Some marketing firms would have you believe that they know the secret to finding your business shiny new clients. The truth is - there are no secrets involved in generating new quality leads for a business. There are only 5 ways to reliably and consistently generate business to business leads. In my experience, a business or sales person that consistently executes on all (or at least most) of these strategies will be successful in the long run.
The Only 5 Ways to Generate Quality Leads:
1. Referrals - A referral is obviously the best possible lead you can get. Referrals are backbone of any successful business and must be cultivated with care. These leads speak to your ability to deliver results to your customers and the quality of your service. However, they are limited and often there are not enough referrals to meet the growth objectives for the business.
2. Networking - Networking is a powerful lead generation strategy. By putting yourself in situations where you are able to interact with prospects in a meaningful way, you can uncover new opportunities and new connections. The downside is you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince and if you are like me, networking events can make me uncomfortable.
3. Partnerships - One of my favorite lead generation sources is partnerships. When the right partner relationship is created it should be mutually beneficial. You need to be prepared to invest time and potentially other resources into a partnership while you develop the relationship. This can take time, but when done right, this lead generation strategy can produce great results.
4. Content Marketing - This is one of the newest lead generation strategies to emerge in the last decade and is by far the most efficient strategy a business can employee. With content marketing or inbound marketing, the work rests in the development of a winning strategy and the skilled execution of the campaign. In a nutshell, the goal of content marketing is to generate useful and compelling content that will demonstrate your business's expertise. This content, when published and promoted correctly will drive traffic to your website where you will convert this traffic to leads with carefully planned conversion points.
5. Cold Calling - The tried and true cold call is still one of the best lead generation tools available to a sales team. A professional cold call is personally delivered and uniquely interactive. A cold call gives you an opportunity to build rapport, learn about your prospect and agree to next steps in the engagement process. It is immediate, targeted and when done well can be an essential to a sales person’s/business’s long term success.
You will be tempted to argue that there are other ways to generate leads for a business. And of course there surely are some other common strategies, like advertising of course. However, I would argue that in today’s world, traditional media advertising is best used to either build your brand or offer your sales people the air cover needed to compete in a competitive market. Traditional advertising can also drive engagement into your content marketing engine. Use your advertising dollars to drive opt in activity so you can nurture the relationship along and be top of mind when your prospect is ready to make a purchase.
So the question you are no doubt asking yourself right now is, “Is my business taking advantage of each of these 5 lead generation strategies?” Don’t worry if your answer is “No!” Just create a plan and get started today!