Lead generation is a marketing term. A lead is a qualified contact with a prospect who, on the one hand, is interested in a company or a product and, is highly likely to become a customer. Generating leads in high data quality is a fundamental task for acquiring new customers, one of the most important goals of companies. In order to build up their own prospect databases of significant size, more and more companies are using lead generation.
The lead can take different forms – request for information by phone or paper or electronic form, click following a direct mail or a proposal to download a document, registration and/or participation in web events or a trade show, response to a promotional offer, underlying signals whose interpretation makes it possible to conclude to a lead (moving, recruitment/dismissal, company creation, merger/acquisition).
Once the lead has been generated, a commercial action is followed by the holder of this lead (the supplier). Lead generation is also the service that produces leads. Any company can generate leads itself via direct marketing, digital marketing or telemarketing.
Lead generation is the first step in lead management, which involves generating leads and then converting them into a sale. This process, managed by the lead manager, takes place in four steps:
- Lead generation through various traffic sources.
- The education of marketing leads.
- Lead qualification (turning a lead into a qualified lead)
- Marketing: identifies the maturity of the lead through behaviors (email openings, content downloads, …)
- Commercial: identifies if the lead is in line with the services/products sold.
- Turning qualified leads into sales
Lead Generation Strategies
- Advertisement with telephone counselling service
- Display with attached order card
- Mailing, with info card to request further information
If the potential customer’s interest is aroused, he enters his contact details desired by the advertiser in specified fields of the medium used and forwards it back to the advertiser. So the advertiser now receives a lead.
Online, a wide variety of advertising media (advertising banners, newsletters, text links, etc.) can be used in almost all available delivery channels (classic websites, e-mail, social networks, search engines, etc.) for lead generation. Incentives (coupons, product samples, etc) can be found in these advertising materials. If the user clicks on it, he will be redirected to the so-called landing page of the lead advertising campaign, where he can enter his/her data via predefined data fields and give his/her consent that these may be stored by the advertiser (web forms with express consent for advertising measures).
As part of online lead generation and lead management, a number of web analytics tools and services are offered. For example, it is possible to use coded links to observe the behavior of the lead on the corresponding website and thus draw conclusions about their interests. [Matching the vendor portal’s visitor IPs with databases can identify visiting businesses and thus contribute to lead generation. Social media monitoring is also a discipline of lead generation.
Another way to generate leads is to create high-quality content for a specific audience. This can be, for example, a white paper, a guide, or a checklist. However, these are not always freely accessible. Interested parties must provide their contact details. Often, users only get access to the desired content after a double opt-in procedure. In addition, the interested party is encouraged to subscribe to the newsletter. In some cases, leads who are interested in such content are also followed up by telephone in order to make the product palatable to them. The advantage of such an approach is that it is relatively easy and inexpensive to acquire leads from a specific target group. Because only those for whom the content is really interesting will voluntarily provide their contact details. On the other hand, the procedure can also deter interested parties who attach great importance to data protection or fear spam. In addition, it is possible that incorrect information is provided in order to be able to read the contents.
Lead generation in the B2B sector
In B2B marketing, too, the measures listed above are taken to generate leads. In contrast to direct marketing, the aim here is not to achieve immediate sales success, but to develop prospects into leads through targeted content, which are then passed on to sales. Trade fairs are an important marketing tool for lead generation in B2B marketing. Personal contact and networking opportunities are particularly valued by exhibitors in the B2B sector. In order to successfully bring companies and potential customers together locally, a well-planned content strategy must be implemented in the run-up to the trade fair. In accordance with the basic assumption that interested parties are already researching suitable solutions for their concerns in the run-up to a trade fair, informative content (e.g. in the form of press releases, blog posts, white papers, free tools) is provided that is free of offensive advertising messages and is intended to create a positive connection to the provider through its utility value. Lead generation at the trade fair is then carried out through the personal conversation between the prospect and the exhibiting company and the exchange of contact details, which are handed over to the sales department.