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Lead Generation: A Complete Guide with Strategies and Examples

“You are out of business if you don’t have a prospect.” – Zig Zigler.

We’re just going to say it; the above quote is every business’s worst nightmare. 

Prospects or leads, as they are called, are indispensable to the health of every company. As long as you get those prospects pumped up into your business, you can run towards success all you want. 

Now, you must ask – 

“How do you maintain a healthy flow of leads, or in better words, boost lead generation?”, 

“How do you know which leads you should go for?”, 

“What strategies can you employ in the process?”

Woah, well, let’s hold the horses on these questions and go through them one by one in his guide that’ll cover everything from defining the basics to training you on the lead generation strategies.

Without any further ado, let’s get the ball rolling.

What is a Lead?

Simply put, a lead is a person who has somehow indicated to a brand that they are slightly interested in the services offered and have made direct and/or indirect contact. 

Let’s paint a little picture here.

Say you were browsing through your social media, for example, Instagram. There, you randomly came across a sponsored ad from an e-Learning platform offering online courses. 

Curious, you clicked on the ad and watched their post, say a video (the interaction could end just here as well), went to their site and answered a simple pop-up survey of ‘What brought you here?’ You answered, entered your email, and submitted the response. 

To that brand, you are a lead (Whether you qualify as a good or bad lead will come later in our discussion). 

Even the definition of lead quality differs for marketers and sales. For the former, the number of leads generated is considered quality, but sales might not consider all of them ‘leads’ entirely. 

It’s what’s known as a marketer’s myopia. 

How to Know a Lead Is Qualified

Marketing leads are likely to become customers since they show interest in the brand and respond to lead nurturing. They may not become customers right away, but they definitely enter the sales funnel.

As for the sales, a lead is considered qualified when they are close to becoming a customer. So, a good rapport between the two departments can increase lead generation greatly. 

Sales leads have a higher chance of conversion since those leads are already past the screening point and they are qualified to become your customers. With the right strategy and support, sales-qualified leads are easy to turn into customers.

Questions to Ask to Get Qualified Leads:


  • “Which industry do you deal in?”
lead generation survey
  • “Which of our competitors did you consider before choosing [Product name]?”
ask feed back from your survey
  • “How much revenue do you earn annually?”
online lead generation feedback survey question from customer
  • “Are you the decision-maker?”
Action take feedback from customers


  • “What are your top priorities in a solution?”
are feedback with customer regarding priorities in a solution
  • “What is your budget?”
Ask budget feedback survey question for generate high quality leads
  • “What can prevent us from working together?”
  • “How quickly are you hoping to see results?”
Another good feedback question to generate leads from user
  • “When do you plan to make a decision?
ask decision related feedback from your customer

5 Types of Leads

learn more about types of leads

Looking at the types of leads will paint a clever picture of what are the characteristics of a lead at various touchpoints in the conversion funnel. 

  1. New Lead: A prospect who interacts for the first time with a company. 
  2. Working Lead: Someone who keeps interacting and conversing. 
  3. Nurturing Lead: Someone who can be convinced to buy in the future.
  4. Unqualified Lead: Someone who isn’t interested anymore.
  5. Qualified Lead: One who is a ripe prospect, ready to be converted into a customer. 

Lead Generation: What It Is & How It Works

Lead generation is a process with stages to capture and stimulate interest in a company’s services and products among the targeted audience and attract prospects. The process focuses on developing a sales pipeline and nurturing leads until they become customers. 

From small, mid-sized, large enterprises to B2C and B2B companies across industries, all adhere to lead generation to expand their business. Even 60% of marketers believe lead generation to be a key strategy.

Although we discussed what qualifies a lead, it’s not that straightforward in day-to-day operations. 

Sometimes capturing a lead can be as easy as someone downloading resources from your websites such as ebooks and guides, or can be as sophisticated and complex as targeting a prospect with different marketing campaigns.

Here’s something useful: Top 60+ Lead Generation Tools For Your Business

Overview of Lead Generation in the Digital Era

Long gone are the days when salespeople had to knock on the doors trying to convince customers to buy products or services based on the decorated and carefully recited marketing speech. 

“Customers are now smarter, more connected, more informed, more influenced and influential socially, and less likely to respond to campaign bait. Marketing has to create content people actually want.” — Tim Barker, Chief Product Officer, DataSift.

The message from the above quote is obvious — cold calling is no longer the major lead generation strategy. Instead of throwing arrows blindly, practices such as spreading brand awareness, creating relatable and useful content, and developing customer relationships are more effective.

Such practices come under what’s known as Inbound Marketing, a solid lead generation strategy (which we will cover later in the article).

Now, with ever-changing customer behavior, and consequently, lead generation tactics, there’s one more thing that’s been completely revamped by the onset of digitization- the relationship between marketing and sales.

Watch: Building a Brand Using Feedback and User Research

Collaboration Between Marketing & Sales

Unlike before, when marketing teams were only required to collect and curate a list of leads and sales would turn them into customers, now marketing’s KRAs have evolved. 

Marketing can consider the demographics to target and decide which leads qualify to be sent to sales, and then both the teams can decide further which leads to nurture.

How It Works

The audience discovers your brand on a marketing channel (like a social media post, website, blog, etc.

Prospects click on a CTA (an image, link in bio, button

 Navigate to a landing page exchanging some resources for customer information. 

Importance of Lead Generation

Now that you know what lead generation is and how it works, let’s understand why companies invest a huge chunk of their capital in lead acquisition and generation strategies.

Boosts Brand Awareness

Lead generation campaigns, including social media promotion, email campaigns and marketing, and many more are great ways to put your brand on the map and get your target audience to notice you. 

Once you have a solid lead generation strategy in place, it’ll be easier to explore new avenues to boost brand awareness and educate customers about your offerings.

Helps Identify and Target Quality Leads

Nothing screams waste of resources and time than targeting low-quality leads that you may find from purchased email lists or cold calling customers

If you want genuinely interested prospects with high chances of becoming your clients, then invest your time and energy in reading a robust lead generation strategy. With the right content marketing and other marketing campaigns, you will be able to identify high-quality leads that will convert sometime at some point down in the sales funnel. 

Doesn’t Cost Your Whole Capital

With online digital marketing, it’s easier for you to target specific customer demographics you know will ring in more leads. This way, you will be able to get more high-quality leads that have high conversion rates. So, all in all, it would cost you fairly less to acquire each high-quality lead through inbound marketing than any other way.

Time Efficient

Online lead generation and management can easily be automated with different tools available in the market, such as BIGContacts, which automate your email marketing and sales CRM.

This way, salespeople don’t have to devote a huge chunk of their time hunting for leads but focus more on qualified leads and closing deals. 

Helps Track Results and Measure Performance

With everything automated, it becomes easier for marketing and sales departments to analyze results and create reports to see recurring trends, and strategize for the future based on the insights. You can optimize your marketing campaigns and ensure you have a high conversion rate. 

Related Read: Top 38+ Best Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) Tools

How to Improve Lead Quality

We briefly mentioned this at the beginning of the article, and you must be wondering how to know which lead is high or low quality to set your priorities. 

There are two ways to do so: 

  • Lead scoring 
  • Maintaining a marketing-sales feedback loop

Let’s discuss them in detail. 

Lead Scoring

Each company has its own custom parameters for judging lead quality, but a common method used to judge leads on those parameters is lead scoring. 

Lead scoring is assigning points and ranking leads based on:

  • how far along they are in the sales funnel, 
  • how close they are to purchasing and their interests. 

You can conduct user research surveys to create buyer personas of your ideal customers and then create a lead scoring system with parameters based on your needs. 

Sample survey questions to create a buyer persona:

  • What is your role?
  • What is your biggest pain point?
  • What does your typical day look like?
  • What did you come here to do today?
  • What problem does our product solve for you?
  • What types of content do you read?
  • What tools are you using currently?
  • How has this feature impacted your work?

Access this survey question library for more information on this.

A few basic parameters you can consider for your lead scoring system are when the leads:

  • Open your email
  • Visit your website
  • Download resources from your website like ebooks, guides, etc.
  • Click on your promotional ad
  • Registers for a webinar you are conducting
  • Subscribes from a free trial

You can assign scores to your leads this way, and the higher the score of a lead, the higher is their quality and the chances of conversion. 

A high-quality lead is generally referred to as a ‘Hot’ lead, while a lead with the average score is called a ‘warm’ lead which you can make hotter by targeting more marketing campaigns their way.

Watch: Strategies on How To Convert More Web Visitors into Customers

Marketing-Sales Feedback Loop

As we discussed above, a rapport between marketing and sales is very crucial for effective lead generation. Creating and maintaining a feedback loop between the two teams is a great way to improve your lead generation campaigns.

For example, if marketing sends leads to sales and sales provide feedback on the lead quality on time, marketing will analyze what works and when they need to tweak their strategy.

If the feedback loop is missing, then marketing will think that all leads they send are converting, so they’ll continue with their existing practices without knowing what’s actually happening between the sales and the leads. 

Related Read: Customer Feedback Tools in 2022

Lead Generation: Common Metrics to Use

A few metrics that help with the lead generation process are as follows:

  • Number of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL): Leads that are considered qualified leads by the marketing team using lead scoring. Also, measure the cost per MQL to track how much money you spend on acquiring each lead. 
  • Click-through Rate (CTR): It is the percentage of the total number of clicks divided by the total number of page views. A higher rate signifies that the CTA used is effective and working to bring in leads.
  • Return on Investment (ROI): Profits you gain after subtracting the cost of campaigns from the total revenue generated.

Stages of Lead Generation: The Process to Follow

After discussing so much about lead generation already, it’s time to answer some important questions like what is the sales lead generation process. The process can differ a little depending on each company and industry.

Stage 1:

The process starts with companies defining what a perfect lead looks like. Start by segmenting your leads into demographics and use BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Time) for further segregation.

Stage 2:

You need to figure out what you would consider a marketing qualified lead (MQL) and sales qualified lead (SQL). It is the starting of the roadmap you will create in the next stage based on the lead generation funnel.

Stage 3:

Build your road map based on the lead generation funnel with your inbound and outbound marketing strategies. 

Plan and strategize the content you will push out on your website and social media, the placement of CTAs and pop-ups you will use to attract customers, and the steps that will navigate a lead from the top to the bottom of the funnel until they make a purchase. 

This is also where you will have to strategize your lead magnets and how you can optimize them to bring in more quality leads.

full funnel of lead generation

Stage 4:

At this stage, you need to bring in your lead scoring skills and strategies and nurture the leads so they convert as soon as possible. The above steps will help you acquire the TOFU (top-of-funnel) leads, but you need to nurture the ones in the MOFU (middle-of-funnel).

Stage 5:

Testing is always the last but one of the most important stages in any process. No matter how robust your strategies are and how much you invest in lead generation, it’ll be all for nothing if you don’t test and iterate. 

So, perform A/B testing, multivariate testing, and ensure to keep the feedback loop between marketing and sales alive. This way, you will see which actions bring in better results and how customer behavior changes so you can optimize your lead generation process and strategy. 

Related Read: 25 Best AB Testing Tools in 2022

Strategies to Kickstart Your Lead Generation Campaign

Now, let’s discuss what strategies you can use to drive your lead generation effectively. We have divided some strategies that come under inbound and outbound marketing strategies to make them more relatable and easy to understand. 

1. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing has everything to do with content marketing, blogs, search engine optimization (SEO), social media, etc. It essentially uses many forms of pull marketing. It helps create online brand awareness and attracts more prospects, and only focuses on organic leads.

Here are a few inbound marketing strategies that you can use to boost your lead generation.

Related Read: 5 Reasons Your Lead Gen Efforts May Be Missing the Mark

a) PPC (Pay-per-Click)

With everything going online, it’s easier to collect customer information, but it should be in exchange for personalized and ethical marketing. PPC lead generation technique is about showing ads on Google searches (SERPs). 

Given that Google gets about 3.5 billion searches per day, it’s a good platform to have people see your brand using ad campaigns. So, prepare your PPC strategy with a good budget, seamless user flow, target keywords, and more.

ppc bidding for lead generation

b)Invest in Content – Gated and Otherwise

Think of the internet as a superpower for companies, and with power comes responsibility

Instead of reciting an overly promotional marketing pitch, offer useful resources such as insightful posts, articles, and blogs educating visitors on useful topics related to your niche. 

Creating content that matters to your targeted audience, marketing it the right way, placing it at the right place in your lead generation process will yield you astonishing results.

For example, Salesforce has a section called ‘Analyst reports.’ When you land on the page, you can download any report you want. 

 garnter generate leads strategy

When you click on the ‘Get The Report’ CTA, you will land on the lead generation form page, where you will have to fill in your information to download the report. 

salesforce lead form to generate leads

So, invest in creating gated content like guides, ebooks, and public content like blogs, articles, and other such resources. These will educate customers about your company, its values, and offerings and allow you an intelligent way to ask for customers’ information. 

It may feel daunting at first to develop or improve your content strategy but asking your target audience what type of content they would like to consume is one of the best ways to go about it. To uncover, you can ask questions like:

  • Was this help section useful?
  • What topics would you like to see us write about next?
  • What other products would you like to see us offer?
  • Did this article answer your question?
  • Were you able to find the information you were looking for?
  • What other information would you like to see on this page?

Besides asking these content-related questions, you can also add surveys to your website to engage visitors and turn them into leads. For example, Qualaroo helps you collect leads with its lead generation form.

Here are a few questions you can ask in a lead gen form your leads to get their information and then target them to turn them into customers.

Example 1:

lead gen form example

Example 2:

ask feedback from visitor and generate leads

You can also use exit-intent pop-ups to engage your website visitors and stop them from leaving and eventually get their information to target them with different marketing campaigns. Tools such as Picreel specialize in this feature. 

use discount coupon code strategy to generate leads

2. Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is the opposite of inbound marketing and used to be a very popular marketing strategy before the advent of the internet. It focuses on reaching out to people and getting them interested in the products and services. 

It is a more traditional form of marketing that covers advertising through TV commercials, radio ads, print advertisements, outbound sales calls, i.e., cold calls, email spam, etc.

For example, check out how Nike promotes their brand motto using outbound marketing. It’s simple yet has a very powerful message. 

nike outbound marketing strategy

Here are some examples of outbound marketing you can use in your business lead generation.

a) Email Marketing

Email marketing has been a go-to tool for companies to reach out to their customers. To this day, companies are big on email marketing and keep coming up with new ideas to optimize it. 

You can send in event invites such as webinars, personalize your emails while sending promotional content, and just keep in touch while updating them on new things. It’s an excellent way to send content to prospects who may not be looking for you and turn them into quality leads.

Let’s take Neil Patel as an example. He uses email marketing to introduce customers to new events such as webinars and encourages them to sign up. 

Like Neil Patel, 81% of SMBs have been putting their trust in using emails for customer acquisition and retention. Email marketing can generate an incredible 4,200% ROI. But not all of you can achieve that figure easily. There are a lot of things that matter other than just writing engaging, conversion-focused email copy. Most importantly, you need to invest in the right email marketing software, as it guarantees your email successfully hits customers’ inboxes. Plus, it also helps you simplify the user segmentation and personalization process.

7 cro tips by niel patel

Related Read: How to Quickly Grow Your Email List: 42 Proven Ways

b) Live Events and Seminars

Just like Neil Patel, many companies opt for this outbound marketing strategy. One of the best ways to actively engage prospects with your brand is by encouraging them to participate in events like webinars that they may be interested in. 

You can host offline events such as seminars, conferences, meetups, etc., with guest speakers, but in the post-pandemic era, online events work great too. Also, online events have the potential to reach more people globally.

Hosting events not only improves your brand presence and customer engagement but provides companies a chance to know their customers’ interests. 

Other Strategies

a) Freemium

Freemium and free trial are often used interchangeably but are two different things. For example, the free trial has a time limit for which the subscribers can try the product/services for free, and then they can pay for a plan to continue using it. 

HubSpot is one example. They offer a 14-day free trial. 

On the other hand, Freemium is a service or a product offered for free with basic features. Customers have to pay for a plan to get access to premium features. YouTube is an excellent example of freemium. 

There’s no limit to how many videos you can watch or publish (which are the basic features), but you can enjoy ad-free streaming with many other functionalities with a subscription.

b) Social Media Leads

Since social media is huge, it makes sense to incorporate it into your online lead generation strategy

  • Facebook Leads

Facebook’s Lead Ads is a great tool to find TOFU leads and redirect them towards your website. You can add a CTA to your Facebook page that directly takes visitors to your website. 

  • Twitter Leads

Twitter is another social media platform that helps businesses get and manage leads. It has a Twitter Lead Gen Card feature that generates leads from tweets and pulls out information such as tweeters’ IDs, names, and Twitter usernames; all they have to do is submit and become a lead.

  • LinkedIn Leads

Out of all the social media platforms, LinkedIn has become popular in the professional world with big brands and is now a solid part of their social media campaigns. It offers a feature called Lead Gen Forms to facilitate B2B lead generation on the platform. 

The form auto-populates with the visitors’ profile information when they click on a CTA, and all they have to do is submit. This makes it easy for users to share their information with minimal effort.

6 Lead Generation Tips to Empower Your Strategy

Besides the excellent lead generation marketing strategies we discussed above, here are some more lead generation tips that will add value to your lead gen efforts.

1. Focus on Top-of-Funnel Keywords

If you want to bring in new leads, you need to start from the top, literally. It will help to focus more on TOFU keywords that your target audience generally associates with your product and service. 

Once you know what keywords your audience usually uses, you can start targeting them in different ways and create a roadmap that leads your leads towards the lead magnets (there’s no such thing as too many ‘leads,’ not even here).

To target the keywords, you can create keyword-optimized content, create landing pages around those keywords, use the keywords for PPC, push guest blogs, and follow SEO best practices. 

[Also check out: The Ultimate Guide to SEO for UX Designers]

2. Choose the Right Tools for Your Lead Gen

Lead generation is heavily dependent on knowing your customers inside out, how they behave on your website, and their preferences. For this, you need the right tools. So, here are a few of the popular tools for different purposes:

  • Qualaroo: You can use Qualaroo’s Nudge™ to add pop-up surveys to your website asking visitors to subscribe to your newsletter. 


The University of Alberta’s news section had 50,000 unique page views each month but only less than 500 subscribers. With Qualaroo’s Nudge™, they increased email subscribership by 500%. 

lead generation survey questions
  • Picreel: You can add pop-ups offering discounts, coupons, deals, and other lead magnets with this tool. You can customize these pop-ups as per your branding. 
  • ProProfs Quiz Maker: Adding quizzes to your website engages visitors and helps you collect their information through lead forms.
  • HubSpot: It helps you create and embed lead gen forms that automatically populate into a CMS.
  • Hotjar: You can use its heat mapping tool to see which areas of your website are more attractive to your customers so that you can place your lead magnets there.

3. Keep Your Messaging Consistent and Deliver on Your Promise.

Messaging is crucial for every company, and it is essential to keep it consistent throughout your campaigns and different platforms. From your ad copy to website design, to other media you create, to your offerings, it should all be a seamless experience. It ensures a smooth transition of leads to the next stage in the lead generation funnel.

4. Coupons & Discounts

As we briefly mentioned above, you can use discounts, coupons, and deals as lead magnets for your lead generation campaign to attract both long and short-term leads.

For the long-term, you can motivate someone more to purchase from you, and for the short-term, you can convert bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) prospects. 

5. A Dedicated Landing Page for Your CTAs

You may think this one is obvious, but it’s not. Unfortunately, many marketers do not create separate and dedicated landing pages for CTAs when they clearly should. 

One of the primary purposes of CTAs is to direct customers to a landing page they represent. As a customer, you wouldn’t like clicking on a CTA for registering for a webinar and just landing on the website’s home page.

6. Live Chat Software to Always Be There for Customers

Using live chat software allows you, as a company, to always be there for your customers when they land on your website. They can directly ask their queries in the live chat popup and get instant support.

For example, Qualaroo also has a live chat window that pops up every time a visitor lands and needs assistance.

Qualaroo is the best tool for lead generation

Kickstart Your Lead Generation Efforts!

With all that we have covered so far, we hope you are equipped with tips and strategies to create a robust lead generation strategy for your business. And not only the one that increases lead but brand awareness as well. It’s certainly possible with the right tools in your stack.

So, choose the tools that allow you to capture leads using different ways like pop-up surveys, pop-up deals, and discounts, among many other things, and you’ll see growth in the lead generation in no time.

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