Sales Lead Generation
Business Activities

Sales lead generation is something that is vital for most businesses and so I thought I would discuss the most common ways of generating business sales leads as used by leading companies today. Bear in mind that not all of these methods may be suited to your specific product(s) or service(s). As well, you must always adapt best practices and the general sales and marketing activities I have described in order to fit your business.

In looking at sales lead generation, the first and foremost requirement is for you to create a cogent message which speaks to customers directly in their language and communicates your selling points as customer benefits. This is the sales and marketing message that you will then communicate to the market in order to generate business sales leads utilizing some of the methods discussed below.

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Sales Lead Generation: Your Website

Sales Lead Generation

The first and foremost lead generation tool relied on by most companies today is your website. Having a web presence is a simply way for customers to find out about your company, products and services and get in touch with you. Your website can then be turned into a lead generation tool by being proactive about collecting customer information and providing offers and action steps. Think about your website as a silent sales tool where customers should be able to educate themselves, interact, stay engaged and ideally transact business with you.

Sales Lead Generation: Marketing Collateral

Sales Lead Generation

The next step after having a effective website is to create exciting marketing collateral. This includes everything from business cards to brochures and whitepapers that you can hand out to customers and prospects in order to generate interest. What is the best way to make your marketing collateral appealing? By focusing on sales and marketing for “You” and talking to customers about the benefits you will provide them and their problems you will help solve! Don't just print out a list of products and services and talk about how great you are... talk about your customer and what you can do for them.

Sales Lead Generation: E-Mail Marketing

Sales Lead Generation

Once you have a website up and running there is no reason for you not to start an e-mail mailing list in order to stay in touch with customers and prospects. A good way to begin your online marketing efforts is to collect customer e-mail addresses either in person or on your website and through other means. You can then send out a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter or update and invite people to touch base for more information.

The great thing about e-mail marketing is that it is cheap and targeted. Since you are only marketing to people who want to receive your ongoing newsletters, they are more receptive to receiving messages from you. Try and imbue your ongoing communications with a ”Marketing Personality” and provides tips and insights to your customers in addition to marketing to them.

Sales Lead Generation: Networking

Sales Lead Generation

The first people you will talk to about your business is usually friends and family but you should always mention what you do to everyone you meet (...and even try and meet more people!). Get into the habit of handing out business cards and asking people for referrals. If you want to take this a step further, find out about local associations and business meetings where you can associate with other professionals from your industry.

Rather that focusing on getting customers, the goal of networking is to "spread the word" about your business and cultivate the art of building relationships. Once you are good at meeting people and interacting with them meaningfully, you can transfer these skills to your business and sales and marketing activities in order to create loyal, lifetime customers. Remember that customers today put a premium on relationships and that adding that personal touch is vital to your success.

Sales Lead Generation: Direct Marketing

Sales Lead Generation

This includes any activity where you reach out to customers and prospects directly in order to provide general information about your business as well as to communicate offers and incentives. Direct marketing includes e-mail as well as mailers, handouts, flyers, coupons and other activities where you are proactive in communicating to your market. Before you go spending hundreds of dollars or more on an expensive direct mail campaign, however, it is a good idea to once again start small and make sure that you receive enough new sales leads from a given campaign in order to justify the cost and effort.

Sales Lead Generation: Advertising

Sales Lead Generation

Advertising is a good way to drum up business as long as it is cost effective. The way to ensure that you get a desirable return on your investment in advertising is to start small and experiment with various ways and means of reaching out to customers. General advertising includes the Yellow Pages, newpapers, TV, radio and outdoor advertising that reaches out to the general public. You can also target your advertising to a specific audience or customer demographic through advertising online using specific keywords, advertising in specific locations where your customers frequent and print advertising in a trade journals and magazines relating to your line of business.

Sales Lead Generation: Telesales

Sales Lead Generation

Browse my various articles on cold calling in order to get an idea on everything from cold calling scripts, tips and techniques to using a sales lead sheet to plan sales calls. Telesales, like other sales and marketing activities, needs to be cost effective in order to be worthwhile and this usually comes from selling more expensive products or being able to sell lots on a given day on the phone. If phone sales works for you then you may be in a position to build a sales team in order to increase your business.

Sales Lead Generation: Marketing Events

Sales Lead Generation

Event marketing usually requires a larger sales and marketing budget because of the time involved as well as the expense of setting up a booth, providing customer demonstrations, handing out samples or even just traveling to regional marketing conferences. That being said, for companies that do engage in event marketing, you can realize a huge return on investment (ROI) because of the personalized interaction with targeted customers and the opportunity to network with other companies and professionals in your industry. Just as with general networking, make sure that you are not just trying to sell but take the opportunity to collect customer information in order to stay in touch via e-mail marketing and other methods.

Sales Lead Generation: Co-Marketing

Sales Lead Generation

A follow-on from networking and attending business conferences is to create partnerships with other professionals and companies in your industry in order to offer complimentary products and services to your customers. Everyone loves a bargain and partnering with a related business may be a good way for you to provide your customers with valuable offers and provide additional incentives for them to do business with you. Remember to focus on partnering with those businesses that serve similar customers to your, regardless of whether the actual product(s) or service(s) you offer are similar. The power of co-marketing is to be able to reach more of the same type of target customers together than you would do alone.

Sales Lead Generation: Publicity

Sales Lead Generation

Traditional news media like newspapers, magazines, radio and TV can sometimes provide a platform to generate promotional buzz and if you can create a significant public event you may be able to generate great positive publicity through it. For most business, however, simply engaging industry analysts and news sources with business announcements and updates is a key sales and marketing activity.

If nothing else, the "News" or "Press Releases" section on your website allows visitors to see your ongoing business activities and engaging online news services can create traffic to your website and awareness of your business as well. Think about ways to market to the general public and organizations in addition to your "normal" marketing list of customers and prospects in order to drive business.

Sales Lead Generation: Virtual Events

Sales Lead Generation

Sponsoring or hosting online events like webcasts, podcasts and other live interactions and discussions is a great way to generate business sales leads for many companies. An offline corollary to this is phone conference calls where participants can dial in to hear about your business. Typically, online events and conferences include an educational aspect which is the core of your message.

Rather than market your product(s) or service(s), the purpose of these events is usually to teach customers how to improve their own businesses or solve their problems using your offering. The most successful virtual events are those where people will learn something valuable even if they do not end up buying from you. Collecting participant information allows you to keep adding to your contact list for ongoing sales and marketing as well.

Sales Lead Generation: Online Marketing

Sales Lead Generation

Online marketing starts with promotional activities such as building a website, e-mail marketing and onlne advertising. Beyond that, there is a whole world of community building activities to help promote your business on the Internet from online events to blogging and writing articles, participating in online forums and social media marketing. Each of these areas provides opportunities but also demands expertise and tact.

While promotional activities involve more traditional sales and marketing efforts, you must take care not to indulge in those kinds of effort in trying to build a brand through online community building. There, the name of the game is interacting and building trust by sharing your expertise. Once you have built up goodwill through articles, answering questions on forums or participating in a social media community, people will automatically gravitate towards your business.

Get help with sales lead generation for your business!

Free Sales LeadsBusiness Sales LeadsQualifying Sales LeadsSales Lead SheetSales Lead ManagementCold Calling TipsCold Calling Scripts TemplateCold Calling TechniquesAn Effective Cold Calling RoutineProspecting TipsSales Process ManagementSales Lead Generation Consultant

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Sales Lead Generation Funnel 
This is a great breakdown of marketing activities in order to create leads. A lot of people do not understand the sales process as it relates to the concept …

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