The marketing term 'Lead Generation' refers to the specific action of engaging and captivating interest in a particular product or service offering with the overall objective of developing a sales pipeline.
Cost effective lead generation relies predominately on digital channels (such as social media platforms) and has made great strides in recent years. In particular, the increased availability of online information has created a boon in 'self-directed' buyers and resulted in the emergence of new, affordable lead generation techniques to not only develop leads, but also qualify potential buyers.
The entire buying process itself has evolved. It is paramount that marketers find new ways to engage buyers and stand up against the competition. Instead of reaching out to buyers via the traditional methods, marketers must now focus their efforts on standing out in the crowd and leaving a lasting impression with buyers.
This has transformed the buying process. Buyers are overwhelmed with all the noise and they are getting better and better at ignoring the messages they don't want to hear and researching what they do want to know on their own.
In the old world of information scarcity, the concept of "low-cost lead generation" meant marketing found the names of potential buyers and passed them to sales. Buyers expected that they would have to talk to sales and sales expected to speak to uneducated early stage buyers that may not yet be qualified. This has all changed.
But buyers today can do their own research online and can find all kinds of resources via search, social, and other online channels. Through content marketing, today's buyer can learn about a product before ever having to speak to a sales person. So brands must make sure that they are building their digital presence.
Clearly, there has been a huge change in the traditional buying process. In fact, according to Forrester, buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through the funnel before they even reach the vendor. The reason this is happening more and more is because buyers have so much access to information that they can delay talking to sales until they are experts themselves.
Creating a solid low-cost lead gen strategy will help build trust and engage your buyers before they even think about contacting sales.