Whether you are a small business owner or an established medium business or a startup, one of the major challenges that you might be facing is to generate inbound sales leads on a regular basis to keep your sales funnel full.
While you may have tried several inbound sales lead generation tools, software and techniques but many have failed to succeed as we hear from small business owners quite often that they are unable to generate qualified sales leads and rely on paid advertising which impacts their bottom line.
So, what’s the solution to overcome the lead generation challenge? Well, in this post we will provide you with the most effective ways to generate inbound sales leads for your business.
Failure to generate inbound sales leads to make your marketing campaigns profitable can be frustrating and damaging for your business. We know what it’s like because we’ve been there ourselves and that sense of being overwhelmed by too many different strategies and variables to test is something every successful marketing team has to go through.
Based on our own experience, years of research and implementation within our organization we found the right formula in order to generate inbound sales leads for a business.
What is a Sales Lead in Business?
An interest shown by a potential customer in your products or services that sends in a response through email, website form, phone or directly is known as a sales lead. Mostly leads are generated through referrals of existing customers or through a direct response to advertising or publicity or through a website that has a contact form.
According to investopedia, “Several factors determine the quality of sales leads, such as whether the individual or business had the incentive to offer contact information, the accuracy of the data provided, and the validity of the sales lead. A sales lead’s validity depends on whether the targeted person was aware of the sales opportunity when they responded.”
Practical ideas to generate sales leads
There are several traditional ideas, new age internet ideas and digital techniques to generate sales leads. We have listed the only best ways to generate sales leads below:
Create a Blog on your Website
If you do not have a blog on your website or you don’t publish new posts to share useful information related to your business then you cannot expect to generate inbound sales leads because of no targeted visitors to your website.
For attracting targeted visitors to your website, you need valuable content that can rank in the search results and attracts visitors to your website.
“According to hubspot, Companies that blog have far better marketing results. Specifically, the average company that blogs has 55% more visitors and more visitors means more inbound sales leads.”
Blogging also leads to more number of indexed pages in various search engines that increases your chances of getting found in SERPs.
Publish Blogs that are unique, insightful and useful for the users to attract email signups
According to Neil Patel, in-depth content has much better chances to rank well and generate traffic on the website. In fact, it is proven that an average page that ranks first page of Google contains atleast 1890 words, according to a study done by backlinko.
Try to write atleast 2000+ words blog posts to cover the topic in-depth.
While, it doesn’t always necessarily mean that writing long form content can bring traffic to your blog and website, according to a study done by AHREFS.
As we know that more traffic means more leads but what does the above study by AHREFS, suggests?
Well, it suggests that not all blogs can generate traffic if they are lagging on these two major factors:
- Zero backlinks –Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm and no links mean you’re probably not even going to be seen in the SERPs.
- Not writing with search intent in mind – Creating content that people aren’t looking for cuts you right out of the search process.
You have to always keep in mind that in order to turn your blog to become a genuine inbound lead generation machine, you have to turn it into a valuable online resource for your target audiences.
No matter what your niche is but you should always try to focus on peoples challenges (business performance, ecommerce, relationships – whatever) and aim to create the best content that addresses their challenges and their needs.
This is what exactly you need to do in order to produce content that people actually engage with to generate inbound sales leads.
With your blog spreading out out in-depth and detailed content on a regular basis, you’re going to take this one step further and create in-depth evergreen content that offers some of the best insights in your industry.
This really needs to be cutting-edge content that people can’t resist and want to dig in even deeper and can’t hold back without sharing in their network. Remember, great and useful content always gets shares and likes.
Imagine, if you could write something on a topic that people are willing to pay for it? Well, that’s true people are ready to pay for the information if it is valuable but all you want to do is at this stage is get people to leave their email addresses to get updates about your new posts and that’s only possible when you have valuable information to share with them.
So, focus on creating your email list of dedicated readers by creating outstanding content for your blog posts.
Social media is not just a ranking signal for Google but it can also send lots of traffic to your blogs.
Sharing and promoting your best content and blog posts on social media can double your traffic and maximize exposure for your business. Social websites such as linkedin can be your inbound sales leads machine if you start posting your best content within your network.
For the best results, you’re going to want a mix of organic and paid social strategies here and the precise approach depends on which networks you’re advertising on.
For example, it’s very difficult to generate traffic from Facebook without paying for ads these days whereas Twitter is still a strong tool for reaching wider audiences organically. However, ads on Twitter are quite pricey and Facebook’s ad targeting options are on another level.
So, in this case, you would prioritise your paid efforts on Facebook and use Twitter to reach wider audiences organically. You’ll still want to do the organic essentials on Facebook – post your content, engage with relevant pages and groups, etc.
Joining Facebook Groups to promote your content can generate inbound sales leads
Facebook groups are great way to generate sales leads as you get to promote your content in a network of genuine business owners, entrepreneurs and like minded people.
On facebook you will find hundreds of groups for a particular niche. e.g. import and exports has hundreds of groups with thousands of members in each group. Some groups are open to join and are closed. You have to send a request to the group admin to join the group.
Although, group admins do not allow direct marketing of your business or brand but sharing useful link, content and information is highly recommended.
You can share your blog posts in these groups and within few days you would notice that people start contacting you seeking your products and services.
Start Guest Blogging to target audiences from other established online properties
Since, you are already publishing industry-leading content on your website and you’ve got an entire blog page filled with the stuff to prove it. So, now it’s time to start guest blogging and for that you can reach out to industry-leading online publications and offer to write content for them.
Some good examples of guest blogging website are:
This gives you exposure to entirely new audiences with the same kind of interests as the people you want to be generating leads from. Get you brand seen, show them what sets you apart from other companies in your niche and give these people a reason to find out more about your brand.
Target interested audience with Remarketing to generate inbound sales leads
While some people are ready to but immediately once they find you on Google Ads which is a great way to capture inbound sales leads but not everyone is going to pay up right away. Some people are going to get cold feet, maybe head back to the results page and check out the competition expecting better pricing and offers. This is quite normal with human beings.
With remarketing, you can keep reaching out to these prospects and keep them on-board with your brand.
You’ve already paid for these leads as soon as they click your ad and you know they’ve got a string interest in your offer and so, give them the extra incentive to come back to your site and make a purchase.
Google has great tutorial for creating remarketing campaigns.
Attend Conferences and Speak at industry events
Business conferences and events are a great way to network with people and business owners. Exchanging business cards, conversations and new opportunities are just few examples of what business conferences have in store for you.
In fact, if you are looking for one of the most effective inbound lead generation strategy then you cannot skip attending industry events. By speaking at industry events you can establish yourself as a leader in your industry and people would want to network with you which will lead to sales leads.
Tip: Do not jump directly to larger conferences or apply for speaking at events with thousands of visitors, instead go for local events where visitors are limited but belong to your industry as that helps in establishing business relationships quickly.
Create Multi-Step forms to maximize inbound sales leads
You must be wondering how a mult-step form can be a good thing when it comes to user experience as no one really wants to spend time filling out complicated forms?
Well, “according to hubspot, The answer is that a multi-step form actually makes the large amount of information required to complete a long form appear more organized and less overwhelming. Plus, multi-step forms are proven to result in more conversions than single-step forms. For example, in one experiment, a single-step form experienced an increase in conversions of 59.2% after it was converted into a multi-step form.”
Invest in PPC and Online Advertising to generate sales leads
By now you must be having an established blog and authority following the strategies above and it’s time to loosen up your pockets and focus on paid advertising to generate sales leads.
When your business is new, you cannot afford to spend much on PPC and online advertising because platforms like Google Adwords and facebook ads are getting expensive.
That’s why we’ve mentioned PPC (pay per click and online advertising) in the end because it involves funds, while all the above points are mostly organic that require efforts to generate sales leads and no money.
All of the above content-driven strategies we’ve discussed so far are great ways to generate consistent inbound sales leads but but it time consuming, needs research and creating the content you need and getting it to rank well in search and this is where paid advertising fits in. It is not time consuming and just needs funds to get started.
Another thing that you may notice with content-driven inbound sales strategies is that many times the leads are from people with a strong interest in your products or services but they’re not quite ready to buy yet.
Those leads take time to convert into sales and you have to apply lead nurturing strategies in order to reach a point where a person is ready to close a deal with you.
In order to target those group of people who have already decided they want what you’re selling, you can take advantage of PPC and Paid advertising. It helps you target such customers directly and the whole marketing life cycle becomes shorter compared to organic lead generating strategies that take time.
The people who need something or are ready to buy because they need it urgently turn to Google and start searching for products and service providers typing in queries.
These are people who are ready to buy and Google Ads allows you to get your brand seen by these people at the crucial moment.
Automate your inbound sales pipeline
Now that all your efforts related to inbound lead generation that you had applied so far are showing results it’s time to automate lead generating processes.
The purpose of automating inbound sales pipeline is to reduce the manual workload of your wider inbound marketing strategy and multiply the amount of leads you’re able to generate.
You can implement automation to your email marketing strategy, technical SEO reporting, lead segmentation and much of your social media activity. Another task that you can automate is quotes and sales proposals that are time consuming and prone to errors.
Automate each of inbound sales processes and your lead generation results will double in number.
Here’s a wonderful blog by ZOHO to improve sales leads by automating CRM workflows.
Handle More leads by automating your inbound sales processes
Applying all the above inbound sales lead generation strategies you might be getting more prospects than you ever thought possible, the only problem now is how you’re going to physically deal with each of the leads that you get on a daily basis.
Now in order to do this you have two options:
- Build a bigger sales team to handle the influx
- Automate your sales process so your existing team can still manage everything. It is cost effective and much more practical.
You can find a number of sales automation software on the market that will take care of everything from the moment users submit their email address, allowing you to nurture them along the sales process without any (or minimal) manual input.
Your sales team only needs to step in manually whenever a lead drops outside of our automation processes, fails to respond or requires human input for any reason.
Without having an automated sales process in place it is impossible to handle the surge in leads that you may experience after implementing the inbound lead generation strategies mentioned in this post.
Rework on your inbound sales strategies to revive your business
We understand that you might be having a great website having great content but still you are not generating sales leads and therefore, you need to rework on your strategy following this post.
The above mentioned strategies are difficult to implement and take time to show results but it’s worth the time and efforts in the long term. Since, PPC and paid advertising can be expensive for you initially, the only way to get going is work on growing sales organically.
If in case you’ve tried any of the above mentioned sales strategies in the past and they haven’t worked for you, give them another go and put the time and effort into getting the basics right (great content, compelling ads, etc.). If you haven’t tried any of these strategies, then go ahead and start implementing them now and see the difference yourself.