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5 Lead Generation Trends to Boost Your Business

(Posted on May 28, 2014 at 01:07PM )
PictureWhether you’re a solopreneur or a Fortune 500 company, you have the same goal for your business: getting paying clients. Lead generation is the process for gathering leads in hopes that some (or all!) become paying clients. As well as being the first stage of the sales process, lead generation is probably the most essential part. Having leads in your pipeline ensures you have potential clients – and business survival – down the road.

Lead generation occurs in one of two ways:

Outbound: People become leads as a result of being contacted by someone from your company. Examples of outbound marketing include engaging on phone calls; appearing at events, tradeshows, or other live events; sending printed company collateral through the mail; conducting face-to-face meetings.

Inbound: People become leads as a result of finding your business online and indicating their interest through online means. Examples of inbound marketing include using SEO (Search Engine Optimization) to optimize your website(s); creating content in the form of blogs, images, and/or web videos; building a following, then engaging them on social media; or emailing content about your company.

Your business may prefer using one or both of these lead generation methods as a way to gather quality leads. Which one is better? Only you can answer that question, and your final decision doesn’t have to be set in stone. Factors such as budget and staffing resources, as well as personal preferences, usually weigh into these decisions. And sometimes a little old-fashioned trial-and-error helps, too.

Have you hit a lull in your business or maybe just need more clients? If so, it’s time for your business to start bringing in more leads. These are 5 of the latest trends companies of all sizes are using for accomplishing successful lead generation – inbound, outbound, or both.

Inbound Lead Generation Trends1) Content creation and distribution…they’re still ruling as “king” and “queen”The content marketing trend isn’t new, but content strategy changes regularly due to activities such as Google algorithmic updates.

“Content Marketing is an emerging trend that’s utilized by 78% of B2B marketers. This practice of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content such as blog posts, whitepapers, case studies, and infographics to attract, acquire, and engage new customers is seen as the future of B2B marketing.”

Content creators need to generate high-quality articles and posts which make their blogs stand out from the millions already out there. To top it off, they must also create quality content that search engines love. It’s not easy, but certainly worth it when your efforts pay off in the form of lead generation.

2) Don’t rule out social media for lead generation…yet92% of marketers in a recent Social Media Examiner report think social media is important for their business. With this high of a percentage, it’s probably safe to say that most marketers want to get better at using social media.

Within the same survey, 89% of the marketers indicated they wanted to master social media skills so they can best engage with potential clients through the platforms.

3) Why Using Marketing Automation Software Isn’t a Bad IdeaMore businesses have started using marketing automation for their more mundane sales-related tasks, such as email. Once businesses begin automating, they realize how efficient – and effective – marketing automation can be for lead generation. As well, when they automate those mundane tasks, they have more time to focus on those activities which require human engagement.

The following stats, as originally listed in a recent article for the Callbox blog, show promising data for using marketing automation for lead generation:

  • Companies using marketing automation source 45% more pipeline than those who don’t use marketing automation – Marketo
  • 70% companies declare that marketing automation met or exceeded ROI expectations – Focus
  • Full deployment of marketing automation reduces close rates from 1:221 to 1:20 – Marketo
  • 350% return on investment and 100% annual revenue growth while saving $400K and generating $2MM in incremental gross revenue – Acteva
  • Marketing automation provides 225% increase in prospect volume that convert to sales opportunities – ShipServ
  • Using marketing automation causes 3x more leads passed to sales after one month – Marketo
  • Marketing automation reduces ignored leads from 80% to 25% – Bulldog Solutions
  • Companies that automate lead management see over 10% increase in revenue in 6-9 months – Gartner Research
  • Marketing automation-generated personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14% and conversion rates over 10% – The Aberdeen Group
Outbound Trends4) Newer technology makes executive events, conferences, and tradeshows a lead generation win-winHosting and attending executive events, conferences and/or tradeshows never goes out of style. People still crave the lure of face-to-face networking, not to mention the swag. Virtual events, such as webinars, provide the same benefits as real-world events, but without the hassle of traveling or crowds.

For real-world events, companies are seeing easier and faster lead generation through innovative, new technologies such as NFC (near field communication). Remember the old-fashioned fishbowl approach, where you dropped your business card into it for a chance to win a prize? On the flip side, someone had to go through each of those cards and either call or email each person in hopes of generating a lead.

NFC simplifies and speeds up the process…with the swipe of the attendee’s wrist, you gather the data they provide at registration in a matter of seconds. You know right away whether you have a quality lead and prospective client. And attendees still walk away with plenty of swag.

5) Cold calling and telemarketing are still hot ways to generate leadsNot many people enjoy making cold calls, but no one has died from it. An even better argument for picking up the phone? Results prove that phone calls and telemarketing are among the most effective means of lead generation.

Tips for cold calling include the following:

  • Study and rehearse your scripts; improvise when necessary
  • Know rejections aren’t personal
  • When possible, research prospects before calling them
With practice and experience, you’ll be a cold calling pro in no time.

Which lead generation trends do you think are here to stay? I would love to hear your ideas and suggestions. Feel free to leave your comments below.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /


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