For sales people, sales lead generation is a fundamental part of being successful in the business. Most of us, at some point in our lives, have tried to sell something, which means we've needed leads at some point.

What are leads? A lead is a potential buyer who, hopefully would be interested in a product, solution or service which is being offered. A grade school pupil selling candy or cookies would have several things in common with that of a professional sales person. The student can start with his classmates, schoolmates, friends and relatives and onwards to his own neighborhood, selling door to door, hunting for new prospects. The sales professional meanwhile, just like the young child, can also begin his selling career with the people he already knows and who also knows  him in return. However, once those sources have already been exhausted, he would have to look somewhere else.

If truth be told, finding means of generating business sales leads could indeed be one uphill climb. The most common methods which can be utilized in order to trace these leads can involve cold calling, buying a business list of prospects from list compiling organizations, professional contacts, or researching and profile fitting. Or, if you’re lucky enough, there are also some instances that a lead might just present itself. It’s advisable for sales professionals to have their business cards ready and available, as any interested person will be the one to initiate contact.

When it comes to lead generation, there are several methods to choose from. These methods are telemarketing, advertising, direct mail, data mining, email marketing, initiated prospects and SEO or search engine optimization, among others. Initiated prospects are those possible customers who contact the business or sales person. Thus, making the salesman’s job easier.

Cold calling could be another approach of effectively generating leads. Even the most experienced sales professionals admit that they don’t enjoy calling strangers and try to sell them stuff. People receiving those calls normally don’t expect them (hence the word, ‘cold’) and are generally not even vaguely interested in the goods or services being offered. This is the main reason why cold calling makes for a very daunting activity. Sales people usually suggest volume in terms of this kind of endeavor. For example, for every 10 calls, just one or two recipients may convert into genuine prospects.

More favorable sources of real b2b leads could actually be located in various places. A good start will be your email inbox.

*Keeping in touch with email contacts every now and then can turn out to be an efficient means of sales lead generation.

*Networking with business contacts and colleagues as well as through one’s associations which might be interested in the solutions, products or services that are being presented is yet another style of effectively finding sales leads.

Remember that possible leads would be more receptive if they’ve already expressed their interest in your products or services which are being offered. Also, by expressing your gratitude to your loyal customers, not to mention to the people who gave you those referrals, they will be more willing to help you find more leads.

Author's Bio: 

Anika Davis is a marketing executive for Leads and Appointments. And has a proven track record in helping b2b companies generate qualified sales leads through telemarketing, search engine marketing and email marketing. Find more lead generation tips and how to's at