Generating sales leads: The basics

Lead generation essentials for service-based businesses

While any business can reap the benefits of the growing trend for online lead generation (attracting potential customers to your business through online marketing activity, such as search engine optimisation, or pay-per-click advertising), it is important not to lose sight of the value of outbound marketing (approaching potential customers through telemarketing, direct mail, e-newsletters, etc) and direct customer contact. Read on to find out what insights online marketing company Konvertis has on the importance of blending both methods in order to create a smarter sales system.

Focus on web-based lead generation

Online lead generation is the process of attracting leads into your sales funnel through internet-based marketing or advertising. Such methods include search engine optimisation, social media marketing and pay-per-click advertising (ie Google Adwords).

In addition, inbound marketing has even more emphasis on ‘earning’ leads by publishing great content via articles, infographics, relevant studies and blogs. The basic idea is that the modern customer is resilient to being ‘sold to’, preferring to go to market and choose suppliers on their own terms. By establishing yourself as an expert in your field, you can ‘earn’ more leads and conversions.

Benefits:

  • Leads generated through inbound online methods cost up to 62% less than those generated through outbound methods. For more information, check out this Mashable infographic.
  • Businesses generating 40% or more of their leads online grow four times faster than those who do not. More information on this can be found in this study by Hinge Marketing.
Include phone-based lead generation/qualifying

We’ve all experienced telemarketing on some level – we either use it as part of our own sales strategy or we have received these calls ourselves. While this method has a fairly negative reputation, if done correctly the practice can be incredibly rewarding. It is a great way to identify new opportunities as well as cleansing old data/prospect lists, allowing them to be kept relevant and up to date.

Benefits:

  • Allows for the personal touch and helps your prospect get an idea of ‘you’ – something a service-based business can’t do without
  • Can result in instant leads and sales (internet presence can take time to manifest)

Although the benefits of online lead generation seem to far outweigh those offered by telemarketing, there are some factors you need to consider and act upon should you wish to focus on web-based lead generation.

Remember that online leads have a short lifespan

Although it’s great to be in the position of building up more website traffic and receiving increased emails and phone calls, a study by the Harvard Business Review suggests that efficiency is key in dealing with such leads. Online leads have a very short life span, with the chances of conversion reducing dramatically after just 60 minutes. Therefore, if you run a busy service-based business (and especially if you are the only person in your business), you need a system in place that allows you to deal with the increased enquiries in a timely, organised manner.

Use automated workflows and lead nurturing

It’s vitally important that you have a process in place that ensures your lead management is as close to perfection as possible. An automated system can make sure you are notified as soon as a lead requires contacting, and can also help you automatically ‘warm up’ cold leads as they move towards the point of purchase. These processes are known as ‘automated workflows’ and ‘lead nurturing’ respectively.

Benefits:

  • Allows you to reach and convert your leads within the critical time frame
  • Prevents the loss of up to 80% of your leads (a Yankee Group Study proved that up to 80% of leads are lost due to poor lead management)

 

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