Lead Sourcing Guide and the Importance of Targeting and Filtering


Everyone talks about the importance of getting the right leads—but where do the “right” leads come from? This is the first step in any marketing strategy. It’s also one of the most critical. The entire sales funnel depends on lead generation, which is why it needs to be at the top of your list of efforts to streamline, improve, and make a priority for both your marketing and sales teams alike. 

Lead sourcing is just what it sounds like: finding potential leads that could become customers. Using the right techniques will allow you to find the best leads, reach target audiences, and proactively improve conversions by attracting prospects that are most likely to convert in the first place. 

So, where should you look for these leads? There are a few different options. 

Strategies for lead sourcing 

Here are the most common ways to generate leads for your business. 

Buy leads

If you’re strategic, you can buy leads from a few different sources. You’ll want to validate any source you consider and check to see where and how they get their leads. Find out how recent their data is and whether it’s validated — either automatically or manually.

If you’re buying leads, choose reputable lead generation tools and sources, and make sure the lists are targeted based on the goals of your campaign. At Smith.ai, we recommend Leadgraph. They have over 250 million global companies in their database and score every lead as to how similar they are to previously closed accounts, so you know you are getting leads that match your ideal customer profile (ICP). This is a great resource to lean on when in need of lead lists for your outreach campaigns.

Improve your cold outreach 

Cold calling and emailing still do a lot for sales teams when they’re used properly. Unfortunately, a lot of companies have let their training on these tactics go by the wayside as things like social selling have become more popular. There’s still a lot of room for improvement here—take advantage of that and watch your lead generation get better, too. 

Use social selling 

Social media is rapidly becoming one of the most popular channels for lead generation in several industries. Find the platforms where your customers engage most frequently and create marketing campaigns on those social networks. Usually, this will be a multi-channel approach that covers the major networks most used by your leads and customers. Which platforms work best will vary, but businesses can generate a lot of great leads through social media, even on a tight budget. 

The difference between targeting and filtering 

The best way to differentiate targeting and filtering is to think of them as “before” and “after.” Here’s what we mean.

  • Targeting refers to the way that you campaign for leads in the first place. This could include creating separate marketing campaigns for each of your three unique audiences based on things like the problems they’re facing, budget/spending power, and other demographics. 

With targeting, you can break down a very large market (your entire lead base) into smaller segments that allow you to tailor your marketing efforts toward each individual group, or segment. 

  • Filtering, on the other hand, is something that you can do with your analytics and lead tracking after you’ve launched your marketing campaigns. You can filter leads by their source to see which campaigns are having the best success. You might choose to filter your leads by urgency or their current stage in the buying journey so that your sales team can reach out to the most qualified prospects. 

There are a lot of ways that you can use filtering to gain valuable insights about your lead generation efforts and help you access information about leads much more quickly so that you can take the appropriate action(s). 

How to find qualified leads 

If you find leads that are already qualified in the first place, you’re shortening the sales cycle and letting both your sales reps and your customers get right to the “sale” part of the interaction. Instead of spending hours qualifying leads that you bought or generated with blanket marketing efforts, you can have targeted, qualified prospects that are much more likely to convert. 

Today, it’s a lot easier to do, thanks to consumers and business buyers having access to the Internet. They do most of their research and “shopping” before they even reach out to you, so they’re practically qualifying themselves. Your team just has to step in and seal the deal. If you want to find leads that are already qualified, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Understand your target market(s). Create customer personas based on the data you have about the wants, needs, and demographics of prospects. Turn those personas into buyer profiles and you will have the perfect picture of your ideal customer. Then, you can market to each group appropriately. 
  • Use the right lead generation tools and strategies. This needs to be an omnichannel approach—you will need a variety of different approaches and efforts to reach the right audiences in the right places, at the right times. Make sure that you carefully choose your prospecting strategies and tools before moving forward. 
  • Identify pain points and address those through various mediums. From cold emails to blog posts to social media shares, the more you relate to your audience, the more likely they are to notice. Use your content and your various platforms to connect with each lead group based on their pain points or needs (in relation to what you’re selling). 
  • Analyze your efforts and tweak as needed. You can’t know whether your lead sourcing efforts are successful unless you monitor them and follow up. Use the data that you collect to see which strategies are working, which need some improvement, and which need to be scrapped entirely (if any). 

Now that you’re ready to attract better leads, are you prepared for what’s next? We can help with that. 

Partner with Smith.ai to manage all those new leads and more

You’ve got a business to run and a long enough list of things to do. Ask how Smith.ai can serve as your 24/7 answering service, as well as how our virtual receptionists can assist with lead intake and appointment scheduling. We can even provide support for your outreach campaigns to help generate those leads in the first place. 

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

Lead Screening
Sales Development

Elizabeth Lockwood is the content marketing associate at Smith.ai. She focuses specifically on writing and editing engaging articles, blog posts, and other forms of publication.

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