Lead Generation Guide: Basics of Lead Gen


If you’re in sales and marketing, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about lead generation. Business folks, in general, are probably at least a little familiar with it. Maybe it’s discussed in business conversations you’re apart of or you’ve seen it in sales and marketing materials. But what’s all the fuss about? What’s so important about lead generation? We’re here to break down the basics of what it is, what’s tough about it, why it’s worth it, trends to watch for and how tools can help with it all. 

HubSpot defines lead generation as the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. Lead generators are things like job applications, blog posts, live events, coupons or online content. These types of things {hopefully} create interest and attract potential customers. The goal is to create unique ways to get people, the right people, interested in your business. 

Lead generation sounds simple enough, right? Well, if it were that easy, everyone would do it and do it successfully. We know it’s not that simple, so we put together a few insights into lead generation to help get you started.

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Lead Generation Challenges

Lead generation isn’t without its challenges. Learning what those are and overcoming them can mean the difference between business won or lost. Here are nine B2B lead generation challenges you may face:

Challenge #1: Finding a strategy that works

According to RAIN Group the number one challenge that companies face when it comes to lead generation is finding a strategy or plan that will actually get people’s attention. As mentioned above, if it were easy everyone would do it, but it’s more than just doing it, it needs to be methodical and done in a way that’s effective.

Challenge #2: Getting the right people

Once you’ve figured out a strategy or an offer that will grab people’s attention, you need to make sure your content is in front of not only enough people but the right people. If your business provides a service that’s specific to an area and your lead gen strategies are being shown to people who live 1,000 miles away and will likely never be able to use your service, are they the “right” people? Probably not. Don’t waste the time and money having your content in front of them. Once you’ve identified the right people, you need to make sure there are enough of them exposed to your message. A critical mass of people will likely increase your chances of converting a prospect into a qualified lead, into a customer. 

Challenge #3: Measuring and documenting success

So, you’ve got the right strategy, the right people and enough of them, you’re all done! But wait… how do you know if your efforts were successful? You can’t just throw something at the wall and hope it sticks. Measuring your efforts is important to know if they’re working and if they’re not, it gives you insight into the process and allows you to course-correct if needed. If your strategy is working, great! Write it down. Document it. You can apply your learnings to future strategies and won’t have to reinvent the wheel when that time comes. 

Challenge #4: Responding to inquiries

You got a lead! Now what? Someone filled out a form, downloaded an offer, or responded somehow to an offer or lead gen strategy you have out there, now you can’t just leave them hanging. If you’re going to go through the time and investment of coming up with a strategy, finding the right audience, tracking your efforts, you have to follow through and follow up, appropriately. Make sure you have an infrastructure in place to respond to inquiries in a timely manner, as well as track and manage those leads. Time is of the essence. If you don’t respond quickly enough, you’ll no longer be top of mind and people may have already lost interest when you finally do get around to responding.

Challenge #5: Funding lead gen activities

Maybe none of these sound too challenging to you and you already have really great ideas and strategies, but… who’s going to manage all of this? Where’s the budget coming from for the infrastructure or software that needs to be implemented? How will you fund all of these activities? All valid questions. Lead generation takes consistent time and resources, and those things aren’t usually free. But like most things in life, anything worth doing is worth doing well. This is one of those short term pain for long term gain situations. It might be a more manual process in the beginning. Perhaps you won’t have the budget right away to use lead gen software. Maybe you have to start small, but you at least have to start.

lead generation challenges

Challenge #6: Providing relevant content

“What do I get out of it?” “What’s in it for me?” These are the questions people are asking when they’re looking at your content. You can’t just pump-out self-promoting content week after week. The offers and content you’re putting out there need to be relevant and of value to the reader. Keep that in mind when you’re crafting your message. If you’re only creating offers that are self-serving and your readers aren’t getting anything out it, they’ll stop coming back. 

Challenge #7: Putting a plan in place

Even if everyone agrees on the strategy and plan, it can be a challenge to actually implement it. Having a point person who’s tasked with ensuring the plan is implemented and launched can help ensure things are on track. Set deadlines for yourself and the team to see this thing through to fruition. 

Challenge #8: Staffing the right people

It’s great to have lead gen processes and plans in place, but they’re only as good as the people working on them. Ensuring you or members of the team have the right skills/knowledge when it comes to generating leads, is important. Set your efforts up for success by equipping people with the skills they need to do the job well, hire the right people or partner with someone who can help. 

Challenge #9: Agreeing internally on tactics

You might find that you’re able to come up with several strategies and tactics to undertake but struggle internally to come to an agreement on which one to move forward with. As noted above, there are plenty of challenges to face when it comes to lead generation. Don’t let internal disagreement be one of them! If you need to test several tactics to appease team members, do it. In this case, trying something or a few somethings is better than trying nothing at all. 

Read how to use marketing automation to outsource lead gen.

Benefits of Lead Generation

While lead generation isn’t without its challenges, the benefits easily make up for them. So, what can you expect to get out of your lead generation efforts? While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it definitely showcases some of the main benefits of lead generation: 

Generate Awareness

How well known is your brand? Taking it a step further, how well known is in its target markets? Brand awareness is a measure of that. Lead gen educates and informs your audience about your products or services, which helps generate awareness about you and your brand. 

Benefits of Lead Gen

Increase Sales and Profit Ratio 

Over 55% of B2B marketers spend more than half of their marketing budget on lead generation. Lead generation programs can result in more sales by converting leads into actual customers. The biggest benefit of increasing your leads is increasing sales of your products or services. 

Target Desired Customers 

Lead gen allows you to be more intentional in who you’re targeting and who’s getting your message. You can target your desired customer via a number of channels and by different demographics.  

Benefits both Buyer and Seller 

Your buyer is able to compare and research different products or services, thus increasing their ability to get the best deal and the best quality. As the seller, you’re not left wondering if this potential customer is interested because they’ve already done something that shows some level of interest by downloading an offer or filling out a form. It prevents you from using precious time and resources on people who aren’t in your target audience. 

Important Prospect Information is Collected

From prospect preferences, needs, contact information, you’re able to collect important information you can use to customize the prospect’s journey and personalize their experience. This allows you to tailor your product or service messaging to them and increase your chances of gaining them as a customer. 

Cheaper than other Advertisements 

Lead generation can provide cost and time savings by being more targeted and only connecting with prospects who have shown some sort of interest in your business. Advertising isn’t cheap, but it’s often a necessity for business. That said, you want to be mindful of where your dollars are being spent. It’s important to try and find the most cost-effective strategies that will produce the best results. 

Lead Generation Tools

We’ve covered a lot. From what lead gen is to the challenges it can pose and what the future holds for it. It might seem like a daunting task, especially if you haven’t done it before, but it doesn’t have to be as manual or time-intensive as you might think. There are tools out there to help you with your lead gen efforts. Lead generation software is one of them. It automates the process of attracting leads online and compiling information about them. Most can even integrate with your CRM. Using lead gen software can help generate more leads, close sales faster, eliminate busywork, manage leads, and increase accuracy. 

We’ve covered a lot. From what lead gen is to the challenges it can pose and what the future holds for it. It might seem like a daunting task, especially if you haven’t done it before, but it doesn’t have to be as manual or time-intensive as you might think. There are tools out there to help you with your lead gen efforts. Lead generation software is one of them. It automates the process of attracting leads online and compiling information about them. Most can even integrate with your CRM.

But how can using lead gen software help you and your business? Lead generation software can help you: 


Generate More Leads

A good lead generation software tool will help attract more users to your website. Some tactics include paid search advertising and organic search engine optimization.

Generate Better Leads

One of the biggest challenges that businesses of any size face is generating high-quality leads. With lead gen software, you can target your ideal customers, which will hopefully help reduce the number of unqualified leads coming through. 

Close the Sale Faster

Looking to accelerate your sales process? Lead generation software can help to automate the process of generating, segmenting and following up on leads. This allows sales to focus on selling and create a faster sales process. 

Manage Leads Better

Having “too many leads” is a good problem to have, but the more you have the harder it can be to keep track of them. And following up with those leads at the right time is critical. Utilizing lead gen software can help keep you on track and reduces mistakes. It can alert you when you get new leads, allows you to send automated emails, and can serve as a reminder tool when it’s time to reach out to your leads. 

Increase Accuracy and Reduce Busywork

Leads are people and people change. They change locations, phone numbers, or companies. Keeping track of your leads’ ever-changing information can be quite the chore. Using lead gen software can help, so that your lead information is more accurate and your team doesn’t need to spend as much time inputting data and more time actually out selling. 


Feeling like you have a better understanding of lead gen now? Great! But we’ve only scratched the surface of lead generation and how it can help your business. Stay tuned for the second part of our lead gen series to get a more in-depth look at lead gen tools, techniques, and tips.