Lead Generation - How to Generate Sales Leads:  The Ultimate Guide 2023

Jemmy K May 11, 2023

For many companies, acquiring effective leads is the key to sustaining sales growth.

This article was written by a senior marketing expert with over 10-year experience in leads acquisition. It provides insights on how to effectively acquire and manage leads. This will  create maximum value for the company.

What is Lead Generation?

A lead is anyone interested in the product or service you offer.

Leads come from various marketing activities. Sales representatives follow up on the leads.

For example, you may see a cosmetics counter distributing free samples. You could go over and check it out. They may ask for your contact information so they can send you coupons or other offers.

For the cosmetics company, your contact information is a "lead." They can now contact you through phone calls or emails. They can inform you of new products or anniversary sales. Their purpose is to encourage you to purchase their products.

Your company needs to continuously acquire new leads. They must be effectively managed and utilized to 

generate sales.

B2B & B2C Leads

Different companies have different business models. Their strategies to acquire new leads vary.

There are two main kinds of leads.

  • B2B: Business-to-Business (B2B) leads. Company A wants to sell its products or services to Company B.
    For example, Microsoft wants to sell its software to major enterprises. It needs to get B2B leads.
  • B2C: Business-to-Consumer (B2C) leads. A company wants to sell its products or services to individual consumers.
    For example, Tesla wants to sell its electric cars to the general public. It needs to get B2C leads.

The biggest difference between B2B sales and B2C sales is as follows. 

  • B2B sales require more explanation. The decision-making process and sales cycle are longer. But they normally generate higher revenues.
  • B2C sales are usually made by consumers. They can make decisions themselves and are more impulsive in their purchases. But they generally have lower revenues.

It may be much more expensive for B2B companies to acquire leads. But the value they can create for the company is considerable.

On the contrary, B2C companies usually use the "net casting" strategy. They capture all potential leads and then identify sales opportunities from them.

Comparison of B2B & B2C Leads




Cost Per Lead



Sales Cycle



Revenue Per Lead



Leads Strategy

Acquire leads as precisely as possible

Acquire as many leads as possible


Step 1: Strategies to Create Leads

Understand your Buyer

Understanding your buyer is the most important step in developing a lead strategy. Know what your customers look like. If you don’t, it is likely that the leads you bring in are wrong. 

The so-called buyer persona is not the appearance of the customer. It includes the customer's name, gender, age, profession, personality, hobbies, behavior characteristics, needs, and goals.

The more detailed, the better. 

Marketers must understand their buyer persona. They can design marketing campaigns according to the customers’ pain points and needs. 

The company may not be clear about its buyer persona. It can be clarified through market research. Or data analysis can be done by a marketing company.

In describing the buyer persona, we usually describe "a typical day." The marketers will understand how to reach them at the right time. They will also do it in the right way.

Define the Lead Columns

Next define what columns to includ in the “leads collected.” These can be name, gender, age, phone, email, address, etc. 

Generally, the more data you want, the fewer leads you get. It is best to select the necessary information only.

Set Goals

When setting goals for leads, several numbers should be taken into consideration.

  • Leads number: How many leads are needed? Does the company have enough sales representatives to follow up? 
  • Conversion rate: What is the expected conversion rate of the leads? That is, how many of 100 leads can be converted into transactions?
  • Ticket Size: What is the average ticket size of sales?

With these numbers, we can calculate the expected revenue. 

Revenue = Leads number X Conversion rate X Ticket Size

For example, Company A is a B2B company. It expects to obtain 1,000 leads in the first quarter. Its target conversion rate of 5%. The average ticket size of $10,000.

The expected revenue is as follows.

1,000 X 5% X $10,000 = $ 500,000 

Note: The number of leads and the conversion rate are usually two sides of the pendulum. 

If you want a large number of leads, they may not be precise. The conversion rate will be lower. If the leads are precise, the conversion rate may increase significantly. 

Therefore, you can set goals based on different types of leads as shown below.

Leads Source

Number of Leads

Conversion Rate

Ticket Size







Official Website 




















Create a Budget

Creating a budget is important. Leads are NOT free.

It is important to budget based on the number of leads required. 

All costs associated with acquiring the leads should be taken into account. These costs are advertising, trial packages, material production, venue, system, etc. 

With the number of leads and the budget in hand, we can calculate the cost per lead (CPL), as shown in the table below.

Leads Source

Number of Leads


Cost Per Lead





Official Website 
















Provide Appealing Incentives

If you want people to provide their personal information, you need "incentives."

People care about privacy. They do not like to leave personal information. Providing attractive incentives is crucial. 

Incentives in each industry vary greatly. They must be determined based on customer preferences. 

Here are some common incentives. 

Free Samples

Free samples are a common marketing technique for B2C companies. 

Provide potential customers with samples. They can try the company's new products for free and become leads. 

For example, a company selling chicken essence supplements wants to get leads. It advertises on its website that customers can get a bottle for free. They fill in their personal information. 

The company will then follow up via email or telemarketing. These leads are already potential customers interested in chicken essence. The conversion rate will be higher. 

Free Reports 

Free reports are a common marketing method for both B2B and B2C companies. 

Depending on a customer’s interest, you can induce them with an authoritative report. The report will be sent by email. They willingly give you their email address to get the report. 

For example, a company selling an online event platform wants leads. It provides "2022 Event Industry Trends" report on its website. Those who want to download it need to leave an email address. 

In this way, the company can get quality leads. People interested in the trends of the event industry are target customers.

Free Courses or Seminars

Offering free courses or seminars is a common way to acquire customers.

The courses or seminars are free. But the speakers, content, and venue need to be appealing. Otherwise potential customers will not spend time there. 

For example, banks often attract new customers by hosting financial seminars. They invite financial experts to give lectures. These attract customers interested in financial management. If it is convincing enough, customers may open an account. They may even trade financial products on the spot.

Free Games or Quizzes

Free games or quizzes can attract a large number of leads. 

People are always interested in psychological tests or online games. They like to share the test results on their social media. When playing the game or taking the test, they unknowingly authorize their personal data. 

For example, an online dating platform designs a test. They analyze the vision of love of the zodiac signs. You take the test on Facebook. But you do not realize that you have authorized the use of your personal data. 

The online dating platform can acquire lots of leads through this test. These customers are all interested in the topic of "love." They can then be recommended to their online dating services.

Subscribing to Newsletters 

Subscribing to newsletters is a popular way for bloggers to obtain leads. Newsletters are sent via email. Bloggers will always get the correct email address.

Newsletters can contain exclusive content, notifications of new articles, or other promotions.

For example, an investment blog offers readers a newsletter subscription service. The subscription service has obtained thousands of reader email addresses. The blogger wants to sell a paid online course about wealth management. The blogger can first email these readers. They are highly potential customers interested in this topic.

Product Demo

Product demos are common in B2B marketing. 

Potential customers can request to see a product demo. They usually have a high interest in the product. The conversion rate is high. 

For example, a company sells an automatic email sending system. Customers interested in this product want to know the functions of the system. They will request a product demo. 

The customer needs to provide contact information. The company's sales representative can follow up and sell it. 

Admission to Private Social Clubs 

Some companies build private social clubs. Examples are Facebook and Linkedin groups, which require approval to join. Exclusive information or special offers are shared inside. It is also a good way for companies to get leads. 

For example, an advertising company specializes in Facebook advertising. It has established a Facebook group about online marketing and Facebook ads. 

Most of the people joining are marketers. There are many potential customers. Someone leaves a comment that they need Facebook advertising. Your company can contact the customer quickly.

Step 2: Decide Marketing Channels

You’ve created a marketing strategy. Your next step is to direct traffic to your webpage. Use various marketing channels. 

Social Media 

Social media includes Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube, TikTok, etc. It is now an important marketing channel. These platforms possess users' geographical locations and preferences. 

Marketers can choose their target audience and display ads to them. 

According to the report from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 83% of B2B marketers use social media to promote their events. This shows that social media is not only important for B2C marketing. It is also an important channel for B2B marketing. 

Facebook is currently the largest social media platform. It has a monthly active user base of up to 2.96 billion as of January 2023. Moreover, Facebook provides the “Lead Ads” function. This greatly improves the efficiency of leads acquisition.


At present, most mainstream social media provide Lead Ads. Users can click directly from the advertisement. The system will automatically bring in their basic information. 

Users do not need to fill in much information. They do not need to jump to other websites. This greatly increases users' willingness to complete the process.

  • Facebook Lead Ads
  • Instagram Lead Ads
  • Twitter Lead Gen Cards
  • LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
  • Youtube Lead Form Ads
  • Tiktok Lead Generation Ads

Official Website

If people are browsing your website, they are your target customer. 

The content of the website must be attractive. It must also provide incentives for them to directly leave their information.

Common B2B lead incentives are reports, product demos, free trials, etc.

Leads from your official website are usually high-quality. The conversion rate is high.


Blogging is a great way to attract precise potential customers. 

Create content that interests your target audience. Improve your search engine rankings. Your articles can then easily be found by your target customers.

According to HubSpot, 60% of consumers read blogs regularly.

Your article can be customized based on the ultimate goal. 

Start by creating content that your target customers are interested in. Provide incentives at the end to encourage them to leave their information. 

For example, the article is a condensed version of an industry trend report. To obtain the complete white paper, the reader must leave their information.


Email marketing targets those who already know about your brand or service. They have previously left their email address with your company. That makes it easier to ask them to take action.

However, nowadays email inboxes are often flooded with junk mail. When sending emails, it is important to design attention-grabbing subjects. Also use prominent call-to-action buttons.


Paid Media

In addition to social media, there are many online paid media. An example is Google's Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. A user searches on Google for keywords related to your product. They will see your ad. You will only be charged when they click on it.

Additionally, you can purchase banner ads on the front page of large websites. These are ads presented in image format. When users click on them, they will be directed to your designated website. This increases your website traffic.

Physical Event

Conducting physical events is also a way to gain precise leads. Hold seminars, workshops, exhibitions, and other activities. You can communicate with potential customers face-to-face. 

The advantage is that you can establish a professional image in the minds of potential customers. But the cost will be higher.

There are two main ways to collect leads in physical events:

  • Get leads through registration.
  • Ask participants to fill out a questionnaire in exchange for gifts or other incentives.


Co-marketing is usually done with another company. This company has the same target audience. Both parties can get leads through joint marketing. 

Co-marketing is usually cost-effective. If your marketing budget is limited, try it more often. 

For example, les enphants is a well-known brand of maternal and baby supplies in Taiwan. Its target audience is pregnant women and mothers with children. 

It has a membership club called "Baby Club." Only pregnant women can join with their mothers' handbook. After signing up, the members get a welcome pack. This is mostly sponsored by other maternal and baby supplies brands.  

When members sign up they agree to share their personal information. The sponsors can also get the leads of the Baby Club.

Referral Marketing

Referral marketing is effective in generating precise leads. 

It provides incentives for existing customers to refer their friends. For example, a successful referral to a friend can earn a $20 reward.

 This is a common approach in both B2C and B2B marketing.

Step 3: Create an Appealing Website

You have decided which marketing channel to use. The next step is to create advertising materials and landing pages. Use different media. 

For example, use a lead ad on Facebook. All you need to do is prepare a banner ad and text. Or use a blog for marketing. You will need to spend more time designing and creating content for the article. 

Most importantly, you need to test the process. Will users leave their leads after seeing the ad? The simpler and clearer it is, the better. 

The process can’t be too complicated. If it is you will lose some users. They will stop because they don’t want to do one more step.

When designing materials and landing pages, you can use A/B testing. That means using two different types of ads or landing pages. Then advertise, and seeing which one works better.

Call-to-Action Button

The most important thing in lead marketing is to get customers to click the call-to-action (CTA) button. Then they need to fill out the form. 

The CTA must be clear. It is usually highlighted with a block of color. 

There are various options for the text, such as the softer "Learn More" or "Start Exploring" or the more forceful "Join Now" or "Register Now."

Leads Collecting Page

Leads collecting pages are also one of the key factors for successful lead ads. 

There are many details to pay attention to. 

Leads collecting pages are mainly divided into three types.

  • Built-in leads collecting pages in social media, such as Facebook, and LinkedIn.
  • Customized leads collecting pages. Companies create leads collecting pages on their own official websites.
  • Existing form creation tools, such as Google Forms, SurveyCake, etc. 

When designing a leads collecting page, the following points should be noted.

  • The more data you need, the fewer leads you get.
  • It is best to have a function to verify the data accuracy. For example, in the phone column: If the phone number is 10 digits the customer must fill in all 10. If not, the system needs to pop up a warning. In this way, the accuracy of the leads can be increased.
  • Use drop-down menus instead of manual input if possible. When filling in personal information, users often make spelling mistakes. Or they fill in random data. If you can use a drop-down menu, you can increase the accuracy.
    For instance, in the gender column, you can choose male or female. In the age column, you can choose age ranges such as 25-30, 35-40. In the address column, you can have them enter their postal code. The town and state will fill in automatically.

Step 4: Analyze the Result and Optimize

After collecting the leads, the marketing team needs to organize them. They need to categorize, remove duplicates, remove incomplete data, import into the company system, etc.

The final leads will be passed to the sales representatives for follow up. 

However, the work of the marketing team does not end here. To do a good job in leads marketing, the most important thing is to analyze the effectiveness of various leads. The ads need to be constantly adjusted and optimized. 

The following are some of the commonly used indicators for leads analysis.




Cost Per View

Advertising Cost/Page Views

By analyzing the spending and traffic data, we can determine whether the traffic generated by the spending is worth ity. If the cost of browsing is too high, consider switching to other media.

Click Rate

Page Clicks/Page Views

It is a measure that can tell you what percentage of people who saw the ad clicked on it. If the rate is too low, it means that the ad is not effective and needs to be changed.

Convert Rate

Total Leads/Page Clicks

It can be used to gauge how effective the ad is at converting viewers into leads. By tracking the convert rate, marketers can determine if they need to adjust the incentives.  They may also streamline the sign-up process in order to improve their results.

Cost per Lead

Advertising Cost/Total Leads

By tracking cost per lead, it is possible to compare across media and know which one is more effective in acquiring leads.

Contact Rate

Contacted Leads/Total Leads

It is a measure of the accuracy of leads. If the contact rate is too low, it indicates that there is a problem with the source of the data. Adjustments may need to be made.

Conversion Rate

Total Transactions/Total Leads

It is a measure of lead quality. The higher the conversion rate, the better the quality. If the conversion rate is too low, it means that the collected leads are not precise enough.

Ticket Size

Total Revenue/Total Transactions

The higher the ticket size, the higher the value it brings to the company. If it is a low ticket size product, the budget for each lead will be relatively lower.

Cost per Account

Advertising Cost/

Total Transactions

It helps to understand how much it costs to acquire a new customer on average. If CPA is too high, it means that a lot of advertising costs were spent without gaining enough customers.

Lead Value

Total Revenue/Total Leads

Lead value is an important metric for measuring ROI (Return on Investment) of your lead generation campaigns. It reflects the average revenue generated by each lead. The higher the lead value, the more it is worth investing in it.

When analyzing the lead performance, each indicator has its own meaning and is important. It is necessary to update the data regularly and make corresponding adjustments. 

For example, the company invested $10,000 in advertising for two different media. They obtained lead A and lead B, with the following performance.


Lead A

Lead B

Advertising Cost



Page Views



# of Clicks



Total Leads



Contacted Leads






Ticket Size






Cost per View



Click Rate



Convert Rate



Cost per Lead



Contact Rate



Conversion Rate



  Ticket Size



Cost per Account



Lead Value



From the table above, we can find that: 

  • Lead A has a higher cost per lead, but it also has a higher conversion rate.
  • Lead B has a lower cost per lead, but it also has a lower conversion rate.
  • In terms of lead value, lead B is better than lead A.
    If we consider the ROI only, we should increase the investment in lead B and reduce the investment in lead A.
    However, if the number of sales representatives is insufficient and the company hopes to get more precise leads, then lead A with higher conversion rate will better meet the needs.
    The company should continue to optimize the advertisements for lead A. This will reduce the cost per lead.
    The leads with a high conversion rate can also be used as reward leads. They can be given to sales representatives with excellent performance.

B2B Leads Generation Examples

Example 1: Salesforce’s lead ads on LinkedIn

Statistics show that LinkedIn is the most used social media by business professionals. It has more than 600 million users and 65 million decision makers. It also has a powerful database of user work experience and professional skills. 

Therefore, when conducting B2B marketing, LinkedIn is an important media. It can help advertisers find target business customers. 

The following is a lead ad placed by the software company Salesforce on LinkedIn.

Salesforce mainly sells customer relationship management (CRM) systems. They target marketers from large companies. 

Therefore, its advertisement uses the headline "75% of marketers now work differently." This attracts the attention of marketers. 

If they want to see the complete marketing trend report, they need to click "Download." Then they enter the lead collecting page. With these leads, sales representatives contact these marketers. They determine  if they are interested in the CRM system.

Example 2: Groove HQ acquires leads on its official website

Groove HQ is a company that develops shared inboxes for small businesses. It acquires leads by offering a free 30-day trial on its website.

After clicking the "Start your free 30 day trial" button, you will enter the registration page. The first step is directly connected with Gmail registration. Or you can use other emails to register. 

These registered users are people interested in Groove's products. They are its precise leads.

B2C Leads Generation Examples

Example 1: Nissan’s lead ads on Facebook

Facebook lead ads are popular among marketers. See the following ad from car company Nissan.

 Users may be interested in the new car. They can click the button to leave their personal information. After that, a salesperson will provide a quote.

Example 2: Seeking Alpha offers different paid plans on its official website


Seeking Alpha is a website that provides professional financial analysis articles.

It offers different paid plans on its official website. You can choose the free registration plan. You will see fewer articles and use fewer functions. By providing free registration, the company can get leads. They can get customers to upgrade to paid plans later.

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