WHAT IS LEAD GENERATION AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?

What Is Lead Generation?

First, let’s answer what a lead is. A lead is a person who has expressed some interest in a company’s product or service.

As mentioned in the part one of this series, long gone are the days of a companies starting the relationship with the customer (aka cold calls, blast emails). Today, for example, a person will be surfing the web and come across a slideshow, eBook or something else they find interesting and useful. In exchange for that content, the person will give the company their personal information. Through this digital transaction, the person has become a lead.

This process is called lead generation. The exchange of valuable digital content for consumer information might sound familiar – very familiar.

That’s because lead generation is a segment of inbound marketing. More specifically, it falls within the second stage of inbound marketing, or the conversion of a site visitor to a lead (a lead your sales team can actually use).

Why Is It Important?

Another way to think of lead generation is to think of it like collecting valuable information. Extremely valuable information. Information like a site visitor’s first and last name, email address, and company gleaned when they:

• Fill out forms for downloaded content

• Share contact information for a coupon

• Subscribe to an RSS feed or email list

Inbound marketers collect and use this information to nurture that lead. Because the person has already showed some natural interest in a company’s product or service, this makes that person a more qualified lead than traditional, outbound leads.

Instead of a shot in the dark, companies that use lead generation data are already a step ahead. In fact, according to the Hinge Research Institute, 60 percent  of their leads online are twice as more profitable than those generating less than 20 percent of their leads online.

Along with higher conversion rates, lead generation can also be an very cost-effective solution because it focuses on aligning both sales and marketing teams—virtually closing any communication gaps (a common pitfall of many organizations).