The weak economy of the past two years has left more companies competing for fewer customers. For businesses to build a strong sales pipeline in this competitive environment, they must hone and perfect their methods for generating qualified sales leads. Lead generation can mean many different things to different companies. Common approaches to building pipeline growth include telemarketing or cold calling, outsourcing appointment setting, online advertising, off-site search engine optimization, and on-site seo.
Telemarketing and Appointment Setting
Cold calling businesses or consumers is an easy way to generate leads. You can either hire telemarketers for your office, or outsource to one of many telemarketing services around the world. Find a telemarketing company with expertise and experience specific to your business or industry. Most offshore call centers can set you up with an outbound telemarketing campaign within a matter of days. Most telemarketing companies will also offer short, pre-paid trials that will allow you to see if it works for your business. Write a script, build a spreadsheet of leads or companies you want them to call, and send it over to get started.
Search engine marketing and pay per click advertising is a newer, but ubiquitous tactic for driving traffic to your company's website and creating leads. This can get expensive in a hurry. Just about every competing company out there is submitting competing bids and driving up the price of new visitors. PPC advertising is still a good way to generate leads, but unless you have deep pockets, should not be relied as your only means for lead generation.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO can be a cheaper way to increase traffic to your site and generate leads, but must be done properly to be effective. If handled the right way, there is no better resource for your company to consistently attract customers to your virtual doorstep. After all, your website is essentially a piece of virtual real estate, and its value is determined by location, location, location! There is no shortage of seo agencies and so called "experts", so it is crucial for you to do your homework. A good way to do research is to conduct a search for the term "seo", and see what comes up in the organic search results. The companies that reach the top are the most likely to have perfected the art of website optimization. After all, that's how they got there!
Once you've broken ground on your newly found plot of search engine real estate, it is important for your website to turn traffic into qualified sales leads. Be sure that your website is easy to navigate and you provide the information your prospects are looking for. Provide fresh and unique content and update it frequently. Search engines tend to think that this makes your site more important. Many businesses nowadays are employing live chat support operators to communicate with their customers instantly. Many customers are reluctant to enter their contact information into a lead form for the fear of being hounded by telemarketers. You can reach out to these prospects by offering live chat to answer their immediate questions.
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