Why is lead generation important?

Lead generation – or more simply, lead gen –  is vital for continued business growth. Generally speaking, you can count on the 80/20 rule where 80% of your revenues come from 20% of your accounts or products, which means the difference needs to be made up of new accounts.1, 2  Lead gen activities – such as direct mail, email campaigns, events, advertising, etc. – create opportunities to pitch your product or service to prospects (those who have not yet purchased your product) or customers.  When prospects respond to your pitch, that’s when you capture their contact information and try to learn more about their interest level.

Start with the basics

  • Set objectives.  Are you looking to increase sales, ensure attendance at an event, improve customer loyalty, increase awareness for your business, or another aspiration?
  • Define who your target audience is by revisiting your customer profile and evaluate whether B2B or B2C marketing techniques and messaging are appropriate.
  • Determine the best way to reach your target audience by revisiting their customer touch points.
  • Develop a lead gen program by:
    • Following best practices  – put your best foot forward, ensure proper planning time, obtain qualified leads, track results, ensure leads are passed to appropriate parties for follow-up.
    • Using a combination of in and outbound marketing techniques such as seo, social media or direct mail and email campaigns to extend your reach.

A well designed program will…

  •  Build your sales funnel with qualified leads.
  •  Shorten the sales cycle by helping to determine next step with the prospect and what their purchasing time horizon is.
  •  Raise awareness for your offerings. If your specific offering isn’t of interest, your prospect may know others who are better suited and can forward your information on if appropriate.


  • To shorten your sales cycle, focus your sales effort on those who are:
    • Interested in your offering
    • Have the financial means and ability to purchase your product.
  • For those who fit your customer profile, but their interest is undefined, include them in a nurture campaign.  Nurturing these leads may be your ticket to winning their business in the mid-to-long run.  Your nurture campaign should take into account where the prospect is in the customer buying cycle and provide appropriate messaging to encourage a sale.
* Time frame depends upon product/service, costs, and urgency of need.
1 “Pareto principle, ” Wikipedia.com, accessed March 9, 2023, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle.
2 Jon Wittwer, “Pareto Chart Template,” Vertex42 LLC, last modified May 18, 2009, http://www.vertex42.com/ExcelTemplates/pareto-chart.html.

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