What is Lead Generation and why is it Important?
Lead generations is one of the most important points when it comes to marketing your business, as it affects both who you will be interacting with on a day-to-day basis (and thus the future direction that your business might take) and where and with what amplitude your business will see its earnings come from.
Through Lead Generation we are performing both a process of research and attraction of potential customers to our business, we are garnering interest or a show of interest in our company’s product, service or brand. Lead Generation is one of the main forms of advertisement which we have all experienced in some form.
Without a targeted goal, our company would be like a headless chicken, wandering aimlessly without a precise direction. We want to know who our product is aimed towards, we want to make sure that those individuals have access to our company and we want to make sure that our leads are aware of this and can both find and reach us. This is where generating leads starts in order to start the trickle-down process of creating new customers and developing a client base for our business.
With this article, we have compiled a list of 10 compelling reasons why Lead Generation should be one of your focuses in marketing your business.
Let’s begin by considering the statement “Cashflow is King” and what it means for us.
Many startups are born out of an initial investment, but after developing a product and finding its initial client/s they fail to keep an active cash flow. They may have inflated, rising stock, however they aren’t generating any new money past their starting point and are in many ways dependent on it.
The moment the initial cash invested is used up, if a company has failed to develop an active form of cash flow they are at risk of folding, and positive cashflow is a key element to try and maintain in order to sleep soundly knowing that our future is covered.
For a positive cashflow, our business needs to earn more than what we’re spending. These steps represent some of the bases we want to cover.
- Selling our goods and services higher than what it costs to develop and produce them, or to provide services. This is known as being cash positive or our gross profit.
- Cashflow requires a constant flow of new and repeated sales, which in turn means that (see point 3)
- We will require attracting new customers and/or having returning customers.
- In order to attract new customers, we will need to market our product, and have a portion of our efforts dedicated to talking to prospective customers or qualify leads.
Communication with leads can only begin once those leads have been found and created, and thus we can see why Lead Generation is a key starting point in order to develop and maintain our cash flow.
Paying Our Bills
A strong business will have an equally strong relationship with its vendors.
A machine will be only as strong as the summation of its components, and ensuring that our vendors are happy with us and can provide us the best material that we need for our business will reflect on the quality of our product.
Other benefits may be an extension of credit, or working with us on a loan or while receiving alternative forms of payment in times of stress on our cash flow. A reputation as a responsible customer will do much more for us than the quality of our end-product, as it represents our direct relationship with our vendors.
Delayed payments to our vendors may in turn stress our relationships with them, which may lead to consequences down the line, such as primarily on the quality of the material and services that they would provide us. That, in turn, would negatively affect our business and thus slow down our own progress.
As we mentioned earlier, a strong and positive cash flow will give us the means to keep a healthy relationship with our vendors, and get us out of any rut. This, along with reference-work (which we will get into in a bit) is another point in favour of why Lead Generation should be at the forefront of our valued priorities.
While this whole process and our relationship with our vendors can lead to benefits over time, we must keep an eye out for potential new offers and vendors, as cash flow is an equation of the difference between what we spend and what we earn.
Pay Your Staff
Simply put, businesses employ qualified individuals in order to perform tasks that their respective owners and entrepreneurs are unable or unwilling to perform.
Although payroll costs aren’t considered a typical bill, they still affect our cash flow as they will represent one of our main expenses. Just like we looked at our relationship with our vendors, so too should we take care of the happiness of our employees, as loyalty towards our brand will guarantee a low turnover, and thus we can maintain the quality of our product.
Let’s face it, happiness drives everyone’s lives and is a product of many factors, for business owners and employees alike. An unhappy employee is much more likely to seek more favourable working conditions elsewhere.
While each employee’s wages represent a cost, we can improve our cashflow by hiring more employees to provide our business with better coverage over specific fronts, such as sales and marketing. This in turn can provide us with additional focus on lead generation as more employees will be able to cover different promotional channels and be better suited to specific interactions depending on their personal skillsets.
Pay Your Self
It is one thing to measure a business’s success utilising net worth and cash flow, however the ultimate reason why we started our business in the first place is to achieve our own financial goals and live our desired lifestyle, while living in a work environment that we personally enjoy.
Cashflow exists not only for businesses but for individuals as well, and we as individuals are looking to earn wages based on our work, and on the service that we provide.
If our business is not providing us with a sufficient cash flow to live the lifestyle that we desire, we want to push our cash flow in a more positive direction in order to meet our goals. Whether this would be daily, weekly or monthly instalments, our business’s cash flow needs to reflect our personal goals and needs.
There are generally two reasons why business owners may find their business, and thus themselves with a subpar cashflow:
- The ratio between what we spend to produce the goods that we’re selling or provide our services and what we are requesting for our efforts is skewed too far against us, meaning that we are spending too much compared to what our product sells for, or
- We do not have a sufficient client base to meet our expectation, due to our clients not returning or new leads not being generated on a consistent enough basis.
While both the above situations may apply, the second point needs to be considered on a more frequent basis as it represents something to keep an eye on over time, as the possibility of generating new leads and clients always exists, with upwards and downwards swings based on market fluctuation.
Grow Your Business
Dreaming big is what led most of us to become entrepreneurs, and growth is a direct representation of our business’s success.
A degree of growth, even just to keep up with market fluctuations is crucial to a business’s long-term lifespan. Adding resources, developing a network of clients and connections along with a growing focus on the aim and spectrum of our products is how we can better connect with our customers in order to satisfy their needs.
Consistent growth will also help us face any negative market and economy fluctuations, and our company’s reputation will in turn attract new customers, vendors and talented prospective employees.
As lead generation is one of the key elements of business growth, it will lower the burden of our financial responsibility towards our business and allow us to focus on its growth and rate of growth.
Building a List of Followers
The impact of social media in today’s landscape cannot be denied, and what is known as a follower is an individual who will choose to display their interest in our business by following our social media pages.
Social media represents a much broader spectrum of platforms than one would think, as it encompasses dedicated networks such as Facebook, Reddit and Twitter as well as mailing lists, SMS programs, dedicated apps and any new potential technologies focused in this direction.
Let’s take mailing lists as a basic example, they require a client base in order to function. This in turn requires our clients to trust us with their email addresses, which allows them to take part in our marketing campaigns involving them.
Once we have built a successful network of social media users, we can in turn leverage their position and initial trust in our brand to improve our worldwide outreach, improve brand awareness and directly provide offers tailored to our client base.
Via Lead Generation we are building up our active and prospective user base, and if someone is following our own social media pages we have direct proof of their interest in our brand, which further qualifies as potential valuable leads.
This also allows us to peek into the minds of our customers via data analysis and statistics, in order to better understand what the focus of our services should be based on who is currently attracted to our product.
Repeat Sales Of Customers
Interestingly enough, customer retention represents the safest way to not only maintain our cash flow but develop new leads as well.
As mentioned earlier in this article, a returning customer is displaying trust in our brand, products or services, and is thus more likely to recommend our business to their peers.
Statistics show that a first-time customer has a 27% chance on average to do repeat business with a given company, and while those numbers are nothing to scoff at (first sales are important, as they represent a successful lead scouting process), if that customer returns to do business with us twice more, their return rate will double to 54%!
Repeat customers on average also purchase products in higher volume than first-timers, as they have experienced and were satisfied with the quality of our products this has given them the trust to further invest their efforts into our business.
At more advanced stages of lead generation, expect to gain better understanding of your customers and their network peers, and that in turn will allow you to employ more focused sales tactics and thus generate more profitable new client leads.
Efficiency is the key. Unqualified, unsuccessful leads represent an unsuccessful usage of our business’s time, as we mentioned earlier when it comes to the ratio between expenses and gross earnings, different clients will represent different net earnings in our bill-pay and cashflow structure.
Trying to convince prospects that are not interested in our product or services is known as the “shotgun approach”, whereby the number of individuals to contact far out values their respective quality and affinity to our business.
It’s important to note that while an unsuccessful lead may not be interested in our products, psychology dictates that they on average won’t give us a negative answer right away, or our salespeople may be misled into thinking that the lead can be converted into a client, further wasting their time and efforts.
Clearly defining our target audience is the first thing to do to ensure the quality of our lead generation process, which can be done via market research and through marketing campaigns. The efficiency-focused nature of this process will in turn convert into more time being saved to be utilised towards more profitable goals.
Targeted Marketing itself represents a form of automated lead generation, whereby potential customers who fit our requirements will on their own reach out and seek our business. This represents a fantastic goal to reach for established companies, which after an upfront expense into marketing will see returns on their investment without much further effort or time dedicated.
Stop Wasting Money
While so far we have conflated the effects of advertising and lead generation, those two items aimed towards the growth of our business don’t fully overlap.
Our lead generation needs to be tailored towards the needs of our business, not necessarily towards market or economic standards.
It is a common mistake to think that passive advertisement alone will turn into lead generation, which while it can come as a consequence of advertisement can also be focuses on individually.
There are 5 key steps to lead generation:
- Identify your target audience
- Create an offer tailored to the above
- Create conversion assets
- Drive traffic to the offer
- Optimize your campaign
All the above steps need to be covered, as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link!
Security Is a Repeatable Process
Excessive micromanagement and reliance on its lead has been the downfall of many businesses. Can you, as an entrepreneur, spend one month without working on your business? What would happen, and how dire would the consequences be? What would happen to your sales, client base and cash flow?
As mentioned in an earlier section of this article, business owners require their business to give them financial and life security, because your business needs to work for you just like you work towards its growth.
This sort of security begins via your lead generation, whether it’s being manually pursued and worked on by your staff or automated via advertisement and reference-work. Being able to further push towards lead development or slow down your efforts and focus them elsewhere for a time, in a pinch will give your business flexibility and further improve its efficiency.
What would business be without growth? Why shouldn’t our company give us and our employees happiness just like we’re trying to create it for our customers?
Continued outreach, market research and communication with our network of vendors, users and leads is what gives life to the organism that is a successful company.
Optimizing our brand image and product will be our business’s very own business card, which in turn will work for us.
Efficiency involves automating and focusing our product on many efforts, and we can tackle it in many different ways; our talented and motivated staff will ideally help us with everything from market research, to advertisement, to personal connections and networking with everything in our chain of production, spanning social media and real life space.
Growth means finding our place in the world, and being known for what we represent. This is a valuable metric of success which will reflect in many aspects of our day-to-day life, hence why we want to focus on the value of successfully generating new, high-quality leads.