How do you do that? You need to create interest by offering a relevant mix of informative and entertaining content that builds a meaningful relationship with your audience. And you have to make sure that you are distributing your content through all the right channels – where your buyer spends time. This section goes into a bit more detail on some of the common tactics for inbound lead generation.
Happy customers are often happy to give referrals. Let your customers do the talking for you by asking for referrals and empowering them to gather their own leads. Nothing boosts your company’s credibility more than a happy customer telling their friends and family about you. Referrals are the best lead generation strategy out there. When closing a sale, be sure to ask your buyer if they know anyone who might appreciate your product or service. This takes very little time and may be a way to quickly generate leads.
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 their buying journey 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.

Sales Development reps (SDRs), also often called Inside Sales or Lead Qualification reps, are focused on one thing: reviewing, contacting, and qualifying marketing-generated leads and delivering them to Sales Account Executives. Simply put, SDR teams pass the baton from Marketing to Sales. Why do it this way? Because you want to make sure every single lead Marketing passes to your Sales team is as qualified as possible. Your SDRs should take the time to help each and every lead, offer them value, make a positive impression, create future demand, and become a trusted advisor. This step is critical in the lead generation process because you don’t want to treat your leads as blank faces to be simply questioned, qualified, and harvested.
Lead nurturing also increases lead to opportunity conversion rate, drives more revenue, and shortens the sales cycle. It is about finding the right buyers at the right time. Lead generation brings buyers into the funnel, but lead nurturing and scoring sends them to sales so that your sales team can close the deal at the right time. In fact, according to MarketingSherpa’s Lead Generation benchmark report, companies who leverage lead nurturing see a 45% lift in lead generation over those companies who do not use lead nurturing.

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Lead generation is not a new form of acquiring a business, but business trends and time necessities have found a better way to get new clients. Rather than sitting at a trade show table for hours on end, or setting up a display in hopes that targeted consumers will complete a form, you can have leads generated and sent to you using available technology, all while you can direct your time elsewhere.

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Most successful salespeople already practice some version of solution selling. They know sales is about consulting around the prospect's problems, not closing the deal. It's about letting the prospect define the pace of the process and offering education and advice as a way to build confidence and trust. This makes it easy and safe for a client to buy. Here are a few ways you can make it scalable and efficient on your own.

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Begin by attracting leads to your website by generating engaging content that can be shared throughout your various marketing channels. Create content about your business in the form of eBooks, blog posts, white papers, photos, infographics or whatever else that would fit your business and your audience. Distribute this content across your blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare, other social channels, email and where ever your potential customers are active.
This suggestion can take a bit longer, but it will pay results in the long rung. Before you print your next batch of business cards, add your texting slogan to the bottom of the business card. Then, here’s the important part, make sure to GIVE OUT YOUR CARD. There’s no point to having a business card if you aren’t giving it away. I’ll be the first to admit, I have thrown away lots of business cards after logo changes and title changes. I always ask myself why I have so many left over. It’s because I wasn’t handing them out enough.

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Use different modes of social media. You might start with a general site like Facebook, a business networking site such as LinkedIn, or a microblogging and all-purpose site like Twitter. However, consider expanding to picture-based sites like Pinterest or Instagram. Also look for any types of social networking platforms specific to your industry, like Glozal for real estate, Lawyrs for law, or Architizer for architects and designers.[2]
The problem is that information abundance equals attention scarcity. This is known as attention economics. Social scientist Herbert Simon was the first person to discuss this concept when he wrote “in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.”

This point-based approach to recognizing and analyzing a company's hottest leads will save your business time and money when reaching your target market and capitalizing on sales opportunities. With your hottest leads identified, your business can communicate with these leads confidently knowing that they are already aware of and interested in your business.
Display ads are typically highly targeted to different demographic or behavioral actions. You can select where you want the ads to be seen by choosing an online publication that you feel is a place where your leads spend time, or you can also leverage re-targeter ads that can cookie a lead that views your site. With re-targeter ads, once a person gets cookied, your ads appear on other sites that he or she visits afterwards. Through online ads you can reach more of your target audience, educate potential prospects, and drive leads. Display ads also serve a purpose at every stage in the funnel—building brand and audience at Top of Funnel, educating and helping evaluation at Mid-Funnel, and increasing conversions at Bottom of Funnel.  
Odds are that about half of your visitors will never return to your site if you do not adequately capture some bit of information from them. A working email address is the best thing a marketer can ask for here, but visitors are not always willing to give this kind of personal information up. Call-to-action buttons like "Sign up here" have practically become synonymous with "We are going to spam you," which is why marketers need to find new ways to obtain this information.
Keep a list of people who have contacted you online. These are people you have not met, or haven’t met yet, but who may be leads. Turn them from strangers into leads by enticing them with promotions that appeal to first-time customers. For example, a first month free promotion, no set-up charges, or free installation are all promotions that apply to new customers, rather than repeat ones.
8. Social Contests – To keep things more exciting, business owners can also create social contests on their social channels that reward people for engaging in the contest (quiz, photo upload, captioning, etc.). We can then gate the contest submission process by asking for their information. The “science” behind this is that people are more willing to provide their information if the content is fun, engaging and social.
The problem is that information abundance equals attention scarcity. This is known as attention economics. Social scientist Herbert Simon was the first person to discuss this concept when he wrote “in an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients.”
Lead scoring is a shared sales and marketing methodology for ranking leads in order to determine their sales-readiness. You score leads based on the interest they show in your business, their current in the buying cycle, and their fit in regards to your business. Lead scoring helps companies know whether prospects need to be fast-tracked to sales or developed with lead nurturing. Lead scoring is essential to strengthening your revenue cycle, effectively drive more ROI, and align sales and marketing.

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In summary, lead generation is not easy but it is a must have process for any business to survive.  Some companies survive on inbound alone. However, for many B2B companies and start-ups this is not an option. I liken lead generation to mining for gold.  You should never depend solely on one source of leads but have multiple sources for lead generation in case one vein dries up.
Referrals are a powerful source of quality leads. If someone used your product and saw great results from it, they would recommend it to their colleagues and friends. In most cases, they won’t spread the word to people with little to no interest in your product, as it will be a waste of their time. Instead, they will ask someone who they think will have the finances and the need for your product, which matches the description of a quality lead.
Lead scoring is a way to qualify leads quantitatively. Using this technique, leads are assigned a numerical value (or score) to determine where they fall on the scale from “interested” to “ready for a sale”. The criteria for these actions is completely up to you, but it must be uniform across your marketing and sales department so that everyone is working on the same scale.

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