Lead generation is the method of getting inquiries from potential customers. In the old pre-Internet days of sales, lead generation occurred at places like trade shows – visitors to a company's booth would fill out a card with their contact information and turn it in to receive a call back from that company's sales team. Since the rise of the Internet, many businesses use their websites as a lead generation option. Email also offers lead generation potential, since companies can buy another company's email marketing list or pay them to promote the company on their own marketing emails. Most marketing experts recommend that companies use at least 10 different lead generation methods to ensure that their pipelines remain full.
Each lead generation technique usually has a tradeoff between quality and quantity. For example, a form on the company website that visitors can fill in to request a call back will generate high-quality leads – these visitors are very likely to buy since they're interested enough to want to hear more – but probably won't generate a lot of leads. On the other hand, a lead list that's based on a newsletter subscription list from another company may generate a lot of leads, but they won't be nearly as interested or qualified. This tradeoff is another reason why companies are wise to use many lead generation methods.
Your goal, obviously, is to turn as many new leads as possible into qualified leads ready to do business with you. How your organization does that depends on a number of factors: what you sell; whether you sell online, in person, or both; and so on. But whether you’re a solopreneur selling subscriptions to your investment blog or a coffee roaster serving local businesses and mail-order customers, the same basic principles of identifying, organizing, and working with leads apply. The more efficiently your business captures and identifies new, qualified leads, the better you’ll be able to work with them.
Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. You score leads based on the interest they show in your business, their current in the buying cycle, and their fit in regards to your business. Lead scoring helps companies know whether prospects need to be fast-tracked to sales or developed with lead nurturing. Lead scoring is essential to strengthening your revenue cycle, effectively drive more ROI, and align sales and marketing.