How to Generate Sales Leads: A Comprehensive Guide For Your Business

Dmitry Chervonyi
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​So what is a business lead generation and how does it help in generating sales?

What are business leads? They are the potential customers interested in the product or service offered by your company. Lead generation involves scanning through sources that contain valuable business data (names, titles, business phone numbers, emails, and Skype addresses) and then using this information to contact and engage potential customers. The more data you have, the more B2B sales leads you can reach.

The subject of sales leads is huge, and we will go into that in more detail. Right now, here are three things you should know:

  1. Sales lead data is not private data.
  2. New B2B sales leads talk business.
  3. With generating sales leads, quality is what counts.

Are you interested in learning more? In this guide, the experts from Belkins will tell you how to generate sales leads with ease through various channels. Let’s dive in!

How to get leads for sale?

The role of business sales leads in the B2B sales process is hard to undervalue. According to HubSpot, 61% of marketers report that sales lead generation is the number one challenge for them in 2022, and, according to BrightTALK, 53% of marketers claim that over half of their budget is allocated to generating leads. These stats emphasize how important it is for modern businesses to generate lots of leads for sales purposes.

Now that you have the answer to the question “What are leads in sales?” you are probably wondering how to generate leads in sales. But the truth is that many business owners still struggle to fill their sales funnel with more high-quality leads. Even with the endless possibilities offered by the internet, you can easily get lost in an ocean of information, accounts, and users. Some tools are not good enough. Some instruments don’t suit your business model. It seems there’s no end to the ‘hit and miss’ in searching for solutions.

But do you really want all this guesswork in your lead generation strategy? Probably not. We will assist you with that. Read on to discover the key steps and tips from our sales lead company that will help you streamline the lead generation process and find more prospects that will drive your business success!

1) Get to know your target audience

The first stage of sales leads generation is always identifying your audience. The reason for this is simple: You can’t hit the target if you don’t know what target it is. The same is with business leads: You can’t find them until you know exactly who you are looking for. So if you are wondering how to generate leads, the very first thing you need to do is to identify what a perfect business sales lead looks like for your business. To do this, answer these questions:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they do?
  • Where do they live?
  • What interests do they have?
  • What are their typical pain points?
  • What lifestyles do they run?
  • How much money do they make?
  • What personalities do they have?

Conduct thorough research to find answers to all these questions. Once you do, you will have a clearer picture of your perfect leads and can move on to the next step.

2) Gain referrals from your existing customers

The next trick you can use to get new customer leads is to ask your existing customers for referrals. People who have already purchased and tried your products or services know how they work and what your brand offers. Therefore, they can be a great source of qualified leads.

Referrals can generate warm leads for you, which is much more effective and less time-consuming than dealing with cold calls and emails or trying to interact with prospects who have no clue about what your business does. A real-person referrer who’s done business with the company they refer acts as a warrant of quality, and their referrals are more open to offers and convert more willingly.

Despite the obvious benefits of referrals, many businesses still don’t use them for lead generation purposes. Their sales teams don’t take time to follow up on existing customers after the deal is closed to provide support, thank them for the purchase, and ask for testimonials. If this pattern is related to your company, here are a few things you can do to change this and get sales from referrals:

  1. Reach out to existing clients to ensure that they are happy with your customer support, products, and services.
  2. Show your existing clients more appreciation by thanking them for your partnership and asking how you can add more value to your relationship.
  3. Ask to share the names and contact details of their business associates that might be also interested in using your products or services.
  4. If an existing client knows other companies that can become your prospective customers, ask them to reach out to these prospects on your behalf and tell them about the value you can bring.
  5. Whenever an existing customer brings a referral to you, thank them with a thoughtful award or bonus.

This is basically how to get a lead via referrals. Try these tips to put your lead generation on autopilot and let existing clients bring new partners to you.

3) Use your network to find leads

Each of us has an extensive personal network of contacts. The people involved in your network can include friends and family, coworkers from past workplaces, neighbors, former and current business associates, service professionals, and many others. For some reason, when generating leads, marketers often overlook people from their networks. But you shouldn’t do that.

There are two reasons why your personal contacts can be valuable sources of sales leads in B2B:

  1. They already know and trust you.
  2. Each of them also has an extensive personal network where they can find prospects for your business.

Often, if you ask your contacts to help you generate leads, they will gladly assist you.

So how do you get started? First, just let them know that you are looking for sale leads. Tell them about your business and offers and explain what kind of leads you are searching for. Finally, ask your contacts to reach potential leads that match your ideal customer profile (ICP) on your behalf and see where it brings you. This inconspicuous trick can bring stunning results.

4) Attend networking events to get good leads

Most salespeople overlook the colossal value networking events can have for lead generation. This is upsetting. All sorts of online and offline networking events have always been a part of the answer to the question, “How to get leads for your business?” During such events, people strive to make new, lasting contacts and are open to communication like never before. This could be your chance to introduce your business to prospects, establish trust, and start building lasting relationships with potential clients.

What kinds of events do you want to visit to generate leads? The options are countless. There are plenty of business and industry-related fairs, workshops, conferences, and other events that provide networking opportunities. You can attend them all to discover more prospects. Trust us – there always will be plenty of them.

Nevertheless, there is one specific type of event that we want to stress the most. Trade shows are a particularly good source of B2B sales leads because during these events businesses demonstrate their products or services. Respectively, people who attend such events are already interested in a particular product and thus, can become great leads.

In any case, whatever type of event you attend, focus on networking. Be proactive, open-minded, and be yourself. This way, you should be able to get the most out of every event you visit.

5) Learn how to generate sales leads from lost and closed opportunities

The majority of marketers and salespeople are convinced that there is no sense in wasting time on a potential customer who doesn’t demonstrate any desire to convert. On the one hand, this is true. Trying to convert a lead who doesn’t want to buy from you is often a waste of time and money.

But on the other hand, sometimes a straight “no” only means “not right now.” There is still a high chance you will build relationships with someone who refused and encourage them into the buying process later. So if you ever wonder where to find leads, do never discharge lost or closed opportunities completely.

Even if a lead wasn’t ready to buy after the initial contact, there is still a chance that they will change their mind about your product or service. Now, they already know something about you so stay in touch with them to prove your value and, hopefully, convert them.

To do this, invest resources in marketing efforts toward such leads. Share with them meaningful content, provide personalized offers, and just make sure that your business remains on their radar. Then, if their budget changes or they realize the need for your offer, they might get back and buy from you.

6) Leverage social media to your benefit

For every business wondering how to get more leads, social networks might be the right answer. Because of being so popular these days, different social media platforms offer plenty of opportunities for both B2B and B2C lead generation. According to statistics, 66% of marketers generate leads online via social networks by spending only 6 hours on such channels per week. And you can do the same! All you need is to find the right social media platform that will contribute to your lead generation strategy.

Since we are talking about generating business development leads, one of the best social networks to leverage for your brand’s success is LinkedIn. This network is a great source for top-quality leads because it connects B2B brands with other companies and, most importantly, their decision makers that might be interested in doing business with you.

Finding the right LinkedIn leads is easy. This network features a smart tool called LinkedIn Sales Navigator that helps you carefully target and connect with the right decision makers that will propel your sales.

Some other LinkedIn strategies you should try include:

  • Stay proactive and expand your LinkedIn network by connecting with lots of people from your industry and potential leads. The more people join your network, the more extensive outreach you will have.
  • Let your contacts know what you do and how you can help solve your leads’ problems. Publishing lots of high-quality and relevant content will help you attract new people into your buying cycle.
  • Ask your existing customers to share testimonials or recommendations for your company to demonstrate your value and build trust.

These simple strategies work well for generating leads for small businesses and large companies as well. Start using them right now, and you will be surprised by what a powerful tool LinkedIn can be for your sales and marketing team.

Also, keep in mind that there are plenty of other social networks that can also come in handy. Research and analyze them all to discover more opportunities for generating lots of high-quality leads with ease!

7) Revamp your accounts on social media for better results

While it is undoubtedly important to find and connect with your leads on social media, if you want to get the best results, it is also important to keep your social media pages well-optimized and up-to-date. If your accounts are updated and relevant, they will help you acquire more leads with almost no effort. The key task here is to make your accounts attention-grabbing, so here are a few tips:

  1. Create a solid headline and description that will explain who you are and simultaneously resonate with your target audience.
  2. Add professionally-looking photos to your account. In LinkedIn, consider adding a banner picture as well. You can use it to highlight your company’s brand image.
  3. Use relevant keywords not only in your posts but in accounts’ titles and descriptions.
  4. Share links to your website, blog, and other social media.
  5. Follow other people from your industry.
  6. Deliver high-quality, relevant, and engaging content.
  7. Be an active user: like and comment on other users’ publications, communicate with your audience, and publish content regularly.

All these tips are the answers to the question, “How to generate online leads with ease?” You can use them across different social media accounts to boost your visibility, generate engagement, and attract more prospects.

8) Craft winning email sequences

If you are wondering how to get a lead via email, the answer is via email sequences. Basically, an email sequence is a series of marketing emails that are sent in bulk to people from your mailing list. The core aim of such flow is to nurture leads and pique their interest in your brand.

We can distinguish two primary types of such sequences:

  1. Time-based – Email sequences sent at specific times, for example, right after a person opts in to get your newsletter, after a special event, or a week after a client makes a purchase.
  2. Trigger-based – Email sequences sent based on a specific action, for example, after a lead buys a product, abandons a cart, or subscribes to your newsletters.

Regardless of the type, every email chain should have a specific purpose and involve a series of letters, each providing some value. For example, if the goal is to sell a product or service:

  • The first email in a sequence could introduce your company and stress a recipient’s major pain point.
  • The second, third, and fourth emails in a sequence could explain the value of your product or service, what you do for your customers, and share a story of how your company helped clients solve their problems (the pain point you talked about in the first letter).
  • The last message in a sequence should provide a personalized offer and encourage a recipient to take some action – to buy the product or service you’ve told them about.

That’s pretty much how email sequences work. If you don’t use them yet, be sure to start right now because this trick is very effective for generating more leads and sales.

9) Make content marketing a part of your lead gen strategy

Creating and publishing content has multiple purposes. First of all, high-quality content, especially well-optimized for search engines, boosts your visibility and helps prospects easily find you. Secondly, it drives more traffic to your website or blog, and if you can direct it to the right lead magnets or landing pages, you can capture more prospects with less effort. Lastly, well-written content that shares your own knowledge and experience also helps you build credibility and establish trust with your audience. As a result, they will be more willing to listen to your advice.

Due to all these reasons, content marketing plays a significant role in lead generation. Respectively, if you want to receive more and better leads, focus on creating and publishing lots of great content.

This implies creating more quality content for your company’s website and blog. But that’s not all. Creating and posting lots of great content on other mediums is also essential for spreading awareness and expanding your outreach. Namely, you can publish it on such channels as social media, your customers’ sites, other industry/corporate/personal blogs, or professional forums.

10) Run an online workshop or webinar

Sharing valuable content is a great way to capture more B2B leads. But if you are looking for more ideas to generate leads, here is something many brands overlook – webinars and online workshops. While blog posts, articles, and social media publications are one-way conversations, online workshops and webinars let you interact with your audience bilaterally. Therefore, such events can be very impactful in terms of lead generation.

By running online workshops and webinars you can also share your knowledge and build credibility. But, you can do this on a much deeper level than in an article. During such events, you can go more into detail and answer your listeners’ questions. This way, you can create even more trust, bring even more value, and, thus, get a large number of warm sales leads.

Want more? Such online events also give you an opportunity to offer a solid lead magnet right to your audience. Companies that run the events make a fascinating and time-limited offer for all participants at the end. This trick can help you get some new sales right away and lots of qualified leads who have a high chance to convert in the future.

11) Turn live chat users into your leads

These days, live chats powered by AI or machine learning are incredibly popular in the business landscape. Chat technology enables brands to provide instant customer support to their clients and prospects without leveraging human resources. But apart from this, chat technology can also provide you with marketing support and help generate more leads.

How’s that possible? First, a well-designed chatbot contributes to your brand’s image and helps build credibility. Also, it can deliver excellent customer experiences to ensure better conversions and retention. But even that’s not all it can provide you with.

Today, a live chat can do much more than just welcome visitors to your website. It can also:

  • Educate prospects about your company, products, or services and answer their questions.
  • Address the visitors’ needs and help them solve their issues or find the needed items on the website.
  • Qualify sales leads.
  • Book meetings, appointments, and calls.
  • Connect prospects with the right contact in your team.

Apart from this, a chatbot can provide your lead management sales specialists with numerous valuable insights about your prospects. Your specialists can review the history of conversations and learn more about your leads. Later, this information can be used to engage with your prospects more meaningfully and convert them faster and easier. So if you underestimated the role of a chatbot in your lead gen strategy, it’s time to reconsider it!

Top 3 rules of the lead generation business

Now that you know how to generate sales leads, let us give you a few more rules for getting more leads with ease.

Rule # 1: Be specific

Don’t bother targeting massive review platforms like Trustpilot or PowerReviews. This is not where your leads go to learn more about providers. Choose the right platform for your industry. There are product review sources for pretty much any market sector, so find the right one for you.

Rule # 2: Be detailed

Once you find such a source, create a detailed profile that covers all your assets and features.

Rule # 3: Be cooperative

Ask your clients to leave lengthy and descriptive reviews about your company. Better to play it safe than find yourself staring at generic one-phrase 5-star comments on your page. Ask your subscribers to share their thoughts.

To generate more leads with the help of review platforms, invite every new customer to leave a review. You can compile a set of questions that would guide your subscribers and customers through writing their testimonials:

  1. How did you find this company?
  2. What motivated you to choose this company?
  3. What kind of assistance did you need?
  4. How long did you cooperate with the company?
  5. How much time did the company require to complete the task?
  6. Were you satisfied with the solution provided?
  7. Which tools and resources did the company use to complete the task?
  8. Which features of the company did you like the most?

But what if there are negative reviews? Accept them. You’re not immune to negative feedback. As the saying goes, “Stop trying to make everybody love you. You’re not tequila.”

Not everyone even likes tequila

Also, 100 percent of positive reviews without a single negative one are, believe it or not, a trust killer. So if your profile has zero negative reviews, users are more likely to think you’re not being entirely honest than to see you as a credible brand. Your ability to process negative responses matters as much as the number of positive testimonials on your page.

Do you reach out to dissatisfied reviewers and offer to sort things out? Do you address the issue on the spot, showing that you don’t run away from problems? Do you stay silent and ignore the issue? When it comes to finding leads, your approach matters. They want to collaborate with someone good at their job, even when things get complicated. If you handle negative feedback with grace, it shows potential clients that you have enough strength and flexibility to turn around any setback.

Are there any other ways to generate sales leads?

There are many ways to find and identify leads. In this guide, we’ve shown you some of the most basic ways to generate sales interest for your business — ideas you can start trying right now. Just schedule a call with our Belkins calendar. Selecting the best combination of techniques for generating sales leads will depend on your market, vertical, and target audience, along with the detailed specifics of your business. Every solution involves crucial details. With our extensive B2B experience, we have seen this principle proven time and time again. Therefore, if you want to learn more and buy leads, let us know! Your interest and initiative are what make our knowledge valuable!


How to Generate Sales Leads: A Comprehensive Guide For Your Business

Dmitry Chervonyi

Chief Marketing Officer at Belkins
Since starting his career in sales & marketing 9 years ago, Dmitry never stopped searching for new opportunities that can turn the tables on sales development and the ways that shape B2B relationships. He is always eager to share his findings with the audience.
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