July 23, 2021

The Beginner's Guide to Lead Generation

Image from Unsplash by Austin Distel

Leads contribute to the growth of your sales pipeline. In today’s business world, lead generation is crucial as it can ultimately lead to the growth of your business.

The principle behind lead generation is simple - having more customers brings more money in.

It’s a no-brainer that the majority of companies hence now prioritize converting leads into customers. Having quality leads rolling into your sales pipeline is crucial for your business if you want to ensure you convert leads into customers effectively.

But how do you do that? The answer is by utilizing a lead generation strategy.

Lead generation involves several methods and the strategies you choose to use depend greatly on the products and/or services your business offers. This guide will teach you all there is to know about lead generation.

You will learn what lead and lead generation are, why it is important, types of leads, channels of lead generation, and how to generate lead funnels.

What is a Lead?

A lead is anyone who expresses interest in your business, its products, and services in any shape or form.

A lead has begun the buyers’ journey and is indicating that they are interested in purchasing from you. They can express their interest in you by looking you up online, getting in touch with you, or communicating with you in any other way.

Type of Leads That You Need To Know About

To get started, you need to know about four types of leads:

  1. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)
  2. Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)
  3. Product Qualified Leads (PQL)
  4. Service Qualified Leads (SQL)

Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL)

Marketing Qualified Leads or MQL are generated through inbound marketing efforts, such as organic or paid search, content marketing, or social media marketing.

They have indicated an interest in your business by signing up for an email list, responding to a survey, etc. They are prospects who may become customers but have not made a purchasing decision yet.

While they have shown an interest or have initiated contact with the business, it is still not possible to predict their future actions and assess their level of interest.

Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)

A Sales Qualified Lead is a prospect who has expressed an interest in becoming a paying customer. These leads have passed the engagement stage and are ready to be approached with a direct sales pitch.

If someone fills out a form to ask a question about your product or service, they are considered an SQL.

Product Qualified Leads (PQL)

Prospects who have tried a product's free version but now are expressing an interest in becoming paying customers can be called Product Qualified Lead. An example of PQL is a customer who is using a free version of your product but asking questions regarding features only available to paying customers.

Service Qualified Leads (SQL)

In these cases, leads have expressed interest in your service and now they are ready to engage with the sales team and become paying customers.

In general, a service qualified lead is a customer who asks their customer service representative to upgrade their subscription. This customer is then passed onto the appropriate sales representative or team.

Now that we’ve covered what leads are and the different types of leads you’ll come across, let’s dive into the Lead Generation process.

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation involves generating customer’s interest in your business and presenting them with reasons to choose you.

Essentially, it involves attracting non-customers to your database, getting their contact information, and guiding them through the buying process until they're ready to speak with a sales representative or make a purchase.

The strategy is used by both Outbound and Inbound Marketing to attract and convert strangers and prospects into customers. This strategy does not focus on increasing traffic to your site, but rather on increasing the quality of traffic you receive.

Online content, job applications, blog posts, coupons, and live events are some examples of lead generators.

Why Lead Generation Is Important For Your Business

Leads are essential for your company's survival. A great lead generation strategy can allow you to accelerate your customer database growth. But there is more to that. Lead generation is crucial to any business because of the following factors.

Lead Generation Creates Brand Awareness

You can build your company's market presence by employing as many lead generation strategies as possible. Your online presence makes you more visible and accessible.

Lead Generation can Help You Collect Important Information about Prospects

The ability to tailor your offers may be enhanced by collecting contact information and information on your prospects' online behavior and purchasing habits. As a result, you can make your product appealing in such a way that it will convince prospects to buy.

Lead Generation Maximizes Your Sales and Profits

Lead generation consumes more than half of the B2B marketing budget. Getting leads to convert into customers can result in more sales. Increased sales of products or services are the greatest benefits of increasing your lead generation.

Lead Generation Helps You Identify Prospects who may not be a Good Fit for Your Company

Through lead generation, you can be more deliberate about who you will target and who will receive your message. You can rank your prospects according to their value and how likely they would be to do business with you. You can target customers via a variety of channels and demographics.

Lead Generation Cost is Lower than Other Advertising

Marketing requires a lot of money, but it is often necessary to stay in business. Hence you must be mindful of where your dollars are going. In lead generation, you can save both money and time by picking prospects who have expressed interest in your business and by communicating with them directly.

Channels of Lead Generation

Social media

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have millions of users. The use of social media offers the best insight into a target audience's needs and wants, allowing you to reach out to them efficiently and effectively.

Developing interest in your company is easy through Facebook updates. Whenever someone shares or likes your post and updates, they turn into a lead.


Blogs are an effective way to build relationships with customers. It is an ideal platform for sharing useful information with other people.

If a company offers a coffee maker service, they may write on which is the best coffee maker in 2021. In this situation, anyone considering buying a coffee maker could visit the blog to learn more about the topic, which might lead to a sale.

Email Marketing

Email marketing has always been a key driver of lead generation. The CTA buttons help to easily reach out to people and encourage them to take the action that you want them to take. By setting up a mailing list for people, you can start shooting more personalized messages and offers so you can turn them into leads.

Landing Page

Your website plays an important role in providing leads for your business. Therefore, the landing page must contain a clear call to action button that can then lead to more information about your business. Having a landing page that is easy to use and attractive will greatly enhance the credibility of your business and increase sales lead.


Influencers have been successful at attracting a large following via their social media accounts. Regular posts have built up relationships with many people, enabling them to influence their purchases.

By partnering with a social media influencer, you can request that they feature and review your product in one of their posts which can significantly increase your lead.

What is a Lead Generation Funnel?

Lead generation funnels illustrate the path a person takes from the moment they give you their contact information to the moment they purchase your product.

Stages Of A Lead Generation Funnel

Stage #1: Awareness

The first step is to catch the attention of visitors and get them to visit your landing page. Social media posts or Facebook ads can be used to accomplish this.

Stage #2: Data

The next step is to convince your visitors to leave their contact information on your website. This refers to anything that encourages your audience to give you their details including sign-up forms, call to action, and landing pages. Alternatively, you can offer your visitors a piece of content after they fill out a form on your landing page.

Stage #3: Decision

You must nurture your lead with your marketing communication until they have purchased your product or service so that they consider purchasing from you. A phone call with a customer has the potential to engage them further with your brand and help to grow your brand awareness. Email, webinars, paid ads, and in-app notifications are also methods to reach potential customers.

Stage #4: Action

Whenever your lead is ready to purchase your product or service, you can redirect them to a page where they can place their order or be passed on to your sales team. This is obviously not the end of the buyer's journey. You should continue engaging your customers even after they've purchased to build customer loyalty and retention.

Tips to Optimize Your Lead Generation Funnel

Use the Right Lead Generation Tool

Generating leads goes far beyond simply getting people to visit your site. It’s also about getting their information so you can communicate and convert these visitors into loyal ones.

Studies show that the most successful marketing teams use a formal system for organizing and storing their leads. That is where lead generation tools such as Proof Leads come into play.

Proof Leads allows you to use a lead generation CTA and pop-up combo to capture quality leads from your website visitors without being intrusive.

Create Relevant and Useful Content

To generate the most qualified leads for your business, you must know everything there is to know about the people who choose to buy from you.

Learn what concerns your audience, what needs they're trying to fulfill, and what motivates them to buy. Instead of cold outreach, create encouraging and relevant content which your target audience will want to read and exchange contact details for.

Keep in Touch with Current and Potential Leads

Start nurturing your customers once they have clicked through to your content with your marketing messages until they are ready to buy from you. Stay in touch with prospects and share more information about your products and services regularly.

Send out informative emails, newsletters, and targeted promotions to stay top-of-mind with your prospects. You can ask your applicants to fill out preference forms or complete surveys to learn more about their interests and needs as part of your qualification process.

Optimize your Website for Search Engines

If you want your website to appear high in search engine results pages (including landing pages), you must optimize all its pages for SEO, including title tags, meta descriptions, and headlines.

As SEO goes much further than just optimizing your meta tags for your page, hiring an SEO expert could be an excellent investment if you have no experience in it.

Stay Consistent with Your Messaging and Fulfill Your Promises

The most effective lead generation campaigns deliver on what they promise. Provide value to everyone who interacts with your lead capture process and present a consistent message.

Make sure your lead generation campaign aspects reflect everything on your site, blog, and within the product that you will eventually attempt to sell.

Align Your Sales and Marketing Team

Consider aligning your sales and marketing team to maximize lead generation. By collaborating, both teams can benefit from increased productivity, efficiency, and transparency. The end goal of generating leads and converting them into sales is to boost profit.

Wrapping It Up

To stay competitive, every business owner must continue to develop new business strategies. Lead generation is an important strategy for your business and is a key factor in its sales performance. To build a pipeline full of new customers, it's essential to understand the basics of lead generation.

Your lead generation strategy can be built on solid ground if you can identify your funnel, understand your buyers, and create the right content. As soon as this is in place, you can concentrate on driving targeted traffic, collecting sales leads, and qualifying prospects.

Now that you have a better understanding of what lead generation is and how it works, you can immediately begin using them to help your business grow and thrive.

Invest in lead generation tools such as Proof Leads to grow your business. Sign up today and let the leads lead you to success!

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