This article helps you learn all the essential insights and details you should know about lead generation in a short while. What lead generation is, how to improve lead generation, its tactics and strategies, and many other detailed concepts are gathered on this page. Could you make the most of them?

What Do We Mean by Lead?

Simply put, they are the potential buyers and customers who have shown interest in our products or services. They haven’t made any purchases yet, but they may buy our products or services in the near future.

What Do We Mean by Lead?

The following words all have the same meaning:

  • Leads
  • Prospects
  • Potential buyers

Leads, prospects, or potential buyers are the first steps in our sales journey. They show the starting point of building relationships towards making a purchase decision.

Digital marketers, sales representatives, and B2B and B2C companies are always in search of new qualified leads for their products/services. They use various techniques and strategies to find leads in bulk. These may include content marketing, social media advertising, SEO, etc., which will be discussed in the next sections.

Leads, prospects, or potential buyers are the first steps in our sales journey

Now, the question arises: What exactly are qualified leads that marketing teams are in search of? Why is finding qualified leads important? The next parts will elaborate on these topics.

Qualified Leads vs. Unqualified Leads

Qualified leads are individuals or companies meeting specific criteria that make them more likely to become customers. Qualified leads have more potential to be converted into real customers and buyers.

Unqualified leads lack the characteristics or criteria that align with the ideal customer profile. Unqualified leads have less potential to be converted into customers.

For example, imagine you have two lists of leads. The first one contains data on the leads, who are all importers of fruits. The second list contains data on leads who are all importers of beverages.

If I want to export fruits, the first list contains qualified leads for me because they are all active in the same industry. The second list is unqualified for my needs as they are active in another sector.

If in the future, I decide to export beverages, then the second list of leads will be practical for me.

How Many Types of Leads Do We Have?

Understanding the different types of leads can ensure that your efforts are targeted. Let’s explore four primary types of leads and how they fit into the sales pipeline:

How Many Types of Leads Do We Have?
  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL): The individuals and leads that are engaged with your marketing efforts. However, they are not completely ready to purchase a product or service.
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL): These contacts or leads are ready to buy our products or services as they have shown their interest in our products/ services.
  • Product Qualified Lead (PQL): These contacts have used free trial products/services. They tested your free offers and now they are ready to purchase from you.
  • Service Qualified Lead: The individuals or leads who tell the service and sales team that they’re interested in buying your products/services.

In addition to the above classification, we can classify in another way: Cold, warm, and hot leads.

  • Cold Leads: These include leads that are ideal for your company. They are based on your customer profile but do not interact with your company yet.
  • Warm Leads: These include the leads that didn’t show any interest in your products/services but are aware of your business and products.
  • Hot Leads: These include the leads that are highly interested in your products or services.

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation, also known as B2B sales prospecting, is the process of finding new leads for our products or services.

In lead generation, we only find potential customers. Converting those potential buyers to actual customers is not in the scope of lead generation.

The process of converting those leads to real customers is known as sales conversion. After the lead is converted to a real customer, a purchase has occurred. Then, we should keep and retain this customer. The process of keeping those customers is customer retention.

We can use various techniques and strategies to discover new leads. Some of these techniques include manual methods of lead generation. Others are top lead generation marketing tools and strategies. The rest of the article will elaborate on both of them in detail.

Why Does Lead Generation Matter?

The ability to find qualified leads is more important than any time before. Let’s explain this issue with some examples:

  • Example 1: Imagine you have many irrelevant leads in your CRM. You send emails to them, but they do not open the emails, or if they open, they do not respond to your email because they are not interested in your offer. They are irrelevant! Then, what will be the result of your email campaign?
  • Example 2: Consider you have hundreds of phone numbers related to irrelevant leads. You start calling them, and after a long time, you see that you are just paying for the calls with no results! These leads are irrelevant and do not show any interest in your products!
  • Example 3: Imagine you have one thousand emails of leads, half of which are wrong and invalid. You send offers to their emails. Not only you do not receive a response from most of them, but your email deliverability and sender score also decrease significantly.

As you can see in the examples, any irrelevant leads or any wrong contacts of leads can cause severe problems and limitations for us.

The Lead Generation Process

Now that we have learned what lead generation is and why it is important, it’s time to learn what the steps of lead generation are:

  1. First of all, the visitor finds your business by visiting your website or social media channels like Instagram or Facebook.
  2. The visitor clicks on Call-to-Action that you put in your website or social media content.
  3. The CTA sends the visitor to a landing page (like the sign-up page) where you get the data of the visitor, like name and email.

As you read above, CTAs in social media posts and website posts are a direct method of collecting the details and contacts of leads.

The Lead Generation Funnel

The lead generation funnel, also known as the sales funnel, includes the steps that a customer passes before purchasing. Let’s read what these steps are:

The customer becomes aware of your brand's products or services via various methods

Awareness

The customer becomes aware of your brand’s products or services via various methods. They may see your advertisements on TV or radio, visit your Google or social media ads, find your name on billboards, or simply hear your name from others.

Interest

As soon as the leads hear about your brand, they may become interested in it or simply ignore you. They may engage with your content, visit your website or social media, or sign up for a webinar or event.

Consideration

Consideration

In this step, leads think more about your products or services, and they may even compare you with your competitors. They may ask questions from you for more details or read reviews.

Intent

Leads become serious about buying your products or services. They may ask for prices and discounts. They may start negotiations with the sales and marketing teams.

Purchase

Purchase

Finally, they reach the final step of the lead generation funnel. They purchase your products or services and finalize their purchase.

After the leads purchase from you, they are no longer known as leads! They are converted to customers. Afterward, you will enter the cycle of customer retention. Whatever you do to retain and keep your customers is known as customer retention.

Lead Generation vs. Lead Conversion, Management, and Prospecting

In this section, we are going to read more about lead management and lead conversion and what their differences are from lead generation.

Lead Generation vs. Lead Management

Lead generation is the process of finding leads, and once a lead is found, the process of lead management starts.

Lead Generation vs. Lead Management

For instance, you use an automatic tool to find 100 new leads. Lead generation is done. Then, you should manage these leads, which means lead management. By managing, we mean finding their contacts, organizing their data, segmenting them based on infographics, etc.

Lead Generation vs. Lead Conversion

Lead generation is finding leads from various sources, but lead conversion is converting a lead to a real customer.

Lead Generation vs. Lead Conversion

For instance, you can find 100 leads on the web. The lead generation is completed. Then, you send offers to them via email. 2o of them buy your services after receiving the email. Here, 20 leads are converted to real customers, and we call it lead conversion.

Lead Generation Vs. Prospecting

Lead generation is a broader concept of finding anyone interested in our products or services. What is sales prospecting? Prospecting is a subset of lead generation. It includes finding leads who closely match our ideal customer.

Lead Generation Vs. Prospecting

You can learn more relevant concepts and also lead generation metrics and KPIs via this ARTICLE.

What Is a Lead Generation Specialist?

In simple words, a lead generation specialist is a person who finds leads for products or services of companies. In other words, the lead generation specialist is responsible for finding new leads with their contacts and details in bulk.

What Is a Lead Generation Specialist?

Not only finding new leads is the duty of lead generation specialists, but also finding their contacts and accurate data is one part of their responsibilities.

But how does a lead generation specialist find leads? They can use various lead generation tools in digital marketing, or they may use other manual tactics and methods, which are mentioned below.

How to Generate Qualified Leads?

Finding qualified leads can be done using various techniques and strategies, some of which are manual and others automatic.

Valuable Content

One of the ways that leads to prospect discovery is producing valuable content and publishing it on your website and social media. Blog posts, eBooks, webinars, case studies, and videos are some of the content that you can produce and share.

You can add Call to Action links at the end of these articles and content to send them to a landing page. And then, on this landing page, you can get the contacts of the readers. The data you get in this way is reliable and real.

  • Pros: By consistently producing valuable content, you show your expertise and build trust.
  • Cons: Creating high-quality content takes time and money, and it doesn’t guarantee that all the leads will be converted.

SEO

Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of promoting your website to get more visits. By optimizing your technical, off-page, and on-page SEO, more leads may find your website on the web and enter your website. Then, you should encourage them to sign up to get their contact information and details.

  • Pros: It increases organic website traffic, which has a crucial effect on the long-term performance of your website.
  • Cons: SEO is an ever-changing technology that needs lots of time and effort.

Social Media

You should have a strong presence on social media channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc. By sharing valuable content on these social media, you can capture the attention of leads and discover more leads. Use Call-to Action buttons to encourage them to proceed further.

  • Pros: Social media can play a significant role in brand awareness and they are available at no cost.
  • Cons: Competition in social media is so severe. It would be difficult to attract the customer’s attention.

Email Prospecting

You can find new leads by email marketing lead generation campaigns. Your email can have one of the following subjects:

Email Prospecting

Via the Call to Action button at the end of your email, you can invite them to visit a landing page. For instance, you can send them to the signup page of your website to take action. In this way, you can collect the leads’ data.

  • Pros: Email marketing is affordable, fast, and simple.
  • Cons: Writing compelling content requires creativity. Compliance with privacy regulations is essential.

Free Trials

One of the useful methods is to send product trials or offer service trials to the leads to attract and convert them. In this way, you build trust and confidence in the products. If they start the free trial of your service, they sign up, and you get their emails and names.

  • Pros: By free trials, the lead experiences your products/services. They can decide whether to buy your product/ service or not.
  • Cons: There are some risks that the lead doesn’t like the tested products/ services. Then, you will lose the lead.

Community

Make groups in social media and messengers to engage with your audience and capture the attention of the users. For instance, you can open a group about your products on WhatsApp and share your product offers, updates, and discounts there.

  • Pros: They are a direct and interactive method to engage leads at no cost.
  • Cons: You need lots of effort and time to manage these groups. They may not yield immediate results.

Webinar

You can host webinars and events to engage with leads. In these events, you can get the participants’ contact information and complete your database with the leads’ data.

  • Pros: You can easily build trust and attract leads by sharing valuable content on these events.
  • Cons: Hosting webinars and events takes a lot of time. Any invaluable content will be risky and will not attract leads.

However, the next part helps you find easier ways to generate leads. Lead generation best tools are introduced in the next section. Retain them if you like to save money, energy, and time.

Automatic Lead Generation – The One We Cannot Ignore

CUFinder is an automatic and effective lead generation system and business data enrichment service. It has a prospect engine for lead generation and an enrichment engine for enriching CRMs.

The prospect engine of CUFinder is designed exclusively for finding qualified, targeted, and relevant leads in bulk and in no time. CUFinder prospect engine has two main tools for lead generation:

  • Company Search: It finds the list of relevant and targeted companies based on the selected search attributes in bulk and real time.
  • Contact Search: It finds the list of relevant and targeted individuals based on selected search parameters in bulk and real time.

The first tool is ideal for finding companies of all sizes and types. The second one is ideal for finding business decision makers in a company for prospecting.

Why do we recommend using CUFinder for lead generation?

  • CUFinder data accuracy exceeds 98%
  • It discovers leads in large quantities
  • CUFinder works in real time
  • It has data from over 265 million companies
  • It updates its database every month
  • It offers free trials, which are repeated every month
  • CUFinder has transparent pricing plans

It is worth mentioning that in addition to the prospect engine, which is ideal for lead discovery, CUFinder also has an enrichment engine. This engine is used to enrich the data of your CRMs and customer lists in no time.

It has over 30 tools for CRM enrichment, such as email finder, phone finder, domain extractor, social media finder, email verifier, and more. For instance, its email verifier gets the list of emails from the user and checks them one by one to find inaccurate emails.

Finally, it’s time to introduce the CUFinder academic engine. It can find academic leads for the user in bulk. You need to select search criteria, and then CUFinder finds the relevant academic professors in the shortest possible time.

Moreover, CUFinder has a LinkedIn Chrome Extension for extracting the contacts and data of leads directly from their pages. This LinkedIn lead generation tool works fast and simply with just one click.

CUFinder has solutions for finding all types of leads and prospects. With its prospect engine, you can find potential customers. Its academic engine finds academic leads, and its enrichment engine completes and updates the data on these leads. What else do you need? All are here!

What Lead Generation Technologies Should You Use in 2024?

In addition to CUFinder, there are many lead generation tools for sales designed for prospecting and marketing processes.

Here, we are going to introduce four of the best lead generation tools and B2B software.

Lead Generation Tools Examples:

1. ZoomInfo

Established in 2007 in the US, ZoomInfo is one the best AI lead generation tools for business growth. It can find targeted leads based on the user’s needs in bulk and real time.

In addition to lead generation, it can be used to simplify the marketing and recruitment process. It can be seamlessly integrated with CRMs.

2. Cognism

Established in 2015 in the UK, Cognism is one of the best lead generation tools on the market. It is used to identify target leads in bulk. Moreover, it can be used for CRM real time enrichment.

It is equipped with CRM integrations, APIs, and Chrome Extension.

3. Apollo

Established in 2025 in the US, Apollo is a powerful lead generation service that helps you prospect and enriches your CRMs in real time. It has simplified the process of company and contact search.

Apollo supports CRM integrations, APIs, and Chrome Extensions.

The services introduced on this page are the most popular lead generation tools chosen by investigating the lead generation tool’s reviews and ratings on G2 and Capterra.

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