Lead generation is a very large topic and it can be quite hard to digest all of the aspects involved. For example, you can read about lead generation companies and what they do for you. Or you can read tips from some pros on the topic, and all of this is still under the same subject. But a great place to start is just taking a really high top-level look at it and deciding where to go from there.
So today that is exactly what we are going to do, we will look at a lot of lead generation. Then from there you can explore to your heart's content and gain some critical information.
In this blog:
- What is Lead Generation?
- B2B Lead Generation
- B2C Lead Generation
- Difference between B2B and B2C
- Are Lead Gen Companies Your Friend Or Foe?
- Lead Generation Tactics
- Tip From A Pro
What Is Lead Generation?
Simply put it is the start of consumer interest in your product or service. For you to have a lead you need to have the contact information and maybe even more specific info like demographics. Then you can consider that person a lead. When they do business with you which gives more sales they convert from a lead to a customer. This is a large part of how many companies do business.
According to salesforce, “The best-case scenario for closing a sale is when a lead finds out about your brand on their own and becomes a paying customer without your intervention.” This normally takes place early in the life cycle of a customer. But the worst thing you can do is jump the gun when gaining an influx of leads, and start sending marketing material to them in hopes to make a sale. If they are a natural lead they are likely to convert on their own. If a lead gives you their email when visiting your site that is a pretty big deal. It's essentially allowing you into their digital home, and you do not want to mess up the floor with marketing mud. Once in your CRM and if they make a sale then you can safely start sending them material since they worked past those original boundaries.
Lead generation is doing this over and over on a larger scale, growing your possible consumer base in hopes they become customers. And if you are not getting enough natural leads then there are tools to help you. One of which is referral programs. Feel free to check out our blog on the top 4 referral programs in 2022 if you want to learn more. And see some of these programs in action.
There are also two different kinds of lead generation, one being B2B and the other B2C. The first one we are going to talk about is B2B.
B2B Lead Generation
What is B2B lead generation? It's really simple. B2B is when a company markets to other companies. IE selling paper or software to them. And this strategy is used by B2B marketers and employed in a marketing strategy. Using B2B you are able to learn key business insights such as your total addressable market which is important since it gives you insight into how much people will care about you. How? With this strategy tactics such as email, social, and SMS marketing are used when able to gather this valuable information.
But what are some other benefits?
Benefits of B2B Lead Gen
Learning About Your Customers: Just like learning about your market you also will learn a lot about your customers. Knowing what your customers like is a very large part of the battle, you can talk to those who matter. In this case the people likely to convert and do business with you.
Outsourceable: You are able to outsource this type of lead gen which can save a great amount of time and money. There is nothing wrong with doing it in-house, it just depends on the size of the business. It takes time to build a sales team and train them, teaming up with an outside company is significantly quicker. That’s what they are there for. Though there are issues with this that we will talk about soon.
Lead Generation At Scale: B2B is also more suited to help at scale with a large audience. This makes it perfect for quickly growing companies.
B2C Lead Generation
Now that we talked about B2B we should look at B2C which is business to consumer. Where B2B caters to businesses and organizations, B2C focuses on caring for individual consumers. This can come from product offerings or some other service, subscriptions, or contracts. For example, Netflix is a B2C company because they offer subscriptions to its customers on a more personal level. They are not offering enterprising subscriptions for software that helps a business watch movies and TV shows. If they were, they would be considered a B2B company. Most B2C companies engage in business through e-commerce also allowing a more personalized experience. Every business that sells directly to a customer or group of customers needs some kind of online presence. This has caused a large shift in companies growing their own online markets to sell directly to customers, it has been shown to bring in a considerable amount of profit. Just look at Amazon.
It’s why you see people who would not normally have a shop, open one. For example, a lot of authors now have merchandise shops to buy clothing and other officially themed things. The same with the video game industry, a mostly B2C market, development studios have started selling on their own digital shops as well. Like the Bungie store.
The point is, direct sales to the customer eventually end up in having an e-commerce site which is a B2C strategy. Speaking of differences, what are some more?
Difference between B2B and B2C
As we said before B2B is businesses selling to other businesses. It involves a market strategy, a team of salespeople calling other businesses, and a lot of other complex plans. Information security companies like Black Hills InfoSec is a great example of B2B. They sell their services to large organizations that need help getting better digital and physical security. B2B sales also require a lot of sign-off and chain of command, simply put decisions can not be made swiftly. This is largely because it's not one person that will be experiencing this product or service, it could be an entire organization.
Another example is the company Echelon Front. Just like Black Hills, they sell services directly to other large clients but this time it's an entire leadership course for that client's leadership teams. This could include initial meetings, goal reviews, milestone setting, finance reviews, and so on. This is a lot more complex than someone buying a t-shirt off your e-commerce website, and with much more risk. This is businesses selling to businesses, not directly to a single
On the flip side, as mentioned, B2C is selling directly to a customer. The goal is to provide a product right to the person who is looking for it. Like Netflix, Gamestop, or Amazon, people go there looking for something and in most cases leave with it all in the same ten minutes. It's much less complex.
Also, unlike the massive amount of sign-off you need to conduct business in B2B lead gen, B2C requires much less of that sign-off. Most of the time this is conducted automatically through some program or campaign. Making B2C lead gen relatively simpler. This method does not require any consensus and decision-making can be done a lot quicker.
Lead generation is complex, can take a lot of time, and drain you and your business of much-needed capital. But the rewards can be great and loyal customers fuel an estimated 67% of business. Is there anything that can help you speed up and grow your lead generation game?
Yes, there is, lead gen companies are a great source of help. But are they worth it?
Are Lead Gen Companies Your Friend Or Foe?
The short answer is as always, it depends. Unfortunately, like a lot of things in business, there is not a definite yes or no. It really depends on where you are with your business and if you have the money to throw at a lead generation company. We talk about the negatives in great detail in our blog focused on these companies, we also offer a solution. So if you want more information that centers on the negatives, you’re covered. But if you stick around we'll be talking about both pros and cons in this blog.
The services you should expect vary. You can get everything from phone leads, SEO leads, PPC or pay-per-click leads, and email leads. They all have their uses and some are better than others. SEO leads may be better for a company focused on digital sales which requires a large digital presence and domain authority. While phone leads may be better for a more traditional sales company or real estate brokerage.
Pros Of Using A Lead Generation Company
Communicative: Sometimes when you do in-house lead gen by hand people may not be as talkative. Or won't engage at all. Who do you reach out to and talk with to see what's not working? With an outside company helping out, they will feed you updates and be a lot more focused.
Prioritizes Leads and Follows Up With Them: Just like being more communicative, these companies will put together strategies for your leads. These can be marketing campaigns and so on, and they will follow up with possible customers for you.
Informative Content: The hired company should be giving you key insights into content that would boost your standings. They can gather this information from their own observations when acquiring leads. This helps you stay on track with content people will want to see.
Helps Grow Leads: As simple as it gets, it's the job of the company to grow your leads. Though as we will talk about this is not a guarantee.
Cons Of Using A Lead Generation Company
Very Expensive: The first downside that will become quickly apparent is the cost. This type of service is very expensive. It also does not guarantee any kind of return, it's overall a very risky move.
They Will Not Know Much: At the start, they will not know that much about you or your product. They essentially are like a customer who has no idea about you, and they are very likely to make mistakes that harm you rather than help you.
Long Conversion Time: The longer it takes for you to see results, the more money you spend on keeping that company working with you. For example, to win someone over through email once they've been added to your CRM takes 4-6 months or even higher.
Mixed Batch Of Leads: They could be qualified or not. In the end, you pay the cost upfront, so you could get lucky or very unlucky. Bad leads can waste even more money.
As you can see there are a lot of positives and negatives related to this decision. But again like a lot of things, there is no easy yes or no answer. Take a step back, weigh your options, and move forward based on your data. Making informed business decisions is what it's all about.
Lead Generation Tactics
Now that you did your homework we can start to talk about some more actionable topics. Some strategies and tactics that you can move on today. Understanding lead gen is half the battle but setting up a plan that works for you is the rest.
Offer Lots Of Events To ‘Opt-into’: If you offer people ways to give you their email that is a wide open door for success. At the top of the blog, we talked about how big it is to get a consumer’s email. And here you can gather a lot if you make worthwhile events or PDF downloads. Even something as simple as a recipe can gather up more emails than you may think.
Retarget/Re-nurture Fading Leads: While we are sticking to the goal of not mudding up someone’s email or time with waves of marketing. If you have customers or possible leads fading away it does not hurt to send some nurturing marketing. This can be ads that are more time sensitive and have sales accompanying them.
Make Leads The Hero In Their Story, Not Yours: A great marketing secret and a good way to have strong lead generation is by making customers heroes in their own stories. You and your business take the position of narrator and storyteller. Interestingly enough this follows the same format as many conventional narrative structures where the ‘rising action’ is them making a purchase or converting for example. If you can do this people will not feel like you are selling them something, but are helping them along their quest.
Live Chat Is Valuable: Live chat always looks daunting. It's opening up a door for spam and other nasty things. And live chats are very hard to do if the company is small. People get mad if they don’t get the help they need and we want to avoid that. So forums have more traction or AI in the live chats that play like real people. Either way, if you can get some form of live chat going people will not feel lost without help which will lead to more conversions.
Free Trials and Offers: A lot of companies offer free trials on their products. Either that or some other discount, so to stand out you should think about what you can give to entice leads. And if you find it and people like it that is a great source to tap into. For example, wordstream gives out a free Google Ads Grader which helps them make loads of conversions.
SEO Is King: Search Engine Optimization or SEO is vastly underused and the least understood, but it can make or break a company. This is too large a topic to go into depth here but make sure to check out our SEO blog to learn more, with new articles coming out soon. But the short of it is this; SEO is how you rank on google. It's all a race to make the best content possible to please Google and show up at the top of search. And as time goes on SEO is just becoming more and more important. If you want to stand out and really do well in lead generation you have to make sure people see you. And you do that with great SEO.
There are countless more tactics out there but these are a few of the bigger and more actionable ones. And if you manage to do all of them or more you are well on your way to becoming a lead-generating powerhouse. Even more so if you master SEO, with that tool in hand you can outrank even the biggest brands with the most domain authority.
Tip From A Pro
This is a lot of information to take in about lead gen. So that’s why we have an extra treat for those that made it all the way to the end. Here is a tip from an experienced agent on lead gen.
“One tip I would share is to join the local chamber of commerce and network at their events as well as other; non real estate related events.
We are in the people and relationship business, so building genuine connections with people outside your normal sphere can help lead to new clients and opportunities.
A word of caution; authenticity is key. The focus needs to be on meeting people and enjoying the events and not trying to sell yourself.”
Networking is a key aspect of lead generation. It can point you to new opportunities as well as new business connections. Want to learn more about business connections and more on networking? Check out our Business Connections blog. The point is, networking is key and if you skip over this then you may be missing out on some easy wins.
Lead gen is not a simple topic as you can likely see. You have B2B which is more so for larger companies marketing services to other companies. Then B2C where your company would sell directly to your customer base, like what Netflix does. Each has its own benefits and negatives based on the size of your company. We went over the differences and talked about if lead generation companies are truly helpful. And as always it is ultimately up to you, no simple yes or no. Using the information here, you now have a start towards making that decision and just having a better understanding of this vast subject.