A Small Business Guide to Sales Lead Generation


Small businesses are unique in many ways. The lack of limited resources and staff, however, is a uniqueness that you don’t want to face alone. The good news is that whether you’re the only employee or you’ve got a small team, your small business can still manage to succeed with sales lead generation the same way big companies do. 

It all starts with a plan, but first, you’ve got to know how to create a plan that works. Lead generation is a critical part of your business from the very beginning and it will continue to be a concerted effort as long as you’re operational. Fortunately, setting up a good lead generation strategy that can grow with you isn’t that difficult. If you need help, ask how Smith.ai can assist with your outreach campaigns and more.

What is sales lead generation?

Sales lead generation is the process of finding and obtaining leads from various avenues online. Leads, also sometimes called prospects, are those people who have an interest in your company’s products or services. These people don’t just show up, though. You have to go find them. 

Enter the process of lead generation. You’ll need to create a strategy that helps you identify:

  • The lead groups you want to reach
  • How you want to target leads
  • Which marketing avenues you’ll use to launch your campaigns 
  • How you’ll score leads for future use 
  • Where you can convert leads well
  • Which areas may need some updating or improvements 

A good lead generation strategy covers all of this and more. You are essentially attracting people to your business, which can be done through several different marketing efforts:

  • Blogs and website content
  • Social media marketing
  • Landing pages
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Paid advertising (PPC, etc.)
  • Email marketing 
  • And more

The best lead gen strategies are those that include the right type of communication with the prospect based on their needs and their place in the sales funnel. 

A look at the lead generation process 

Some businesses never really see lead generation from the other side. However, it can be a helpful way for you to get a better idea of what to expect with lead gen. It also gives you ways to improve your efforts and helps identify areas where people may need a little more assistance. 

When a lead is generated, this is what happens:

  • A visitor comes across your business through a marketing channel, such as social media or a Google search. 
  • Then, they click on a link that takes them to your website, which is usually known as a call-to-action (CTA). 
  • Once the customer reaches your landing page or website, they will fill out a form to get your emails and now you’ve got a new lead. 

If your lead generation strategies aren’t effective, people aren’t going to be able to follow the process. That means that you won’t get the leads that your small business deserves. 

Why lead generation matters 

Strong relationships are critical to every business. Acquiring new customers is always a bit challenging, but finding the right customers will ensure that those relationships build themselves and deliver the results you expect. Lead generation, when done well, can turn your small business into a much larger business, and probably in less time than you expect. 

You can’t just dive in and start hunting for leads, though. You need to have a solid strategy in place. To help you with that and make sure that your lead gen efforts are hitting the mark, ask questions like:

  • Who are my potential customers?
  • What do they care about?
  • How can I help them?
  • How will I measure the success of my efforts?

You can’t just “increase leads” or “get better conversions” when it comes to sales lead generation. You need more finite, actionable goals. 

Once you have your lead generation goals, including the importance of making meaningful connections, you can move forward with your strategy. 

Sales lead generation tips from the experts

There are a lot of great tips and insights out there to help you improve your sales lead generation efforts. However, they’re not all going to be as effective for you, based on your situation. You may need help in one area more than another, for example. Nonetheless, here are some helpful tips that can guide any SMB to a great lead generation strategy. 

  • Put lines out: You need to take advantage of as many channels and potential lead sources as you can. Put multiple lines out into the “water” and watch the fish reel in on their own. Your lead sourcing should be a dynamic strategy that includes all platforms and types of leads. 
  • Provide free information: People love companies that give out free content, tips, and resources without having to pay. Not only does it prove that you know what you’re talking about, but it gives them something for nothing and a reason to keep coming back to your brand. 
  • Understand needs: One of the biggest things that keeps small businesses from success with lead generation is that they fail to identify and classify the pain points and needs of their prospects. Listen to people and respond based on what they want or need from you. 
  • Use analytics and metrics: Reporting tools are essential to lead generation. Use them to find out where leads come from, what they need, and more. This data can make lead generation strategies that much more effective. 

There’s a lot that goes into a successful lead generation strategy. However, these tips can help you get there, no matter where you’re at in your own efforts or what your goals might be. 

Outsource for lead generation support and more

Since you’re new to the world of lead generation, you should know that you don’t have to do everything on your own. A partnership with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai will deliver everything you need, including support for outreach campaigns, lead intake, and appointment scheduling. Plus, we can even serve as your 24/7 answering service so that you never miss a lead. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai

Business Education
Small Business
Sales Tips
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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