Imagine you are at the center of a very important meeting, or you are just retiring from a very stressful and tiring day at work, your phone rings, “may I speak to Divine Love?” the telemarketer ask. "We are calling with respect to your fitness health care preferences."
In order to stop such frustrating interruption, I have decided to teach you how to generate solid leads the inbound way. But what is inbound lead generation? What is the important of inbound lead generation to my business? Why can’t I just buy leads instead of putting in much time and efforts to organically generate them?
These questions and more shall be dealt with in this “one in a million” article and safe your business from becoming annoying to people. Keep on reading!
What is a lead?
This is a "potential sales contact" or "individual or organization that has once indicated interest in your brand (business’ product or services) in some way, shape or form. These individuals have shown interest, in most cases by subscribing to your website (through filling in an information form) which open communication between your business and the visitor. Such communications are programed, acceptable and not annoying.
For instance, maybe you just subscribe to a fitness website that that offer slimming or fitness tips and opt to receive newsletter or emails. If you got an email from the fitness company you subscribed to their website about how to eat healthily and stay fit, it'd be far less intrusive and irrelevant than if they'd just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about your fitness.
And from a business point of view, the information the fitness company collected about you from your registration would help them personalize that opening communication to meet the existing needs of the potential client.
What is a Sales Lead?
Sales leads are important to any business' success when it comes to obtaining customers and increasing revenue. But what is "leads" exactly in the context of sales? And how can a business ensure that they are getting the best out of the leads they generates?
Sales leads can be obtained in a number of different ways, such as by response to an advertising or marketing campaign through a referral from an existing customer, or through personal outbound outreach. This is the reason why the marketing department of a business is usually responsible for generating sales leads.
Sales lead can be generated by the sales team or marketing departments in a number of different ways:
- Direct mail or e-mail campaigns
- Search engine optimization
- Buying a sales lead list
What is Lead Generation?
This is the process of attracting and converting visitors and prospects into persons with inform interest on your brand. It's a way of providing information to potential customers to your business and getting them on the path to making inform decision of eventually buying.
Therefore, generating goods leads involves finding a unique ways to attract people or visitors your business. Providing them with vital, up to date information or offers to get them naturally interested in my company so they eventually warm up to the brand enough to want to hear from you.
Why Not Just Buy Leads?
The goals and objectives of marketers and salespeople are to fill their sales funnel and to do so quickly. This is where the temptation to buy leads step in. Buying sale leads is much easier and takes far less time and effort, and also more expensive as opposed to generating them organically. So why shouldn't you just buy leads?
Generally, the leads you've purchased don't actually know you. These leads are unqualified, which means they haven't been evaluated to determine whether or not they are a good match for the businesses that purchase them. It is true that they've "opted in" at some other website when signing up for something, but they didn't actually opt in to receiving anything from your business. The calls and/or messages you send them are therefore unwanted, and sending unwanted calls is intrusive.
If the individual or organization has never been to your website, indicated an interest in your products, resources, services, or even industry, then you’re interrupting them.
Someone who has never opted in to receive messages from you is more likely to flag your messages as spam. This is the real downside and quite dangerous for your business. By training their inbox to send your messages as spam will also indicate to their email provider to filter out all your emails. Once enough people flag your messages as spam, you are then "blacklisted," This is then shared with other email providers. Once you are blacklisted, it’s really, really hard to come out of it. In addition, your IP reputation will likely be harmed.
It's always better to generate leads organically rather than buy them.
Why Lead Generation?
One of the most important benefits to generate leads organically is that, these leads have the highest converting rates. By first showing an interest in your business, it's those visitors and prospects that are initiating the relationship with you. In return, your business capitalized on this relationship to provide them with valuable products and services. This provides an enabling ground for them to want to buy from you somewhere down the line.
Leads generation occurs after you've attracted an audience and are ready to actually convert those visitors into leads for your sales team. As you already know, generating leads is a fundamental point in an individual's journey to becoming a delighted customer of your business.
Using Sales Leads in your Business
The first and most important step to using sales leads successfully in your business is simply by organically obtaining them. If you have a marketing team in place, start by working with them to determine the type of sales lead generation (or combination of types) or to develop an ideal customer profile that will work best for your business. This will help you to better manage your lead generation budget and qualification time on potential customers who are better inclined to your business or brand.
The next step is to be able to use a customer relationship management (CRM) solution to track your sales leads. The CRM solutions enable you to upload leads or automatically capture their information into a database and manage personalized relationships, helping every lead move along the user journey all the way through the chain to closing deals. Some CRM solutions, like Base CRM, allow you to skip the manual entry around lead management and qualification.
How to Generate Leads
Up to this point, we can say you have enough information to be able to generate leads that fit into the whole inbound marketing methodology. Now is time to review the actual components of the lead generation process.
Visitors or Strangers: This is an individual or organization that has discovered your business vial one of your marketing campaigns, whether being your blog, website, or social media page. On all or any of these medium, you’ll need to have a CTA
Call-to-Action (CTA): A CTA is a button, an image, or messages that prompt website visitor to take some sort of action (usually the user is requested to click on it and in most cases; takes them to the landing page on your website).
Landing Page (LP): A landing page is a website’s first page a visitor is redirected to for a distinct purpose. Though a landing page can be used for different purposes, one of its most frequent uses is gather information of visitors using registration or subscription forms.
Forms: Typically hosted on landing pages, they consist of a series of fields (such as name, sex, email, nationality, state, occupation). It’s not strange for business owners to offer some compensation (like price reduction) in exchange to their information.
Offer: An offer is the content or something of value that's being "offered" on the landing page. The offer should have enough value to a visitor to attract the visitors to provide their personal information in exchange for access to it.
Yes! this is how you chronologically arrange your landing page. Once all these elements are put together, you can use your various promotional campaign media to link and drive traffic to the landing page so you can start generating leads.
How to Qualify a Lead
As earlier mentioned, a lead is a person or organization that has shown interest in your business' product or service. Let's us now talk about the ways in which they actually show that interest.
Generally, a sale lead is generated through collecting information. This can be as the result of a car buyer showing interest in a particular car brand and model by completing an information sheet for the car purchase, a shopper sharing contact information in exchange for a coupon, or an individual filling out a form to download an educational piece of content, like a kit, eBook, tool, trial, or something else.
Below are some of the many ways in which you can qualify someone as a lead. Let's assess each scenario:
- Product Purchase: An individual wishing to purchase a product like a car, willingly fill out his contact and address details should in case the transaction goes well, he will be able to receive his purchase product. Filling out their personal contact, and contact information shows their true interest in the product, therefore qualifying the individual as a lead for the company's sales team.
- Job Application: Any person filling out an application form is willing to give out a lot of personal information because he/she wants to be considered for the position. By filling out an application form, they show their true interest in the job, therefore qualifying the individual as a lead for the company's recruiting team.
- Coupon: Someone who just stumbles on your online coupon may willingly give out his information (name, emails, and contact address) in exchange for the coupon if they find it valuable enough. The information collected here may not be a lot compared to that for the job application but it's enough for a business to know that someone has interest in them.
- Content: Content (like an educational, webinar or eBook) does not show an individual’s direct interest in your brand. To actually understand the nature of the person's interest in your product or services, you'll probably need to collect more information. Your sales representatives will need enough information to actually understand whether the person is interested in your product or service, and whether there are convertible.
Each of these examples also highlights the fact that you need to collect some amount of information to be able to qualify someone as a lead, as well as that person's level of interest in your company. These general examples highlight how lead generation differs from one business to another and from one person to the other. You'll need to gather enough information in order to gauge whether someone has a true, valid interest in your offer, but knowing how much information is enough information will vary depending on your business.
Let's look at a classic example where they use web content reports for lead generation. There are collecting six pieces of information from prospective leads:
The individuals fill in:
- Full Name: Basic information for business transactions and communication with the new lead.
- Email: Allow your business to communicate with the new lead through email marketing campaigns.
- Company: Help you research on what the business does and how the lead might benefit from your brand.
- Occupation: Understanding their roles in their company will help you understand how to communicate with them.
- Country: Needed for qualifying the new lead and sending it to the correct sales team, where applicable.
- State: Needed for qualifying the new lead and sending it to the correct sales team, where applicable.
We have done a lot in this single article. The information you cover so far is great to help you generate solid leads with high conversion rates. Keep creating good landing pages, great offers, CTAs, and forms and promote them in multiple media using best editorial campaigns. Be in close contact with your sales team or sales representatives to ensure that you're handing off high-quality leads on a regular basis. Lastly, never stop testing.