Sales Leads How to Generate Them

How to Generate More Sales Leads in 2021

B2B sales lead generation and lead management is the lifeblood of all companies. Without new customers that enter the sales cycle and become returning customers, there is no business development.

Whether you are selling goods or services, your organization needs to grow its customer base constantly.

Each company has a different strategy when it comes to sourcing leads. For some, Marketing sources all if not most of the leads; for others, the sales team must generate its own leads through prospecting; and for others, like us at Vengreso, it’s a shared responsibility between sales and marketing.

Generating sales leads is not as simple as it once was.

  • 61% of marketers say that generating new leads is the most difficult part of their job, and 53% spend the majority of their budget on generating leads.
  • 69% of sales people say prospecting is the hardest part of the sales process.

These statistics show that managing this process is vital to ensure quality leads at the best possible cost.

Before we get into discussing how to go about generating B2B sales leads, let’s look at what sales leads are.

#LeadGeneration - 61% of marketers say it's the most difficult part of their job. How do you ensure that your #marketing team is generating more quality leads for your #sales team? Find out in this article! Click To Tweet

What are Leads in Sales?

Often we are asked, what is a sales lead? In the simplest of terms, sales lead generation refers to identifying a business or person that is not a customer or client but has the potential to become a customer or client. A sales lead need not necessarily be a person or business entity; it could also be the data identifying an entity as a potential client.

The sales team must understand the difference between a B2B sales lead and a sales prospect.

Who is a prospect? A sales lead must be adequately investigated to determine if they intend to and can do business with your organization. In contrast, a sales prospect is an entity that has been researched and moved to the sales process. You should strive to find the ideal prospect, the lead that matches all your criteria.

Lead Funnel

A sales funnel is a process whereby the contacts made through a marketing process are gradually winnowed down to those few golden eggs that can be actively pursued and turned into active clients.

A sales funnel is not the same as a sales pipeline. The sales pipeline is the set of processes that a potential customer progresses through between being a sales prospect and a paying customer.

Level 1: Awareness

This is the first level of the sales funnel and represents the vast amount of traffic attracted through your marketing campaign, whether through a website, an ad, social media, or trade shows.

Level 2: Data Capture

Now you want those that are interested in giving you their contact details. Getting these details can be done in various ways, such as attendance at a webinar, downloading a pamphlet or ebook, or simply filling in an online form.

Level 3: Prospect

You now have many entities that can be further nurtured. For example, you can send emails with promotional material at this stage, invite them to view videos or attend webinars, and send links to blogs. This process is known as sales prospecting.

Be sure to have done your prospect research. It is the only way to make your sales messaging perfect for the specific customer. At this point, lead qualification should be underway to ensure all unqualified leads are qualified or discarded.

Level 4: Marketing Qualified Lead

At this point, the marketing lead is nearing the point of purchasing goods or services.

Your organization would now start focusing on the qualified prospect’s specific needs. You could organize a demonstration or perhaps try a free trial or put together a quotation.

Level 5: Opportunity

At this point, the organization should have a prospects list, and a sales rep would take over the qualified lead and develop a healthy relationship. Then, a personal sales call or video call can be made, and by reading buying signals, the sales rep can determine how close the customer is to place an order. The lead would now be a sales qualified lead.

Level 6: Customer

At this stage, the sales lead has chosen to purchase from your organization, is part of the sales process, and is a paying customer. In the future, they would form part of regular sales activity.

Sales lead vs. Sales prospects. What's the difference? This blog post by Vengreso is highly recommended for business owners, reps, and marketers who are looking to fill their #sales pipeline. #prospecting Click To Tweet

How to Generate Leads in Sales

Sales prospecting to generate leads can be done  in many ways. However, the method you use to attract potential customers depends largely on your organization, what you are selling, and who you are trying to attract.

In B2B sales, LinkedIn is the best channel for lead generation, using social selling techniques.

It is also possible to purchase lists of potential leads from third-party organizations, but it is not always recommended, as these lists are not always accurate.

A great way to create leads is to ask your existing customers for referrals. Check out this video to learn our 2-step process to ask for a referral on LinkedIn.

What is a Warm Lead?

Warm leads are people or organizations that have shown an interest in your products or your company. These people have displayed a basic level of interest in your company, products, or services. Lead nurturing by a sales rep should be done to ensure they become a paying customer.

In contrast, a hot lead is a lead where the customer is in direct contact and ready to buy.

How to Find Sales Leads on LinkedIn

LinkedIn has millions of professional members, from clerical staff to CEOs of multi-billion dollar industries, so it is a platform that you ignore at your peril!

Currently this platform is grossly underutilized by B2B marketers with only 45% claiming that they use it. This makes LinkedIn a huge untapped resource.

The first thing is to have a strong company profile on LinkedIn. Then post exciting information about your products or services, have good profiles for all senior staff members, and draw up attractive advertisements for your products.

When attempting to connect to potential dream customers, they will make a split-second decision whether or not to accept an invitation or connection from you, based on your profile and your company profile.

Join relevant LinkedIn groups. By joining these groups, you can participate in discussions and get your name well known by giving credible answers to questions. If a high-level staff member poses the question, make sure that your solution is detailed, that it’s accurate, and that your language and punctuation are impeccable.

Pay for a LinkedIn Premium account so you can take advantage of LinkedIn’s advanced search functionality to drill down into specific searches and retain the information.

They say #LinkedIn is a goldmine for quality #leads, but how come you're not finding any of them? Maybe you need to go back to basics and read this article by @M_3Jr so you can better understand what B2B #sales leads are. Click To Tweet

How to Increase Your Sales Leads

Hera are three ways to increase your sales leads making some changes to your LinkedIn Profile:

1. Your LinkedIn Profile should be a sales asset

In my experience, most people – in sales or not – have written their LinkedIn profile as a resume. Does your LinkedIn headline list your current job title? Or, does it serve as an attention getter using action words like “improving,” or “driving” or “transforming.”

If you think using action words in your headline isn’t necessary consider that if you’re in sales and a potential buyer reviews your LinkedIn profile as well as the profile of three of your competitors, are you confident your headline communicates your ability to meet your customer’s needs?

I challenge you to do this exercise. I’m being literal. Review three of your top competitor’s LinkedIn profiles and compare their headlines to yours. What is your confidence level that a buyer would contact you over them?

2. Your About section is the bridge to conversation

Next, look at your About section. First of all, do you have a well crafted text in your About section? If you don’t, you’re missing a BIG opportunity to deliver a narrative about how you can help your customers. The About section should be your story. It should show some of your personality, while painting a picture of your capabilities and achievements.

Your About section is different from your experience section. The experience section is where you can deliver your online resume – so to speak. But, your “About” is an opportunity to set yourself apart. If you are not skilled at creative writing, get someone to help you. Draft your summary offline and ask someone in your trusted network with creative writing skills to help you shape your story, provided that the end result is genuinely a representation of the real you.

There is no one formula for your LinkedIn About section that fits everyone. Consider writing your story as a chronological narrative without necessarily listing dates. For example:

“When I began my career fifteen years ago, I relied on my passion for ____ to launch my career. Today, my passion for _____ is stronger than ever with _____ results in the _____ industry.”

Feel free to show a little of your personality. After all, you’re human and people buy from people. For example:

“Anyone that has worked with me knows that I always start my day with a strong cup of black coffee and a blueberry scone. Then, I’m ready to solve ____ problems for my customers in the _____ industry.”

These are just examples to inspire your thinking. Be you…

3. Engage with Profile Visitors

LinkedIn tells you about the people who visit your profile. This is one of the most valuable data insights provided to you. I encourage you to engage with some of those visitors.

LinkedIn also tells you how many people have visited your profile from specific companies. This can be an opportunity to engage with people at a company that you want to do business with.

Optimize Your LinkedIn® Profile With the Vengreso Profile Template

How to Cold Call Sales Leads

Cold calling can be a means to attract potential customers, but the process needs to be carefully planned before you sit down and start dialing.

The first thing is to research the people that you intend to call. There is no point in cold calling someone if all you have is their name and the company they work for. Go through LinkedIn and any other resource to be sure that you know who you are speaking to and what you want from them.

Next, know what you intend to say. You have perhaps ten seconds at the start of the call to keep the person on the line, making sure you have a good opening statement. A strong statement such as “I saw you manage…” or “I saw your company won …”  would be an excellent way to introduce your conversation.

The best way to achieve success with your cold calls is to try and warm up your potential sales lead through contact in social media. Our article on Prospecting will give you invaluable insight into this.

Succeeding with a sales call is not about being charismatic or having a charming personality but about having a system. Check out this video where I talked with Joe Pici about his cold calling system and some useful cold calling scripts .

How to Prioritize Sales Leads

Priority 1: Concentrate on your inbound sales qualified leads. Leads that have visited your website and raised their hand requesting an appointment or taken part in a Live Chat must be nurtured.

Priority 2: Referrals. All referrals must be contacted.

Priority 3: Leads that have opened and clicked on your emails. Make sure you have a lead scoring system in your CRM to identify when a contact becomes an SQL.

Priority 4: Leads that have taken part in any online forums where you have contributed.

Priority 5: Cold calls.

Qualifying Leads in Sales

A sales qualified lead is a customer that meets the requirements to purchase from your organization. The qualifying process assists the salesperson not to spend time nurturing a lead that is not in a position to purchase from you.

This qualification process will include factors such as the decision-making level of the lead, the fit of the lead to your goods or services, and the financial ability of the lead to meet the minimum requirements of your company (i.e., an individual may not want to purchase your minimum quality).

How should you approach sales leads? This can be appropriately assessed by thorough qualification first.

How to Get Better Quality Leads

If you have many leads but only convert a few of them to sales, you may have a problem with the quality of your leads.

You can begin with lead scoring on a template that is agreed upon by both marketing and sales. A simple matrix of fit on one axis and interest on another will quickly show those leads that score highly on both axes. Those score highly and must be nurtured.

Both marketing and sales must commit to nurturing the leads. Those leads deemed hot by marketing that fail to commit to purchasing your solution should be the subject of a post-mortem by both departments to determine what went wrong.

Find software to assist in this process. You do not want to spend hours on analytics. Find tools that can automate the process and give you instant responses.

How do you track sales leads? Many software packages on the market like HubSpot or Salesforce will assist in tracking your sales leads. Invest in a package that suits your needs and gives you the information you need to track your leads.

Become a Master at Lead Generation

Generating sales leads is vital but not as simple as it sounds. Statistically midsize and large companies generate an average of just under 2,000 leads a month.

This is a clear indication that every qualified lead must be nurtured and that there is no place for the historic battles between marketing and sales. Everyone must be focused on ensuring that every qualified lead is turned into a paying customer.

However, as a seller or business owner with a quota to meet each quarter you cannot rely 100% on marketing to source all your leads. That’s why you need to develop the right prospecting skills to create more sales conversations and increase your pipeline.

You can learn those skills in our Modern Sales Mastery for Individuals on-demand program. Click on the image below to learn more.

Modern Sales Mastery for Individuals

Mario Martinez Jr.

Mario is the CEO and Founder of Vengreso. He spent 85 consecutive quarters in B2B Sales and Leadership. He is one of 20 sales influencers invited to appear in the Salesforce.com documentary film “The Story of Sales” launched in 2018.  He was also named 2019’s Top 10 Sales Influencers by The Modern Sales Magazine, 2018’s Top 25 Most Influential Inside Sales Professional and Selling Power Magazine’s 2018 Top Sales Training and Coaching Consultant.  Mario is the host of the popular The Modern Selling Podcast.

Comments
  • Wendy Gertridge

    I applaud step number 2 of the process for prioritizing the sales leads. Referrals must be contacted, and sometimes sales reps forget about them, this shouldn’t happen. Sometimes your sale can be there, and you even do not know it!

  • Neha Shelar

    Generating more leads for your company isn’t as easy as you might think. This entails a lot of trials and mistakes. However, getting one of these marketing automation tools may help you generate more sales opportunities for your business- Aritic PinPoint or Marketo.

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