Let me ask you a question: Are you looking to generate more sales leads to fill your calendar with high-quality appointments?
Most salespeople will answer yes.
Sales lead generation is a major challenge for the vast majority of salespeople today.
It should come as no surprise that a lack of appointments in the calendar is the number one obstacle to hitting sales goals for most salespeople.
So how can you generate leads in sales? Having a rock-solid sales lead generation strategy is the key.
In this video, I’m going to show you 11 tips to generate sales leads—tons of them. Check it out:
1. Great data.
When it comes to generating sales leads, data is so important. If the people that you’re reaching out to aren’t the kind of people that you actually want to be talking to, or you have the wrong information on these people, then none of your sales lead generation is going to work. It all starts with having great data.
First off, you’ve got to have a good source for where you’re getting your leads. Who are the people that you’re actually going to be reaching out to, and is their information fully up to date? Is it accurate? Do you have the right numbers? Do you have the right emails? All that stuff is critical because, quite frankly, nothing will work if you don’t start with great data.
Let’s face it: Automation is everywhere. Your prospects are receiving a crazy amount of automated outreach. Their inboxes are full. If you’re not personalizing your outreach, then your prospects will immediately hit delete. When you fail to personalize outreach, prospects assume it’s not a real person sending it. Personalization sends the signal that there’s a real person on the other end of the email, call, or LinkedIn message. The more you can personalize your outreach, the more the prospect is likely to simply read your message and ultimately respond to it.
3. Speak their language.
If you’re using language that’s familiar to you or your industry, but not familiar to your prospects, then your message goes nowhere. If you’re a software company who sells to law firms, you can’t be using language that’s specific to the software industry. You need to speak the language of the people you’re actually selling to. That’s the only way you’re going to connect your message with what they’re looking to accomplish.
4. Know your K.A.C.T.A.
K.A.C.T.A. stands for Kick-Ass Call to Action. If you really want to generate sales leads, it’s not enough just to ask a prospect to get on a call or hop on a Zoom so you can learn more about their business. You need to have a K.A.C.T.A. that’s truly compelling to the prospect, something that makes them think, “Yes, I’m willing to get on the phone with a salesperson because whatever it is they’re offering seems of such value that I’m willing to overlook the fact that they’re probably going to try to sell me something.” That’s how powerful your call to action has to be.
5. Map out your campaign.
Most salespeople and small business owners are haphazard about their outreach process. But the key to sales lead generation is to map out each step of your prospecting campaign. Think of it as creating an assembly line that all your prospects are ultimately going to go through. So even if they’re not responding to the first three emails, or they’re not answering the phone the first five times, or they haven’t responded to the first six LinkedIn outreaches, the campaign is still taking them in one direction—so that way they’re ultimately starting to get to know you. And by the time they actually do answer the phone, there’s just a little bit more of a relationship. This way, it’s not ice-cold, but instead lukewarm, giving you a much better chance of actually engaging them in a conversation.
6. Lead with email.
Now, in today’s world of cold outreach, email is still the gold standard. That’s why email should lead your prospecting campaign. Any calls, social outreach, mail, or packages should be a follow-up to email. This is the most effective way to map out your campaign—by leading with email, and then supporting your campaign with all of the other channels available to you.
7. Leverage the power dialer.
If you really want to master how to generate sales leads, it’s time to leverage the power dialer. Most salespeople should already be using the phone in their prospecting campaigns, but simply making calls on your cell phone or computer is an old-school approach. A power dialer enables you to go from making 20 dials an hour to up to 60 to 100 dials an hour—because it automatically dials the next person as soon as you end the last call. A power dialer makes you so much more efficient with your time. There are a number of power dialer systems out there; I’m not focused on which one to use, as long as you leverage that technology to support your prospecting campaign.
8. Support with social.
Social is a big buzzword in sales. But if you want to generate sales leads, social media is not some magic wand that will fill your calendar with sales. The reality is that, while they’re certainly effective tools, platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram are much better at supporting the prospecting campaign as opposed to being the actual lead blocker in the process. So if you’re using social media to support your campaign, great. But don’t make it your main focus. Instead, maybe you’re using LinkedIn as another way to reach out to your prospects, supporting the other messaging (via email, phone, mail, etc.) that you’re sending throughout the rest of your campaign. That’s the right approach.
9. Bring value throughout.
Have you ever received a cold email or LinkedIn outreach from a salesperson saying something like, “Hey, just checking to make sure you got my last message. Take care.” There’s nothing more annoying than these “bump emails,” as we call them in the industry. A bump email or a bump message basically translates to the lowest value form of outreach you can send to a prospect—where you’re literally just “bumping” the message to the top of their inbox without bringing any value whatsoever.
When it comes to sales lead generation, it’s critical to share value in every message that you send. Maybe that’s a piece of content, a video, an idea—whatever it is, each message should share its own value. Value is the only thing that prevents you from simply being annoying. Once you’re annoying, then you’re just pestering people. But if you’re bringing value throughout your prospecting campaign, you’re slowly increasing your value in the eyes of your prospects.
10. Leverage introductions.
Now, we’ve talked a lot so far about cold prospecting with regards to generating sales leads. But you already have an asset that you probably completely undervalue: your existing network. Leveraging introductions is such an important factor in sales lead generation. There are people out there who know who you are. Maybe they’re customers, or prospects you’ve talked to in the past. Maybe they’re people in your professional network. Wherever they are, these people are sources of potential introductions to other people that you can help. So leverage those introductions to other people. Don’t just rely exclusively on cold outreach; have another oar in warmer waters that will help you generate sales leads.
Some people call introductions “referrals” but I prefer the term introduction, because you’re literally just asking Person A to introduce you to Person B. It’s as simple as that.
11. Rinse, wash, repeat.
One of the major keys to effective sales lead generation is consistency. Create a systematic campaign that’s constantly running, so you can just rinse, wash, repeat. That way, you’re consistently filling up your calendar with high-quality leads, and there are never lull periods where you’re just sitting around twiddling your thumbs. That’s the kiss of death when it comes to generating sales leads.
So there you have it. Now you know 11 Tips to Generate Sales Leads [Tons of ‘Em!]. Which of these sales lead generation tips did you find most useful for your own prospecting campaign? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below to join the conversation.
More Sales Lead Generation Tips…
Do you ever look at your calendar and think to yourself, “I wish I had more high-quality appointments on my calendar”? This is the single most common issue I see today with salespeople in all industries.
The reality is that most salespeople simply don’t have enough appointments on their calendar in order to hit their sales goals. It’s as simple as that.
In this video, I’m going to show you 9 keys to abundant sales lead generation. Check it out:
12. Know your IPP.
Your IPP stands for your ideal prospect profile. Understanding who you want to be meeting with is half the battle of sales lead generation. For most salespeople, half the people they get on the phone with aren’t even marginally a fit for what they do. To avoid this, make sure you’re only going after qualified leads who fit your ideal prospect profile.
Your ideal prospect profile outlines the prospect who you’d be totally psyched to connect with. You’d be extremely excited just to have a conversation with this prospect to see whether there’s a fit.
So, knowing your IPP requires an understanding of: What kinds of industries are you going after? What title or what level of buyer are you going after? What are some of the key challenges they would likely be facing? What kinds of organizations do they work at?
Once you know your IPP, you know exactly who your target audience is.
Bonus: Top-performing salespeople tend to have a much tighter and more specific IPP than average salespeople, because they know exactly who they want to talk to and who they don’t want to talk to.
13. Systematize data research.
I know the words systematize data research might sound really boring and in-the-weeds. But if you want truly abundant sales lead generation, you absolutely must systematize data research. If you don’t have a systematized process for data research, then your lead generation information is simply going to be all over the place.
To really kick your sales lead generation process into gear, you must have a systematized approach for your research, including: Where are you going to find your leads? Are you going to use a database? Will you leverage LinkedIn Navigator? Are you going to use some other industry-specific portal? In answering these questions, you must also make sure you have an approach for getting that information into your CRM or your cold outreach campaign software; whatever system you’re using to collect and leverage your data.
Ideally, you would have an assistant who can help you systematize your data research because, let’s face it, most salespeople don’t like doing research work. (I personally can’t stand it.) But there are lots of people out there who actually love to do data research and can help you get a strong, consistent lead generation process in place.
14. Personalize all outreach.
Personalization is a huge distinction in today’s world of sales lead generation.
Imagine you’re a high-level buyer and you receive an email from a salesperson. The first thing you’re going to think as soon as you start to read the email is: “Is this an automated email? Is it from a random bot or is it from a real human being who has actually done their homework on me?” As a salesperson, if you can be in the latter category, you’re going to get a lot more responses, whether it’s by email, by phone, or whatever channel you’re using. The key is to personalize your outreach.
In your outreach, you must demonstrate that you know who they are: their company, their name, and smaller, more specific details such as who some of their top competitors are. The more you personalize your outreach, the higher your reply rate will be—and the higher your likelihood of actually scheduling that meeting with high quality leads.
15. Use all of your channels.
When it comes to achieving abundant sales lead generation, one channel just won’t cut it anymore. This means you can’t rely on only cold email or only LinkedIn or only on cold calls.
Instead, you must use all of the channels for connection at your disposal and combine them into one strong outreach campaign. Maybe you’re sending an email, then a letter, then a LinkedIn connection, followed by a call, and then another email. You can mix these all together in whatever way makes sense for you and your prospects. Use all the tools in your arsenal for your sales funnel.
16. At least 20 touches per prospect.
In sales lead generation, “touches” refer to outreaches of any kind to connect with a prospect. You need at least 20 touches per prospect to be successful with lead gen today. Now, you’re probably thinking, “Wow! That sounds borderline stalkerish.” But the reality is that if you’re only getting a couple of touches per prospect—if you’re making three calls and then you give up—you’re giving up way too soon.
You should be reaching out to your prospects in many different ways, leveraging all the channels that you have. Maybe you’re sending five or six emails to each prospect over the course of a month, while calling each prospect five, six, seven times throughout the month as well.
You might also be sending a LinkedIn connection request or following something that they do on social media. Every one of these things is a “touch” that introduces you to the prospect in some way. That way, when you finally get them on the phone, they already know who you are.
17. Offer them something of actual value.
Prospects want something of value. You must have a compelling call to action that presents the prospect with something that’s actually interesting or useful to them. That is your carrot to get them on the phone.
If you just say something vague like, “Hey, I’d love to hop on a call with you to learn more about your business,” your potential customers are going to say no. They don’t want to hop on the phone to teach some salesperson about their business. They want something of value.
18. Stop only when they say no.
This is important. When potential customers actually say no, or tell you to go away, then you should always respect that, particularly if it’s by written word. It’s all over at that point.
But if you simply don’t hear back from them, if you don’t connect with them, if you don’t get a call back, then keep going. Most salespeople, the data shows, give up way too early on prospects. So only stop when they say no.
19. Track all of your outreach.
When you send an email, are you tracking the open rate and the reply rate of your outreach? When you make a call, are you tracking exactly when someone answers? Are you tracking all that information?
What’s amazing is that most modern-day systems can track sales lead generation data without any effort on your part. Be sure to track all of your outreach, so that way you can see what’s working and what’s not.
20. Map out your entire lead generating process.
This idea pulls everything together into a strong sales lead generation process.
Most salespeople are very haphazard about how they prospect. Even if they’re using multiple channels to reach out to prospects, they’re likely to do their outreach in an impromptu, unplanned way. Instead, you should map out the entire process from end to end, creating what’s called a prospecting blueprint.
Your prospecting blueprint enables you to know exactly what you should be doing, on what day, at what time, with which prospect. The more organized you are about your sales pipeline, the more likely you are to become systematic about your outreach and ultimately generate far more leads.
Even More Keys to Abundant Sales Lead Generation…
Let me ask you a question: Do you want more sales leads flowing into your sales pipeline?
If you didn’t scream “Heck yes!” to that question, then stop reading this right now. Go run to your nearest 5-star steakhouse and celebrate your awesome life—because apparently you’ve got it all figured out.
But for the vast majority of salespeople, more sales leads are crucial.
We’re always looking for new ways to generate high quality leads, because we always need more of them. Most of us have been taught that we need to make hundreds of cold calls every day to generate sales leads.
I’m here to tell you that’s just not true.
The best way to generate sales leads is to have tons of oars in the water, using multiple effective lead generation strategies at the same time.
In this video, I’m going to show you 15 ways to generate sales leads—and tons of ‘em. Check it out:
21. Don’t ever settle for just one lead source.
This is one of the biggest mistakes salespeople make with generating sales leads. When salespeople only have one source of leads—whether it’s through a marketing source or cold calls—they immediately become vulnerable. If that one lead source ever dries up, they’re screwed.
Never, ever settle for just one lead source. I recommend having between three and five highly reliable lead sources that are slowly and consistently bringing sales leads into your pipeline. This has a multiplicative effect on your book of business. Even if you only get a couple of leads a month from each source, it really adds up.
22. Use prospecting campaigns.
The old-school mindset about prospecting was that salespeople basically need to make a ton of cold calls, and then sales leads would come rushing in. Instead, salespeople today need to be using prospecting campaigns. These campaigns include a number of different steps that each and every prospect is taken through. It’s a more nuanced process of trying to connect with prospects slowly over time, instead of just picking up the phone and calling them out of the blue.
The key here is to reach out to prospects in a number of different ways, which we’ll talk about in the rest of this article. You want to be thinking: How can I reach or touch this prospect in as many ways as possible over the course of the next few months? That way, when you finally do pick up the phone to call them, prospects will actually know who you are.
23. Share valuable content.
The traditional mindset on selling was that buyers had all of the value. They were the ones with the money and the salesperson was just trying to get it. But we need to change that mindset if we want to get more sales leads today. The modern mindset on selling is that salespeople have a lot of value, too. In particular, they have valuable insight and valuable content to share.
Our companies can easily create content that can be useful to our prospects and buyers. This isn’t content that they buy. It’s content that we salespeople give away for free. Maybe it’s an ebook or a series of white papers. Maybe it’s a bunch of case studies. Whatever it is, valuable content can help you slowly establish strong relationships with key prospects and buyers—before they even get on the phone with you. This is one of the most effective ways to slowly but surely start to build relationships with prospects.
Remember, most buyers are completing at least 50% of their buying process before they even talk to a salesperson. So we’ve got to find ways to give them value and insight along the way that makes them want to connect with us.
24. Use scripted prospecting calls.
Many salespeople get uncomfortable with the idea of scripted calls because they think, “Well, if I’m going to follow a script then I’m going to sound scripted.” As a result, when they actually get a prospect on the phone, they kind of meander. They’re unlikely to be effective when they’re doing that. Instead, salespeople today need to use scripted prospecting calls if they want to generate more sales leads.
The point is to know exactly what you’re going to say when you get on the phone with a prospect. You shouldn’t have to wing it. You shouldn’t be making it up as you go along, or wondering what to say next. Script it out. Take 10 minutes right now to write out what you want to say on your prospecting calls. At the very least, write out some bullet points to follow. I do this with every single one of my clients to make sure that they have an exact script to follow when they’re talking to prospects.
Next, you need to practice so you don’t sound scripted. Practice a few times and make sure that you sound natural. This script will be an incredibly powerful tool in your quest to generate more sales leads.
25. Use voicemails to follow up.
There’s a lot of controversy around the effectiveness of voicemails these days. But one of the reasons that we need to have multiple oars in the water when it comes to generating sales leads is that we never really know what’s going to work. Voicemails are a must. They’re still a great way to get on prospects’ radar.
I’m not suggesting you leave a voicemail every time you call a prospect. But voicemail should be something you use to follow up after sending a package, sending an email, or reaching out with some valuable content in another way. Script out your voicemails so you’re never “um-ing” and “ah-ing” through your message.
26. Use email sequences.
Email sequences are incredibly effective for generating sales leads, especially for salespeople who are selling to a large pool of prospective clients. An email sequence is basically a pre-planned sequence of automated emails that go out to the prospect. When I say “automated” I don’t mean you’re using Constant Contact or an HTML email service. I’m talking about automating these emails from your personal account or your work email so it seems like a direct email from you to the prospect—except it’s actually automated.
There are many systems out there that can do this. Many CRM systems can already automate email sequences in this way. Whatever tool you use, come up with a sequence of four to five emails to send over the course of a couple of weeks to each prospect. Make sure the emails sound personal and reference specific information about each prospect, such as their company name or position.
If you’ve got a big universe of potential prospects, this can be tremendously effective because it’s automating a lot of that tough work. Just make sure that your list is good, that the emails are right, that you have the right names, that you have their company name spelled properly. But other than that, you just upload it into the system and pump out emails.
27. Send LinkedIn messages.
Social media is often over-hyped in terms of its effectiveness with sales leads. But LinkedIn is actually an amazing tool for salespeople. If you’re not using LinkedIn messages to get through to those tough-to-reach prospects, then you’re missing out. LinkedIn is typically connected to a person’s personal email. So if you’re sending LinkedIn messages that are intentional, thoughtful, and reference specifics to those high-level prospects, you’re much more likely to get through and get your message read.
Send LinkedIn messages. It can be through the network’s sponsored email platform or, if the prospects are in your network, then you can just directly connect with them and send them a message. Either way, use LinkedIn in a manner that’s personalized, intentional, and concise.
28. Send FedEx packages.
FedEx is one example, but you could also use UPS or another delivery service. There’s something really powerful about sending a package to your high-level prospects. FedEx and UPS packages get opened. It’s as simple as that. People actually open them because they’re not going to just throw them out. Even the CEO of a big company is likely to open a FedEx package. Maybe it has a book in it, or something else of value. Send something they can use or get ideas from. Then follow up with calls using your prospecting campaign.
29. Ask for introductions.
The data shows that top performers are asking for way more introductions and referrals than average and bottom performers. I use the term introductions because I think the term referrals is often confusing and unclear. An introduction is very clear. I’m asking you to introduce me to someone just like yourself who I might be able to help.
If you want to know how to generate more sales leads, you need to be asking for introductions all the time. Ask every single person that you’re in front of. Get as many introductions as you possibly can. And by the way, there’s no downside to asking for introductions. So be that top performer and ask every single person you’re in front of for those introductions. Get them to connect you with other people.
30. Become a speaker.
Salespeople always tell me, “Oh, Marc, I can’t be a speaker. I’m not great at speaking in public. Anyway, what would I even talk about?” I’ll tell you: You’re an expert in solving the problems that your prospects face. That’s what you would talk about. It’s time to become a presenter to generate sales leads. Go to industry events or host private events where you speak. You’re not just giving a sales pitch. Rather, you’re giving valuable insight into the industry and marketplace. At the end, you can set up meetings as a result of that speech. Becoming a speaker is a high-level concept and a lot of salespeople won’t do it. But if you have the guts, if you have the confidence, then you’re going to be so much more successful.
31. Do targeted networking.
Many salespeople use networking as a way to get in front of prospects. But what most salespeople miss is that networking must be targeted in order to be truly effective. Be highly intentional about where you’re networking and what your goal is when you’re actually networking.
There are two forms of networking. There’s networking with your prospects at trade associations or similar groups where your prospects are members. Then, there’s networking in groups within your own industry where you might be able to connect with people who could possibly connect you to other folks. That’s good, but not as good as targeted networking where your prospects are. This is why you should really be specific and intentional about networking.
32. Publish articles.
A lot of salespeople tell me, “I don’t have time to write an article!” Fine. Then hire a writer who will actually write it for you—but you give the writer your ideas to use. Now that you’ve got these articles, you’re an author. Share the articles with your prospects. Articles don’t feel salesy. They’re not like a brochure. Articles have useful information. They have insight. And they’re something that your prospects are actually looking forward to reading. If you publish articles and then share them, you’ll get on prospects’ radar that much more effectively.
33. Host private events.
Host private events where you invite your prospects and your top clients to come. Make it an exclusive event at a venue that seems important, like the Ritz or a University Club. Bring everyone together and give them valuable content at the event. You might speak yourself, or you might invite an outside speaker to keynote the event. You’ll be amazed by how many people really want to come to something if it feels exclusive and valuable.
34. Sell deeper.
What about the business that you already have? Are you spending enough time digging into your clients’ world? Understanding how you could be better at helping them? Sell deeper to your existing clients. A lot of salespeople close a sale and then immediately say “OK, I’ve got to close the next prospect.” Don’t do that. Don’t overlook your existing clients. They’re already there. They already like you. They already know you. How can you sell more deeply to those folks?
35. Partner up.
Identify other organizations that sell to the same types of prospects that you do, but aren’t your competitors. Partner up with them. Identify people that could recommend you to prospective clients, and you could do the same for them. Partner up with them. Create mutually beneficial relationships that can help you generate more sales leads while helping others do the same.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.