trust and the better the chance of closing a deal. Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are all good sources of leads. The main thing is to identify 1-3 channels where the probability of lead generation is highest and publish high-quality and interesting content. You don’t need to create accounts on all social media platforms, it’s more important to focus on interaction and engagement on a couple of channels.
3. Referral programs
When a company wants to reach more users, it can turn to referral or affiliate programs. Their goal is to draw the audience’s attention to a product or service. How does this happen? By placing advertising banners, articles, links to the company’s website, or emailing their base on partner resources. Partners receive commissions for a certain action – a sale, click, or impression.
A blog is an important part of a comprehensive lead-generation strategy. It can be used to attract direct leads in various ways: through SEO and other sources of organic traffic, as well as by proper positioning as an authority in your field. Other web resources can link to valuable blog content and emphasize the importance of the company.
The essence of retargeting is that you shouldn’t give up on a lead just because it left the site during the first visit. The person showed enough interest to follow the link and can perform another targeted action. To do this, you need to change the message or “warm it up” with special offers.
6. Email marketing
Email marketing allows you to expand your customer base and increase sales. Email lead generation is an opportunity to collect information about a potential customer, for example, find out their name, email, phone number, city of residence, etc., as well as behavioral data (how often they open emails, how interested they are in information about the product, promotions, etc.) In addition, email campaigns can be used to nurture leads and turn them into customers.
7. Trailers for services
Free trials, or trials, are a good way to draw attention to your product. It is an opportunity to get feedback from the customer, refine the product, and offer an improved version. The advantage is that the user has time to get into the idea and trust the brand. The hardest part is turning a potential customer into a buyer. A person has tried the product and may have seen the benefits for their business, but they are not always ready to pay the full price.
Best Practices for Managing and Nurturing Sales Leads
Managing and nurturing sales leads effectively is crucial for maximizing conversion rates and revenue. By implementing these best practices, sales managers can improve their lead management processes and increase the likelihood of converting leads into customers.
1. Track lead source effectiveness
Keep track of the sources that generate the most valuable leads for your business. By analyzing data and metrics, you can identify which channels or campaigns are driving high-quality leads. This information allows you to focus your resources and investments on the most effective sales lead-generation strategies.
2. Implement lead nurturing campaigns
In addition to prompt follow-up, develop ongoing lead nurturing campaigns to keep leads engaged and interested. This can include regular email newsletters, personalized content, and targeted offers. By providing value and staying top-of-mind, you increase the likelihood of converting leads into customers.
3. Measure customer lifetime value (CLV)
Instead of solely focusing on immediate conversion rates, consider the long-term value of each lead. CLV measures the total revenue a customer is expected to generate over their lifetime with your business. By understanding the CLV of your leads, you can prioritize higher-value leads and allocate resources accordingly.
4. Leverage automation tools
Utilize automation tools like customer relationship management (CRM) systems to streamline and optimize your lead generation efforts. These tools can help in lead tracking, lead scoring, and automated communication, saving time and improving efficiency.
5. Stay up-to-date with industry trends
Sales managers need to stay informed about the latest trends and developments in their industry. This knowledge allows you to understand your target audience better and adapt your sales lead generation strategies accordingly. Subscribe to industry newsletters, attend conferences, and engage with thought leaders to stay ahead of the curve.
6. Monitor and optimize conversion funnels
Analyze the different stages of your conversion funnel to identify any bottlenecks or areas for improvement. By continuously monitoring and optimizing your conversion funnels, you can ensure a smooth and efficient journey for your leads, increasing the chances of conversion.
By incorporating these additional points into your sales lead generation strategies, you can further enhance your ability to attract, nurture, and convert leads successfully.
Some Practical Tips for Sales Managers
Our team would like to share a few tips with you to help you improve your sales lead-generation efforts:
- Understand your target audience: It is very important to understand the people you are trying to sell to. Find out what problems they have, what they like, and what they don’t. This way, you can create strategies that will appeal directly to them.
- Team up with marketers: Your marketing colleagues can become your best friends. When sales and marketing work together, it’s like a well-oiled machine. It makes lead generation smoother and more efficient.
- Ask for recommendations: If your customers are satisfied, ask them if they know anyone who might be interested in your product or service. Word-of-mouth recommendations often bring great leads that are more likely to become your customers.
- Keep learning and trying new things: Don’t rest on your laurels. Review your numbers and data regularly, and don’t be afraid to try new sales lead generation methods. Experimentation will help you figure out what works best for your business and allow you to make smart decisions.
- Provide valuable content: Create and share content that educates and helps your prospects. Whether it’s blog posts, videos, webinars, or eBooks, valuable content positions you as an authority in your industry and attracts prospects who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
- Use social media wisely: Social media platforms are a powerful tool for lead generation. Identify the platforms where your target audience spends time and engage with them there. Share relevant content, engage in discussions, and use targeted ads to reach potential customers.
- Work with customers gradually: Not all leads will be ready to buy right away. Implement a lead nurturing strategy to keep in touch with them over time. Send them personalized emails, offer valuable information, and gradually build trust until they are ready to make a purchase decision. Lead nurturing can significantly increase your conversion rate.
Mastering lead generation skills is crucial for sales managers to increase revenue and achieve business growth. By understanding the importance of lead generation, implementing effective strategies, leveraging tools and technology, and following best practices, sales managers can generate high-quality leads and maximize conversion rates.
The SalesNash team is ready to help you with prospecting, B2B lead generation, recruiting, and executive search. The main goal of SalesNash is to provide clients with qualified staff, which will allow you to achieve your goals faster and optimize costs. Are you ready to start working with SalesNash today?