Businesses need customers, and every customer was originally a lead — a potential customer who at some point decided to go ahead and do business with a company. As discussed in How to Grow Your Business with Lead Generation, the process of going out and finding new potential customers is called lead generation.

Lead generation: The process of gaining the interest of potential customers in order to increase future sales.

Lead generation is an art and a science. In the past, sales reps reached out to customers to introduce them to new products and services. But today’s customers have so much information at their fingertips, they’re much less receptive to cold-call sales pitches. Modern companies instead generate new leads by developing a strong internet presence. Salesforce makes it easier to generate leads, and to qualify, manage, and route them to sales teams once you do.

We’ve got some great resources for learning all about growing your business with lead generation in Salesforce:

If you’re not already blazing trails on Trailhead, you need to get out on the trail pronto. Trailhead is the fun, self-paced way to learn all about Salesforce. And it’s free to use.

Several trails and modules touch on lead generation and related topics. Start with these:

Trailhead: Introduction to Opportunities and Leads
Read all about how opportunities and leads work in Salesforce, and part of a larger trail covering how CRM can help your business grow.

Trailhead: Sell Better with Essentials
Hands-on working with and converting leads using Salesforce Essentials, which brings the power of CRM to Trailblazers in Small Business.

Trailhead: Target the Best Leads
Learn how Sales Cloud Einstein uses artificial intelligence to help you target the best leads.

Trailhead: Pardot Lead Generation
Learn all about using Pardot, Salesforce’s marketing automation tool, to turn website visitors into sales leads. 

Official Documentation: Generate Leads from Your Website for Your Sales Teams

When you set up Web-to-Lead, Salesforce captures prospects who provide contact information. You can also redirect prospects to other web pages that are critical to campaign success.

Official Documentation: What are the Advantages of Using Leads?
Understand some of the advantages of using lead generation, including the ability to maintain two separate lists — one for prospective customers and one for existing customers.

Official Documentation: Generate Leads from LinkedIn Lead Gen Ads
Step-by-step instructions connect LinkedIn Lead Gen advertisements to Salesforce. When prospective customers fill out a form on your LinkedIn ad, we convert the data directly to new leads in Salesforce.

Trailblazer Community: How Can I Receive a Notification Email When a New Lead Comes In?
Use a web landing page to capture visitor information, and receive real-time notifications when new leads come in.

Trailblazer Community: Importing Leads from External Lead Generation Websites
Take a look at ways to import leads from third-party lead gen websites into Salesforce.

Knowledge Article: 5 Proven Ways to Generate More Leads with Salesforce CRM
Check out these five ways Salesforce can help you get more leads, process them more effectively, and refine your lead generation efforts.

Lead gen has also been the topic of many a Salesforce blog post, knowledge article, and e-book. Check these out for more strategies, tips, and how-tos for effective lead generation:

Salesforce Hub: What Should You Expect from Lead Generation Software?
Learn how lead generation tools can help your salespeople personally focus on well-qualified leads while other leads are automatically nurtured.

Salesforce Blog: Supercharged Lead Generation for Your Sales Teams
Uncover the secrets to generating great lead pipeline (at scale) for all your salespeople.

Salesforce Hub: 9 Strategies to Help You Generate New Leads
From regular customer care calls to becoming a trusted source of information, here are nine ideas to help you hit your lead gen targets.

Video: Salesforce Pardot: Lead Generation Demo
Check out this one-minute video overview of Pardot. Get everything you need to drive demand and fill your pipeline with high-quality leads — right at your fingertips.