Lead Generation is key for your business.
Now, if you ask the Oxford Dictionary, Lead Generation is defined as “the action or process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business’s products or services.”
Great, but what does that actually mean in terms of your business and marketing?
In any business—no matter what product and/or service you offer—a lead is anyone who is a potential customer for you. Someone who is in your target audience and is at least at the stage of being aware of their problem, your business, the industry in general, etc.
I say at least because there are different levels and stages that a lead could be at. We go into more detail on this in our Sales Volcano e-book (it’s free, btw), but for this post we’ll look at it very high-level.
Some consumers are purchasing right now, some are ready to purchase, some are comparing companies or just looking to gather information, and some aren’t even aware they need your specific product.
Each one of these is an important lead; however, the way in which you interact and connect with them is going to be different. Needs to be different.
On a follow-up note from that, there are also Warm/Hot leads and Cold leads.
Types of Leads
A warm/hot lead is someone who has shown interest in your product service by taking some action such as following your company on social media, signing up for a webinar, putting in their email for a free piece of content, filling out a form on your site, calling someone on your team, etc.
A cold lead, on the other hand, is someone who hasn’t shown that interest, but could be considered to be in your target audience – just think of a “cold call” type scenario.
Obviously, leads that are cold have to be nurtured a little bit more – in other words, you can’t just go all out and sell to these people. There is a specific way to reach this group in particular (again, for more information check out the Sales Volcano).
Same thing goes with warm/hot leads – your messaging will be distinct and directive to them.
Now that we have hashed out what leads are, let’s talk about lead generation.
Lead generation is the process of identifying various leads (and what stage they’re at) and nurturing them through the sales funnel process. From start to sale.
And while it may seem simple in theory, it can actually be difficult to execute.
That’s because there are many different components to be considered and sometimes it’s even trial-and-error.
Lead generation includes pretty much any and all marketing activities, only instead of being thrown out to a wide audience, they’re more directed to a specific lead (or group of leads) at a specific stage of the funnel.
Instead of sending out a general internet ad, you send specifically crafted emails to those who signed up for your webinar but didn’t purchase your product/service.
Or instead of sending out social media posts about your product/service, you post customer testimonials to help your followers know, like, and trust you.
I think you get the idea!
So, the burning question is …
Why is Lead Generation Important?
From the beginning, I’ve said that lead generation is key. But why?
Well, first let’s look at why leads themselves are important.
Having leads allows you build a future pipeline, so that as consumers move through the purchase stage, you have more coming behind them that will most likely make future purchases.
This is especially important if your product is not a regular commodity.
For example, if a company sells cars. They’re not a product like milk that people are buying some of every week. They need to have leads in the pipeline to continually sell cars to new people as their previous customers aren’t coming back weekly, monthly, or even annually to buy another car from them.
Of course, that was a bit extreme and your product or service is most likely somewhere between milk and cars, but I hope you got the idea.
Leads build a pipeline, that builds out your future profit.
So, since leads are important, lead generation (the act of capturing and nurturing those leads) is also important.
Those leads that are ready to purchase don’t just drop out of thin air. You have to take them from a cold lead—having no idea who you are or what you do—all the way through to wanting to purchase, aka a hot lead.
Yes, that is work that you have to do for your business, but once you get the ball rolling, the work will pay off for itself! And you’ll start getting high-quality leads flowing in!
To Wrap Up:
Leads are crucial for your business, making the process of lead generation a key component of growing and building your business.
Nurturing consumers from the starting point all the way to the sale, using marketing communications and activities, will create hot leads that know, like, and trust you. Which is a great place to be in for your business!
And if you are a B2B company, check out our new program, designed to get you at least 1,500 new lead connections a month.
But whether you’re a B2B or B2C business (or both), having a solid lead generation process to gain quality leads is important!