Leads are what fuels your sales pipeline. Without leads, your list of potential sales will be dire and as a result, your business could suffer. Leads are essential in all forms of marketing but the way you attract them will differ slightly for digital marketing versus traditional marketing.

A whopping 74 percent of companies say that converting leads into customers is their top priority and why wouldn't it be? The more customers you have the more money rolls in, quick maff. The most effective way to ensure you have a solid conversion of leads into customers is by having quality leads rolling in to your sales pipeline and how do you do that? With a lead generation strategy.


What is a Lead?

Before we rush into what lead generation is, you probably need to understand what a lead is. A lead is a person who has indicated some form of interest in your company, product or service you offer. Leads have begun their buyers journey and are showing signs they wish to make a purchase. Another way to think about it is that they're people who have offered their contact info to your business.

High quality leads on the other hand fits a mould of past customers. You're basically claiming that the odds of these leads eventually purchasing is higher, because they're ticking the same boxes that successful leads in the past did. For example, is a prospect from a med-large businesses more likely to purchase than one from a small business? If so, your lead generation strategy should focus on attracting visitors from med-large businesses. Every brand is going to have its own opinion of what constitutes quality, so if you're unsure, you might want to have a quick internal chat about it.


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What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is a strategy of exactly that, generating more leads. It's a strategy used by both Outbound and Inbound Marketing to attract and convert strangers and prospects into potential customers. It's not about solely increasing traffic to your website, it's about increasing the quality of traffic. While some may assume that lead generation is simply for the sales team in your office - think again. The marketing team plays just as an important role, specifically regarding your content marketing efforts. Some effective examples that can be used to attract quality leads can be done by providing high quality content in the forms of offers, tools and templates. These forms of content marketing, will enable you to attract your target customers to your website, and should be attractive enough that they will provide you their contact information - turning them into a lead! 

Outbound lead generation is initiated with the marketer, on their terms, on whatever medium they have chosen while Inbound lead generation is on the prospects terms, when and where they choose.


The Outbound Way

Have you ever sat down for dinner with your family only to be rudely interrupted by the home phone ringing and having someone trying to sell you something that you have no intention of buying? I for one am not read to buy solar panels for the apartment I rent, nor do I have need for funeral insurance, as a relatively healthy millennial.

This is a form of Outbound lead generation and a strategy that deserves to stay back in 2015 because it just doesn't cut it in todays market. Cold calling is expensive, ineffective and frankly annoying AF. That's not to say it doesn't work, there are just better solutions out there.

According to HubSpot, a business practicing Inbound lead generation will spend 61 percent less than one practicing Outbound lead generation. What used to work for attracting customers isn't as effective with the power shifting from salesman to buyer in todays market. With the sheer amount of information out there now you don't have to take anyones word for it, you can do your own research and make an informed purchase.

Inbound lead generation allows the buyer to set the tone of the conversation so they aren't rushed or scared off by a pushy sale. Inbound makes your business easily discoverable online with valuable, useful content to build trust with consumers and your brand while establishing a relationship.

An example of Inbound lead generation is a downloadable e-book on your website where a potential prospect must exchange their contact information with you to access the download or subscribe. Now days parting with your email address isn't a big deal however this simple exchange is someone showing interest and is what converts a stranger in to a potential lead.

It's the equivalent of copping a match on Tinder. You've both swiped right so there is some mutual interest, now it's time to chat and learn about each other before deciding if you want to "Netflix and chill."

Any good website is designed to maximise lead generation with prompts for visitors to submit their email address or chatbots used to qualify leads. If your website isn't designed to maximise leads you could be missing out on countless opportunities.


Why Do You Need Lead Generation?

The simple equation quality leads = potential sales is enough to answer that question. To give you a proper explanation it's still simple, generating quality traffic to your website results in higher conversion rates, increased engagement and more sales.

Imagine what your sales team could accomplish if they could shave off how long it takes to close a deal and they had more prospects to talk to. What would it do for your business?


Is Lead Generation Right For You?

Lead generation isn't right for everyone. As important as attracting leads is, it's important to have the ability to follow through with lead nurturing tactics to be able to close the sale. If you're looking to grow your business, and your sales and marketing teams have the ability to coordinate efforts to not only attract your target audience but to close deals, then lead generation is for you!

After all, what is the point of attracting leads and sales if you can't actually close them or at the very least follow-up? Building relationships organically is the way to go if you lack the resources. But, be sure to conduct proper research and understand your target audience first.

Are you a B2B business looking to generate more leads? Check out these  strategies!