Inbound marketing and cold outreach are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to sourcing qualified leads for your sales funnel – there are many other places to look.
When it comes to lead generation, you need to be aware that potential customers are at different stages in their buyer journey. So, having a multi-pronged approach that covers all bases is important.
Getting quality sales leads into your sales funnel involves a series of steps before they get to the buying stage. These steps are:
Quality leads may get into your sales funnel at any of the aforementioned steps, so it’s important to have a comprehensive approach covering all of them.
Where the problem lies is what they should do if inbound marketing leads dry up or the outbound team is not generating the volume of leads required to fill an Account Executives pipeline.
In this post, I will outline some of the best places to start generating more leads for your sales pipeline, so you can easily hit your quota. But first, let’s look at a few definitions.
Definition of Sales Leads
Sales leads are qualified prospects that demonstrate an interest in a company’s products or services. A lead is usually generated through activities such as networking, referrals, or marketing activities such as email campaigns, website visits and calls.
Leads can include personal contact information, company data, and additional background information. Successful lead generation involves building relationships with potential buyers before they are ready to make a purchase.
Oftentimes, sales leads will come to the account executive from an inbound sales opportunity, meaning they don’t often have to be responsible for sourcing their own leads.
Now that we better understand what leads are, let’s understand the difference between leads and prospects.
What is the difference between a lead and a prospect?
A lead has expressed interest in your product or service but may not be at the point of purchase yet. A prospect, on the other hand, is someone who has begun to research your company and its offerings and may be closer to making a purchase.
Leads are usually gathered via an online form, email campaigns, website visits, or referrals. Prospects generally come from more in-depth research and may have already interacted with your sales team.
With this distinction in mind, let’s take a look at 17+ ideas for sourcing high-quality leads for your sales pipeline.
How to Get Sales Leads (Free Leads Included!)
Check out my 850 free leads post.
Ok, full transparency here. I set out to find all the websites that provide free leads, and so far, I have found 850 free leads, ranging from companies that provide email addresses, phone numbers and more!
So check out my post here for the full list of free lead
Make use of social media.
As we all know by now, social media platforms like Linkedin and Twitter provide a great source of lead generation opportunities, it’s just that most of us don’t use them to their full effectiveness.
Think back to the time you last updated your social media profiles. If it was more than three months ago, it’s probably time for an update.
Regarding generating sales leads, Linkedin has to be one of the best sources of lead generation for both free and paid leads.
To maximise the chances of getting free leads from your social media profile efforts, ensure your Linkedin profile has been designed to stand out. That includes providing a descriptive headline that conveys to your prospect exactly what your company is about and how your product could potentially help them.
Twitter is another fantastic platform for getting quality leads online. As with the Linkedin profile, you want to ensure that your online profile is professional (not personal), and that you also have links to a company landing page so you can generate leads easily. if that landing page can also provide a box where the lead can enter their phone number, even better.
Finally, for good measure, include a couple of relevant hashtags to increase your visibility.
Go Hunting on Social Media
Before the influx of SaaS salespeople and their reliance on inbound marketing leads, there was such a thing as a Sales Hunter. And this is the idea that we want to bring back.
The concept of Sales Hunting is simple: Go into social media and start looking for people who fit your ICP and could become a potential buyer for you. Once you find those people, reach out on their favourite social media platform and start a conversation with them.
If your product is good, and you have a good pitch, chances are you’ll be able to convert them into leads.
When I was ‘hunting’ on social media giant Linkedin for leads online, I connected with many leads that got banned from the platform for a time.
It was all worth it in the end.
Once you have reached out and connected with a few of these leads, start sharing updates and product information on your timeline to start getting noticed. Let these prospects know what problems your solution helps them solve.
Once have a few leads from social media that are singing your praises, ask them to refer you to 3 people who could also benefit from your business.
Then rinse and repeat.
Build your network like this, and you will have endless leads.
Post blog articles on your company page, Linkedin, Medium or other social media platforms.
Even today, writing a blog post is still an effective way to generate leads.
Posting a blog article on your company page or Linkedin profile allows people to discover your product faster and easier.
Remember, when you build content on Linkedin or Medium, it’s important to ensure it’s well-written and relevant to your target market.
If a reader is interested in what you are offering, they will most likely visit your website and subscribe to your blog updates – which can lead to more leads.
So make sure you post regularly, link to a landing page (or test multiple landing pages) where you can capture the prospect’s information and get them into a sales or email marketing sequence.
Ask your best customers for referral business.
One of the best ways to get free leads is to ask current customers about anyone they know who might make good potential customers.
Some salespeople hesitate to ask for referrals because they don’t want to appear desperate. Still, the truth is that your customer understands you are in business (as are they) and are generally open to helping you out.
Just ensure that you return the favour in the future!
When asking for a referral from existing customers, ensure they are happy first and then move on to asking politely.
Once the referral has been provided, ensure that you reach out and thank them for their help. This will not only build a positive relationship but will also make them more likely to provide referrals in the future.
Word of mouth is still one of the strongest ways to gain leads. If you can tap into the power of your existing customer base, you’ll have a steady stream of new leads coming your way.
Leverage your personal network.
This is another area that salespeople tend to avoid when it comes to lead generation.
However, your personal network can be a powerful and valuable asset for generating free leads for your company.
Take the time to reach out to people you know and ask if they have any leads that could be interested in your product or services.
Not only will you end up with new free leads, but you’ll also strengthen your relationships with people in your network.
Get involved in industry and networking events.
With the pandemic almost over, now is the perfect time for getting out there and amongst online and in-person networking events.
When socializing at networking events, ensure you aren’t in 100% sell mode (you don’t want to be the annoying salesperson that everyone will want to avoid). Instead, take a more lighthearted approach and don’t take things too seriously!
The more organic the interaction and potential business outcomes that result from it, the better.
Revisit aged sales leads that didn’t close.
Sometimes, for whatever reason, a sales lead just didn’t close. They might have declined your offer, had no budget or didn’t respond to you due to bad timing.
These leads can be a great source of free leads. Revisit any leads that are still on your list and see if they’re interested in trying again.
It’s worth conversing with them to see if the circumstances have changed. You might be surprised at how many people are now interested in doing business with you!
Maximize automated email marketing and social media campaigns.
Automated email marketing and social media campaigns are an excellent way to generate free leads.
By setting up automated emails or direct messages, you can reach out to potential prospects and provide them with relevant information about your product or service.
You can use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself and provide a link for them to visit your website or landing page.
Write Guest Posts.
Writing guest posts on other blog websites is a great way to reach new potential customers and get free leads.
By writing content for other blogs and websites, you’ll be able to showcase your expertise, build relationships with prospects, increase brand awareness and grow your leads.
Not only can it give you access to a larger audience, but you’ll also be able to link back to your website and drive more traffic there.
What’s more, guest blogging will help build credibility and trust with your prospects.
Finally, if done correctly, you can use this as an opportunity to reach out directly to the people who have read your article and start a conversation.
Provide meeting scheduling on your website.
Adding automatic meeting scheduling to your website is another great way to generate free leads.
This will allow potential customers to book meetings with you directly from your website without waiting for a response from you.
This feature makes it easier and more convenient for prospects interested in learning more about your product or service.
Plus, this will save you time from having to schedule and manage each meeting request manually.
Add live chat on your website for lead generation.
Adding live chat to your website is a great way to generate leads in real-time.
Live chat will allow customers to communicate with you and get answers quickly.
This also provides an opportunity for you to provide relevant information about your product or service and collect customer data, such as email addresses, that can be used for the future.
Run an online webinar or training session.
Running an online webinar or training session is a great way to generate leads and drive more traffic to your website.
These events can help you demonstrate your expertise, provide valuable information and tips, network with industry professionals, build relationships with potential customers, and increase brand awareness.
You can also use this opportunity to collect leads for lead generation, such as email addresses and contact information.
Running an online webinar or training session is a great way to connect with potential leads, establish credibility, and generate more business.
Create optimized blog content for SEO.
Search engines, blog posts and Google can make for a powerful selling tool.
Therefore, creating optimized blog content is another great way to generate leads for free.
Optimizing your blog content for SEO will help you rank higher in search engine results, which means more people will be able to find and access your website or landing page.
This increases the chances of potential customers visiting your site and taking the desired action.
Run competitions and give aways for lead information.
Giving away free stuff is a proven method of lead generation.
You can incentivize potential leads to provide their contact information by running competitions or giveaways.
This is a great way to build your database of contacts and generate more leads in the process.
You can also use these contests as an opportunity to build relationships and start conversations with potential customers.
Build partnerships with other businesses.
Using google my business to find potential local partnership opportunities can help you tap into another company’s network for their customers’ contact information.
This can help you generate free leads, increase brand awareness and build relationships.
You can also use this opportunity to cross-promote your products and services to a larger audience.
Setup Google my business for reviews
The more people that are aware of your company, the better, and that’s why Google reviews can be a great option to generate leads online.
Google is one of the largest search engines in the world, and you can get exposure for your business completely free for free leads. This makes Google my business an excellent cost-effective online strategy for getting new customers.
Generating leads doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of free ways to generate leads for your business.
By utilizing referral programs, tapping into your personal network, attending industry events, revisiting aged leads and maximizing automated email campaigns and social media marketing, you’ll be sure to generate free leads in no time.
It may take some extra effort, but it’ll be well worth it in the end. Good luck!