What is a lead generation process?
A lead generation process is a process that is used for the purpose of generating interest from prospective customers or getting them to inquire about your company’s products and/or services.
The nature of the lead generation process is dependent on several factors. This can include the type of product or service, the target market, whether it’s a B2B, B2C, B2G, or another kind of offering,
Having an effective lead generation process is useful for you and also for your customers. You get the opportunity to reach and engage a potential customer that is interested in your offerings, and your prospects get the chance to learn more about the product or service that they are looking for and thus make an informed decision.
In addition to filling your sales pipeline with qualified leads, a well-defined lead generation process will also help you learn more about the market and about its demand for the products and services that you offer.
What are the types of lead generation?
There are two types of lead generation. These are:
- Outbound lead generation: This includes cold calling, cold emailing, advertising, etc.)
- Inbound lead generation: This includes activities like search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. It could also include activities like hosting a webinar and collecting contact information from the attendees.
Here are a few questions that will help you figure out whether to focus more of your attention and budgets on outbound or inbound lead generation.
Are your buyers searching for you or for your offerings?
If they are actively searching for you and your offerings online, prioritizing an inbound lead generation approach makes more sense. However, if they aren’t searching for you, your products, or services online, it may be a good idea to focus on outbound lead generation.
Are you in a position to create owned media or to buy paid media?
Do you have the resources available to create content and/or invest in PPC campaigns? If you do, you can consider inbound lead generation. The outbound lead generation process just requires you to directly reach out to prospective customers, so it does not require the kind of investment needed for inbound lead generation.
However, inbound lead generation could be more cost-effective in the long term.
What timeline are you considering?
Inbound lead generation might take more time. Creating content takes time, and getting ranked highly for a large number of keywords and search queries is not something that tends to happen instantly.
A PPC campaign could speed things up to some extent, but you still need a high-quality landing page to direct your prospects to, and building one can take a bit of time.
Outbound lead generation could be beneficial for you if you happen to be in a hurry. Once you have a list of prospects that show promise, you could start cold calling or emailing them on that very same day. Outbound sales tools can be helpful at this point since they allow you to personalize your emails and stand out from the crowd.
How many types of leads are there?
You can classify your leads into five types:
A new lead is a lead that you just acquired. Chances are that you only have their contact information, and maybe a bit of information with regard to their industry, use case, etc.
Working leads are leads that your organization has active conversations with. They’ve engaged in chat, email, or phone conversations with your team members. You and your working leads both get to know a little more about each other.
Nurturing leads are prospects who, for whatever reason, do not have an immediate interest in making a purchase from your organization. However, these leads have displayed interest in potentially making a purchase in the future.
These are leads that you should be sending extra information to, both about the product as well as industry insights that they would benefit from. You need to keep them engaged and interested.
Unqualified leads are people who have absolutely no interest in your business’s offerings. These are leads that you have reached out to and they have expressed disinterest in your products or services.
These are the leads that you want more of. There are two types of qualified leads:
- Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) are leads that, based on lead intelligence, are more likely than other leads to become customers.
- Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) are leads that either explicitly or implicity displayed an intention to make a purchase and your sales team qualified them as leads that have a high chance of turning into customers.
What are lead generation strategies?
Lead generation strategies are plans that are built for the purpose of attracting prospects that are interested in your business’s offerings. It includes processes and tactics that you can use to reel your leads in, nurture them, and even convert them into customers.
The four primary components of lead generation strategies are:
- Lead magnets: These are incentives or hooked that are used to encourage prospects to share information and become leads. This can include a call to subscribe for a newsletter, attend a webinar, or download an insightful document.
- Lead capture: This is a way that you use to collect information about your prospects. The information collected may include contact information, their name, and other qualifying information like their company name, industry, use case, etc.)
- Lead qualification: This involves analyzing the lead information to determine whether the lead is likely to make a purchase or not.
- Lead segmentation: This involves dividing your leads into groups based on the information that you have collected about them. You can now send the people in these groups marketing messages that are more relevant to them and align with their interests.
Some effective lead generation strategies include:
Engaging prospects via chatbots
Chatbots help you answer all the questions that your customers may have about your offerings, policies, etc. They can be use to collect information about your prospective customers and then use that information to deliver personalized product recommendations to them.
Bots can even be used to converse with your leads over channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, drive sales, and even collect payments over those channels.
Start a newsletter
A newsletter can be a great way to deliver an enormous amount of value to your leads and keep them engaged and interested. It helps you collect leads who sign up for the newsletter and then nurture them, guiding them down the sales funnel.
Use gated content
High-value gated content can be a great way to collect leads. The content can be in the form of e-books, reports, whitepapers, or even free tools.
Host a webinar
Webinars, panel discussions, workshops, and other events are a great way to interact with your prospects, answer their questions, and collect their contact information and other qualifying details.