How Has Lead Generation Evolved?

Lead generation is no longer about “talking at” your customers. This one-way conversation has largely disappeared, and companies hoping to gain new customers have shifted to a discussion model, with the rise of digital and social media.

Just a few decades ago, lead generation meant buying potential customers’ contact details and then passing them to the sales team. Now, lead generation is all about capturing interest and building trust.

Here are a few more ways that lead generation has evolved:

A Switch to Digital
These days, radio, TV, and newspaper advertising are going extinct. Cold calling is also more difficult than ever, with younger generations refusing to speak on the phone if they don’t have to.

While some marketers had success with online ads, many people now use ad blockers. Our email accounts are protected by spam filters which get better every year. Now, many businesses do most of their lead generation online. No longer are businesses solely reliant on outbound marketing- now it’s all about inbound.

Quality Over Quantity
While lead generation used to be largely about emailing or calling as many prospects as possible so marketers could qualify or eliminate leads, there is now a much stronger focus on attracting quality leads in the first place.

Potential leads can sort through a huge amount of information online. That’s why businesses are increasingly using targeted content to engage prospects. This allows them to build and nurture relationships and better qualify these leads.

Focus on Awareness
In the past, lead generation competed with brand awareness. Marketers had to choose which activity to prioritise. These days, brand awareness and lead generation often go hand-in-hand. Lead generation tactics can improve the results of your brand awareness strategies. And insights from your lead generation campaigns can help you craft more relevant and compelling content to get your brand in front of as many people as possible.

Prioritising Customer Service
Once your lead generation strategy is underway, you may notice that you begin to get feedback and insights from a variety of channels. This information can help you solve a number of problems, resolve issues, and address any customer concerns.

In the past, lead generation was rather selfish. Marketers were mostly interested in increasing the number of leads, which in turn would increase customers. These days, businesses recognise the value of repeat and long-term customers, and are interested in providing the best possible service to both leads and current customers.

You’ll also find that the content you use as part of your lead generation strategy (including videos, whitepapers, and blog posts) can be used to answer customer questions or fix any issues they have.

As you can see, lead generation has evolved in many different ways. Businesses wanting to grow will need to look at how they’re generating leads and determine if these are sustainable for the future. If you’re not listening to how your leads and customers want to be treated, they’ll simply choose your competitors instead.

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