There is a very big difference between generating leads and generating inquiries online. Just about anybody can generate an inquiry online. People like free things and there’s no commitment, give an email address, get a whitepaper and you’re done. It takes an actual plan to generate sales leads.

A sales lead is an inquiry from a prospect who has the money, authority and desire to purchase your product. Generating sales leads from real prospects takes planning and skill to execute properly.

Landing Page and Forms

Let’s examine the questions on your landing page form. This form should be a “qualifier” for prospects looking to get something from you – a whitepaper, a download, or a webinar. Some questions are optional, others are mandatory. You don’t want to overwhelm the user with questions, but you want to get some good information to qualify them. So, what fields should be mandatory? Name, email address, phone number, company name and website (if B2B). Anything else should be optional and I would suggest having no more than 8 fields total. Some fields you might want to use, but mark as optional are: address and title. You must strike a balance between asking too many questions and scaring users away and asking too few questions and not separating the free stuff seekers from actual prospects.

Qualify Your Leads

Now that you have a landing page and a form set up to “capture” leads, you’re going to have to qualify them. You should have a system in place so that the process is consistent. The more fields the user must fill out, the easier this process will be. For example, they put in a name that you know is fake – that’s a bad lead, discard it if the rest of the information also looks to be fake, that’s a bottom level lead.  Next lead, information looks real, you go to the company’s site, they look like they are a good fit for you to pursue, that’s a top level lead. Next lead, information looks to be real, you go to the company’s site, they aren’t exactly your target customer, but they are worth checking on, that’s a mid level lead.

Some marketers will ask a ton of questions and they will come away with highly qualified leads, but you risk alienating plenty of good leads in the process. The objective here is to quickly determine if this is a sales lead, or just an inquiry.