Where do the best sales leads come from?

A good sales rep knows that people don’t just instantly go from finding out about your business to becoming loyal customers and promoters of your brand. 

The process of bringing in new customers can take weeks, if not months. It involves multiple steps and requires a systematic approach. That’s why you need to have a sturdy lead generation process as well as multiple lead sources to rely on.

In this article, we break down everything you need to know about sales leads—including how to find lead sources for your business. We’ll also share some pro tips to help you attract quality leads to your business and talk about using lead generation tools to automate the process.

What Are Sales Leads?

Leads are prospective customers who may be interested in doing business with your company. They can be identified from a variety of sources, such as in-person events, social media, or content marketing. 

A lead is, by definition, unqualified. This means that, although preliminary research suggests this person or organization may be interested in your business, your sales team hasn’t yet had the chance to gauge their interest level through direct communication.

At least 50% of your sales leads are a bad fit for what you sell. That’s why it’s so important to have a constant inflow of new leads at all times. And to do that, you need high-quality lead sources.

Lead Sources: What Are They?

In simple terms, a lead source is how someone finds out about your business. 

Whether it’s social media, search results, or at a trade show, a lead source can be any channel that allows a prospective customer to learn about your business—and get onto your sales team’s radar.

An unstructured lead generation strategy is a good way to get distracted from your goal, since your team might end up focusing on leads that aren’t a good fit for your business. That’s why you need a repeatable process for attracting the right kinds of leads to your business. You need to focus on a combination of lead sources that work well for your business. 

An example of a great inbound lead source is content marketing and SEO. By using a blog, newsletter, or other forms of content to educate and inform your audience, you can build relationships with a range of prospective customers. 

You can also generate leads by various other means, such as using social media platforms like LinkedIn. According to Chief Marketer, trade shows are the second-largest source of B2B leads, right after email marketing. Those are followed closely by content marketing, search engine optimization, and social media.

best lead sources for startups and businesses

The Best B2B Lead Sources for Startups and SMBs

Identifying your lead sources is a vital part of the lead management process. By finding out which sources bring in the most high-quality leads, you’re able to consolidate your sales efforts and focus your marketing resources for maximum success. 

There are different ways to attract fresh leads for your B2B business. Let’s take a look at some of them now.

Newsletters and Email Marketing

Compared to other lead sources, email marketing offers the highest return on investment and has the most chances of bringing in leads that convert

Your email marketing strategy doesn’t have to be restricted to a weekly newsletter and a sign-up form on your website. You can also build your own email list from scratch and use cold email to directly target potential customers. Just remember to do your research and send personalized emails, rather than generic messages that are unlikely to convert.

Content Marketing and SEO

Creating high-quality content to inform and educate your audience is a great way to get your business noticed. 

As you add more and more high-quality content to your blog or website, it increases your website’s search engine authority and causes your pages to rank higher in search results. All of that brings in a constant stream of targeted leads to your business. Content marketing is the most sustainable way to bring in new leads in the long run.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

You can attract leads by posting platform-relevant content on social media sites that your potential customers like to frequent. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the most popular social media platforms, with LinkedIn accounting for 80% of all social media leads in the B2B industry

Apart from using content to develop a social presence, you can also use paid advertisements to market directly on social media.

Cold Calling and Emailing

You may have heard that cold calling has the lowest conversion rate among all lead generation tactics, but that isn’t entirely true. Cold calling statistics are often misleading because spam callers skew the numbers. But a well-researched cold call that presents a relevant offer might just be the secret to landing bigger clients (and unlocking major revenue). 

Similar to cold calling, you can use cold emails to approach prospects and schedule meetings. Targeted email outreach and email marketing are really effective ways to generate leads and sales, with an average ROI of $36 for every $1 spent

Live Events and Trade Shows

In-person events and trade shows can help you secure some of your most marketable leads. However, you need to have a clearly defined process for qualifying prospects and gathering follow-up information. Trade shows let you rent software and hardware to collect data on your leads, but you also need to ask qualifying questions and have a great sales pitch.

Trade shows are an important source for landing high-value clients in the B2B market. In fact, it’s considered to be the second-largest lead generation source in the industry.

PPC and Display Advertising

Outbound marketing, including pay-per-click and display ads, is yet another way of attracting leads to your business. Nowadays, advertisement platforms enable you to reach precise audience segments using customer demographics and behavioral targeting. This can really help narrow down your target audience and market directly to potential customers.

Some of the most popular ad platforms out there are Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn Ads. But there are also plenty of smaller platforms that cater to more targeted audiences.

Referral Marketing

Referrals and relationship marketing are proven strategies for driving sales-qualified leads to your business. If you work in the B2B space, where a single closed deal can mean a huge amount of additional revenue, leveraging referrals can seriously boost your client network and expand your chances of landing more deals. 

LinkedIn is a great way to drive referrals to your business. Once you’ve had the chance to develop a relationship with a client, you can request them to introduce you to their contacts.

Business Intelligence and Automation Tools

If you want to generate leads at scale, expecting your sales team to do everything manually isn’t the most practical way to go about it. Instead, you can use sales intelligence tools to automate various elements of the sales process. Lead generation tools scan social networks and search results to single out potential leads for your business, letting you make contact right away.

Not sure where to start? Datanyze is a sales intelligence and lead generation tool that helps you gather detailed information on B2B leads through LinkedIn.

steps for finding the right lead source

How to Find Lead Sources that Are Right for Your Business

Now that we’ve talked about the different sources you can get leads from, it’s time to dive into the nitty-gritty of lead generation itself. Choosing the right lead sources is key to your sales and marketing success as it defines the kind of audience your business attracts. Let’s talk about how you can choose the right lead generation tactics for your business.

Create and Refine Buyer Persona(s)

Before you go any further, it’s time to establish who your ideal customer is and what their defining traits are. In other words, it’s time to define your buyer persona. Buyer personas are fictitious representations of the different people or organizations that make up your ideal customer base. They help you visualize and understand your target audience.

Creating and refining buyer personas is a constant process, but a good place to start is to look at your past customer data and figure out the kind of people who usually buy your products or services.

Identify Relevant Channels for Outreach

Once you have a clear understanding of your buyer personas, the next step is to figure out what places they frequent most—both online and offline. 

For example, consider which social media platforms they use, whether they attend industry events, and how you can best get in touch with them. Once you have zoned in on these hotspots, it’s time to make contact with potential customers via the channels with which they are most comfortable and accessible.

Track and Analyze Your Leads

You need data to create a baseline for your lead generation process. For that, you need to track and analyze every incoming lead to identify how they found out about your business, why they chose to interact with you, and so on. The best way to do this is a customer relationship management tool, also called a CRM.

CRMs let you track the entire customer journey for every single lead, providing you with actionable data on how they behave. HubSpot, for example, is a popular CRM among B2B sales teams.

Vary and Combine Lead Sources

Equipped with the right data, you’re now ready to experiment with various lead sources to see what works best for your business. The key is to use different promotion strategies at the same time and identify how each one performs. Then, you can easily single out the lead sources that result in the most conversions for your sales team.

A/B testing is a great way to experiment with lead sources. Create two promotional campaigns and analyze them over a set period of time to figure out which one works best!

The Greatest Sales Challenge Is Finding Leads That Convert

It doesn’t matter how good your leads are if you can’t follow up on them at the right time and get them to take action. Then again, the success of your follow-up depends greatly on how well you have researched your leads during the lead generation process.

Getting leads to convert into sales is a multi-step process called lead management, which includes everything from lead generation and research to nurturing and follow-up. You have to create a consistent stream of content to engage your leads as well as communicate regularly to move them through the sales funnel. 

All of this relies on data—data that enables you to better understand your leads and offer relevant information and offers. When it comes to researching leads, you have options. You can use forms to collect information, rely on behavioral data capturing through tracking software, or use powerful lead generation tools that handle the research for you.

why you should use a lead generation tool

Lead Generation Tools: A Revolutionary Way to Generate Leads

Not everyone has the time to go looking for individual information on every lead. In fact, for larger businesses trying to generate leads at scale, it may be downright impossible. You can try hiring a lead generation agency to take care of this process for you, but agencies are expensive and take time to integrate into your existing team.

On the other hand, lead generation tools are online applications that let you research leads by collecting relevant data on them through various online sources, be it search results, online directories, or social media. 

Not only do lead generation tools help you find relevant leads for your cold calling and email list, they even collect their professional information and behavioral data so that your sales team can follow up as smoothly as possible.

Here are a few of the key benefits of using lead generation software to research and source leads for your team:

  • Generate fresh and relevant leads at scale.
  • Pinpoint successful marketing strategies to follow up with leads.
  • Keep track of your outreach efforts and offer reminders about follow-ups.
  • Gather data on leads seamlessly as you browse the web.
  • Share lead data with your entire team and collaborate on sales processes.

Datanyze: The Ultimate Lead Generation Tool for B2B Sales

Datanyze is a versatile lead generation tool that lets you gather data on potential customers while browsing LinkedIn. Datanyze allows you to quickly obtain contact information—including mobile numbers and email addresses—to help you find and connect with high-quality leads. 

Datanyze’s Google Chrome Extension enables you to research leads and find contact information directly from their LinkedIn profile page. This works especially well for B2B startups and small businesses, but can also benefit sales teams at enterprise-level organizations.

Want to take Datanyze for a spin? Sign up and download the browser extension for free today!