Lead generation specialists play a crucial role in the sales process. Not only do they prospect for new business, but they help bring them into the sales funnel during the early stages. Alead generation specialist is one of the first people a prospect interacts with.
If you’re interested in becoming a lead generation specialist or are considering hiring one, let’s explore what a lead generation specialist does and how they contribute to an organization’s sales and marketing efforts.
Table of Contents
- What is a lead generation specialist?
- How to Become a Lead Generation Specialist
- Lead Generation Specialist Job Description
- Lead Generation Best Practices
Lead generation specialists typically hand off qualified prospects to the sales team to get them to the next stage in the funnel.
What a Lead Generation Specialist Does
A lead generation specialist researches potential customers and handles the early interactions with a prospect or lead. These are the primary tasks a lead generation specialist is responsible for the following.
1. Identifying Quality Leads
A major part of lead generation is prospecting. Sales prospecting involves researching and identifying prospects, or potential customers, who have a demonstrated need for your product or service — and could eventually be turned into sales-qualified leads. These can be new sales leads or existing leads that can be re-engaged.
Lead generation specialists may spend a lot of time researching and identifying prospects. In addition to reviewing potential customers’ websites and social media presence, lead generation specialists can also look through current prospect or buyer profiles to identify customers who have shown interest in a product or service in the past.
2. Contacting Prospects
A primary part of a lead generation specialist’s role is contacting prospects that have been identified as sales-qualified leads. This outreach is typically done through cold calling, which is still considered one of the most effective sales tools.
While a lead generation specialist can make anywhere from 10-50 cold calls a day, depending on their target, contacting prospects can also take place over email — whether for a follow-up or to book a meeting with someone on the sales team.
3. Managing Leads
To successfully manage leads that have been identified or contacted, a lead generation specialist should be well-versed in maintaining an accurate CRM. A customer relationship management (CRM) platform is the central source of information for customers and prospects and is used by sales, marketing, and customer service teams.
Part of a lead generation specialist’s role is to help the sales team manage leads by maintaining and updating the CRM. This includes updating customer information after every interaction.
Lead Generation Specialist Compensation
According to Glassdoor, the estimated salary for a lead generation specialist in the US is $66,791. This total salary includes an average base pay of $50,763 and an estimated additional pay of $16,028. However, this number can vary depending on the size of the company and the individual’s experience level.
For anyone who wants to build a career in sales, becoming a lead generation specialist is a great way to get hands-on experience. The career path of a lead generation specialist offers many opportunities to move into bigger sales and leadership roles, as Zippia outlined in the chart below.
While lead generation specialists typically begin their careers as sales associates or sales representatives, they can become account managers or sales managers. Eventually, they can move into leadership roles as senior account managers or business development managers.
If your goal is to build a successful sales career, taking on a lead generation specialist role can be a great launchpad.
How to Become a Lead Generation Specialist
Most companies prefer that lead generation specialists have a Bachelor’s degree, while some only require a high school diploma or GED equivalent, but this depends on the company. Lead generation is an entry-level role, so the preferred experience level can range from 1-5 years in a similar role, depending on the company.
Regarding the skills needed for this role, job descriptions emphasize the importance of having strong sales and communication skills and proficiency in sales technology, such as CRMs.
Here are some of the essential skills to hone if you want to become a lead generation specialist.
Communication is the foundation of any sales job, and lead generation specialist roles are no exception. People in this role spend most of their time cold calling and emailing prospects, so they need to be more than comfortable communicating in various verbal and written mediums.
Lead generation specialists must be able to clearly and effectively communicate the product in a way that appeals to a customer, whether they're reaching out to prospects over email or qualifying a lead over the phone. They must also be skilled at communicating with a team, as they will spend a lot of time working with the sales and marketing teams to share interactions, customer data, and engagement ideas.
A lead generation specialist is a sales role. If you want to succeed in this role and your sales career, then you must have excellent sales skills.
While a lead generation specialist's primary focus is finding and qualifying leads, they should also be well-versed in the entire sales process. Understanding where lead generation fits in the overall sales funnel helps lead generation specialists better understand how to help lead a potential buyer down the funnel.
Every lead generation specialist must know how to use customer relationship management (CRM) software. A CRM tracks all interactions and contact information for potential and existing customers.
This data is considered a source of truth for anyone on the sales team, and a lead generation specialist is largely responsible for updating, maintaining, and referencing this information when handing off sales-qualified leads to sales team members.
Lead Generation Specialist Job Description
If you‘re looking to hire a lead generation specialist or want to see if this role is a fit for you, start by exploring a lead generation specialist’s job description. Responsibilities may include:
- Identify new customers
- Prospect for new business via phone, email, and marketing activities
- Generate sales-qualified leads by following up on inbound leads and collecting account data
- Update and maintain CRM to keep customer data and interactions accurate
- Assist sales team with meetings as needed
- Attend marketing events and customer-facing events such as trade shows
To see what a typical day in the life of a lead generation specialist looks like, let’s take a look at a real job listing for a lead generation specialist on the sales team at financial software company Q2.
Lead Generation Best Practices
If you’re currently a lead generation specialist or considering becoming one, here are a few lead generation best practices to follow.
Study your prospects.
While lead generation specialists are responsible for handing off valuable leads to the sales team, they need to understand which prospects could be a good fit. It is key to study everything about a prospect to identify and evaluate their needs before the sales team takes over.
Review their websites, social media accounts, and any public information that provides insight into their business goals. Understanding a prospect's goals and current needs can better position your product or service during your initial outreach.
Understand your product.
It should go without saying, but it’s essential to understand your product inside and out. Lead generation specialists must think like sales leaders so they know exactly how their product can help potential customers reach their business goals.
In addition to studying your product's features, make a point to review case studies from current customers. Understanding how your product has impacted similar buyers and what results were generated can help you better communicate those selling points to prospects.
Maintain your CRM.
Your organization's CRM is the central source for all customer data, which means it plays a role in every move the sales team makes. Lead generation specialists must maintain the CRM by updating it with details about each prospect interaction.
Staying on top of the CRM helps everyone on the sales team know where a potential customer is in the funnel, reducing friction between engagements.
As the sales process evolves, lead generation specialists play a critical role on a sales and marketing team. Not only are they one of the first people potential customers interact with, but they are also responsible for sending qualified leads to the sales team.
Whether you're considering becoming a lead generation specialist or want to hire one for your sales team, consider these best practices and responsibilities to get the most impact out of lead generation for your sales efforts.