How to Take Your First Steps Into Lead Generation
The ability to generate new business and take the company forward is key to overall success but not all are blessed with the experience, creativity, time or money to go out and generate the new leads they so desperately crave. As a business owner you have so many things to think about and do, and often one of those tasks relates to lead generation. As someone with a great deal of skill and know-how in the sector you might be great at building a business, but actually selling might not be your best trait and that’s often why business development teams are hired early on to take that particular pressure off the management. Even then, however, new leads don’t always come easily or as quickly as you might like, particularly when early growth is so vital. It’s not always possible to find the time or money to go out and generate leads for the business when you’re spinning a number of plates, but the one thing you can take comfort in here is that lead generation by its very nature can prove difficult at all stages. However, it is vitally important to the business that you do find ways to generate new leads and bring in new customers to keep things moving in the right direction. Without the benefit of an experienced business development team at your disposal you might end up searching for new ways to generate leads including lead generation platforms or speaking at exhibitions and events, or developing a range of different plans and strategies to find the key to lead generation. Unfortunately there isn’t a golden key that unveils a wealth of new leads and opportunities, but we can pass on some advice for those looking to take their first steps into lead generation to help understand the process in more detail.
Why is lead generation important?
As we’ve already outlined, lead generation is one of the most important business processes. If you want to be ambitious and to grow the company then you need to find new customers in whatever shape or form they might come in. Without the experience in generating leads it can be a daunting prospect putting your business “out there”, even cold-calling potential opportunities more in hope than expectation that they might be interested in buying into what you have to offer.
At Clarity Stack we specialise in lead generation, the development of prospecting databases and the provision of sales insights. This enables our customers to benefit from qualified leads that match the criteria given to their customer success manager and in-house research team.
We know that lead generation is something that businesses can all benefit from, but that not every company has the time or resources to put a lead generation plan into action to bring in new business.
So, alongside their customer success manager, we develop a lead generation plan that delivers up to 20 exclusive leads each month, weekly sales insights and pitch opportunities or company records for millions of businesses based on their package to deliver the kind of leads that can grow their business without taking valuable time away from day-to-day operations.
What is a lead generation plan?
A lead gen plan is devised in order to identify the types of leads and opportunities you are looking for, and the methods of not only finding those leads but also the method in which you get in touch with them.
Your lead generation plan or strategy is developed based on your business objectives. If you’re looking to achieve a certain number of leads each month then you need to build a lead gen plan that helps you to target the numbers as well as the genuine conversions as it must be factored in that not every lead is going to convert, (sorry!)
Over time you can look to build out and develop your lead generation plan based on your own experience and what you’ve learned with the various techniques you’ve tested. There is nothing wrong with a bit of trial and error or A/B testing a few plans to see what works for you - you might discover something that you can then use to train new members of the team in the future or that can be used to inform customer success managers should you choose to invest in a lead generation company such as ourselves.
The first 5 steps into lead generation
When you start thinking about lead generation strategies and where you should start it can be difficult to identify the best place to start, but there are five steps that every successful lead generation strategy should follow:
Any successful strategy in any profession is based on research. Without spending the time identifying your target audience, looking at your own position in the sector and what you have to offer, and what the audience are actually looking for your campaign will fall flat.
Dedicate weeks, even months, to researching your lead generation strategy so that you can build a campaign that reaps the rewards you would expect from such a detailed, methodical approach. By all means adapt it as you go along, and test new approaches, but dedicate plenty of time to researching what your leads would look like and how you are best to approach them - phone, email, social media, leaflets, it could be anything.
Once you’ve identified the people and businesses you want to target you can start to think about the campaign message. How are you going to reach out to them, because the platform you use should dictate the format of the content you create whether it’s a landing page on your website, a downloadable piece of content or a paid social media ad.
Now you’ve done the research and campaign development it’s time to put your ideas into action. You have data to base your ideas upon and you can create the kind of content that resonates with your target audience. Don’t just churn out any old content, or create something that’s been done numerous times before, use your research to find relevant gaps in the market where you can reach your audience and show your expertise.
As part of your research you will have identified the platforms on which you are going to promote your content. This could be your own website in the form of a landing page or blog post, it may be a video or it could be an eBook - whatever it is, make sure that you promote the content in the right place to have maximum impact and engage as many people from your target audience as possible. Clicks and social media likes are all well and good, but if they’re not going to convert then they’re cold leads that will need plenty of work, or that are no use to your sales team at this point.
Generate and nurture leads
Once you start getting leads through it’s time to build a relationship with them. Don’t go out all guns blazing in an attempt to convert them within a few minutes of completing the subscription or enquiry form, give them time to learn who you are and what you do before your sales team get down to business.
How can I attract even more leads?
Once you start to see the leads trickling in it’s time to think about how you can attract more leads. With a taste for lead gen it’s easy to start getting carried away and throwing more time and money into the process, but it’s important that you take a measured and methodical approach to be successful.
There are a number of different methods you can use to generate leads ranging from social media and email marketing campaigns to content publication and even traditional, much-maligned cold-calling but each can have a different impact - it’s about finding the right method for you and your business.
Building a contact list of subscribers to your content or who have shown an interest in your products or services will enable you to create an email marketing campaign that targets users based on their engagement with the business so far, while paid social media ads on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook can help you to target new people based on their interests, location and their profession.
I’ve got my first lead, now what do I do?
Once you’ve done the hard work of putting together an effective, well-researched and well-delivered lead generation campaign you will start to see some green shoots emerging through the soil as you receive your first leads.
Congratulations! Now what?
Well, it’s now time to pass those leads over to the sales team for them to use their knowledge and experience to convert them from leads to customers.
Sales teams need to discover certain details in order to promote the most suitable package, or to direct the conversation in a particular direction based on your range of products and services.
For example, at Clarity Stack we offer three distinct products - Leads, Insights and Data - which all offer different services, and only two of the three (at the time of writing) offer a free trial option. It is the role of the salesperson to qualify or score each lead to ensure that the lead is a good fit for the business to work with, and if the lead does not already have a preferred package or product in mind, then the salesperson would steer them towards what they believe is the most appropriate based on the conversation they’ve just had.
In a sales role you should always look to gain information on factors including the lead’s budget, their authority or position in the sector they work in, their business need or objective and the timeframe in which they want to join or start seeing results. This last point is key as some might look to gain information at this stage and join in a couple of months’ time when they have more budget or resources available, or they might want to get signed up on a free trial today to assess their options with a view to joining on a paid package down the line.
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