Realize it or not, there's a limited pool of customers out there for your business. Big or small, there is a finite amount of potential consumers for your product or service and if you're not getting your share of customers, your competitors are more than happy to take them from you.
So What Is Lead Generation?
Lead generation in its simplest form is generating interested consumers in a product and then directing those interested consumers to a business whose sales team can follow up on the potential transaction. Leads can be gathered in person, by telephone, or digitally. All are effective in the proper environment, it's knowing which one is right for your business that takes a carefully planned strategy and professional implementation to succeed. Having a conversation with a marketing expert can help you determine which avenues are best suited for your business and how heavily your efforts should be weighted in each of the lead generating options.
Types Of Lead Generation
Shaking hands is still an effective way to find new business. It's the only lead generation format that allows you to read both someone's body language and their tone of voice at the same time. If you have a business that services a vertical where the key decision makers are commonly in one place at the same time, such as continuing education or seminars, you may be able to build your business exclusively on hand shake introductions and referrals. Many companies use this in conjunction with digital and/or telephone marketing efforts to ensure they are capturing all of their prospective customers.
Cold calling is still a part of developing new business leads. Of course the telephone is used as a means of following up on a referral or confirming an appointment, but when focused on using the telephone to generate new business leads, cold calling is still the primary form used for telephone prospecting. Cold calling requires a sharp salesperson who is comfortable with both the product or service being offered as well as a strong understanding of the business landscape they happen to be calling on. If the company has a solid CRM which allows the salesperson to move in and out of calls quickly and easily they can develop an effective, predictable stream of new sales leads. Cold calling can still run into challenges as "gatekeepers" are more effective than ever and as people tend to rely more and more on digital forms of communication.
Digital marketing is by far the broadest approach to marketing. It includes things such as Email marketing, Website Management, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Keyword Blogging, PPC (Pay Per Click), and Social Media Management. If a company has a large group of potential customers, they should strongly consider digital marketing. Some examples of a large audiences would be if the company works with plumbers or doctors. These are professions where there is such a large group of potential customers. Digital marketing can help companies reach the buyers who are considering their product or service, or are ready to buy. One of the major benefits of this approach is your active sales efforts are spent communicating with people who are already on the shorter side of the sales cycle and their passive sales efforts can focus on those longer term sales cycles. Companies with more targeted customers, such as CPA's who specialize in accounting for veterinarians, will likely benefit from cold calling lead lists and vertical specific networking events.
"If you are not taking care of your customer, your competitor will."
— Bob Hooey
Market Share, Are You Getting Your Cut?
Lead generation is as much about protecting your company's market share as it is about growing it. Your competitors are looking for an edge. They're looking at all available avenues when it comes to capturing a larger piece of the revenue available to your business's vertical(s). Talk with a professional who can look at your business top to bottom and help you determine where you can pick up some speed in the race for the next customer. A truly talented marketing expert can help your company jump the line in front of your most worthy business adversaries.