Leads are so crucial for business continuity and growth that managers don’t even hesitate to use B2B lead generation services. But you can’t implement a solid lead generation strategy without knowing the basics and the best practices of the process.
Who are the leads and how they generated – follow the discussion below.
What is a lead?
Broadly said, “a sales lead is a person or business who may eventually become a client”. But when elaborated, a lead is a person who has shown interest in your company/offer and has provided personal details to gain access to something valuable.
That “something valuable” can be video series, podcast episodes, step-by-step guides, etc. Personal details include the name and email address at least but businesses can ask for other details as well, e.g. industry, job title, number of employees, etc.
Not all leads are created equal. Though the life cycle stages of leads may be interpreted differently from company to company, here’s how leads are classified:
- MQLs (marketing qualified lead) are users who have signed up for a webinar/demo, downloaded templates/scripts, etc, or have submitted a form in return for any other piece of content.
- SQLs (sales qualified lead) are your contacts who are ready to make a purchase and the sales team regards them as qualified. They are interested not only in educational materials but also in case studies, customer testimonials, comparison sheets, etc.
- Opportunity is the lead who is more likely to become a customer. From this stage, they should be marked whether as closed-lost or closed-won.
You may also see leads qualified as MQLs, PQLs, and SQLs. Product qualified leads are the ones who have signed up for your product trial and have interacted directly with it. The term is mainly applicable to software companies.
How do you generate leads?
Email marketing (78%), event marketing (73%), and content marketing (67%) are the most common strategies for B2B lead generation. But you first need to have a system in place, work on different content types, and consider some more things I will list below:
1. Sign up for a CRM tool
If you are a small business and can’t afford to pay for a CRM, you can find free versions in the market. A free CRM will of course have limitations, e.g. you can send only X emails monthly, only Y users can access it, etc. But if you are just starting out, you probably have a few team members and won’t be generating thousands of leads monthly.
2. Understand what content (lead magnet) is worth the visitor’s email address/phone number
eBooks won’t work if you are publishing the same tips and tricks that others have already shared. And no other content type will bring leads if your offer isn’t practical, up to date, and unique.
Or instead of offering a long-form guide or a checklist, you may record an audio training and make it downloadable.
Other types of content that will stand out include collections of quotes by experts, short video series, etc.
3. Optimize your ads for lead gen
For example, when you advertise on Facebook or Instagram, you should choose “Get more leads” as your goal.
4. Have both real-time and automated conversations
Sometimes you don’t have to promote a content offer to generate a lead. They are generated during a live chat on your website or Messenger. Well, leads can be generated even when you aren’t online: chatbots will ensure you don’t lose your next contact.
Here’s an example of how a lead can be generated when there’s no one online.
The bot asks a qualifying question – what are you interested in (Services, Career, Partnership, etc).
When you pick Services, it asks what services exactly – Watering System & Irrigation, Weeding & Pest Control, etc.
After the second qualifying question, the bot asks for the visitor’s email address. So the chatbot ensured lead generation without a person or content involved. You know the lead’s email address, name, and the services he is interested in and can reach him out for nurturing.
5. Good old popups
If you think that pop-ups aren’t working or they are a thing of the past, you probably haven’t been using them the right way.
Annoying full-screen pop-ups with boring offers never seemed to attract people.
But imagine you are reading about X topic and you are suggested to download a more comprehensive or complementary piece of content. And the pop up doesn’t bother you, it just appears at the corner as a small window. You would probably click the Download now.
There are more tactics to make pop-ups work. But the key point is to customize what the reader will see, where, and when.