The general idea of lead generation is to generate leads for the sales team. It’s the first layer of the sales funnel. Now the key is in how you define a lead. Some people sell lists of businesses as lead lists. These lists are nothing more than a directory of different businesses narrowed to maybe your target audience. These are not leads. These are suspects. Leads are prospects.
Prospects are potential buyers who have expressed interest in your offering and have the capacity to purchase from you at the price you’re looking to charge. This is a high measure of a lead and one which would disqualify most lead sources.
Lead Generation Sources
‘Leads’ are traditionally often generated from a few common sources such as:
- trade shows & home shows
- direct mail lists
- search engine marketing campaigns
When you get leads from these avenues, you need to purposefully sort them into lists that are qualified leads and leads that need nurturing to turn them into potential buyers who express an interest in your offering.
When you get a lead that has not expressed an interest in your offering and does not have the capacity to pay for it, it’s best to assign them to a category called lead nurturing. Lead nurturing is about keeping in touch, educating and building a rapport to encourage them to become a qualified lead. The reason you want to classify them differently is because they are not the best leads for your sales people should be following up. In addition, if your sales people do persistently follow up with these people, they may perceived to be pushy because these leads by definition are not ready to buy or cannot buy even if they wanted to.
Lead nurturing is a whole different topic that is outside the scope of this article but it includes sending cards quarterly, sending them informational emails, keeping them apprised of what’s new and generally focusing on how you can add value to their lives.