The Evolution of Lead Generation: From Cold Calls to Software Tools

6 months ago 5 minute read
Evolution of Lead Generation

50% of marketers consider lead generation a top priority in their marketing campaigns. But, the way we generate leads has changed over the years, embracing technology and automation. From the days of relentless cold calls to the current era of software tools, businesses have continuously adapted to new lead generation tactics. In this article, we go over the evolution of lead generation, and how to improve your lead generation this year and beyond.

Lead Generation Defined

By definition, lead generation is the process of identifying and attracting potential customers who express interest in your product. The goal is to convert these potential leads into paying customers. While the way we generate leads has changed over the years, the concept remains the same. By understanding and adapting to the changing preferences of consumers, you can implement lead generation tactics that align with your target audience. Now, let’s jump right into what traditional methods of lead generation are.

Evolution of Lead Generation

Traditional Lead Generation

Traditional lead generation refers to the conventional methods and practices that businesses have historically employed to identify, attract, and engage potential customers or clients. It tends to depend less on technology and more on luck and salespeople. Oftentimes traditional forms of lead generation can come across as salesy, annoying, or even an invasion of privacy if they are not done right. While these methods have been effective in the past, technology has led to new forms of lead generation that can improve your lead generation efforts. Here are a few traditional forms of lead generation and how to use them today.

Cold Calls

In the early days, companies heavily relied on cold calls to reach potential customers. Personal interaction played an important role in building relationships, but it was a time-consuming process with limited scalability. Plus, nowadays consumers feel that cold calling can be an invasion of privacy. And, that’s when you can even get your prospect to actually pick up the phone. If you are looking to invest in cold calling, it’s important to make sure that your approach is more modern. Try to use a website visitor identification software to discover companies that are already aware of your offerings. Or, try using a cold calling software like HubSpot Sales Hub. This can help properly help you identify leads, track calls, and follow up with prospects via email. In this day in age, you shouldn’t be calling companies at random when you have technology at your fingertips.

Print Advertising and Direct Mail

Print advertising and direct mail campaigns were popular methods for reaching a broader audience. While these approaches allowed for a wider reach, tracking and targeting specific leads remained a challenge. Today, if you’re looking to reach a wide audience you could invest in social media advertising and organic content. This can help you get in front of a wide audience that still aligns with your target audience. While there still can be a time and place for print advertising, there are more trackable ways to reach a large audience.

Trade Shows

Trade shows and networking events provided businesses with face-to-face opportunities to connect with potential customers. However, the effectiveness of these events was often contingent on geographical constraints and resource availability. On the flip side, with the Pandemic coming to an end, there has been a surge in trade shows. And, they are attracting a record number of attendees. So, it could be a good opportunity to invest in. As long as you’re selecting a trade show that aligns with your business. Another option that has come up is online trade shows and events. These are a more affordable way to get in front of a relevant audience. Take a look at our article 10 Best Marketing Trade Shows You Need to Attend to learn more about the top trade shows in the country.

Trade Shows

Modern Lead Generation

While traditional forms of lead generation have been effective in the past, they lack a way to track analytics or success. With advances in technology, it’s become easier to get infront of a wide, yet specific audience. However, with all of this technology available, prospects are often flooded with sales emails and other types of lead generation. It’s often a balancing act between trying to sell, and trying to build relationships and guide prospects down your sales funnel. Here are a few of the top lead generation tactics that you should be using today.

Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are one of the best ways to generate leads. Whether you are sending cold emails or crafting automated drip campaigns, email can be an affordable and effective way to generate leads. When considering how much money it takes to generate each lead, email is one of the most affordable, coming in at an average of $53 per lead for B2B organizations

We enable B2B companies to identify the anonymous businesses that visit their website and personalize their experience. Your sales team can now follow up with the visitors that don’t convert, while marketing can personalize your website based on firmographic information to drive up conversion rate. Start your 14-day free trial today!

Paid Advertising

If you are looking to generate leads and website visitors quickly, paid advertising is a great option. With the help of Google Ads or social media paid advertising, you can quickly increase your brand’s visibility. When you invest in paid advertising, it’s helpful to create custom landing pages that prioritize what your lead can get out of your solution with a conversion point like a form or book a meeting link. 

Utilizing Your Website

Your website is the only salesperson working 24/7/365. Knowing this, it’s essential to prioritize lead generation and points of conversion. Using pop ups, gated content, and forms on your website can help you collect contact information that you can then follow up with. Of course, you can only successfully use your website for lead generation if you’re attracting the right people. And, enough of the right people. Use SEO, content marketing, paid advertising, and organic social media to attract website visitors. If you need help increasing your website traffic, take a look at our article 11 Ways to Increase Website Traffic

Google Analytics

Embracing Lead Generation Technology

If you’re looking to embrace the evolution of lead generation, software can help. With the help of software, you can improve your lead gen efforts. Here are a few of the top lead generation technologies that your company can benefit from.

Customer Relationship Management Software

Most companies use some sort of customer relationship management, or CRM, software. However, many organizations do not use their CRM to its full potential. First, you’ll want to ensure that your data is clean, organized, and that your contact information has all of the necessary information. This can help you improve your sequencing, newsletters, and ensure that the right audiences are receiving the right information. Once you have your CRM set up properly, you can start to fill it with more leads.

Visitor Queue

Visitor Queue is a website visitor identification software that can help you discover what companies land on your website. In addition to this, you can also see how each company gets to your website, what pages they view, and how long they spent on each page. You receive a description of each company, along with employee contact information like email addresses and phone numbers to help you reach out. You can send this contact information directly to your CRM for a seamless follow up. Start your 14-day free trial of Visitor Queue and stop losing leads.

Visitor Queue Dashboard


Whether you’re using the free version of LinkedIn, LinkedIn Campaign Manager, or LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you can generate an impressive number of high-value leads. There are a ton of different ways to use LinkedIn to generate leads. Take a look at The Complete Guide to LinkedIn Marketing to learn more about all LinkedIn has to offer. Keep in mind that if you’re going to invest in paid LinkedIn advertising, it can get pricey. But, the quality of LinkedIn leads are often much higher than other social platforms.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator


If you’re looking for email addresses, Hunter can be a great option. Hunter uses a combination of proprietary technology and artificial intelligence to find, verify, and enrich contact details. Their key features include domain search, email finder, and email verifier. But, they are most well known for their domain search feature. Here, you can simply enter in a website URL, and contact information for employees will pop up. One downside is that you need to know what companies have a need for you.


What’s Next?

While traditional forms of lead generation methods have laid the foundation of business, embracing technology has helped businesses reach new levels of success. The evolution of lead generation has changed how we do business. If you are not sure how to improve your lead generation for today, I highly recommend embracing your CRM. After you have your CRM properly set up, you can start to fill it with leads. While there can be a time and place for traditional forms of lead generation, if you’re trying to stay ahead of your competitors, you should add in software solutions. As always, if you have any questions about using Visitor Queue for lead generation, do not hesitate to contact us.

While you're here!

98% of your website visitors leave without converting. Visitor Queue allows you to identify who they were, and personalize their website experience based on their needs. Your sales team can now connect with them to close the deal, while marketing can provide a personalized version of your website based on visitor firmographics to increase conversion rate. All of this starting at $39 USD per month. Start your 14-day free trial now!

Written by

Taylor Hamilton

I am the Marketing Coordinator at Visitor Queue, overseeing the implementation of both traditional and digital marketing efforts. I love spending my spare time outside with my dog Peach! I am a firm believer that there are no secrets to success, only preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.