Lead Generation refers to the process of identifying and attracting strangers and prospects who have indicated an interest in your company's product or service. It's a way of warming up potential customers to your business and getting them on the path to eventually making a purchase.
If you are a part of a sales and marketing team and through some trusted source you discover that a stranger is showing interest in your company’s offerings - most likely your next step would be to find ways to attract that stranger(s) to your business. Lead generation expands on this notion to become: Finding ways to make a person interested in your company and make them want to request more information from you.
Why do we need Lead Generation?
When a stranger initiates a relationship with you by showing an organic interest in your business, the transition from stranger to customer seems like a natural flow for the customer but to make this conversion seamless and smooth every B2B company has a strategic planned process.
Lead generation falls within the second stage of the inbound marketing methodology. It occurs after you've attracted an audience and are ready to convert those visitors into leads for your sales team (referred to as sales-qualified leads).
Lead generation is very important for the growth of a business. The buying process has changed and marketers need to rethink and refocus their efforts in order to stay relevant. If people demonstrate to you that they are interested in your business when you go to contact them about your offering they are no longer a stranger – but rather a true sales prospect who has “told” you, they are interested in your product or service.
Lead Generation Process:
Now that we understand how lead generation fits into the funnel of converting strangers to customers, let's go through the steps of the lead generation process.
- First, a visitor discovers your business. It could be from advertisements, your marketing channels (like website, blog, or social media page), third party recommendation or any other source.
- That visitor will now want to know more about your business and then visits one of your marketing channels. The channels will encourage visitors to click on your call-to-action (CTA) could be an image, button, or message.
- That CTA takes your visitor to a landing page, which is a web page that is designed to capture lead information in exchange for an offer.
- Once on the landing page, your visitor fills out a form in exchange for the offer. (Forms are typically hosted on landing pages, although they can technically be embedded anywhere on your site.) Congratulations! You have a new lead. That is, as long as you’re following lead-capture form best practices.