Lead Generation 101: The Basics You Need To Know


In today’s economy, generating leads is an essential part of any business’ sales and marketing strategy.

It’s one of the best ways to help a company attract new followers and grow its market. What’s more? A Lead Generator is an entry-level position that can be a great starting point for students and grads aiming to work in the Sales and Marketing industry. It provides you with the skills to understand what interests certain target markets, and how to use that knowledge to your advantage.

Sound intriguing? Before you apply for a position, make sure you understand these essential facts!

What is a Lead?

A lead is someone who has shown interest in your company’s product or service. They’re the type of people who are most likely to become a new follower, customer or client, and the ones you should target with your Marketing efforts. Lead generation, therefore, refers to ways of attracting new leads. Simply put, it may involve creating content, hosting events, forming a presence on social media, networking at industry events and other relevant activities that generate interest in the company.

Why Do Companies Need to Generate Leads?

First and foremost, a company should always be looking to expand their client and customer base, and leads are the most likely candidates for that. They’re already interested in your product or service – you just need to give them a little push, and you’ve got a new fan!
Furthermore, compared to customer relationships that you initiate through Sales outreach, leads tend to generate more organic interest since it’s the potential consumer who shows interest first. More leads means your marketing strategy is working, and your name is spreading through industry content, word-of-mouth, and other direct or indirect methods.

How Can You Generate Leads?

Email newsletters are perfect for generating leads because people have to opt in for it. This way, you can send curated industry content to an audience who you know is interested, and your emails are less likely to end up in someone’s spam folder.

Webinars give you the chance to put a face to your company, foster customer relationships, and help leads become more familiar with your brand. Plus, if you market the event well, you could generate a lot of buzz, and that in and of itself can generate leads – and that’s even before the event takes place!
Twitter is a terrific lead generating platform. Just by interacting with industry influencers, such as following them, liking their tweets, and retweeting their content, you can attract their followers’ interest. Also, if you establish yourselves as a company that provides up-to-date news, industry developments or best practices, your target audience will naturally follow you.

A Typical Day

As a Lead Generator, you’ll likely spend a lot of time contacting leads through the phone or by email and informing them about events, news, and other relevant information. In fact, on some days, this might be all you do.

Also, as the title implies, one of your biggest responsibilities is to generate new leads. For this, you’ll need to be on social media platforms or creating attention-grabbing content. However, rather than promoting your brand directly, you want to promote your industry and get people interested in your product or service as a result.

For some Lead Generator positions, you may even need to make cold calls, which are calls to people who haven’t shown interest in the company, to try to gain new leads. It’s not always the most exciting task, but it can go a long way in driving new business if you keep at it.

Once you have enough data from these tasks, you’ll need to analyze the information to find trends, such as which methods generated the most leads, what product or service were most leads interested in, and how the company can attract even more leads in the future. Depending on what your manager requests, you will make daily, weekly, or monthly reports on lead generation statistics.

Moreover, lead generation methods are always evolving. You’re expected to be on top of recent news and to research the latest strategies since you want to be ahead of the game at all times.

Tip: Does this seem like an interesting job you’d enjoy? Start looking into common lead generator positions, such as Inside Sales Representative, Lead Generation Specialist, and Business Development Associate.

Do You Need a Business Background?

Lead generation is a major part of any business nowadays, but no, you don’t actually need a Business degree. In fact, many job postings for Lead Generator positions don’t require any specific educational backgrounds. You can be a Finance major, a Sociology major, or even an Economics major to apply for this position – if you have the skills, you can do the job.

That said, here are some qualities you should have:

  • Entrepreneurial Attitude: An entrepreneurial attitude means that you can masterfully balance opportunity and risk. You know when you’ve got an amazing strategy on your hands, but you also know how to recognize when an idea is too risky to implement.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills are very important for a job like this. It helps you understand what attracts people better, which in turn, allows you to generate more leads. Being able to connect with the feelings of your target market is a huge advantage in this line of work.
  • See the Big Picture: You need to be a big picture kind of person. Lead generation is all about attracting massive numbers of people to become loyal followers. That means you have to be able to look at past successes and mistakes with a critical eye and plan for the future.

Now that you know more about lead generation, maybe you’ll decide to start your career in this field. If not, this is still valuable information to know when working in any kind of business! Use this knowledge to expand your current role or create a new one. Put lead generation into action and you might end up building a stronger and more fulfilling career for yourself.

Ready to learn more? Check out our Sales and Marketing Career Guide!