Lead Generation is a key marketing process that involves finding people who would be interested in buying your product and/or services. It involves collecting contact details of the interested potential buyers/customers in exchange for something that is of value to them - for e.g educational, collateral, research content or a free trial of a product. This is a key activity to build a sales pipeline. Lead Generation is one of the upstream activities in the lead management life cycle. Lead Generation involves lead capturing and lead mining.
There are 2 ways by which lead generation can happen - outbound lead generation and inbound lead generation.
Outbound lead generation involves sending out messages on a mass scale either through an advertisement, email campaigns, cold calling or direct mail. Such reaching out to the audience can happen in a sponsored event. Here idea is to reach out to the target audience whether they have demonstrated any interest in the product or not or whether they have any expressed need. The time and place of interaction are determined by the marketer.
The buying pattern has significantly changed over the years. Today’s buyers are more prepared with the knowledge and information, by the time they make the purchase decision. They do a lot of pre-purchase research and vendor short-listing online. They do all this at their own time and discretion. All this is aided by technological progress in search mechanisms that have evolved dramatically and subsequent democratization of knowledge. Buyers have considerable power and control over their decision making process and purchasing process. This means marketers can entice prospective buyers into their websites by creating attractive campaigns and content. Inbound Lead Generation involves converting such visitors into leads. Buyers can be made to part with their contact details in return for an offer that is of value to them like knowledge in the form of a research paper, white paper, collateral or a free product trial.
Today’s consumers understand the tactics you’re using, and they don’t have any patience with them. So you need to work hard to overcome this attention overload and earn their trust.
There are other ways by which lead generation can happen - referrals, word of mouth recommendations, trade shows and through networking. Or one can purchase a marketing list that gives ready access to a list that could be unqualified or semi-qualified for the target audience.
In this context, we focus on leads that are collected through online activities or leads that are generated through marketing activities on digital channels.
What is Lead Generation Software?
Lead Generation Software is a platform that automates the process of generating and collecting lead information from a set of channels. The most commonly used channels are website through landing pages and forms, mobile, social channels. There are specific products that focus on automating lead generation with a specific channel like the website - common examples are landing page builders, form builders. These can be specialized software under a separate category. There are some platform like software which are all-in-one for lead generation and cover multiple channels, automate the process of capturing, storing and managing the leads. Additionally, they can provide lead-related intelligence.
Lead Generation is very often seen as adjacent to other key processes like content marketing, SEO and Account-Based Marketing. Some tools consider lead nurturing and lead qualification and routing also as part of the lead generation process.