Alternative lead generation practices | Sunday Observer

Alternative lead generation practices

13 September, 2020

Lead generation, also known as prospecting, is one of the most important elements in the selling process.

Companies find customers using funnel mechanisms by applying various prospecting methods and tools. Lead generation is considered as the heart of a business and organisations often rely on leads and work on them to make sales. Acquiring new customers is done through various approaches and practices depending on the media used.

With the introduction of the internet, lead generation has become more convenient than what it was during the pre-internet period. Today, prospecting is done through methods such as content marketing, permission marketing, and inbound marketing, and so forth. The main intention of a marketing organisation is to draw more leads and convert them to purchase in order to increase revenue. 

‘Cold calling’ or the commonest technique that was in practice since the inception of the concept of marketing is still active successfully for developing sales leads. However, with today’s advancements in digital technology, prospecting is transformed into more effective methods by using predominantly the internet.

The major advantage of using a digital medium is the reduction of time constraints where the seller can reach a larger audience in a short time. Besides, lead generation through digital media is much less costly than any other method. 

A big change has taken place today with the availability of the various social media platforms that have made accessibility simpler.  Consumers can interact with the marketing companies to understand the product they need better through content, images, and accurate details in the digital form. Additionally, the marketers can invite feedback easily to collect information for possible improvements to the product or service and also upgrade the service quality of the organisation.  

Lead generation engine

When all elements are in place and when the leads are coming in, they can be handed over to the sales team for follow-up and to convert to sales. However, the important factor is to be in  constant touch with the lead generation engine and review it on a regular basis. Let us look at some of the strategies to improve the inbound traffic of new leads. 

Written and video content is a powerful advertising tool for generating new leads and finding new prospects. A cleverly planned and effectively produced Video programme in the company website and in any other marketing campaign can be very successful. This is a great way to inform both existing customers and the new prospects of the contents that benefit them.

As a video presentation is prepared with a full understanding of the target customer segment or group, the message can be more meaningful and often can induce them to contact the marketing company to initiate the buying process. A well-prepared website can usually be tempting to a potential prospect when the information in the write-up is appealing to the reader. Though good video content, the company can directly call for action to attract a lead initially and later initiate buying action. 

An automated email marketing campaign is another method to find prospects that can offer a significant impact. Sharing important information with a pre-identified customer group can give them enough reasons to initiate a sales process. A mistake the writer has observed with many Sri Lankan email campaigns is that the contents are cluttered making the message noisy.

Avoid confusion

The message in an email advertisement should be concise to avoid confusion. The usual practice is that the prospect initially only glimpses at the email that comes to either the mobile phone or to a computer. Hence, the message must be brief, attractive, and easy-to-read. While some companies use software applications to deliver their campaigns, the rest use email marketing companies.  email tracking software solutions are available now to monitor and track open rates, clicked links, and the message delivery of the mails.Technical information such as specifications, guides, and instructions on how to choose a good product is generally appreciated by customers. However, it is recommended that all these materials must be offered free to the customer and the cost is minimal compared to the overall return for the company. Content such as blogs, past experiences, customer recommendations, and short videos also helps to generate new leads. Even non-customers can educate themselves on the information and there is a big possibility that they too may turn up as customers at a later date.     

As per research results, as of January 2020, there are 10.1 million internet users, 6.4 million social media users, and 31.8 million mobile connections available presently in Sri Lanka, and the number is continuously and rapidly increasing.

This is great news for marketers. In Sri Lanka, Facebook is the most widely used social network with 6.1 million users as of 2019. 

Therefore, communication with prospects through Facebook accounts is immensely result-oriented. Businesses currently have a wide range of platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.  All these social media platforms allow companies to directly engage potential customers at a much lower expense than any other lead generation tool, as the posts can be shared for a long period with a wider audience than other means of communicating.   

‘Endless chain’

Asking for referrals from customers is another good strategy to generate new leads. This method is highly successful if the company has a good track record for customer satisfaction.  Customers will gladly recommend the company to other possible prospects if a proper campaign is in place to make them aware of the products.

In the selling process, this is called ‘Endless Chain’ and one of the best methods to increase the prospect funnel. The strategy is to influence each happy customer to refer to five or more of his or her acquaintances for the marketing company to contact them.  

Attending or participating in conferences, trade exhibitions and relevant public events related to the company also is another strategy to find prospects. This is an effective way of networking with potential customers and prospective business partners. Exhibitions and trade shows get the marketer directly engaged with the prospects as most often visitors to these shows are definite prospects who are interested in something they need at a particular trade show or an exhibition.    The bottom line is that every company needs new leads to sell their products or services to improve revenue. By crafting good content and digital media strategy they can communicate to potential customers more effectively and develop channel partners. Digital platforms that are available freely and at lower costs can also be enormously useful to find more leads and eventually convert them into sales.