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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas

Google BERT can help with B2B lead generation blogging

Recently, Google announced their ground-breaking new search algorithm called BERT. How does this apply to your B2B lead generation blog? While a lot of us may know Bert as Ernie’s hilarious sidekick from the kids’ show Sesame Street, the acronym is short for “Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.” (Wow, that’s technical… hence why we call it BERT.)

This article explains BERT very well, but the short explanation is that it better understands the actual intent behind the words used in online searches. This means that it helps your potential sales leads to find exactly what they are looking for faster. And if you’re doing blogs for B2B lead generation, this is very good news for you.

Write for human beings, not bots, and Google will reward you

Keywords are great, but insights and true connections are even better, especially when we’re looking to generate leads. As marketers and businesses, we’ve gotten so used to writing for SEO that we sometimes forget about the actual humans we’re talking to. They need something or they wouldn’t be searching for it. Creating content that truly connects with them gives you a better chance of showing up first in their search. B2B lead generation companies like 360 Leads (that’s us) can help you with content, and here are some of the techniques we use.

Everyone loves a good story

Storytelling is back in a big way. And with good reason. As we explain in this blog, a good story is a scientifically proven and effective way to create an emotional connection. What you know as case studies, actually have the potential to be great stories. A satisfied customer is your “hero,” the problem they need fixed is “the quest,” and then your company came and solved it, which is the “the happy ending.” A true lead will identify with whatever struggle your story’s happy customer hero had.

Find the pain points

As this article explains, when coming up with a lead generation strategy, it’s important to understand exactly what problem(s) you’re solving with your brand. One exercise to do is explore these 4 types of common pain points: 1) Cost (they want a better bang for their buck), 2) Productivity (they want to save time or prevent wasting it), 3) Ease Of Process (they need something that will make their lives easier) and 4) Assistance (they want access to helpful customer support after purchasing).

The beauty is in the details

What’s great about Google’s BERT update is that being more detailed and specific in your content will work in your favour. If you think of ads from the 1920s, they would tell a story about how a problem was solved and the text would take up most of the page. Using this approach, we can take an opening title such as “How do I get a better sleep?” and rework it addressing the pain points and solutions with something like, “How I Got A Better Sleep After I took Melatonin And Chamomile Tea Just Before Bed.” Going “old school” like this with your content can actually help both Google bots and humans to find you.

Your audience should define your brand voice

Sure, you can sit in a boardroom with a whiteboard and brainstorm a brand voice that will resonate with your potential leads. But the best lead generation companies know that to really resonate with them and create a good story, you need to put yourself in their shoes and use the same type of words that they do. That means digging deep and reading social media conversations, customer reviews and Q&A forums about your industry. Not only is this the most unfiltered and valuable research you can do, you’ll get the actual words you need to reach more sales leads.

Bottom line: making an effort to talk to your B2B leads like actual humans, in a way that makes them actually want to read it, will now get noticed by Google. Need some help? We’re ready when you are

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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas

Sales lead generation – 20 to-dos for 2020

By now, unless you’re taking an extended break (and lucky you if that’s the case), you’re back to work after the holidays trying to plan your sales lead generation strategies. While some of us come back to a mountain of deliverables, sometimes it can take a bit for sales leads to ramp up at the beginning of the year. Either way, the post-holiday slump is a real thing, with many of us still feeling the physical and financial overindulgence of the holidays, and, if you’re in the northern hemisphere, you’re probably already tired of the winter weather too. To help get some motivation and inspiration for your sales lead generation, here are 20 things you can do to kick your 2020 B2B demand generation strategy into gear.

1- Review what lead generation strategies worked.

With 2019 still fresh in your mind, it makes perfect sense to take a look at what your sales leads wins and losses had in common. Was there a process you used in your lead generation that was particularly successful? Were there any standout moments, good and bad? Now is the time to figure out what you want to keep doing, and what you’d like to avoid, this year and possibly forever.

2- Make some S.M.A.R.T. sales goals.

First seen in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran, and later made popular in Peter Drucker’s management by objectives concept, “SMART” is an acronym for:

  • Specific– target a specific area for improvement.
  • Measurable– quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
  • Assignable– specify who will do it.
  • Realistic– state what results can realistically be achieved, given available resources.
  • Time-related– specify when the result(s) can be achieved.

There are also some variations of what each letter stands for, such as “Agreed, “Attainable and Achievable” for the “A” and “Relevant” or “Results-based” for the “R.” So feel free to customize them as you see fit.

3- Bring in the experts.

Sometimes a fresh and trained perspective makes a huge difference. Specialized lead generation companies like 360 Leads can help you find the gaps and the opportunities. They do this by taking a deep dive into every aspect of your sales lead management operations, from call shadowing and instructional support, to integrated sales lead generation campaigns and post-campaign follow-up.

4- Do some digital housecleaning.

Clean Out Your Computer Day is the second Monday in February (Feb 10), but you could always get a jump start on it now. A new year is a great time to organize your B2B sales leads files and folders. It’s a satisfying feeling to hit “delete” on junk files, duplicate files and old files and programs you’re no longer using.

 5- Reconnect with prospects that ghosted you.

Potential clients that weren’t interested last year, or were simply too busy to reply, might very well be interested now. A new year is a great opportunity to check in and say “happy new year” and ask what their goals are for 2020. And if you’re doing any “digital housecleaning,” cleaning out your email is also a great way to uncover some of these sales leads.

6- Engage in “Compliment Day” Jan 24.

Not that you really need an excuse to tell your coworkers that they’re doing a great job, but participating in Compliment Day on Jan 24 is a chance to have some fun with it. You can also take it beyond your own team and send out a complimentary note to your sales leads, partners and clients. You could even leave a positive online review for businesses you work with and hopefully they will return the favour.

7- Take a closer look at your customer service.

It’s been predicted that by 2020, customer service will overtake price and product as the key differentiator between brands. As outlined in this infographic, a whopping 86% of customers say they would pay more for better customer service and 91% said they would leave after a negative experience.

8- Make sure your website is “mobile responsive.”

If your website doesn’t work properly on a smartphone, this is something you should address ASAP. Stats show that 61% of customers likely won’t come back to a site that gave them trouble and 40% would use a competitor’s site. 66% of online shopping is via mobile (with that number steadily increasing) and more Google searches take place on mobile devices than computers in 10 countries. Among other Mobile Marketing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know, 91% of American adults have their smartphone within reach 24/7.

9- Review your insurance coverage.

As explained in this article from Forbes, “If you’re happy with how much your insurance costs, you’re not doing it right.” Business risks are changing rapidly and it’s important to make sure that you’re covered for things like cybersecurity.

 10- Reach out to new hires.

 As mentioned in this article about re-engaging prospects or qualified sales leads after the holidays, companies tend to hire a lot of new staff at the start of the year. A deal that stalled in Q4 could be revived through a new hire who is eager to add value to the company.

 11- Get some plants.

Besides just looking nice and helping you to get some “greenspace” indoors, scientific studies have actually proven that offices with plants make staff happier and more productive.

 12- Look for ways to give back.

Practicing CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) is just smart for two major reasons: 1) you’ll feel good about doing it and 2) you’ll look good for doing it. It doesn’t even need to be particularly expensive – your team could participate in a volunteering event such as a food drive or donate blood as a group. (Fun fact: January is also blood donor month.)

13- Help your site get better SEO.

Did you know that 81% of customers do online research before buying but 75% never scroll past the first page of search engine results? There are many different tools out there to make your site more search engine friendly, such as Google Search Console (which is free!). It’s also very important to use a good hosting provider, make good use of keywords and keep your content fresh by updating it regularly.

14- Add a chatbot to your site.

As explained in this blog, a chatbot is a very effective inbound marketing technique for lead generation, as it can help your site’s visitors to find the information they’re looking for faster. If you do it right, it can be a very enjoyable and even entertaining experience for your target.

15- Write it down.

Handwriting Day is January 23, and it’s worth picking up a pen for. Various studies have shown that writing by hand, specifically expressive writing about thoughts, feelings and goals, can help to boost the happiness, health and productivity of your B2B sales team.

16- Make some cold calls.

Believe it or not, The Black Report, a survey of over 300 executives around the world, found that outbound telemarketing was their most effective lead generation marketing channel. In a digital world, there just is no substitute for a human being. This blog and this blog have some helpful tips to help you make the most of every call.

 17- Ask your best customers for referrals or reviews.

If you have happy, long-term and loyal customers, there’s an excellent chance they would recommend your business. Whether it’s a 5-star online review, being a reference for a potential prospect, or giving you some names of companies that they know could use your solution, you’ll never get what you don’t ask for… so just ask!

18- Learn about TOFU, MOFU and BOFU.

You likely know tofu as a soy-based vegan meat alternative and have no idea what the other two are, but TOFU, MOFU and BOFU are actually acronyms for targeted marketing: Top Of Funnel (traffic generation), Middle Of Funnel (demand generation) and Bottom Of Funnel (lead generation nurturing and customer acquisition). There is no such thing as “catchall content” anymore – you need to nurture your sales prospects (and support your sales team) at every stage in the lead generation game.

19- Keep remote workers engaged.

With the evolution of technology, B2B sales staff can do more remotely than ever before and working from home has become the norm for thousands of us. This article has some good tips on helping remote workers to be as effective and engaged as possible despite the distance, such as prioritizing one communication platform and sticking to a schedule.

 20- Celebrate “Fun at Work Day” Jan 31.

Sometimes the worst thing we can do is take ourselves too seriously. Nothing breaks the tension and helps with stress relief like a good laugh. In fact, playing at work has been actually proven to boost productivity by 20%! Fun at Work Day, held on the 4th Friday of January, is the perfect opportunity to plan something fun for your team.

Hopefully, one or more of these suggestions resonated with you, and you’ll consider making them part of your B2B sales lead generation process. No matter what, remember bonus tip 21: breathe. All we ever have is this moment, so make sure you’re always there for it. And if you need any help getting those new sales leads, contact us to find out more about our lead generation services. We wish you a prosperous lead generation year and successful 2020!

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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas

A TV appearance can help with sales leads

Think of how much it costs to buy a television ad to help you generate sales leads, and consider that, with a little tactical manoeuvring, you can get even better exposure on television without paying a dime.

Not only do you save loads of money on advertising, but a single TV appearance can lead to new business or a partnership. Plus, it’s great inbound marketing that could drive qualified sales leads, depending on the topic and your appearance. Most importantly, you are building expertise and authority in your subject matter and that can generate more appearances and a higher profile, for you and your B2B company.

While television producers have regular guests and columnists they rely on for news, business or health coverage, as a B2B business leader, you have very specific knowledge of something most people do not.

When breaking news happens in your industry you want to be the person ‘chase producers’ think of when they are madly trying to line up guest to provide commentary. You want to get on their radar before the news story happens, so they will think of you when it does. In this case, it helps to be a regular contributor to public discussions around topics you are expert in.

When a news story breaks, news producers do what they do: they google to see what hot takes there are on the topic, and they’ll check you out – on LinkedIn, Twitter, your company website or any other platform – to ensure you’re the ideal guest who will enliven and engage their audience. Because you are being vetted without your knowledge, it’s smart to Google yourself on a regular basis to see what comes up and how your expertise is showcased.

Reach out as part of your sales leads strategy

A more direct route is to find the producers at your favourite network shows, where you would love to be a guest, and send them a commentary on a breaking news item that you have special knowledge of. If you are writing a company blog, you’re in a great position to get noticed. Jump on any news opportunity to comment and draft a compelling piece that provides your learned perspective on the issue at hand. Think of this as auditioning for a spot on their show. The next time that topic is a hot issue, they will remember your expertise and call you in for comment.

What’s next

Once you have a track record of posts on your company blog, seek out other publishing opportunities to spread your name and boost your credibility. If you come up frequently in searches on certain topics, and if you are published on widely read blogs or national websites, you stand a very good chance of being called up to the big leagues: a network TV show.

Becoming the go-to person on a given topic takes perseverance and patience. Her are a few pointers on how to do it slowly but strategically as part of an overall lead generation campaign:

  • Cultivate trusted relationships with journalists and producers by showing an interest in their articles or shows.
  • Give them exclusives once in awhile to build trust and rapport.
  • Be persistent and patient. Set a goal each week, to post a blog, or be mentioned in another industry blog.
  • Always send out your best work. If you need an editor or proof-reader, make sure everything you write gets read by at least one other person. If your style is drab, think about getting writing lessons.

With persistence, solid media relationships and ensuring your voice is “out there” where the important conversations are happening, you will stand a much better chance of getting on television. It’s a repeatable process since producers are ecstatic to have found an expert and will have you on repeatedly, and it has potentially great value for your business! What could be better. Go forth and put yourself out there as a ‘thought leader’ or ‘subject matter expert’, you’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. Need some help, give us a shout.

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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas

Best social media for lead generation

Social media for lead generation is a driving force in many facets of our daily lives and for B2B marketers social media platforms are now the number one content marketing tactic – ahead of blogs, articles, e-newsletters, videos, podcasts, white papers and case studies that should be part of your overall lead generation efforts. In other words, if you’re not on it, you’re not in it. Yet some businesses are overwhelmed by all the social networks and think they need to have a presence on all of them. This would be a mistake, as it is difficult enough to have a meaningful presence on one platform, let alone all of them. You would be stretching your marketing resources too thin; instead, for lead generation, focus on the platforms where most of your potential customers are, and build your social media presence from there.

Start by looking at your audience and researching which social media networks they most commonly use, how they use them, and which platforms best fit your products or services. For B2B lead generation, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook are the best bets. People turn to these sites to interact with their peers and friends, hear the latest news, track the markets and keep up with developments in their fields. For many users, social media is a form of professional development where they come to learn about new products and services that can help them in their own business. This makes it an ideal place to position your brand as a valued contributor of information to elevate your visibility among potential customer and clients. It’s a sell-free environment, meaning you can communicate and cultivate sales leads without the pressure of having to close. It’s a long game but one that you absolutely must be in, so here are some tips to make the most of your time and effort on the social networks.

The three goals of a B2B social media strategy are to build brand awareness, showcase your expertise, and make B2B sales contacts. Here’s how to do it on the top three B2B social media networks.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perhaps the best platform for B2B lead generation, mainly because it’s filled with decision makers looking for ways to improve their business, find their own leads and strike up meaningful conversations. LinkedIn folks are receptive to a blog post that addresses something in their business that needs attention or a big fix. It’s also a place to stimulate thinking on aspects of their business they might not have thought about recently. One big bonus of this site is its notification system: whenever you visit a user’s LinkedIn profile that user is immediately alerted, and in most cases, they’ll check the profiles of anyone who’s viewed theirs. This acts as an introduction service, which is key for building awareness of your company before you actually initiate first contact. You can see which groups your target audience is a member of and can see what they’ve posted recently or commented on. This is invaluable in getting to know your prospects. Comment on their shared content, post your own relevant content and act as a friendly authority on the subject matter.

Twitter

A favourite of journalists, decision makers and a certain U.S. president, Twitter is where thousands of conversations are happening all at once. You will want to stay on top of your timeline so you can make contributions on a regular basis, whether that’s commenting on shared content, retweeting tweets and hashtagging keywords relevant to your industry, or following key people. One way to organize Twitter accounts you follow is by creating lists. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. Viewing a list timeline will show you a stream of Tweets from only the accounts on that list so you don’t have to scroll through hundreds of general, and likely unrelated, tweets. For instance, if you’re in the automotive parts business, you could create a list of Manufacturers, another one called Automotive journalists, a third called Competitors. If you want to see what your competitors are tweeting, a list can make it easier to catch up on conversations. It takes a bit of organizing, but it is incredibly helpful if you want to use Twitter strategically instead of getting lost reading Twitter tirades and all the replies. Smartly crafted feeds can also be a great tool for social listening, especially if you’ve curated lists of your competitors. In addition to monitoring tweets, lists offer another way to keep tabs on the competition. From each competitor’s profile page, you can see what lists they’re subscribed to, and what lists they’re included on. This can give you valuable information about who your competitors are keeping an eye on and interacting with, so you can do the same.

Facebook for lead generation

If you think the world’s most popular social media network isn’t the place for B2B marketing, think again. Beyond brand and reputation management, with its massive audience and engagement, Facebook also provides invaluable advertising intelligence about your audience. Imagine using Facebook retargeting to show ads only to people who have visited your website. There are reams of data available once you establish a presence. Be aware of shameless self-promotion, or just posting offers or coupons. The idea is to sell your company’s story, provide useful information, and never try to fool your audience. Be honest, human and transparent and your audience will appreciate your candor and trust your insights.

By now you now that B2B social media works better as a tool that you can use to influence your sales targets, rather than a channel to direct conversions. Because social networking sites so thoroughly blend personal and professional interactions, it’s vital to never come across as a spambot fishing for leads. Instead, you should make a genuine effort to join conversations, add value to them, and in doing so present your brand in the best possible light. The ultimate goal is to ensure that each of your potential clients has laid eyes on your brand before you initiate first contact with them.

Find out how 360 Leads can help you harness the power of social media to generate B2B sales leads. Contact us today!

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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas

Inbound and outbound marketing for sales lead generation

No doubt you’ve heard about inbound and outbound marketing for sales lead generation. They’re often viewed as choices that a marketer makes when deciding how to generate B2B sales leads. Instead of thinking about this as a choice, it’s better to view them as complementary forces. Combining inbound and outbound forces can create a more cohesive – and powerful – marketing strategy.

Inbound: Content that attracts sales leads

Inbound marketing is a passive way of marketing, in which you wait for the customer to come to you, through content related to the solutions that your company can provide. These potential customers are out information shopping, and they likely have the budget to buy. However, they might not have heard of you, hence the importance of creating appealing content to draw them in.

Inbound: Make it relevant and diverse

Creating a diversity of content – from blog posts to white papers to podcasts on hot topics – helps strengthen your reputation and the likelihood these interested readers become buyers. Yet inbound won’t necessarily get the whole job done, since it also draws people who are not necessarily qualified leads. It also takes time and patience as you attract an audience. In other words, inbound marketing shouldn’t be the only strategy that you deploy.

Outbound: Requires a deft touch

Outbound marketing is traditional marketing which actively reaches out to customers where they are most likely to be and appeals to them directly, through advertising, direct mail or phone calls. These methods draw prospects into the sales funnel while clearly and overtly positioning your products and services. Outbound requires that you find customers who aren’t necessarily looking for your products or services – in fact they may know nothing about it at all.  But once they’re presented with your offering, they can see a need.

Outbound: The interruption factor

Outbound marketing enables you to choose your target audience, (something inbound is notoriously bad at doing), but there is a risk. It can feel intrusive to buyers who are used to dictating when, where and how they educate themselves. Since outbound techniques tend to be focused on the immediate, i.e. the call from a sales rep, the banner ad, or the webinar currently taking place, one way to lessen the interruption factor is by combining it with inbound marketing techniques to familiarize buyers with your company before more direct contact is made.

Combining inbound and outbound marketing for sales lead generation

The smartest marketers combine both approaches in their B2B sales strategies. Here are a few examples of how you can mesh inbound and outbound marketing activities into a cohesive sales and marketing strategy:

  • After meeting with a client, instead of the usual thank you note, why not send a link to a piece of content related to what you and the prospect discussed?
  • Create a customized email blast for your clients, prospects, colleagues to let them know about your blog and ask them to subscribe to it. This is a great example of inbound and outbound working together and can be used to promote any type of content like video, e-books, and white papers.
  • Advertisements, email marketing and hard copy mailers are all examples of traditional outbound marketing tactics that can be effective when done correctly. But don’t let ads or hard copy mailers “stand alone.” Make them even more effective with calls to action. Include an effective CTA to draw prospects to the content you’ve already created through your inbound marketing strategies. Ask them to subscribe to your blog, follow you on Facebook, download an e-book, or watch a video.

Ultimately it’s a combination of both inbound and outbound strategies – along with qualifying digital sales leads properly – that increase the odds of closing a deal. If you’d like to learn how we blend inbound and outbound marketing techniques to create customized lead generation solutions for our clients, please give us a call.

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Insights and Ideas

Lead generation buyer personas, why and how

Lead generation buyer personas are shorthand for the different types of individuals most likely to buy your products or services – basically fictional examples of your ideal customers, like IT Irene, Mechanic Mike, or Builder Bryan. Why are they helpful? Because having a deep understanding of who your target sales leads are will increase the chances of greater sales. It allows you to create the most suitable content to draw them in and win their trust and provides insights into the different solutions they are looking for. Developing buyer personas for lead generation might seem like an onerous task, but it doesn’t have to be if you follow a few steps. The strongest buyer personas are based on market research as well as your own internal intelligence gleaned from your interactions with clients. So let’s start there.

When it comes to lead generation, do your research

The first step in creating personas is to do some basic research so you completely understand where your B2B lead generation sales clients are coming from. That includes all of the unique industry challenges they have, like regulatory issues, currency fluctuations, export laws and other problems they typically come up against. Next, look at your own digital data to see trends. Facebook and Twitter analytics can help you discover the kinds of content customers are looking at, which in turn tells you the sorts of problems they have, and how your products and or services can solve them.

Talk to sales

Your frontline sales people will be a great source of information, so tap their knowledge to find out the types of customers and sales leads they interact with. Ask them what questions they hear consistently, and how they would characterize the types of customers they see.

Interview customers

Ideally you will speak to a customer from each industry that you serve, so you get a broad idea of what features help them the most, what caused them to look for a solution and why yours was the best. Alternatively, if you can speak to dissatisfied customers about why your product wasn’t a good fit for them, this helps clarify which personas you do serve well. This can also assist your company in improving the product or service so it becomes a better fit for more customers.

Create your buyer personas

Take all the learnings and apply them to creating buyer personas. They should include geographic and demographic information, the industry they work in and their position. Get to know their preferred way of researching and buying from a company. For instance, some buyers might enjoy doing their own deep research and then interact with a chatbot. Others might prefer a longer conversation with a live person who can walk them through their purchasing dilemma. For B2B companies, a persona should be created for every industry that you serve. Give each persona a name, find an image to represent them, and create cheatsheets for all of them with samples of the language and pitches to use for each of them. This helps ensure that everyone in the company is speaking the same language when having conversations with customers.

Buyer personas allow you to target marketing efforts to specific needs, behaviours and concerns, but it also helps to align every department in the company. If you would like to talk about buyer personas and other lead generation topics, contact us.

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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas Sales Team Performance

Lead generation company telesales stereotype totally debunked

Your next customer is only a call away. That is, if you or your lead generation company telesales team picks up the phone.

Needless to say, because of this, telemarketing or telesales gets a bad rep; those poorly-scripted calls are made in the hundreds if not thousands, from disengaged people focused on quantity and not quality. It’s a negative stereotype that’s hard to shake, but as a sales lead generation company who prides itself in the outbound calling campaigns we’ve successfully accomplished for our clients, we’ll put a hard stop on that right here.

Just check out these numbers:

  • The best performing sales lead generation channel by 44.7% was outbound telemarketing for top performing companies as found by The Black Report.
  • Another report found that 70% of B2B sales come from human interaction – 56% of these sales came from telemarketing.
  • B2B telemarketing is different than B2C telemarketing – The State of Inbound Marketing report found that B2B companies get twice as many leads from telemarketing than B2C companies.
  • The most annoying type of advertising at home was deemed telesales while at work it is deemed the LEAST annoying and favourable option.

How do you get telesales to work for your business?

  1. Who are your B2B sales targets? Review your data and ditch the quantity over quality stereotype. Do the research and know which verticals, locations, job titles and companies matter most to you. Do the people you’re calling have the capabilities to onboard what you’re offering? Doing the upfront thinking before your outbound calling campaign will help set the right targets.
  2. What is the purpose of the lead generation company telesales campaign or call? You can’t have your eye on the prize if you don’t know what the prize looks like. Whether you are selling a product, booking a qualified sales meeting or providing a service know the purpose and focused objective of the call. Even if your prospect isn’t interested, this gives you information to refocus your efforts elsewhere. Every call, whether you book a meeting or not provides immediate feedback.
  3. Are you listening? While the right script can propel your phone call from good to great, it’s essential to listen for an understanding of your prospect’s needs rather than just listening for the sake of responding. Don’t get wrapped up in your pitch and don’t go into automatic – the call should be a genuine, two-way conversation as this is the start of building and nurturing customer relationships.

It takes a positive, enthusiastic and master communicator to bridge the relationship between you and your prospective leads – we’re lucky to work with a few on the 360 Leads team.

Until then, turn the negative telemarketing perceptions on their heads with these three easy sales leads tips and your marketing and sales may see a positive return. We can help make that next great phone call for you, simply give us a shout.

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Insights and Ideas

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.

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Insights and Ideas

Using LinkedIn boosts your B2B sales leads

When generating B2B sales leads you’ll need to go to where the leads are, and nowadays, that’s on social media. According to the Black Report, social media accounts for 26.8% of a B2B company’s success. Using it to tap into interested prospects for your business can be a powerful resource. But what’s the best platform to use? The Answer – LinkedIn. Sure, you can use platforms like Facebook and Twitter, but LinkedIn has actually been proven to be the most effective.

But, you will also need to have the right strategy in place. LinkedIn won’t do all the work for you. Here are some ways LinkedIn can help attract more leads and sales:

Content over everything

Posting fresh and existing content daily is key. If you have other social media accounts where you generate content, or if you have a blog, LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to publish new content or re-purpose content to specifically speak to your LinkedIn following. This lets you share your knowledge, expertise, and updates you’ve posted in other accounts. It’s also a great way to push traffic to your website. Tip: Remember to communicate with your connections in a way that is personal, helpful and open.

LinkedIn advertising works for B2B sales leads

Using the right LinkedIn advertising or sponsorship post can be an effective tool. After all, there are over 560M active professionals on LinkedIn. Using its advertising is a great way to help your business generate more B2B sales leads. And the best part, you’ll be able to target unique audiences, create easy and effective ads and control your budget and costs. It is a sure-fire way to better connect with potential clients and influencers in your industry.

Stronger relationships are built through InMail

Sometimes, advertising might not fit your budget. But that doesn’t have to stop you from making meaningful relationships and LinkedIn helps with InMail. Depending on the type of account you have on the platform (basic or free vs. Premium) InMail can be sent to any LinkedIn user if their profile settings allow for it. Sponsored or paid-for InMail can cater to the audience you want to reach and your budget. By simply crafting an email that informs potential clients about a new product announcement or a new idea, you can increase the chances of generating more sales leads as InMail lands directly in someone’s inbox and if done right looks like a personal and unique message directly from you. Be wary of how many times your use InMail and to whom you’re sending it to, nothing’s worse than being marked as spam or getting blocked.

Group up

Another great way to learn more about your industry is to join influencer or professional groups in your areas of interest. These are very easy to find. All you have to do is simply search for keywords about your industry or that are related to your company or product and service offering. Some groups require an invitation or, admins will choose to vet someone before allowing them access to the groups, however, once you’re in you will have access to like-minded people in your industry. This is a great way to gain helpful information, establish credibility, make connections and spark conversation for new business and relationships.

Like most social media platforms, LinkedIn is constantly evolving, but using these steps can help increase your professional and personal brand on LinkedIn and help to attract new leads.

Follow us on LinkedIn and learn more about how we can help you boost your sales leads by contacting us.

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Insights and Ideas

How do lead generation companies get results

In one of our 360 Leads blog, we dispelled the negative connotations around telesales and explained why it’s an effective lead generation channel.

No one knows this better than sales lead generation companies. They are on the front lines (and on the phone lines) putting this method into practice everyday for 360 Leads and our clients. From companies in the manufacturing industry, to technology, agriculture, law firms and more, our sales lead generators connect with prospects across a wide variety of industries everyday.

Daisy Sidhu has been a sales lead generator with lead generation company 360 Leads for nearly five years. She was recognized as our Employee of the Year for 2017. Daisy is one of the first steps in connecting sales clients to their target customers and has been consistently successful at it. Here are Daisy’s top tips for calling prospects and making telesales work for your lead generation:

Be organized

“In my daily routine, I have to have my calendars ready, I have to know the availability of the sales reps or any changes,” Daisy said.

“It’s about organizing, you can’t just think ‘ok I’m going to work on Jacob, so I’ll just pick up the phone and start dialling’ – no, there’s more to it and my daily routine is not always the same, there are always changes coming on. You must be flexible.”

As clients are based anywhere from Canada, the United States and even Germany, Daisy says she always reviews not just who the sales reps are, but where they’re located and when they are free to meet prospects. She is in constant communication with team members to ensure everyone is on the same page. You can’t book a meeting or sell anything if you don’t have all the right info readily available.

Manage your time

“We get our weekly schedule with what campaigns we’re working on and who we’ll be calling. Right now I have 3 clients,” Daisy explains.

“I always try manage those hours and to keep in mind what is the best time for me to call for (certain clients) to book an sales appointment and what time will I be able to get a hold of the prospect.”

How do lead generators know when to call? It takes some experience, Daisy says.

“We work with a wide variety of clients; IT, transportation companies, manufacturers, service companies with each client you slowly, slowly figure out what’s the best time to get a hold of a prospect.”

For example, if you’re trying to get a hold of someone who works office hours you may not reach them after 9:30 a.m. Knowing the key times to call sales leads prospects helps Daisy divide her time between clients, allocating certain hours and time slots in her day for each client.

Don’t take it personal

“You need to be friendly and you need to be able to take the negative and the positive,” Daisy said.

“Sometimes they hang up on me, or right away they say ‘take me off your list, don’t call me again.’ I say it’s ok don’t take it personally, just move on to the next one. You can’t take it to heart because there’s a 100% chance that the receptionist of the next person on the next call will be equally as nice and it will make up for the previous bad experience you had.”

As a representative of not only 360 Leads, but the client as well, Daisy said it’s best to communicate in a conversational friendly manner, no matter what the B2B sales prospect’s response may be. While it’s easy to get disheartened by a bad call, take Daisy’s advice:

“Each call is a different experience and to be honest, I learn from each experience and I apply it to the next call.”

Make every call count

“A lead generator is not necessarily picking up the phone and making an enormous amount of calls – one call after another, it’s not a race, it’s slow paced,” Daisy said.

“I try to take it easy, make friends and make each call count. That’s what I always say, make each call count.”

Making a call adds a personal touch. While it may be the first time talking to a prospect you must converse as though you have done so many times with this person, Daisy says. At the end of her calls, Daisy always asks for the prospect’s email address. By already connecting through a call, a prospect is more likely to remember you and your company.

If you want to learn more about how telesales can help your lead generation, contact us today.

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Insights and Ideas

Lead generation that takes telesales to the next level

Telesales can be the start of a successful lead generation campaign – when you have the right lead generation company working for you.

The 360 Leads Black Report found that 44.7% of top performing companies rank telesales as their best lead generation channel. When you combine direct mail, digital marketing and a targeted campaign that gets your business in front of key decision makers, it’s no wonder that 76% of US and Canadian companies have applied multi-channel lead generation programs.

So, is telesales dead? Per our proven results, not in the slightest.

Creative outbound campaigns

The secret to creating meaningful outbound sales leads, is there is no secret. Simply put, the right B2B demand generation company will create a focused message, research your target markets and refine your value proposition. 360 Leads works with clients to produce creative outbound campaigns to achieve their objectives. Whether this means calls, direct mail, digital marketing or a combination of these methods, each campaign is specifically designed to grow sales leads and achieve results.

Win-back and retention

While reaching new customers is the focus for many lead generation campaigns, marketing to existing and former customers is just as beneficial for the bottom line. A win-back and retention strategy incorporated into a sales lead campaign means more avenues for more results. Don’t let leads cool off after that first conversion, instead— nurture, nurture, nurture. Here’s the proof: The 360 Leads Black Report found that companies who communicate three or more times with leads they generate are more than twice as effective at achieving their targets.

Targeting key decision makers

A blanket approach to telesales may not achieve results, but when an experienced demand generation company knows how to approach and execute telesales by doing the research to target decision makers you want to reach, results improve vastly. With outbound telemarketing sitting at the top of lead generation channels for top performing companies (The Black Report), it’s clear that even in a digital world telesales drives success. 360 Leads caters to clients in creating telesales campaigns on their own or combining them with insight-driven direct mail campaigns and/or digital marketing to ensure you are connecting with as many leads as possible.

How can we help

If you’d like to discuss how telesales and targeted marketing can increase your profitability, our lead generation company services can help. Contact us.

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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas

The best marketing strategy might be sales lead generation

Brilliant marketers understand that qualified sales leads often start in the marketing department. According to The Black Report, a global sales lead generation study by 360 Leads, 72.8% of companies that excel at lead generation have a well-defined, clearly articulated value proposition. These companies know their story, and how to tell it.

Articulating the difference that a company can make for customers is vital. Taking that value proposition and expressing it in a way that’s clear, simple and compelling is something that great marketers know how to do very well; but here’s the gap:

Marketing professionals say their sales lead generation company activities are 35% more successful than sales professionals think they are, and when it comes to the top reasons why lead generation company campaigns don’t perform, they can’t wait to blame each other. But given the importance of developing communications to drive sales leads, marketers should be focused on the shortest distance to profitability.

Marketers need to consider that building a brand is not enough for their lead generation company efforts. In the B2B channel, creating meaningful conversations between professional sales people and qualified customers needs to be a marketer’s key objective.

How do successful companies do that?

The most effective sales lead generation company efforts use outbound telemarketing programs and effective social media. At least in the case of smaller companies. Larger corporations have bigger budgets, so they have a broader opportunity to reach their markets using events, conferences, trade shows, email marketing, direct marketing, and print advertising. They also have larger sales forces, and in most cases, simply because of scale alone, companies with larger sales forces are more effective than smaller sales forces. But size is not the stand-alone reason for more sales success; organizations with larger sales forces have a culture where they understand that marketing’s job is to support the effectiveness of the sales force.

How can marketing support the effectiveness of the salesforce?

For starters, companies who communicate three or more times with the leads they generate are 2.4 times more effective at achieving corporate targets. But most importantly, marketers must focus their communication efforts on the broader business development plan. This means carving out budgets and developing strategy to move the dial on creating qualified sales leads. It will increase profitability, get marketing efforts closer to the bottom line and stop the downward spiral of eroding marketing budgets year over year.

Ready to generate qualified leads for your sales team? Contact us.