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How to leverage non-traditional lead sources

3 min readJuly 10, 2020

Sales reps typically acquire leads from marketing lists, online campaigns, research, social media, or old-fashioned cold calling. These often provide sufficient lead volume for team members to hit their targets. But, sometimes they just aren’t enough.

Where can reps find more leads to meet or exceed their goals as the end of the month, quarter, or year approaches? That’s when it’s time to leverage non-traditional lead sources. We all have access to these methods of generating leads, but we often forget about them. They include current customers, professional groups, influencers or guests, professional networks, alumni, and other associations. Here’s how to take advantage of these previously untapped resources to identify new leads.

Current customers and their friends

Referrals are warm leads that are easier to convert because a friend or colleague recommended your product or service to them. Sales reps should be in the habit of asking for them on a routine basis. Current customers are an excellent source of these leads because they are familiar with your company.

Have them recommend other departments or other people within their organization, as well as contacts in other companies, who might benefit from your offering. Plus, don’t forget to request a personal introduction. This gives the potential lead additional confidence to take the time to speak with your salesperson.

Professional groups

Membership in professional groups might include joining the local Chamber of Commerce, Toastmasters, or industry-specific associations. Participation is not only enjoyable, but it also enables reps to develop relationships with other members. So why not identify potential leads in the process as well? It’s a win-win because the new lead will benefit from your product, assuming it’s a good fit, and your rep will have a new potential customer.

Influencers or guests

This excellent potential lead source is a no brainer most companies fail to utilize. According to Howard Brown, “Marketing teams will frequently use webinars and podcasts to build awareness and generate new leads for the sales team. However, few use that webinar or podcast guest as a qualified lead. Once you’ve built rapport, transitioning to a sales conversation is much easier as you typically just covered all of their challenges in a few content calls leading into the event.” These are warm leads that should definitely not be neglected.

Professional networks

On LinkedIn, and within professional networks in general, sales reps develop relationships with a wide array of contacts. Some of these they connect with because they are inspirational or can provide them with career advice. These people have the potential to become leads as well and, in the course of interacting with them, should be asked if they would be interested in your product.

Alumni and other associations

When it comes to alumni, Fraternities, Sororities or other associations of this type, there’s an instant bond in place from which to build a relationship. This makes them an excellent source of leads. It’s easy to identify the best leads from these sources by starting with a filtered search in LinkedIn and then creating a list of those who fit your target customer profile. Another way to locate them is by looking up local chapters for each of these associations.

All these non-traditional lead sources have one thing in common – they already have an existing relationship with someone in your organization. This makes them a source for warm leads, increasing their chances of converting to customers. So don’t forget to utilize these sources to help reps keep their pipelines full, meet their targets and close more deals.