Leads or Sales Leads are one of the most integral parts of a sales process and are used to refer to a number of sales prospects or opportunities that are currently present for a business. In spite of the importance of sales leads as well as the importance of their generation and optimization, most businesses do not give much weight to them.

To say the least, these are the Sales Leads that determine the conversions as well as the probability of profit for a firm and hence must be seriously considered and understood by all business owners and entrepreneurs.

Understanding and Optimizing Your Sales Leads

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In this article, we shall focus on 1) what sales leads are, what is their importance and how can one optimize them to move towards success; 2) generating sales leads; 3) optimizing sales leads; and 4) tools for generating sales leads.

WHAT ARE SALES LEADS?

The term ‘sales leads’ refers to those prospective customers or clients who showcase a certain interest in your product or service and offer some contact information to remain in the loop of things. For example, if you own a website for your business and a visitor signs up for newsletters or creates an account, then he/she can be referred to as a lead. Another example of a Sales Lead is someone filling up a web form after being introduced to a business during a conference or fair.

There are many ways for businesses to gain access to sales leads, and some of these ways are trade shows, advertising, online marketing, and other forms of marketing as well as direct mailing. Sales leads can also be purchased through third-party companies. But it is important to understand that these leads do not always guarantee sales since they are just a proof of user interest, and this interest may reduce if he/she is not properly convinced or pursued.

GENERATING SALES LEADS

Now that you know what sales leads are, the next step for you to understand is how to generate these leads. There is no doubt about the fact that generation and accumulation of sales leads improve chances of sales and hence improves the overall probability of profits, which is of course the ultimate aim of all businesses around the world. Thus, one must have a few tips up his sleeve as far as methods to generate sales leads is concerned. These days, there is a lot of buzz around social media as one of the potential methods to gain leads and is sure one of the best platforms to attract more potential customers. But besides that, there are a number of other methods that work well. Let’s look into some of the best ways to generate sales leads:

1) Using valuable content you produced

One of the first and most effective ways to generate sales leads is to provide users with a top level and highly engaging content. It is a fact that businesses or companies that produce informative, educational, useful and high-quality content are likely to generate more leads and hence do more business. If any user or potential customers who visits your website or reads your brochure comes across substandard content with grammatical mistakes or a poorly framed structure, then he/she will definitely be put off and may not be motivated to leave his/her contact information. Some of the ways to offer helpful information include website content, blogs, case studies, demos, eBooks, Whitepapers, and videos, etc. The following are some aspects of this method of generating leads:

  • Try different formats of content – The first way to generate leads through content is to offer as many different formats of content as possible. Some of the formats that you can offer include infographics, Podcasts, Newsletter, website content, blogs, Demos, Videos, LinkedIn publishing, Social Media articles and others. The more the methods you have to offer, the more will be the chances of generating leads.
  • Articles, guest posts – Another effective way to use content as a way of generating leads is to offer your visitors blogs, articles, guest posts and other write ups. Where guest posts on one hand help users take opinions of existing customers on the business’s products, articles may help describe the products or services offered. While using these content methods, special attention must be paid to SEO writing.
  • Podcasting – Sharing information in an oral or verbal format is also a superb way to draw in more potential customers to yourself and Podcasts are surely a great tool for this. Set up audio files or develop an audio radio to keep your prospects hooked and well informed.
  • Infographics – Infographics are superb tools to generate leads since they offer information with the help of images placed together in an attractive or visually appealing manner.
  • EBooks – Remember that most customers want to be informed rather than being wooed to buy your products. For this purpose, eBooks act as one of the best ways to offer information. Use this tool to offer a neutral perspective and see sales grow.
  • Webinars – Webinars offer you a way to reach out to a wide audience in the most inexpensive way and provide them with useful information. For example, you can ask attendees to visit your website, sign up for newsletters or check out your blogs.
  • Engaging Videos – Another way to share content and information is through videos. Of course, commercials are a good way to do so but if not created properly, they can prove to be a disaster and may have a negative impact on your business. However, creating or developing interesting and witty videos about your products and services can quickly circulate and go viral, thus leading to the generation of leads.

2) Using Social Media: Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that social media or marketing is one of the best ways to talk about your product, reach out to a large audience and promote your product or service without spending a hefty amount. If you are interested in the generation of leads through social media, then some effective platforms that you can use are LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. You can use Twitter to utilize hashtags so that anyone interested in your product or service can easily find it. Facebook can be used to create Pages for promoting your business and giving users a way to know about you and reach you. Research work has shown that traffic from LinkedIn was associated with the generation of the highest visitor to lead conversion rate. Thus, you can also make use of this platform to gain leads from IT companies and professional service firms.

3) Using Offline events like Conferences, Team ups, trade shows, etc.

Another great way to generate sales leads is through offline events and happenings like team ups, conferences, trade shows and media coverage, etc. Networking events like these still continue to be one of the best ways to draw prospects towards your business and its services. These events help you generate interest, engage unlikely customers, remain in the public eye and keep the world informed about updates in your products and services. You get to meet more contacts, expand your network and gain referrals through events like these. Conferences and trade shows are a superb way to build your brand and distribute your business cards. Industry events give you public recognition and are a way to reach out to hundreds of people at the same time.

4) Creating a highly informative website

Besides social marketing and Blogs, another way to make sure your potential customers can reach you and convert is to create a highly informative and engaging website. Hire a good web designers or developer to come up with a smooth, easy to navigate and informative website that has a superb design, the right use of colors and several ways for the customer to leave his/her contact information. There must be a way visitors can sign up, a request for newsletters, shop and contact you on the website.

OPTIMIZING SALES LEADS

Sales leads, as explained above are crucial for a company’s existence. Besides the generation of sales leads, another process that is highly important to ensure the conversion is the optimization of these sales leads. Once the leads are flowing in, soon it becomes apparent that there is a lot more to achieving success in terms of profits than just the large in-flow of leads. It is highly important to optimize these leads since this is what ultimately drives the sales and acts as a marketing funnel. There are several ways to do so, but the following are a few steps that can genuinely help. So read on to find out more.

Step #1: Analyze your sales leads & conversion rates using lead scoring

The first step that can help you optimize your sales leads is the analysis of the leads as well as the evaluation of the conversion rates using the process of lead scoring. The process of lead scoring must be incorporated into the lead generation strategy of the company so that when the scores are used or applied, the marketer can spot those potential customers who are closest to conversion. This process also helps to know about the prospects who require a little more work to convert. But to make sure that lead scoring doesn’t prove to be very time-consuming, it is important to club it with a robust marketing automation platform.

Step #2: Focus on optimizing sales leads in the areas with the biggest potential

The next step to optimize your sales leads is to look for the opportune times or the areas with the highest potential. This means that sales persons must look to focus their efforts or strategies on prospects that are closest to making the purchase or closing the deal. This will help ensure that quality sales prospects do not get lost in the process and do not get turned away. One of the best ways to nurture potential leads is to make use of sales automation tools that are also beneficial in decreasing the churn rates. It is a fact that at the beginning of their research, a business may have very few prospects but the faster the business gets in touch, the faster the deal will be finalized.

Step #3: Start optimizing your sales leads

The next step is to start the process of optimizing your sales leads. There are many ways to do so, but the following are a few of the most effective ones:

  • Making your marketing message more clear: One of the best ways to work on the optimization of your sales leads is to come up with a marketing message that is not only highly specific but also very clear. It must be intriguing enough and should be able to generate interest. Only when the audiences are intrigued, will they be drawn to your product and will try to reach you or contact you.
  • Re-Work your call-to-action message to be very compelling: Another way to do so is to work upon your call-to-action statement or message. A user or visitor visits several websites in a day and comes across many call-to-action statements. But unless he/she comes across something different and compelling, he/she may not really click on it and take an action. You need to convince these visitors why your product or service is better and that too in a brief yet effective way. Also, make sure that your call-to-action statement is visible on all your web pages.
  • Start freemium model by sharing your best content for free in the initial stage: If you ask users to pay to view your information or content initially, then you may not be able to draw a large number of prospects. But, on the other hand, if you follow the freemium model and share your best content for free of cost during the initial stages, then that may help to optimize leads. You can offer your free premium content through EBooks, PowerPoint Presentations, and detailed PDF documents, etc.
  • Optimize your web appearance & SEO: The visual appeal and SEO strength of your content to play an important role in optimization of the sales leads. Thus, make sure that you work on the web design, colors, fonts and other aspects of visual attributes of your website. Also, concentrate on SEO-friendly content to feature among the top search results on search engines.
  • Other ways to optimize your sales leads: Some of the other effective ways to optimize your sales leads include optimization of your sales marketing program, improving your online display campaigns, working upon your pay per click campaigns, improving your social media ads and optimization of your landing page and conversion rate.

Step #4: Track your improvements by measuring ROI

One of the most crucial and integral measuring tools that companies use during the process of lead optimization is the ROI or Return on Investments. It is important to keep track on ROI and monitor it regularly to know the various stats, figures and trends observed as far as the returns are concerned. The results thus obtained can also help you speed up the process of sales pipeline and close more deals in a relatively shorter period of time.

Feel free to go through the following presentation to learn more about lead generation.

TOOLS FOR GENERATING SALES LEADS

Besides following the above-given methods of lead generation, there are some tools that can prove handy and may help you do the job faster and in a more convenient way. The following is a list of the various top tools for generation sales leads:

  • Marketo – Marketo is marketing automation software that is a tool that helps generate quality leads and generate sales. The starting price to use this service is $1000 per month. What this platform does is that it captures leads, automates demand generation and is available on demand without any up-front fees.
  • Pipedrive – This is a popular lead management tool for startups and small teams who wish to push through their sales pipelines and helps to make sure that your connect or contact with your prospects is not dropped.
  • LeadSquared – This is a customer acquisition platform that helps your business to land more leads and win more customers. The platform enables you to organize your lead capture system and conduct an analysis of potential lead sources. You need to pay a starting price of $125 per month to use this service.
  • Hubspot Inbound Marketing – This is yet another lead generation platform that helps you monitor your presence on social networking websites and other such portals so that you can generate leads on such marketing tools. This platform converts web traffic into customers and leads and is available for $295 per month.
  • Myphoner – This platform offers a superior workflow for lead tracking as well as cold calling and is integrated with over 300 apps that help you add functionality to your already existing systems. This service is available for just $9.88 per month and per user.

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