LeadGenerationButtonWhen you mention the word lead generation to most businesses they usually envisage a team of sales people pounding the phones. Whilst some outbound activity is still necessary today, if you’re neglecting your inbound capabilities your losing a big chunk of your potential lead generation and market influencing capabilities.

In fact FORBES have shown that buyers are now engaging with sales only in the last 30% of their buying cycle meaning 70% of the buying process, which is mostly conducted online (where people go to research and learn) is being ignored by a lot of companies. You can see more details in the Online Lead Generation Cheat Sheets and examples of the work being done and results being achieved with the lead generation case studies – link to the download guide.

Some businesses use alternative lead generation strategies such as 3rd party lead arbitrage companies who they buy leads from. The quality of these leads can vary tremendously and if you stop using the company or they go out of business that lead source is no longer available and could threaten your business.

The only way to truly have control of your business and its growth is to take control of your marketing directly so that you actually own the asset responsible for generating leads.

Those same assets can also be leveraged for lead nurturing and loyalty building with the right systems in place and integrated your marketing activity with your sales activity more seamlessly.

In some cases small and micro businesses already have a website and they’ve probably done or are doing some pay per click (PPC) and search engine optimisation (SEO). Yet there not actually generating any kind of useful sales leads. It just hangs there in web limbo.

Taking hold of your marketing is not just about your ability to generate leads, its also your ability to evolve your business inline with the market so that you can tap into future growth opportunities over the long term. Right now you may have a product or service advantage, however when competition creeps into the market your position as the leader will start to eroded. I discuss the need for reshaping market boundaries to facilitate a sustainable business growth cycle that isn’t just product led, its customer led.

With tight budgets smaller businesses struggle to market themselves using traditional methods like direct mail, tradeshows and advertising because the costs can be high and the return questionable at best.

Instead content like, blogs, articles and webinars are a more cost effective and direct method of connecting with buyers that are actually looking for your products and services.

One example of this is Holly Allison, Vice President of marketing at Vico Software (building virtualisation) who’ve been able to increase their website traffic by 89% and improve the engagement with their free software download offer by more than 200%, resulting in over 1,500 high-quality leads at a significantly lower cost per lead than traditional methods.