Business leads, also commonly known as sales leads are the first step of the sales process. The terms are simply defined as the identification data of a persons or entities that have or may have interest, authority, and/or budget to purchase a product or service. The process of identifying business leads is known as lead generation, and involves the generation of consumer interest, or inquiry into the products or services offered by a given business, and is conducted by either marketing or sales departments.
There are many methods for generating business leads, and they typically fall under the broad category of advertising. However, generating business leads may also include non-paid sources such as organic search engine results generated by digital marketing initiatives like search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM), as well as content marketing, and referrals from existing customers. The obvious objective is to generate quality business leads; those with the highest probability of leading to conversion.
Email is currently considered to be the most effective communication channel for generating business leads. In fact, one survey that polled 200 marketers revealed that 78 percent rate email as their most widely used lead generation tool, followed closely by event marketing and trade shows, and content marketing. Social media, SEO, and SEM web referrals make up the most popular online channels for generating business leads.
The Different Types of Business Leads
Online lead generation
Online leads may be generated for a range of different purposes, for example list building, e-newsletter list acquisition, building out reward programs, loyalty programs or for other member acquisition programs.
Sales lead generation
Sales leads are generated based on certain demographic criteria like credit scores, income, age range, and then sold to a multitude of marketers and advertisers.
Marketing leads differ from sales leads in that they are only sold once and they are brand specific leads generated for a unique advertiser offer.
The name social media may be somewhat reductive because since its exponential growth over the last few years, companies of every shape and size actively participate on social networks to generate leads or gain business opportunities.
Online advertising has been growing rapidly as a platform for generating business leads.
Over the course of any full-scale marketing campaign marketers might employ each one of these methods at some point. At any one of those points, postal mailing lists, and email lists would be useful components to the campaign.
How are Business Leads Useful?
Generating business leads is the precursor to the sales process. Business leads involve methods in which new potential business clientele are drawn into membership of brand’s audience. Once established, business leads become the target of outgoing marketing and advertising initiatives in hope of drawing more loyal customers into the sales funnel. Working from end-to-end, the process breaks down like this:
A business launches a range of marketing and advertising campaigns across communications channels such as social media, direct mail, and or email hoping to generate responses.
Some of the recipients — hopefully many of the recipients — respond. Any responses qualify as business leads.
Marketers and advertisers capture data from the responses, and then filter that information to establish validity.
The filtered business leads are then rated and prioritized according to their potential for conversion, and then passed along to marketing or sales personnel.
Sales staff then makes direct contact with prospects, and establishes criteria for prioritizing follow-up contact.
If done thoughtfully, the end result is a new business conversion.
Some nice advantages to lead generation is that businesses can determine pricing on a per lead basis, they can be selective in the products and services they offer prospects instead of feeling pressure to be all things to all customers. Marketers informed by carefully planned business lead generation initiatives can also control the geographical area a business is interested in, and they can control the number of leads a business wishes to receive per month.
Who Uses Business Leads?
There’s not really any question who uses business leads. Since sales are the lifeblood of businesses, and business leads are the precursor to sales, every business of every size relies on business leads in one form or another. The real question is whether or not the leads your business is using are the ones that will yield the most conversions, and the most repeat customers down the road.
How can BB Direct help?
The advantages of more or less qualified leads is a matter of some debate. The most basic leads, which may be as simple as a name and email address may cost a fraction of a qualified lead, but conversion rates with basic leads tend to be very low. Greater investment may be required to convert those leads into sales. Qualified leads on the other hand yield vastly superior conversion rates. BB Direct provides business leads in the form of business and consumer mailing lists and email lists that are specific to the auto industry. Marketing and advertising organizations looking for qualified leads to create marketing campaigns targeted at any audience affiliated with the auto industry will be equipped with arguably the most important direct marketing tool; a list of qualified prospects who are likely to be interested in your product, brand, or service. Our mailing lists eliminate the first step in the lead generating process, which means our clients can begin their new marketing campaigns one step ahead of the game right from the outset.