It seems like it has never been more difficult to make a sale than it is today. The customers are experiencing extreme information overload, and a scripted cold call from a salesman is the last thing they need. So, how is a business supposed to generate leads and make the sales? The answer: by focusing on value, rather than on selling.
Forget everything you thought sales was after watching movies such as “The Wolf of Wall Street” or “Boiler Room”. Sales is not about convincing someone to buy your product or service which they don’t really need. Trying to manipulate buyers is an incredibly inefficient selling strategy. Modern sales professionals use the data available to assess genuine need, develop a tailored proposition to help meet it, and ensure they are using both their own and their buyers’ time as efficiently as possible. The goal is no longer to hit potential customers with as many ads as possible, but instead to increase your visibility so that customers come to you.
Instead of picking up the phone and calling potential customers randomly, nowadays the first step is proper lead generation. Lead generation represents the initiation of consumer interest or enquiry into products or services of a business. A lead is an individual or an organization that is a good fit for purchasing your product or service and that has, ideally, indicated interest in some way, shape or form. The interest would, preferably, be expressed by sharing contact information. For example, a website visitor who filled out a form on your pricing page is a lead.
Developing a lead generation strategy starts with asking these questions:
Who is your ideal audience? Do not try to attract everyone to your product – focus on attracting the right people.
How will you attract & convert that audience? What is your story? What is your CTA (call to action)?
What is your lead magnet? Are you going to use visuals, video content, social media content, webinars, blog posts, case studies, infographics, free trials etc.?
Lead generation strategy can be based on the use of a specific technology (software) specialized for lead generation. There are many software solutions to choose from (Drift, Turnstile, Ring.io, Hunter.io, Quora, Leadpages, Datanyze, LinkedIn Sales Navigator…), and there is no one-size-fits-all; each of them is appropriate for a certain type of business and serves a specific purpose. The business needs to justify the investment (as most of these solutions are not free) and determine their ROI.
On the other side, there are many other tactics that the business can implement as part of the lead generation strategy which might not seem like an obvious choice in the beginning; starting from inbound marketing tactics, to more traditional outbound marketing activities.
Inbound marketing attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing might interrupt your audience with content they don’t want, inbound marketing forms meaningful connections they are looking for.
In 2019, the most popular inbound marketing tactics for lead generation are:
It is important to be up to date with the latest trends in lead generation and to open your mind: sales is so much more than just cold calls. However, do not underestimate the traditional methods, either. Outbound marketing is still very much alive, and it refers to any kind of marketing where the business initiates the conversation and sends its message out to the audience.
The most prominent outbound marketing tactics used for lead generation today are:
Lead generation process might feel overwhelming at first, but, in reality, it all comes down to understanding your audience and catering to their specific profile. Figuring out how to generate leads takes time and experimentation. It is true that it has never been harder to generate sales leads. But, it is a great time to use your creativity, innovation, and courage.
Author: Ena Fejzagic, lecturer at LIGS University
This article was made as a follow up to the open webinar on the same topic.