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B2B sales lead generation is changing thanks to AI

B2B sales lead generation has always been an inherently human activity but with the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) applications, companies are going to be rewiring their B2B lead generation tactics. Here are two key ways AI can assist marketers in capturing sales leads.

Personalization

Big data is being captured in unprecedented ways and in massive volumes and can provide companies with deep insights about behavioural patterns of both existing and potential customers. AI can then use those insights to develop a unified customer view and deep understanding of each customer at an individual level previously not possible. AI can then learn to respond in a way that is targeted directly at the customer’s location, context and values, three essential understandings that can personalize marketing strategies.

Potential sale leads can be filtered based on whether they hit a threshold of time spent on a page or visit key pages that have been identified as qualifiers. It all adds up to more personal interactions and a heightened chance of eventually closing a deal.

Chatbots and 24/7 B2B sales lead generation

Imagine an AI chatbot that feels both authentic and personal, reacting to queries with original content of a high EQ, while conversing naturally. Imagine that AI available 24/7, to respond, deliver messages and provide vital information to potential leads. That is what is referred to as “affective computing” which will allow an AI to interact in a way that feels truly, authentically human. For this to work, the AI must be able to convey empathy and detect emotion.

The AI chatbot is coming to a website or Facebook page near you, (probably yours if you don’t have one already), and once activated it will bring startling changes that will revolutionize your lead generation. Chatbots will be able to recognize what campaign brought the person to the website and can use that information to start a conversation about the most relevant topic, through targeted outreach based on users’ previous interactions with the brand. An AI chatbot will fire up a conversation with a potential customer, assist them with their inquiry, and deliver a lead to your sales team who would otherwise not have engaged with the company.  This can help enormously at a time when visitors to websites are increasingly impatient with filling out online forms and wondering whether the information they get in return is worth the effort.

Measurement matters

As the digital tools that companies use to measure the effectiveness of their digital campaigns proliferate, marketing executives will be under even more pressure to justify their investments than they already are. It could be that AI-fuelled chatbots, though traditionally relegated to customer service, are the ROI-proving answer that marketing managers have been waiting for. If they live up to their promise, they will turn visitors into qualified leads, connect the dots between an ad campaign and a conversion, and give CMOs the much-needed answers they deserve.

Find out how 360 Leads can help your business get AI-ready with an integrated B2B sales lead generation campaign. Contact us today!

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Insights and Ideas

Questions to ask a lead generation company

Whatever your sales and marketing funnel looks like, if you don’t get enough qualified sales leads, things will dry up and revenue will fall flat. If you are in this position, it might be time to consider hiring a lead generation company who will help combine sales lead generation and marketing strategy to help you sell more, acquire new customers and optimize your sales force Before signing on to a contract, here’s what to ask before hiring a lead generation company.

Does your company specialize in small or large businesses? B2B or B2C?

Ask this at the outset, so you get an idea in general terms of whether they are experienced in the kind of lead generation you need. If you’re a large B2B company with major accounts you likely have a sophisticated process of handling leads. The lead generation company you hire should have a higher level of expertise, precision and support to handle these high value sales leads. Typically, they will be talking to C-suite, upper-level decision makers, with a solution-oriented selling style focused on ROI for a long and complex business cycle.  If you are targeting smaller purchases of a commodity type with a shorter or non-existent sales cycle, you need a company that is well-versed at these sorts of leads. Additionally, there are major differences between B2B and B2C leads, so the company you’re considering should have experience dealing with these kinds of leads. Discuss expectations of how much of the sales funnel will be handled by this company. Many lead generation companies have a hand in lead nurturing as well, so it’s important to find out how they will work with your in-house sales team.

How do you define a “qualified lead”?

The more narrowly you define a qualified lead, the better, and their definition of a good prospect should align with your own. This is key to getting a smooth partnership going, and expectations will be based on a solid footing.

What types of lead generation company services do you provide?

Many lead generation companies have different approaches and methods. Think of the approaches you take and compare them with the strategies at play in a company you are considering hiring. One major decision is how much effort is to be spent on inbound versus outbound lead generation. Outbound is old school but can pay dividends. Inbound typically requires more digital marketing savvy. Some companies will provide tracking, reporting and support services. How much of this you will need is worth debating with colleagues.

Here is a list of typical services a lead generation company might offer:

  • SEO
  • social media
  • blogging
  • web page optimization
  • paid search
  • email marketing
  • outbound techniques like cold calling and pay-per-click
  • event promotion, content creation, B2B appointment setting

What is your costing structure?

You should already have a sense of your own cost per lead (CPL) or at least a ballpark figure. Lead generation companies should offer CPL estimates based on industry standards, and they should be similar or lower than your own. After all, they are experts at this, and their processes should be refined enough that they get efficient results without excessive overhead costs. Conversion rates and how far they are going to take your leads can matter as much as the quantity of leads. That’s why it’s important to understand their processes before you sign a contract.

What type of technology do you work with?

A lead generation company should have a full set of digital tools at the ready to automate, manage, and track all aspects of their services. Look for up-to-date technology and find out whether it can be easily integrated with your own, particularly your customer relationship management (CRM) system.

Ultimately, the main thing in asking questions is to find a company with transparency about their operations. If you find you’re getting vague answers to basic queries about their process, it’s best to say goodbye. If you are interested in partnering with 360 Leads to see if we might be the perfect fit, contact us today.