Ah, the salesperson’s dark night of the soul… when opportunity doesn’t knock. Or worse, it seems to run the other way!
Most of us in business development are highly trained in what to do with an SQL when it’s given to us. But what happens when there’s no silver platter and we have to rustle up our own leads from scratch?
In today’s post I’m serving up the best insights on the different types of lead generation, so you can get your momentum back and get back to your A game.
These tips and trips are proven to work to help you get in front of more decision makers, crush your quota, and dramatically increase your bottom line.
RELATED: The Best Time to Cold Call
What is Lead Generation?
Broadly speaking, lead generation is the initiation step for the prospect into a company’s world of products and services. It’s often a lot of work – but it culminates in an important exchange of information and the prospect entering into your funnel. The Lead Generation stage is the magic time when we get to know a name, a phone number, an email address, and maybe more detailed information such as demographic data and intel on pain points.
Once we collect those insights, we don’t stop there. The terms Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) and Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) are slapped on and suddenly your machine is roaring again. There are two main ways we get the leads flowing, and I’m going to give you a 101 on the different types of lead generation.
Different Types of Outbound Lead Gen
Any outreach where YOU make the first touch is called Outbound Lead Generation. This type of Lead Generation comes most naturally to the salesperson because it’s outgoing, it’s measurable, and it feels like the numbers are controlled by us (because they ARE!).
Types of Outbound Lead Gen:
1. Cold Calling
With cold calling, also known as phone prospecting, we take what little information we have and dial. The person on the other end doesn’t know you (hence the term “cold”) but you can quickly establish rapport if you do it right. Our main goal? Get a decision maker on the phone and put a sales appointment on the calendar.
2. Outbound Email
Cold email is another popular tactic to get new prospects into your funnel. It’s fairly low effort and can even be automated. Purchasing email lists is not uncommon, but be careful as your communications can easily come across as spammy. It’s best to build your list in-house and personalize your cold emails so they become scorching hot.
3. Social Media Outreach
Sites like LinkedIn are a popular hunting ground (especially their Sales Navigator upgrade). The search and filter functions on social media sites can help you quickly identify potential prospects and beef up lead data where you were feeling at a data disadvantage. Before going ballistic with these capabilities, you’ll need to be sure that your own digital presence is well thought out – as it could cost you a deal.
RELATED: How to Reach C-Level Executives
Types of Inbound Lead Gen:
Inbound lead generation tends to be a marketing person’s domain. The payoff on these strategies tends to have more lag time, but once those early efforts are made they can have an exponential effect over time.
1. Content Marketing (blogging)
We are most familiar with content marketing in the form of blogs and v-logs. Blogs can serve all kinds of purposes, like educating the reader about your product or service, highlighting customer successes, building brand authority, lead generation, and more.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Any effort to get your website to rank higher on web search results is called SEO. Some tactics include keyword research and backlinking. The more keywords you rank for, the more people are going to find you and buy your services.
3. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
If you already know the keywords that your prospects might be using to search for your product or service, it might be worth it to give SEM a try. By paying for ad placement on web search sites like Google, you can show up at the top of your prospect’s search results right away. This does cost money and the learning curve is steep. So it’s best to hire out SEM.
RELATED: Lead Generation for Technology Companies. Find Leads FAST!
Do-it-yourself or Hire it Out?
DIY or hire it out to the pros? It’s the age-old question. Here’s a quick-reference to help you out.
- Easy: Vlog/YouTube, Social Media, Webinar, White paper
- Medium: Blogging, Partnerships and Cross-promotion, Create Ebooks, Public Speaking, PR, TV / Radio / Podcast Appearances, Email Marketing
- Hard: SEO, SEM, Cold Calling, Mass Content Distribution
Other Types of Lead Generation
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the game but your leads are getting stale, your most important asset is momentum. Maybe none of the Outbound / Inbound Lead Generation strategies I listed are your cup-of-tea.
Thankfully, there are seemingly endless ways to generate leads, so I’ll list a few more types of lead generation below.
Other Lead Gen Strategies and Tactics include:
- Offer a free trial to a product or program
- Offer a membership to a group
- Speak at a seminar or event
- Become a sponsor of an event
- Press release and editorial
- Appear on television or on a podcast
- Place an ad in a trade publication
- Cross-promotion with others in your industry
- Word of mouth and asking referrals
- Join a professional network
- Send snail mail advertising
- Traditional advertising
At any given moment, you’re sitting on more business opportunities than you could ever imagine. Do you believe that? It can be hard to see this truth if you don’t have that opportunity knocking on your door. So again, momentum is your biggest friend when it comes to lead generation. Pick a couple of strategies and tactics, and stick with them over time.
Lead Gen That Actually Works
|Outbound Marketing||-Cold calling
-Hunting on social media (LinkedIn Sales Nav.)
-Purchasing a list of emails, addresses, or phone numbers
-Lead generation agency
-Partnerships and cross-promotion
|Inbound Marketing||-Content distribution partners
-SEO for your website and blog
-Content distribution partners like outbrain
-Run pay-per-click (PPC) ads
-Create downloads like ebooks, cheat sheets, templates
-Host a webinar
-Create a white paper - the need to research is an excuse for outreach
-Free trial to a product or program
-Become a sponsor of an event
-Press release and editorial
-Appearing on television or on a podcast
-Placing an ad in a trade publication
The fact is, it’s probably not a lack of ideas that’s stopping you from filling up your lead pipeline. It could be paralysis by analysis. There are so many choices, and so little time to execute on them. How do you choose? Which will really pay off?
I’ve made a table to help you cut through the confusion. My recommendation to start is to select one to do yourself, and hire out another one.
I recommend you find the right people who can execute and keep them close. They will be valuable partners as you begin to scale up your lead generation efforts.
As always I am wishing you the very best as you grow and expand your business. As you grow yourself, so too will your business expand.
Until next time…