When 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.