What is lead generation?

Upsail team


In simple terms, it is the process of attracting potential customers to a business.

A lead is a potential client, only in the language of marketing.

Basically, it is the marketer who is engaged in lead generation. And how exactly to “generate” the required number of leads, he decides for himself – we will consider the methods further. But sometimes sales managers are also involved in the process – they call the database found somewhere, write letters on it, etc.

This process is just the tip of the iceberg. After all, as part of lead generation, we attract exactly potential customers. The process of their transformation from hypothetical to real is called lead management. This is a huge pool of work, which involves both marketing and sales.

What is a lead gen: definition and importance for business

Leads are points of contact between a particular person and a business that can potentially lead to a conversion. Online leads are people who signed up for a newsletter, left a phone number, registered on a website, or filled out a form. Offline leads – a call, filling out a questionnaire, visiting a store, a personal meeting with a company representative.

In a narrower sense, leads are users who have transferred their contacts to the business.

Leads in marketing are those users who left personal data for communication through marketing channels: landing pages, email newsletters, social networks, chatbots, and instant messengers.

Sales leads are contacts of real users who are interested in the product and who negotiate and make decisions on their behalf or behalf of the company. Depending on the niche and tasks, sales leads contain different sets of data: in B2C, a phone number is enough, but in B2B, it is important to know the position of the contact, budget, and other specific restrictions.

For example, in B2C, a visitor who enters a name and phone number in a chatbot or registers on a website to receive a cumulative discount and access to private sales will be considered a lead.

Any business “lives” at the expense of customers, so the process of forming a loyal audience and increasing the customer base is in the first place. Not all site visitors are familiar with the product and are ready to buy, so you need to understand how to work with each of them to insulate and bring it to a deal.

The quality of the lead and its readiness to buy directly affects the conversion of the site and also helps to save time for the sales department. To maximize profits, analyze lead sources, implement new marketing channels, and improve your sales funnel.

Classification of generating leads according to the degree of readiness to purchase:

  • Cold – people who got into your contact database but are not ready to buy now. They are not familiar with the brand or have just learned about it; usually come to the site for useful information when they have just realized the need and are looking for solutions.
  • Warm – visitors who are familiar with your product and are ready for a dialogue. They chat on the site with questions, consult or follow you on social networks. Not ready for a deal, but loyal.
  • Hot – potential customers who are ready to place an order and immediately pay for it.

What is lead generation, and how to prepare for the launch of this business process?

Generation lead is the process of creating a database of potential customers or leads.

It includes:

  • work planning: studying the audience, creating a client portrait, target audience segmentation;
  • attracting the attention of potential customers in different communication channels and involving them in communication;
  • identification of interests, needs, and constraints;
  • handling objections;
  • stimulation to place an order;
  • efficiency calculation.

The main task of lead generation is to collect contacts and convert leads from cold to hot, ready to make a deal.

High-quality lead generation simplifies the sale and reduces the time of the transaction.

It is important to understand that lead generation does not include phone calls or spam mailings to ready-made purchase bases – non-targeted offers only cause irritation.

Lead generation tools: how to attract and warm up leads

Let’s go in order of importance: from hot to cold.

Contextual advertising on search

As shown above, the results of search engines allow you to attract hot leads. These people are ready to buy, and it remains only to attract their attention.

Advertising in search can be very expensive – in some topics, there is a serious struggle for hot leads, and just one click on an ad can cost hundreds of rubles. Therefore, it is important to work out negative keywords well – this way, you will reduce the likelihood of non-targeted clicks.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO works similarly to advertising in SERPs, only in this case, your site appears under an ad unit and for free.

SEO is a long-term run of six months, but over time, it can more than recoup the costs.

If you optimize the site for high-frequency target queries, SEO will bring hot generation leads. Usually, the product pages of the site are optimized for such requests.

And if you add optimization for mid- and low-frequency queries, you will attract warm leads. For this task, a blog is maintained on the site.

Advertising in networks and targeted advertising

Advertising in networks is a kind of contextual advertising. Display banners appear on partner sites.

Such advertising helps to attract warm leads and warm-up cold ones. Remarketing is responsible for warming up, and we talked about it above.

Targeted advertising on social networks works for the same purpose.

Publications in the media and third-party blogs

Lead generation on third-party sites is an opportunity to reach a new audience and tell them about your product. This allows you to attract cold leads.

You can publish for free through the Pressfeed service or by direct agreement with the site. And for money, any media outlet will gladly publish you in any format, but it can be very expensive.


Posts on social networks can also bring sales, but more often, it is a story about warming up the audience.

The user sees your ad on social networks → subscribes → reads your posts for a long time, gets involved → buys after a while. And yes, this warm-up can last for years, and then it will work for retention and resale.

People can come here at different stages, so SMM combined with targeted advertising can attract all types of leads.

Newsletters by email, SMS, and instant messengers

They help to warm up cold and warm leads. It is good to use in conjunction with publications on external sites, speeches at conferences, and other methods of lead gen where you do not control the audience.

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