The New Paradigm For Generating Sales Leads
Leads are the lifeblood of every business. But over the past several years, the way we think about generating sales leads has changed. This has left some companies confused and unsure about how to get the best, most qualified leads for their sales teams to work with.
In this two-part blog series from Boomm, we’ll look at how the landscape of lead generation has changed. We’ll first discuss how lead generation evolved to the process we see today. Then we’ll pinpoint ways that companies can generate better qualified leads.
For many decades, leads were the property of the sales team, particularly in the B2B world. The sales representative was the customer’s primary (or exclusive) source for new information and solutions. If a customer or prospect wanted to “do their homework” about a product or service, they did so on the sales rep’s terms.
In this world, the role of marketing was strictly at the top of the sales funnel. Marketing was a tool to generate awareness and drive interest, and once a customer’s interest was piqued, the sales team would take it from there. Many marketers would never play a role in the later stages of the buying process at all.
The world of lead generation has evolved dramatically since then. Now, marketing plays a much more significant role when it comes to generating sales leads. The “new sales funnel,” as pictured in the diagram below, shows how customers move through the buyers’ journey, from “awareness” to “purchase.” In this new era, marketing helps drive a prospect through most of the funnel, generating interest in a product or service, educating prospects, and convincing them to consider one particular solution to their problem. Sales now primarily plays a role at the end, when the customer has evaluated the options and is ready to come to a decision and make a purchase.
Truly effective B2B marketing in today’s world takes a prospect from initial awareness to final evaluation, then delivers those qualified leads to sales. And the leads generated by this tactic are truly qualified—they’re engaged, educated, empowered prospects ready to take action.
Many businesses wonder where these leads come from and how to get them. But it’s not so much about finding leads—it’s about helping leads find you. Some recent research helps underscore this point:
- According to a survey by DemandGen Report, 81% of business buyers start their buyer’s journey with a general web search.
- On average, B2B influencers do 12 searches prior to visiting a specific brand’s site.
- Almost 60% of B2B decision making is complete before a customer contacts sales.
So, in order to make sure your brand is found when your potential customers are doing their homework, you need to be where prospects and customers are searching.
How can you reach customers doing research and put yourself in the best position for generating sales leads? Stay tuned for our next blog post to learn more about specific techniques to get found by the leads you want.