Let's find out.....
But what's a Lead in the first place?
Why do we call a lead a 'Lead'?
A Lead is nothing but a set of contact information of a potential customer. It is called a lead because it "leads to a sale". Leads can be just email ID, or with phone numbers or with a whole lot of information. In all cases, this contact info will lead us to a sale. A lead is not required for very small ticket items or commodities. You can't generate leads for people interested in buying chocolate bar and you can't invest your time in trying to call them and convince them to buy. Simple products, low priced items and commodities do not need customer education. The sales cycle is short and people buy on impulse. So there is no lead generation required. Branding and advertising will expand the reach and if there is good market positioning, the sales will happen automatically. However, if you have a product or service that is new in the market, needs customer education, then you need to generate the lead, nurture the lead and convert the lead into a paying customer. A 2kg gold bar, though costing as much as a home, is a commodity. There is no need to convince a customer to buy it. If the customer wants it, he will buy it. There is no customer education needed here. There are no features in it. However an apartment unit is a complex product. A customer needs to evaluate his needs vs. the offering to make a buying decision. Here a support of a sales man is required. A salesman can communicate with the customer only if he has the contact information (the lead). The potential customer is also ok sharing his contact information because he needs more information before making a buying decision. He/she will fill up a lead form in a landing page to get more information online or via a phone call from a sales person. Similarly for automobile sales, especially cars, lead generation and sales cycle is important. In the automobile market, leads are generated with test ride requests. Someone who fills up a form to request a test ride is a potential customer.
Then the lead goes through different stages before becoming a customer.
The stages will be like:
- Test ride requested
- Sales person contacted
- Test ride scheduled
- Test ride done
- All questions answered
- Family convinced with the car
- Financial arrangements done
- The SALE!
When it comes to B2C, lead generation ends with automobiles and home purchases because they are the biggest ticket items a consumer will buy in his/her lifetime. Almost all B2B sales require lead generation as long as they are not commodities. Very complex sales such as SpaceX selling to NASA, or an IT company winning a multimillion contract with a bank, have very long sales cycles and multiple sales people are involved in the sale. It makes sense because the sale price is big enough to justify the time spent by many professionals.
I hope you understood why lead generation is required in the first place. In the next post I will tell you about Lead Scoring and why lead scoring is important.