How To Generate Leads For A Business: A Comprehensive Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Lead generation helps businesses attract and acquire new customers. This process allows B2B and B2C companies to establish a continuous cycle of growth and expansion, alongside cultivating a long-term relationship with their target audience. Knowing how to generate leads can help you contribute to the development of the business. In this article, we discuss how to generate leads for a business and share some beneficial tips to follow for implementing effective lead generation campaigns.

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What is lead generation?

Lead generation is the process of gaining customer interest in business products or services by soliciting user action using sales and marketing communication. A preferred alternative for cold calling, lead generation helps businesses acquire paying customers by converting the audience of sales or marketing campaigns into buyers. This method of customer acquisition usually involves initiating a dialogue with interested customers. Typically, businesses collect customers' information, such as their contact details, using sales and marketing strategies and approach them to explain the benefits or features of their products.

All lead generate campaigns use a compelling and customised call-to-action (CTA) for the audience to take action. This action could be signing up for a newsletter, sharing their contact information or sending an enquiry to make a purchase. Businesses have different approaches to generating leads:

  • Content marketing: Content marketing involves creating written content like blogs and website landing pages and making them more searchable using search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques. This helps create a positive digital presence and attracts more visitors to the company website.

  • Digital marketing: Digital marketing includes different forms of online marketing, like pay per click marketing and affiliate marketing, to generate leads.

  • Social media marketing: Using popular social media platforms to attract and engage a large audience is an effective way to generate high quality leads. Many businesses also run paid advertising campaigns on social media platforms to reach a targeted audience.

  • Free resources or tools: Businesses may produce free resources, like e-books or white papers, to audiences in exchange for their contact information. They can also offer a simple yet valuable tool relevant to their industry professionals to attract relevant leads.

  • Email marketing: Email marketing campaigns usually generate leads by sending short emails highlighting the product and its benefits. Businesses typically offer an exclusive discount on the regular price to increase prospect interest and convert them into leads.

  • Referral programmes: Leveraging the network of existing customers to get referrals can help businesses generate leads of high quality. Companies usually offer a discount to existing customers if they successfully onboard a referred lead.

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How to generate leads for a business

Knowing how to generate leads for a business can help acquire new customers and engage existing ones:

1. Define the target audience

The first step is to thoroughly study the target audience and define it in great detail. Understanding who you are trying to reach and engage with is vital to creating the right messaging and approach. Collect information from primary and secondary sources about different demographic features of your audience related to their age, location, interests, lifestyle and profession. Create different buyer personas that can serve as a reference in the following steps.

2. Select the most effective lead generation medium

Depending on your customer buyer personas, select the most relevant and practical approach to lead generation. This is vital to ensure that your promotion and marketing method is suitable to promote the product or service.

For example, if you target senior citizens, it may be more beneficial to directly call them or use traditional forms of advertising instead of social media marketing. Similarly, if your target audience consists of working professionals, you can consider running a lead generation campaign on professional networking websites and platforms. You can also opt for a multi-channel approach and use more than one method if required.

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3. Develop a sales funnel and marketing plan

A sales funnel helps design the customer journey across different stages in the lead generation campaign. From the moment a potential customer interacts with your campaign to the point where they become a paying customer, create different stages they have to go through. The sales funnel usually comprises the customer gaining awareness, generating interest, having a desire and making a purchase. The sales funnel has a wide entry point and gets narrower with each successive stage. Lead generation campaigns aim to nudge the lead to move to the next step.

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4. Create engaging sales and marketing assets

It is vital to create a marketing plan that corresponds to each sales funnel stage. The requirements of a customer differ at each stage, and meeting those expectations is vital to generate high-quality leads. Here are a few examples of marketing and sales assets and strategies for different stages of the sales funnel:

  • Awareness: informative blogs, tutorial videos, explainer articles and white papers

  • Interest: sales pitch, follow-up emails, graphics and brochures

  • Desire: direct calls, demos and free trials

  • Action: bonus features, additional discount and limited time offers

5. Score and qualify leads

As you gather leads, create a mechanism to quantify and score leads on the basis of how likely they are to make a purchase. By providing the leads with the right incentive and information at each step, you can increase the chances of converting them into a customer. It is important to update the lead score as they pass through the different stages of the sales funnel as per their value, degree of interest and propensity to buy so that the sales team can communicate with them effectively.

6. Follow up with high-quality leads to close the process

Focus on high-quality leads who are most likely to become paying customers. On the basis of the lead score, the sales team can follow up with the highest scorers and provide them with additional incentives to nudge them towards making a decision. B2B companies can set up final meetings or calls with key decision-makers to give detailed presentations and demos or answer questions.

It is important to note that once a lead becomes a paying customer, the role of the marketing and customer service team does not end. To maintain customer loyalty and satisfaction, they usually implement loyalty programmes, gather feedback and offer exceptional after-sales service.

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Tips for lead generation

Here are some valuable tips for businesses to implement while executing lead generation campaigns:

  • Use CRM and automation tools. Using customer relationship management (CRM), lead scoring and automation tools can help businesses optimise lead generations campaigns. Analytical tools can also help measure the reach, effectiveness and return on investment of each campaign and marketing activity.

  • Update buyer personas and marketing assets periodically. Revising buyer personas and marketing assets, like blogs and graphics, can help keep the lead generation fresh and relevant. You can alter them on the basis of the latest customer and economic trends, alongside integrating the feedback and response that your campaign receives.

  • Focus on quality. Rather than creating a lot of content to get quick results or inundating your audience with promotional information, a better strategy can be to produce lesser content that is high in quality.

  • Use a multi-channel approach. Using a multi-channel approach that covers different platforms and mediums can be helpful if you are trying to target different buyer personas for the same product. Creating lead generation and marketing content in a variety of formats, like blogs, podcasts and videos, can help attract and engage diverse audiences effectively.

  • Conduct A/B testing. Conduct A/B testing on important assets, like the sales pitch, social media content and banner ads, to determine which style, tone and messaging is more effective.

  • Use customer testimonials. Using customer testimonials can be an effective strategy to build customer trust and demonstrate the benefits of your products.

  • Place compelling CTAs. The importance of using a compelling and relevant CTA in lead generation campaigns is of utmost importance. Avoid using generic CTAs and create customised calls for each stage of the sales funnel.

  • Perform data cleansing. Whether you are purchasing a customer database to generate leads or building your database by collecting customer information, make sure you update the data periodically to prevent data decay. Perform data validation to ensure that the customer details are accurate and reliable.

  • Monitor lead generation campaigns of business competitors. Analyse lead generation campaigns of competitors to find new sources of high-quality leads and learn from the feedback they are receiving. This exercise can be particularly beneficial in updating buyer personas and creating relevant marketing material.

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