Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing sales pipeline.
Lead Generation is the art and science of getting a person to give you their first big ‘Yes’: Trusting you enough to provide you with their personal contact information in exchange for your valuable offer. And while you can read case studies that show people racking up lead lists in the 100,000’s, generating even one lead is not a trivial endeavor. You need to build trust and confidence with every single person who visits your website in order to convert them from an anonymous visitors to an identified, captured lead.
In this guide, we’ve brought together everything we’ve ever learned to create a complete resource for everything you need to know about lead generation.
What Is a Lead?
Let’s start with the basics. A lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form. In other words, instead of getting a random cold call from someone who purchased your contact information, you’d hear from a business or organization you’ve already opened communication with.
For example, maybe you took an online survey to learn more about how to take care of your car. If you got an email from the auto company that hosted the survey on their website about how they could help you take care of your car, it’d be far less intrusive and irrelevant than if they’d just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about car maintenance … right?
And from a business perspective, the information the auto company collected about you from your survey responses would help them personalize that opening communication to meet the existing needs of the potential client.
Why Do You Need Lead Generation?
By showing an organic interest in your business, it’s those strangers and prospects that are initiating the relationship with you — versus you, the business, initiating the relationship with them. This makes it easier and more natural for them to want to buy from you somewhere down the line.
Within the larger inbound marketing methodology, lead generation falls in the second stage. It occurs after you’ve attracted an audience and are ready to actually convert those visitors into leads for your sales team. As you can see in the diagram below, generating leads is a fundamental point in an individual’s journey to becoming a delighted customer of your business.
Lead Generation Research
Many marketing departments are allocating more budget to lead generation tactics. Inbound marketing spend in particular has been growing as companies need to find more creative ways to get in front of the customer and break through the noise.
Methods Of Lead Generation
- Inbound Marketing
- Content and SEO
- Social Media
- Outbound Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Display Ads
- Pay-per-Click Ads
- Content Syndication
- Direct Mail
- Sales Development Reps
- Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
Common Lead Generation Metrics
Here are some basic lead generation metrics that many companies track as part of their lead generation efforts:
- Marketing % of contribution to sales pipeline: The % of revenue in the sales pipeline (opportunities) that originated from marketing efforts
- Marketing % of contribution to closed revenue: The % of revenue in closed won deals that originated from marketing efforts
- Quantity of Sales Qualified Leads: The amount of SQLs sent over to your sales teams
- Quality of SQLs: The % of SQLs not rejected by sales
- Cost per inquiry: Total lead acquisition cost/ the total number of inquiries
- Cost per lead: Total campaign costs/quantity of leads
- Inquiry to Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): Conversion of initial inquiry to Marketing Qualified Lead
- MQL to Sales Accepted Lead (SAL): Conversion from MQL to Sales Accepted Lead
- SAL to Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): Conversion from SAL to Sales Qualified Lead
- SQL to Opportunity: Conversion from SQL to Opportunity