What is lead generation?
In marketing, B2B lead generation is the act of identifying and initiating an interest of potential customers. Or in other words, it’s the first step every business must go through before making a sale. Identifying potential customers means finding businesses who may have an interest in the product or service your business is offering (your target audience). Initiating interest is about capturing information from these contacts and feeding them into your sales funnel. A lead can then be converted into a customer with a sale.
B2B companies will usually have different criteria for what is considered as sales qualified leads, as it will depend on the specific area or niche the business is operating in. See 3 ways to increase your qualified leads through your lead generation strategies.
Lead generation traditionally falls under the umbrella of advertising, but it isn’t limited to paid-for channels and tactics. Any channel that generates interest in your website or business can be classed as lead generation, both online and offline. The most common channels used include email, event marketing, social media, email marketing, pay-per-click advertising, cold calling and content marketing.
One of the most important elements of modern lead generation marketing, is a well-designed website that is fully optimized, and geared towards generating interest in your services.
How does lead generation work?
Generating leads can be difficult and time-consuming. However, the idea itself is pretty simple.
You need to create a website or landing page that offers a product or service and get it seen by the right people. Then, using a compelling call to action, you need to persuade those people to complete a form or otherwise hand over their contact information, so that you can follow-up with them later on.
Making this happen isn’t always easy. The process can be broken down into numerous steps, each of which will require detailed planning, sufficient budget and expert execution (with a lot of trial and error involved to get it right). See how to create and execute the ultimate lead generation strategy.
For more information on how to get started, check out our B2B lead generation quick start guide.
Guide to turbo-charged lead generation
Why do I need lead generation?
Traditionally, marketing was about reaching out to people and introducing your product to them, but the growth in online has been a game-changer. To be successful in the digital age companies have needed to adapt to a change in buyer behaviour. Check out our must-have lead generation software to include in your strategy, to help you adapt!
Rather than forcing a product in front of people and interrupting them while they’re going about their daily lives, inbound marketing is about getting the right people to come to you. The result being far stronger leads with a higher chance of being converted into paying customers.
Using this customer-focused methodology means potential customers are often less hostile or suspicious towards a sales team, which leads to an improved experience for everyone. For more information read our 10 simple lead generation strategies.