5 Things Every Business Should Know About Lead Generation

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finding lead generationWhen you hear the words, “lead generation,” what comes to your mind? For business owners and marketers who understand the importance of filling their sales pipelines with qualified leads, it usually means the difference between life and death to them. Well, at least for their companies. In an ideal world, businesses would never face any challenges in attracting sales-ready leads, i.e., those who are either ready to do business with your company or very close to doing so.

Since the chances of your leads being ready to sign on the “dotted line” right off the bat is slim-to-none, your business should always focus on keeping its sales pipeline filled with leads. As you put your business’ lead generation strategy together – and any business that is serious about acquiring leads needs a strategy – you may want to consider keeping these five things in mind.

1. Relying on a one-size-fits-all method for lead generation means missing out on business

There are three basic ways a business can generate leads: through outbound marketing, inbound marketing, or a combination of both. Many business owners and marketers have begun to embrace inbound marketing techniques, which include content creation/blogging, search engine optimization (SEO) for their online content and creating online videos – just to name a few. But, truth be told, plenty of people still prefer sales calls by telephone or face-to-face meetings. I really like this quote by successful inbound marketer, Wayne Davis:

“The lead generation process starts by finding out where your target marketing ‘lives’ on the web.”

I personally advise people to take this concept a step further and make sure their target market actually does live on the web. Businesses that prepare for both inbound and outbound marketing reach more of their audience and acquire more leads.

2. Never underestimate your audience

Today’s savvy online shoppers know how to utilize the Internet to research and learn about your company and its products/solutions, as well as those of your competition. They understand the concept of “social listening,” whether they realize it or not. Your leads want your attention and they want to be heard. Give them the value they want and deserve. If you fail to do so, they can easily find someone else who will.

3. Social media “likes” and “follows” alone may not generate leads

Many companies still hang on to the erroneous belief that having a slew of followers for their Facebook or Twitter accounts translates into higher lead generation opportunities. Wouldn’t that be nice? Unless these followers ultimately want the products and/or solutions your company offers, quantity means nothing. Rather than simply fishing for volumes of followers, use proper social media marketing and lead generation techniques to help your business attract quality followers who are actually interested in your offerings.

4. Lead generation requires patience, patience and more patience – and a bit of flexibility, too

When it comes down to it, strategy is the name of the game for successful lead generation. Guess what else? Developing and following strategy requires a good amount of patience and an even heftier amount of flexibility. Sure, almost anyone can give a sales pitch or put up a website which brings in a lead or two. When it comes to overall lead generation success, it’s best to think of it as a marathon and not a sprint. Be prepared for uphill climbs and roller-coaster rides throughout the process. When one strategy fails to work out the way you desire, be flexible enough to test out other ways.

5. Automated lead generation might be okay – until it isn’t

Some people view marketing automation in an entirely negative light. Some businesses have learned to use automation quite well though, proving that it can be seamless and transparent enough to benefit their company and their potential clients. Sadly, too many of us have fallen victim to the slimy tactics such as “spammy” auto-DM’s or auto-follows through Twitter which have left us with automation-aversion. If you decide on automation for your business’ lead generation needs, just make sure you learn to use it properly.

So, are you ready to get your business started on the path to lead generation goodness? Please feel free to leave comments below – I would love to hear your questions or suggestions.

photo credit: Victor1558 via photopin cc

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Jennifer Hanford

Jennifer Hanford

Owner and Managing Director at j+ Media Solutions
Jennifer is the owner and managing director of j+ Media Solutions which offers social and content solutions to SMBs. Writing is a newfound passion and she blogs regularly. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, baking and pinning on Pinterest.
Jennifer Hanford

@jennghanford

Social media & blogging freelancer. Coffee lover. j+ Media (@jplussocial) owner. Social Media Club #smclub & SteamFeed contributer. #CMGR with @B2MediaLLC.
Project Overload? Hire An Online Business Manager http://t.co/x6SI5jrxn6 via @ContemporaryVA - 54 mins ago
Jennifer Hanford
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Comments

  1. Hi, Jennifer! Great points. But, I particularly found # 1 and 4 very useful. One strategy does not suit all. It’s not advisable to rely on a single channel for all your lead generation efforts. Identifying your target audience should be the first step in your lead generation program and then you can decide the channels accordingly.

    My 2 cents:
    1. Giving just free stuff doesn’t work anymore unless it is valuable for them so that they don’t think twice before giving you the information.
    2. Don’t forget small screen: Make your website mobile and tablet friendly to capture more leads.
    3. As you said, likes and follows from social media alone will not serve the purpose if you are not leveraging the power of lead generation through social media. Social media is a very effective tool for lead generation, but only when you know how to use it effectively.
    Have also shared my views on lead generation with social media in detail here: http://www.betaout.com/blog/optimizing-your-lead-

    My recent post How to Create Email Signup Forms That Convert

    • Thanks for your comments, Reshu, and I apologize for my delayed reply. You bring up excellent points about lead generation as well. We can both probably agree that there is no one-size-fits-all lead generation program. Thanks again.

  2. Really in such competitive world its big mistake to relying on a one-size-fits-all method and patience is key to see results in lead generation.The key to success in the lead generation industry is to have tools that are not only easy to use, but encompass the functions you need to quickly and effectively run your business. PolyPing ping tree software is capable of handling traditional host and post, as well as ping post lead delivery models

    • Thank you for your comments and insights, Adam. I completely agree with you that we should never rely on a one-size-fits-all lead generation activity for our businesses. Each client has different needs that need to be treated differently.

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