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- Sales prospecting 101
- What are sales leads?
- What is a sales qualified lead (SQL) and why is it important?
- Lead funnel definition, stages, and strategy
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- Lead vs. prospect vs. sales opportunity
5 customer-centric sales lead generators
To turn leads into customers, you need to provide value and create a relationships. These sales lead generators can help.
By Josh Bean, Director, Marketing
Last updated June 15, 2023
When considering strategies for lead generation, there are many tried-and-true tactics that are both direct and effective. Using lead generation programs is a popular solution, for example. And that strategy differs from using, say, b2b prospecting tools.
But think about this — the overall goal with lead generation is to eventually turn leads into customers by providing value and creating a relationship. This means that you have the opportunity to use more customer-centric sales lead generators.
In a world where customers now expect and demand an amazing customer experience, these methods can also potentially produce better quality leads as they are generated via relationship-focused tactics.
Below are five sales lead generators focused on the customer relationship to help you think outside the box.
Customer-centric sales lead generators
1. Solve potential customers’ problems on Quora
Quora has 100 million users that take to the platform daily to seek advice, ask questions, and look for resources to help with their problems within a specific industry.
For this reason, it’s an excellent sales lead generator to utilize. You can establish yourself as a thought leader and offer credible solutions to specific problems based on your experience. This builds trust with the potential client and exposes your business. You can then turn this relationship into a lead.
Maybe your business offers a content marketing tool. You type in “using content for business” to see what people are searching for based on the topic.
Click on specific questions. If you can confidently respond and offer a solution to a particular question, do so. Here’s an excellent example of a response:
You gain more exposure if people “upvote” or boost your answer (send the answer link to colleagues and ask them to upvote).
As with all social media, make sure you have a strategy in place before posting all over Quora. People can click on your profile to follow you. Your profile, therefore, needs to establish your authority in the industry through your credentials and highlights.
Also follow relevant topics (simply type the topic in the search bar and click follow on the drop-down menu). Be sure to track your analytics in your Quora dashboard to see your interactions and upvotes. To take the relationship a step further, contact your followers via direct message or post a public question to lead to discussing your product/service.
Quora is all about engaging with potential customers, not pushing a hard sell. Be authentic and seek to genuinely help people. Your goal is to create an amazing customer experience even before the lead is a customer.
2. Create videos with a built-in lead generation form
Video is a powerful tool to break down complex subjects and build trust with your audience. It’s also an effective sales lead generator.
According to video software company Wistia, “across 250,000+ Wistia accounts, we found that videos with forms in them convert at 16%. That means for every 100 video plays, the video generates 16 new leads.” Wistia also found that videos with a form within the first 20% of the video received a 43% conversion rate.
Informational and educational top-of-the-funnel videos help generate a large quantity of leads. This might be something like a video on “3 Sales Strategies for SMBs,” or “6 Content Marketing Ideas for Insurtech Companies.”
Middle-of-the-funnel to bottom-of-the-funnel content in videos allow you to target more specific audience segments / visitors with greater intent to purchase. These can be things like product videos, feature tutorials, and testimonials. For example, Slack created a combination of a product/testimonial video. It helps potential customers learn more about their product and how it works for other customers.
One of the best practices for capturing leads is to include a lead form asking for contact info directly within the video.
Add your lead generation form either at the beginning of the video as a requirement to watch (best for longer videos such as webinars) or insert at a cliffhanger note so the viewer wants to enter his or her email to learn more. This tactic should be reserved for middle-of-the-funnel content as it’s aimed at more committed viewers. The info presented should also be worth the contact info.
Diversify the channels where you post your videos such as on your company YouTube channel, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Go where your leads are to get their attention and get them through your lead generation form.
3. Generate leads from support ticket conversations
What if you’re looking in the wrong place for new leads?
Your customer support team is constantly on the phone, sending emails, or messaging on live chat with current and potential customers. They understand exactly what customers want, as well as what type of questions they are asking.
This is a unique opportunity to utilize customer support conversations as sales lead generators, bridge the gap between sales and customer service and keep important leads from falling through the cracks.
Let’s say that a customer support rep receives an email from a potential customer who has specific questions about a purchasing plan. The support rep is unsure about who the sales contact would be and fails to forward the email— a lost sales opportunity.
With Zendesk Sell, support can notify sales when there’s a lead or sales opportunity that arises during a conversation in Zendesk Support, intelligently creating the right action item for the right salesperson in Zendesk Sell. You then receive all leads qualified by a productive conversation with your support team. We like to refer to leads created for you in Zendesk as ZQL rather than the traditional MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead).
Customer support reps are given more context from the sales process with this integration and are able to easily notify sales reps about sales opportunities. Support tickets are also directly accessible by the sales team so they can see every conversation with a customer across the company.
4. Offer leads a helpful email course
According to marketing consultant Frank Kern, “The best way to convince someone you can help them is actually to help them.” By offering an email course, you are giving potential customers a free education on a specific topic. These courses are great sales lead generators because they offer unique value and prove that you are an expert in your industry.
An email course is a group of lessons sent via email over a period of time. You can include a call-to-action at the end of the course to encourage readers to sign up for your product/service. The length of the course really depends on your company marketing tactics and what makes sense on a strategic level.
To determine what kind of content you’ll produce, first pinpoint the pain points for your ideal customer. For example, if your company offers an SEO tool, find problems that your buyer personas might struggle with such as backlinking or creating quality content. Look on forums, social media; use keyword planners; talk to customer support, etc. to identify these issues.
After that, make a list of ideas of how you can provide a solution. What are the steps you can offer to help your audience solve their problems?
For example, social media management platform Buffer found that not having a social media strategy was a problem for their customers. The company thus created a course titled “25 Expert Social Media Growth Strategies.”
Generating content for an email course does not have to be difficult. If you have a company blog, you likely have material that you can turn into a course. Or if you’ve answered certain questions on social media, you could structure and incorporate answers into the course. Get creative, such as offering a special checklist or template to readers.
Content should be easy to digest and actionable. Your email course structure could look something like this:
- Confirmation message
- Welcome message
- Company pitch
Use an automated email tool such as MailChimp or Drip to send your course. Create a landing page specifically dedicated to the course and optimize for SEO so people can easily find it (also promote on social media and your website). Check your analytics regularly such as the conversion rate with your CTA. You may need to experiment with A/B testing before getting your email course strategy right.
5. Interact with potential customers on LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn has a massive user base at 562 million users. There are also over 1.7 million LinkedIn groups on the platform and you can join up to 100 groups. The opportunity to engage with hundreds of potential customers makes LinkedIn a prime sales lead generator.
All groups are based on specific topics and industries such as finance or retail. People interested in those topics can join as members.
To get started with LinkedIn groups, go to the search bar and type in a key term for your business. Maybe your company is involved with sales technology. Type “sales tech” in the search bar and then use the drop-down menu in the upper left corner to sort the results by “Groups.” As you can see in the example below, there are a variety of groups you join.
Another way to find groups relevant to your company is to see what groups your colleagues or current customers are a part of. Before joining a group (some are set to private), read the group’s rules and the “About Group” section as there are a few factors you need to consider:
- Are there enough members?
- Do members match my buyer personas?
- Is the group aligned with my company’s value proposition?
- What are the motivations of the members?
If you think that the group is relevant to your company, ask to join. You also have the option to create up to 20 groups of your own. This requires more work on the front end, but does give you the opportunity to have people come to you.
Once you are a member of several groups, use them as a tool to comment, answer questions, and share helpful resources such as ebooks or videos from your company blog. Engage on a regular basis. We suggest setting aside regular times on your calendar during the week to interact with specific groups.
Just remember, as with Quora, you’re not on LinkedIn to close deals, but to engage. Don’t become a spammer on a group. You need to offer real value and relevant material for members to trust you. Once you have established a relationship with certain members, send a private message to offer valuable content and eventually lead into your product/service.
Use a combination of sales lead generators
Choose a combination of sales lead generators so each complements the other. Maybe you decide to create an email course around a certain conversation you had in Quora or to post your videos on a particular LinkedIn Group. What you decide to do will depend on your company’s goals and audience. The overarching theme here is that you need to add value to the potential customer’s life to help with quality lead generation.
Whether you desire to support your marketing team or don’t have a marketing team at all, think outside the box with these 5 customer-centric sales lead generators that’ll keep your lead software and lead scoring system busy.
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