What is lead generation?

In both marketing and sales, lead generation is the act of sourcing ideal potential customers and enticing them to use your service or product. Although they are separate departments, marketing and sales are both the direct line to generating more leads for your business, and both teams should work harmoniously together towards that same goal. 

So, what qualifies as a lead?

Now we’ve covered what lead generation is in a nutshell, let’s talk about what exactly counts as a lead. Below are just a few examples:

  • Someone who has filled out a contact form, either partially or completely
  • Someone who has opened your marketing/sales emails and clicked on a link/s within the email
  • Someone who has exchanged contact details with you at a networking event 
  • Someone who has sent a message to your company via social media
  • Someone who has sent a message to your company via live chat on your site

To summarise, a lead is someone who has displayed an interest in your service or product in some way, and may make a purchase. Of course, it’s important to note that there will be leads who are way more interested than others, and there will be a range of leads each in different stages of the sales cycle. 

How lead generation works

Below we have outlined how the marketing and sales teams’ individual responsibilities form the complete lead generation process:

Marketing

The marketing team is responsible for getting your brand out there and attracting the ideal target audience through various marketing efforts. This can include social media posts, blog posts, marketing emails and landing pages on your website. Some of the leads that these marketing campaigns attract may not be ready to make a purchase; they could be within the very first stages of the sales cycle, and therefore require more nurturing through consistent, targeted marketing to allow them to communicate with the brand when they feel the time is right. Your marketing campaigns may also attract slightly higher quality leads. These are people who are actively engaging with your brand and are more likely to make a purchase and become customers somewhere along the line, however aren’t quite ready to convert just yet – this is what we call a marketing qualified lead (MQL). 

Sales

Along with marketing qualified leads, we also need to mention sales qualified leads (SQL). The marketing team essentially feeds SQLs to the sales team. These are super high quality leads, indicating that the lead is ready to go ahead with a purchase, which means that the sales team should get dialling and give them that all-important sales call! This part of the sales cycle is crucial – it’s where the conversion (hopefully) happens. Check out the graphic below for a clear distinction between an SQL and a MQL. We have used contact forms as an example in this instance:

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) – Someone who has partially filled out a contact form with some of their details, but for whichever reason has chosen to not proceed. They need further nurturing via marketing to be convinced to purchase.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) – Someone who has filled out a contact form fully, and has displayed further interest by asking a question.

There are also a few ways that the sales team generate their own leads. One method is asking an existing customer they have sold to and have established a positive working relationship with, if they know of anyone else who may also benefit from the product or service. The benefit of this referral method is that the customer has already put their trust and money into your product/service, and so will be more likely to influence their friend or connection to do the same and directly communicate the benefits of using the product/service. In the following section, we will highlight more methods that both the marketing and the sales team can adopt to improve their lead generation process.

How to generate more leads

  1. Always make use of CTAs 

No matter how beautifully designed your social media post is or how well-written your latest blog post is, if you don’t add a CTA to direct your audience to take a specific action, the likelihood is that your audience won’t take any action at all or, they will take an action you didn’t intend them to. This means you could potentially lose out on what could have turned into a high quality lead. Your CTA should be clear and should only consist of one action so as not to confuse your audience. 

  1. Targeted ads

Create different advertisements for specific buyer personas, and tailor them to solve the pain points of that particular audience. The more tailored your ads are, the more likely you are to generate higher quality leads from them. 

  1. Attend networking events

Whilst 2020 may have stopped the world in its tracks momentarily, you can get yourself prepared for when public events will be safer to attend. Write yourself a list of relevant networking events taking place in 2021 that you can attend to find and connect with your ideal potential customers.

  1. Try a lead generation tool

Finally, we suggest trying out a lead generation tool like ourselves. Meet Hugo offers fair pricing and a constant flow of leads every week – leads that have been sourced specifically according to the requirements and needs of your business. We pride ourselves on sending new leads out to a maximum of 2 companies where possible, giving you the fairest chance of closing a deal. Discover exactly how you can receive more leads using Meet Hugo.

The lead generation process isn’t always seamless, and it is a constant learning curve, but by adopting the methods we have outlined above and ensuring that the marketing and sales team are always in close contact, you should see a significant increase in the amount of high quality leads you generate.