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Lead Generation Best Practices

A healthy pipeline wards off moments of stagnant growth.

When you have a funnel brimming with qualified leads, you improve the sales team’s productivity, generate returns from your marketing efforts, and turbocharge revenue for months to come. 

It can be done.

This guide explores nine lead generation best practices that attract quality leads and nurture them into closed-won deals. 

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the process of attracting, engaging, and nurturing prospects, with the ultimate goal of converting them into customers.

What is the KPI for Lead Generation?

SaaS metrics prove the value of your lead generation strategy. These quantifiable measurements determine the next step in attracting your target audience. 

To start, define your goal and outcome. Work backward to determine the metrics and KPIs that track your progress. 

For example, if you’re setting up a lead gen funnel for an upcoming webinar, you might set the following:

Goal: Increase paying customers 


  • X registrants
  • X attendees 
  • X qualified leads
  • X paying customers  

KPI: Increase leads by X% in the sales funnel


  • Click-through rate (CTR) of the email-promoting webinar
  • Cost per result for Facebook Ads that promote a webinar
  • Number of sign-ups for a webinar
  • Registration page conversion
  • Attendance conversion rate
  • Attendee-to-lead conversion

How to Generate Leads in Sales: 9 Lead Generation Practices Worth Following

A healthy sales pipeline is packed with quality leads that turn into closed-won deals. 

Here are nine lead generation best practices, all the way from attracting and engaging your leads to nurture and converting them to customers.

1. Attract like an entertainer

6 in 10 people use social media for entertainment.

This indicates two things. One, there’s a massive demand for brands to create entertaining content. And two, the more engaged an audience is, the more likely they will share their contact information with you after reading your content.

ProWritingAid created an entertaining lead generation campaign to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Note how it grabbed attention with a thought-provoking question (“Do people swipe more on profiles with good grammar?”) and unearthed some controversial insights. 

ProWritingAid attracting prospects like an entertainer
Source: ProWritingAid 

Towards the end, ProWritingAid positions its AI writing software as a solution to help folks improve their dating profile. Note again how it invites users to test-drive its tool without requiring them to sign up for an account.

ProWritingAid helping folks in improving their dating profile

ProWritingAid un-gates its writing tool to eliminate friction. This lets prospective customers visualize what it’s like to use the tool in their dating lives (and hopefully in everything else they write).

2. Personalize every touchpoint

Companies that shine at personalization generate 40% more revenue.

What does this tell us? Personalized interactions are the gold standard for customer engagement. 

These days, buyers expect businesses to know them on a personal level. They look for personalized experiences like messages tailored according to their needs, recommendations relevant to their role, and timely communications tied to milestones.

UserGems, a startup that sells AI-powered prospecting solutions, customizes its lead generation campaigns to target its ABM accounts. Note the landing page below that calls out its target client (Twilio) and shows how its solutions impact the employees individually

Usergems personalizing every touch point on their website

The startup’s hyper-personalized campaign zooms into each decision-maker’s desires and struggles, showcasing how its solution creates a ripple effect in the organization

“Your messaging needs to be specific to the individual and their role,” explains Isaac Ware, the director of demand generation at UserGems.

“This is especially important in the market conditions we operate in at the moment. Your goal is to alleviate anxiety, speak to their personal concerns, and how you help them achieve their company goals.”

UserGems’ landing page hits all the right notes. Personalize your marketing campaign to address your target audience directly.

3. Create multiple buyer personas

Buyer personas are semi-fictional profiles of your company’s ideal customers. 

These visual documents highlight the key characteristics of your best customers today, so that you can: 

  • Segment buyers more accurately
  • Create more targeted marketing campaigns
  • Improve customer experience
  • Generate more quality leads
  • Prioritize features in product development

… and more.

Use a tool like Reveal to identify your most profitable customers.

Connect your data sources and select the customer segment that defines success (e.g., all paying customers). Reveal will generate insights to inform the attributes of your target customers, such as their job title, income level, and the industry they work in.

Breadcrumbs Reveal tool can identify your most profitable customers

Conduct customer research (e.g., surveys, interviews) to shape the rest of your buyer persona. Once you’re done, store the buyer personas in a folder that everyone in marketing, sales, customer success, product, and business can access. 

These documents should be used far and wide in the company. Marketers, for one, will want to use them as a guide when creating a bunch of lead magnets for each individual customer segment.

Now, speaking of lead magnets…

4. Drill down the specifics

The more upmarket you are, the more specific your lead magnets should be. 

This means that your content should be free of elementary advice, especially if you sell to industry experts top in their field.

Your lead magnets should clearly reflect the target audience’s struggles and benefits so that it stands the best possible chance to convert.

Let’s explore what this means in two real-world examples.

First up is AdEspresso, an all-in-one advertising platform popular among smaller businesses. If you were to skim through the academy section, you’ll see that it offers mainly generic and adjacent lead magnets. 

These are problems that enterprises don’t struggle with.

AdEspresso, creating specific lead magnets targeting only small businesses
Source: AdEspresso

Now, if AdEspresso were to sell to enterprises or experts in the advertising field, these lead magnets would never work.

But since it targets small businesses completely new to advertising and probably doesn’t have the budget to hire an in-house ad specialist, it works.

Now compare it to Kahoot, a game-based learning platform that sells corporate training solutions. Note how it zooms into a specific and trendy topic (learning and engagement in an era of Gen Z and hybrid workers). 

Kahoot, a game-based learning platform, zooms into specific and trendy topics as lead magent.
Source: Kahoot

That’s precisely what you want to do in your lead magnets. 

Use the buyer personas as a reference. The insights you gathered will help spark a topic or two and strike a chord with your target buyers.

5. Experiment on prospects’ hangout spots

When you know where your prospects hang out, you have a better chance of attracting the right buyers.

For example, if you sell to early-stage bootstrapped startups and indie makers, join communities and acquisition channels like Product Hunt, High Signal, and Twitter.

In our experience, the more upmarket a startup is, the better LinkedIn works. 

The numbers speak for themselves. 79% of B2B marketers say the professional networking platform produces the best leads for them. It also doesn’t hurt that the lead gen forms can reduce the cost per lead by 40%.

Learn more about how LinkedIn Ads work for SaaS brands here.

6. Optimize your forms

You can’t improve sales performance when you don’t have enough leads to work with.

One factor behind low lead volume is form design. If you’re seeing a drop in leads (and you’ve double-checked that nothing is amiss with your paid search and landing page copy, etc.), it may be time to optimize your forms.

Consider using smart defaults, visual question types (i.e., clickable image buttons instead of dropdown boxes), or even something as simple as reducing the number of form fields to boost the conversion rate. 

A note on form fields.

In general, you should request more information in your forms if you sell to upmarket customers or your sales reps are spending a long time weeding out low-quality leads. 

More importantly, set the number of fields based on the perceived value of your lead magnet. 

If it’s a lengthy form, your lead magnet should be valuable enough for visitors to spend time completing it (note: or scroll down to #7 for a better alternative).

In our case, we stick to only six questions in our lead gen form.

Breadcrumbs newsletter and free ebook lead magnet form
Source: Breadcrumbs

Here’s what we did to optimize the form:

  • Highlighting the call to action in purple (it’s impossible to miss it!)
  • Listing the clear benefits in bullet points
  • Adding an “official” eye-catching book cover to increase the perceived value

Don’t skip the form design. You don’t want to risk leads abandoning your landing page after spending hours researching and generating traffic. 

7. Spread out your “asks”

Lead gen forms that contain more fields generate higher-quality leads. 

However, if you’re seeing a low response rate, consider this alternative: 

Request for additional bits of information in your email nurturing sequence.

This approach, called progressive profiling, asks for customer information one at a time throughout the customer journey (tip: think of it as a multi-step lead form, only that instead of breaking the questions into smaller chunks in a single interface, you’re spreading them out across multiple emails).

Let’s see how this might look like for a lead who downloads three different lead magnets:

[Triggers workflow] Form submission for “Download your free worksheet!” *opt-in form requests for name and email address 

[Email 1]: “Here’s your free worksheet!”

{wait} 2 days

[Email 2]: “Grab your free 30-day trial” *landing page requests for industry, job role, and monthly recurring revenue

{wait} 1 week 

[Email 3]: “Your VIP invite to our video masterclass” *landing page requests for goal and pain point of attending the webinar

Notice how we space out these requests for information and ask “deeper” questions to appear less overwhelming. It reduces friction and builds trust over time. 

It also increases the odds of leads responding since they’ve already invested their time in filling your previous forms.

Using this approach, you can bump up your response rate, flesh out your buyer personas, and sell more effectively.

Example: startup that does this well(?)

8. Score your leads

Lead scoring is a methodology where you assign your leads a score or rating (e.g., 1-100) based on their demographic data and online activity. The higher the score is, the more sales-ready a lead is.

Even though lead scoring helps you identify your best buyers with zero guesswork, it doesn’t uncover other revenue opportunities in the post-sales stages. 

That’s where a contact scoring platform like Breadcrumbs comes in. Breadcrumbs helps you create scoring models throughout the entire customer journey. Not only can you identify your MQLs and SQLs, but you can also evaluate customers at risk of churning and pinpoint customers with upsell opportunities.

Score your leads with the help of Breadcrumbs Compare Mmodels

That’s revenue acceleration at full steam ahead.

Our contact scoring tool also combines all the data you have about your prospects and clients in one centralized place. You get a bird’s-eye view of their activity level and insights on your entire list.

Scaling a business requires more than robust lead generation. You want to be sure you never leave money on the table—and contact scoring helps you do just that.

9. Set up a referral engine

Customers base their buying decisions on experiences, not price or quality.

According to Talk Triggers, word of mouth is so powerful that it’s directly responsible for 19% of all purchases, and influences as much as 90%

That’s a lot of sales that no other marketing channel can compete with.

Social proofs like testimonials, customer reviews, and case studies boost awareness, trust, and credibility. And to do it well, you need to set up a referral program that incentivizes your active users. Signaturely keeps it simple. Note how the startup’s customer success specialist reaches out to users who gave the e-signature software a great rating. In this brief email, it offers free one-month access to its business plan in exchange for posting the review online.

Signaturely offers free one-month access to its business plan in exchange of an online review

Signaturely’s attractive review program works because it:

  • Awards active and loyal users for their support
  • Increase upsell potential (a bunch of these users might upgrade to the business plan after trying out the premium features)
  • Generates more leads and customers by tapping into the existing users’ network 

Consider replicating Signaturely’s approach if you want to foster brand loyalty and attract new prospective customers simultaneously. A referral program like this generates new leads without requiring you to do much legwork.

Final thoughts

Your B2B SaaS leads are directly correlated to revenue.

Maintaining a healthy marketing funnel is vital—and it starts with knowing your ideal customers to the core, personalizing every touchpoint in the buyer journey, and driving customer loyalty.

Which of these lead generation best practices will you try today? 

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