What Is Lead Generation: The Ultimate Guide for Businesses

What is lead generation?

Customers, consistent sales, growth, new investors… EVERYTHING you want in business is downstream from lead generation.

Unfortunately, though, many founders overlook it or fail to master it. Instead, they rely on word of mouth and random tactics, without ever knowing where their next customers will come from.

Are you serious about running your business more smoothly and growing it sustainably? 

Then, follow our lead generation guide. I’ll show you exactly what lead generation is, what you must keep in mind and how you can create the right strategy for your business.

What is lead generation?

Lead generation means attracting, identifying and nurturing your potential customers – ideally, until they buy from you.

Think of a lead as someone who expressed an interest in your business, product or service. For example, it could be because they interacted with your online content, sent you an email or signed up for your lead magnet.

So, when you take full control of your lead generation? 

  • You start attracting more of your ideal customers
  • You have systems to nurture them smoothly and successfully 
  • You can then pass them on to your sales team (when they’re actually ready to have that conversation)

It’d be crazy NOT to put a lead generation strategy in place, right?

Differences between lead generation and demand generation

You might have bumped into both terms online, so let’s make things crystal clear:

  • Demand generation – It means building brand awareness and interest in your products or services. Demand generation focuses on reaching more people, enlightening them on their problems and educating them on their solutions
  • Lead generation – That’s when you target potential customers who are already engaging with your brand 

So, demand generation and lead generation should work together. With the former, you’ll reach more people. With the latter, you’ll turn the right ones into customers.

Different types of leads

New leads are great, but not all leads are created equally! 

To optimise your time, energy and efforts, you must treat your leads differently based on their current situation and level of interest.

Trying to arrange a call with a potential customer just because they clicked on a website link? That’d be like proposing to someone on your first date!

Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs)

This is someone who appears to be more likely to become a customer if they’re then nurtured properly

For example, it could be because they interacted with several social media posts, clicked on a strategic call to action or downloaded your lead magnet. 

You can think of them as warm leads as opposed to the biggest chunk of your audience (= cold leads who are aware of your business but haven’t expressed an interest in it).

However, MQLs haven’t been vetted and pre-qualified yet!

Sales-qualified leads (SQLs)  

These are HOT leads: prospects who’ve been vetted and pre-qualified by your marketing team and deemed ready to talk to sales. 

For example, it could be because they engaged with your email sequence and looked at all the sales-enablement content you sent them.

And the best way of identifying your MQLs and SQLs? 

Lead scoring 

This means assigning points to each lead, segmenting them based on their level of commitment and how likely they are to become customers. 

Then, your marketing and sales team can decide how to interact with each lead to maximise their chances of success. For example, they’d probably invite a hot lead on a sales call but send more sales-enablement content to someone who still has questions.

(Psst. Many lead generation tools offer lead scoring systems. More on that soon!)

Main lead generation strategies explained

There are different types of lead generation strategies, but overall, they fall within two main categories: inbound and outbound.

Inbound lead generation

Inbound lead generation focuses on attracting your potential customers organically, especially by sharing valuable content with them.

For example, you can do that with:

A lead magnet

This is an attractive and strategic free resource that you share with your audience in exchange for their contact details. It’ll usually solve a small problem for them and position you as the logical next step.

Traditional lead magnets tend to be PDFs or checklists. They’re a good start but they’re static and overused. So, they only convert at 3-10%. 

Free quizzes, on the other hand? A whopping 30-50%! 

So, for example, an accountant could create a lead generation quiz along the lines of “Are you overpaying on your taxes? Take our Tax Saver Quiz to find out where you can save money.”

You can create your FREE quiz lead magnet with ScoreApp

Content marketing 

This strategy is all about sharing valuable content with your audience to attract them, retain them and nurture them

For example, think of blog posts, video content, podcasts, e-books or webinars. 

When done right, content marketing helps you build trust and move more leads down the sales funnel, too. 

You can also combine it with your quiz lead magnet by using it as the main call to action in your content (for instance, at the end of your blog posts and videos), turning more people into subscribers.


Search Engine Optimisation is a mixture of tactics to help your website appear in relevant search results (so that you can attract more visitors through Google and other search engines).

This is because the majority of your audience DON’T know about your business just yet. 

So, instead of your brand name, they’re googling keywords related to the products or services they need (like “business coach for small business owners”) or asking questions to better understand their situation (like “Do I need a business coach or strategist?”). 

When you optimise your website and blog posts for those keywords, you help those potential customers find YOU – not just your competitors. 

Then, once they’re on your website, you can direct them to the right offer for them or turn them into subscribers through your quiz lead magnet.

Social media marketing 

Create valuable content for your target customers, reach more of them organically and engage with them on the platforms they use the most.

Even better? Stand out against all your competitors and turn more followers into subscribers by offering them your fantastic quiz lead magnet! 

Outbound lead generation

Outbound lead generation focuses on reaching out to your potential customers and contacting them directly.

The most common outbound lead generation tactics are:

Cold outreach

Identify your ideal customers and contact them via phone calls or emails. 

To stand out and grab their attention, consider offering them a free resource instead of pitch-slapping them during your very first interaction.

For example, you could direct them to your quiz that gives them valuable results and personalised tips!

Paid advertising  

This is a handy tactic if you’re waiting for your organic reach and SEO to kick in or if you simply want to scale those results fast

You could use PPC ads on search engines and social media or display ads on relevant platforms where your target audience is lurking.

Event marketing 

Show up where your ideal customers are hanging out, like attending industry-specific trade shows and events. 

Once again, impress them by offering them a relevant and helpful free resource like your quiz.

Top lead generation tools for businesses 

I bet you’re thinking “This would be great, but it sounds complicated and would require way too much work.”

It would… if you tried to do everything manually! 

Luckily, though, there are lots of lead generation tools that can simplify it and automate certain tasks for you. This will remove human error (like forgetting to follow up) and save you a tonne of time and energy.

CRM systems

A Customer Relationship Management system is a platform or software to log and manage all your interactions with prospects and clients.

So, you’ll see everything in one place and get to monitor how and when each person interacted with your brand. Many CRMs also offer you the lead scoring systems we covered earlier.

With ScoreApp, our quiz marketing platform, you can keep track of and nurture all the people who took your quiz. You can also connect it with your external CRM.

Marketing automation tools

These are platforms, tools and software that automate certain marketing tasks for you (especially the most repetitive ones) so that you don’t have to do everything manually.

There are all kinds of marketing automation tools out there, so it really depends on what would make your life easier.

Overall, the most common ones for lead generation tend to be:

  • Chatbots that support your website visitors and answer their questions
  • Email marketing platforms to automate sequences 
  • Tools to schedule social media content

With ScoreApp, you get to automate your entire lead generation funnel

Your quiz will segment your participants based on their answers, and you can then set up different email sequences. These can answer your leads’ most common questions, build trust and invite the right prospects on a call – all automatically.

Create a full lead generation funnel with ScoreApp for FREE

Analytics and tracking tools

If you don’t gather and look at your data, you’re basing your lead generation on guesswork. You could also end up wasting time and money on tasks that don’t move the needle.

So, make sure you review your analytics regularly.

How you do this will really depend on the tools you focus on, but for example:

  • Analyse your website traffic and engagement – Are your leads finding you on Google? And through what keywords? Do they engage with your content or leave your website straight away?
  • Marketing tools – Most platforms and software have built-in analytics. For example, you can look at your engagement on social media and your open or click-through rates via email

Then, use your analytics to make informed decisions: what’s working and what isn’t? What can be optimised and how?

With ScoreApp, that’s always a breeze. You get robust analytics that are both in-depth and easy to understand. 

For example, you’ll see how many people are completing your quiz and if there’s a specific section that gets lower engagement (hint hint: change it).

Creating a lead generation strategy: step-by-step guide

Ok, now you know exactly what lead generation is, what to focus on and which tools can make your life easier. What now?

The fun part, of course: creating the right lead generation strategy for your business! Here’s how.

1. Identifying your target audience

It’s tempting to think “If I target everyone, I’ll get more customers,” but in reality… the opposite is true!

If you DON’T focus your marketing and lead generation efforts on a specific audience, you could end up:

  • Making your messaging and strategy too generic and, consequently, ineffective
  • Wasting lots of time and money with prospects that wouldn’t be a good fit or just won’t convert

So, skyrocket your lead generation and make your life easier by getting crystal clear on your target audience. 

  • Conduct market research – For example, you could find out what problem these prospective customers are experiencing and how it’s affecting their life or business in practice. What have they already done to try and solve it? What are they hoping to achieve? And what are their preferences and dislikes? You can find out aaaaaaall this (and more) with a ScoreApp quiz  
  • Create your ideal custom profile – Use your new data to create an ICP and segment your audience based on their situation. Then, refer to it to keep your marketing and communication strategic, relevant and effective. A ScoreApp quiz will create these segments automatically for you

2. Planning a content strategy for your lead generation

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s all about creating the right lead generation strategy for your goals and business. 

But to help you get started, here are some of the most effective steps:

  • Choose a few channels and content formats – The sweet spot? Diversifying your lead generation efforts without spreading yourself too thin. For example, you could blog on your website, post on 2 social media platforms and email your subscribers regularly. On top of that, you can also create evergreen content like recorded webinars, e-books, case studies and infographics
  • Plan your content strategically – Focus on different content for each stage of the buyer’s journey (for example, educational blog posts for those who’re still trying to understand their problem and comparison articles for leads who’re ready to pick a solution)
  • Put systems in place – Stay on track, and make your life easier! Create a content calendar and implement systems to manage your content and lead generation strategy (like the automation tools we covered before)

Ideally, the goal should be to reach more people through different tactics and platforms and get their contact details. That way, you can then message them directly without an algorithm getting in the way. 

That’s exactly why it’s better to start with a strong lead magnet like a quiz! You can then offer it as a call to action… EVERYWHERE, from your social media posts and blogs to events and in-person interactions (and more).

Create a FREE quiz lead magnet with ScoreApp

3. Creating lead nurturing strategies

Once you’ve got these leads’ contact details? It’s time to nurture them.

  • Keep your marketing and communications relevant and personalised – Your audience is bombarded with all kinds of emails and marketing messages. So, they’re becoming more and more selective with what they engage with. How can you boost your chances of success? Simple: by making all your communications relevant and about them. No wonder personalisation leads to a 20% increase in sales! So, use your initial data (like their quiz results) to send valuable content to everyone. How? Keep reading
  • Create strategic email sequences – Set up different email sequences for each segment. For example, depending on their situation, you could answer their most pressing questions, shift their misconceptions with sales-enablement content, impress them with relevant case studies or invite them on a call
  • Automate EVERYTHING – You don’t have to do all this manually! When you use sophisticated tools like ScoreApp, you only need to set up these sequences once. Then, they’ll keep bringing you leads and pre-qualifying them for you
  • Give all the right tools and info to the sales team – Your marketing and sales team should always work together. So far, all these steps are helping your marketing team attract and pre-qualify more prospects. But when they’re ready for a call? Your sales team shouldn’t have to start from scratch either! So, give them relevant sales-enablement content and allow them to access your initial data. If they can see someone’s quiz answers before speaking to them? They can offer them value right from the start (for example, by recommending the right solution for their specific situation) and convert more of them into customers 

Common challenges in lead generation and how to overcome them

Many businesses end up making the same lead generation mistakes, or they get stuck when they encounter these common challenges. 

So, let’s make sure it doesn’t happen to you!

Identifying high-quality leads among a sea of random prospects

As seen before, you can’t waste your time (and money) talking to everyone!


  • Choose a lead magnet that can also pre-qualify your participants for you. For example, you can ask them strategic questions through your ScoreApp quiz, like “What’s your budget for this type of service?” or “Have you already got X in place?”
  • Use your sales-enablement content to vet more of your cold and warm leads
  • Rely on a lead scoring system so that your sales team is only talking to piping-hot leads

Overcoming budget constraints 

There’s no denying that some lead generation tactics are more costly than others, like ads or paying for your staff to attend certain events.

So, how can you optimise your budget?

  • Leverage organic inbound strategies (like creating content) to supplement your paid efforts
  • Start with a handful of tactics instead of investing in everything in one go
  • Review your analytics and results regularly to find out what’s bringing you the best ROI (more on that soon!)
  • Choose budget-friendly lead generation tools

At ScoreApp, we have plans for every budget, and you can create a FULL lead generation funnel for as little as… £0/month!

Measuring success in lead generation

Do you want to get the best ROI and rely on a successful lead generation strategy? Yes? 

Then, you can’t afford to rely on guesswork or just… put something out and hope for the best!

So, here’s what you should focus on instead.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Start with your objectives: turn them into SMART goals and work your way backwards (keep it realistic, though! You can always change them once you’ve gathered your first data). Then, monitor these goals by looking at measurable KPIs. 

Now, these will really depend on the tactics and channels you’ve picked. Some of the most common lead generation KPIs, however, are:

  • Number of leads generated – Look at all your platforms and tactics 
  • Cost per lead – Take your total marketing spend, and divide it by the number of leads it’s generated for you 
  • Conversion rate – Not every lead becomes a customer. How many of yours do? Divide your total leads by the number of those who turned into paying customers, and multiply it by 100 
  • Cost per acquisition (CPA) – Going back to the previous KPI: how much is it costing you to get those paying customers? Divide your total marketing and lead generation spend for your total conversions
  • Lead quality – Use your CRM’s lead scoring system to monitor how many high-quality leads you’re getting. You can also divide your MQLs by your SQLs and multiply it by 100. Or to calculate their value, divide your total sales by all your leads

Continuous improvement

Be smart with your lead generation! Use your KPIs and data to find out what’s working well, what isn’t and how you can optimise it. 

  • A/B testing – This will allow you to find out what works better for your audience. For example, with a ScoreApp quiz, you can split-test different elements (like showing different questions to your participants) to find the most effective alternative. Then? Focus on that!
  • Reviewing your feedback and analytics regularly – What are your leads interacting with the most? What’s causing “leaks” in your system (like automated emails with high unsubscribe rates)? With ScoreApp, you always get to rely on informative and intuitive analytics
  • Optimise your lead generation strategy accordingly – Use your new insights to understand what needs changing and how. For example, if you get lots of leads but only 19% of them turn into customers? The problem is likely to be with the sales side of things, not your nurturing sequences 

Making your lead generation more effective with ScoreApp

Once you master lead generation for your business? You’ll rely on a consistent stream of qualified prospects and give yourself the best chances of converting them into customers.

That way, you can run your business more smoothly and successfully, grow it and maximise your sales.

Ready to make this your reality?

With ScoreApp, you’ll get a FULL lead generation quiz funnel that:

  • Complements your content marketing and outbound strategies by turning your audience (from website visitors to social media followers and more) into subscribers
  • Wows them with a compelling quiz that gives them value
  • Segments them strategically based on their answers
  • Nurtures them with personalised email sequences
  • Pre-qualifies them for you
  • Sends the hottest leads to your sales team
  • Allows the latter to close more calls by personalising their communications

And the best part? You can get started for FREE and create your entire quiz funnel in as little as 3 minutes thanks to our AI quiz builder.

Take full control of your lead generation: launch your ScoreApp quiz today!

About the author
Martin Huntbach Head of SEO
Martin Huntbach
Head of Content
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