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 worked last year and what didn’t in your sales lead generation efforts.

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 lead generation 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 concept1, “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 for sales lead generation services.

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 B2B sales 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.2 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.3 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.4)

13- Help your site get better SEO so that your sales leads can find you.

Did you know that 81% of customers do online research before buying5 but 75% never scroll past the first page of search engine results?6 There are many different tools out there to make your site more search engine friendly, such as Google Search Console (which is free!).7 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.8

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.9

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 online 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 what TOFU, MOFU and BOFU content is.

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- Take steps to 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!

Make your B2B sales lead generation campaign perform

Being active and engaging with new leads and prospects is a good way to fill your sales pipeline and garner new business, but how often are you measuring the performance of your B2B sales lead generation campaign?

There are several metrics to track in lead generation. The key is to map out your goals and prioritize the data that’s most relevant to your business objectives. Peter Drucker, author and modern business management guru is well known for this simple quote: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Whether it is to create solidify more face to face appointments, captures email or contact information, or drive traffic to your website, tactics in lead generation can be measured and give you what you need to enhance, improve and bolster your results.

Determine your metrics

Creating a B2B sales lead generation campaign can feel complicated on its own, but with the right objective and strategy can yield great results. What do these results look like? Are they hitting targets? Can they be improved? These are all questions that metrics can tell you. While the goals of each business will determine what to measure, there are a few common and self-explanatory ones that can easily applied in almost any B2B space when it comes to the performance of your lead generation campaign:

  1. Click-through Rate (CTR) – Determining the performance of a CTA
  2. Conversion Rate – Dividing total number of leads by total number of conversions
  3. Time to Conversion – The length of time it takes to turn an “audience member” into a paying customer.
  4. Average Close Rate – Determining the quality of your leads.

When delving deeper into more details as they pertain to marketing, cost and sales, the metrics are similar, looking at ROI, Cost Per Impression (CPI) or Cost Per Click (CPC), Customer Lifetime Value, Sales Qualified Leads etc. Whether your campaign has digital and non-digital elements (i.e. direct mail, telesales) metrics can be applied to actions to ensure you’re headed in the right direction.

Get help from a B2B sales lead generation company

Partnering with the right lead generation company will not only help with campaign strategies to grow leads and achieve results, it also leaves very little to chance – launching a campaign blindly hoping one or two tactics will yield conversions. At 360 Leads, we offer our clients support in securing new customers and increasing customer loyalty, but we also provide market analysis, insight-driven strategy and support in measuring campaigns. We also work with clients to optimize their sales force with training and lead funnel management. Essentially, a reputable lead generation company will do just that – generate qualified sales all while helping you track your result and provide analysis and reporting along the way.

What does success look like to you?

There have been many iterations of the phrase “you don’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been”. When applied in the sales world, metrics and analysis are not a burden, but rather stepping stones to lead your team to the next best step. Keeping consistent with reporting provides the feedback and data needed to tweak campaigns, tactics and strategy. Measuring the performance of your lead generation campaign is essentially mapping out your success.

Learn more about how we can help you boost your B2B sales campaign by contacting us.

Lead generation companies help you convert sales leads into loyal clients

To thrive in today’s world, companies need to move beyond the customer journey. To reach their full potential and earn loyal clients for life, companies need to maintain a permanent presence in the lives of their customers, an endless relationship not confined to separate episodes of actively considering a purchase. This is as true for B2B sales leads as it is for B2C and can be achieved with the help of certain lead generation companies.

Companies need to build a brand experience that lasts beyond the transaction and goes beyond a simple follow-up thank-you.

Consumers have embraced technology and have hundreds of interactions a day on their devices. But they want those interactions to be personal and increasingly expect them to be highly customized as well. Marketing guru Seth Godin describes this as the “connection economy”, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Companies that fully grasp this and look at their clients holistically will have the best chance of building a strongly loyal customer base. It’s not difficult to do but it requires going beyond the customer journey to a close examination of the entire brand experience you have created.

Know your audience

For lead generation in particular, not taking advantage of all the data points available is like wilfully operating with a blindfold on. Gather as much information about your customer base as possible. Ask: What do they care about beyond a certain product or service? What interests them more broadly? Then think about how you can legitimately align yourself with those interests. It’s not enough to just sell a product to them at the right time, you need to buttress that connection with information they can put to use in their working and personal lives. If you can create a brand identity that is about something bigger than the product itself, you strengthen your appeal among customers, while simultaneously attracting a whole new group of potential customers that connected with those deeper interests first. Remember: millennials look for brands that are different, open-minded and socially engaged. How are you presenting that to your potential buyers?

Get expert help from lead generation companies

A lead generation company not only helps you track and discover new sales leads, they can offer insight and strategy in building a better relationship with the clients you already have. Customer win-back and growth strategies nurture leads and relationships and result in more engagement. Engaging the services of B2B lead generation companies like 360 Leads can give you a winning game plan that builds on your company’s innate strengths.

Build trust

Position yourself as a thought leader in your industry without asking for anything in return. By offering free educational content you are becoming a trusted source of relevant and useful information. Better yet, make sure they know that you are available to them for advice, should they reach out for it. At the same time, make sure your company isn’t the hero at the centre of your content marketing. Today’s consumers are suspicious of overly aggressive marketing campaigns and they are looking for credibility and transparency. Above all, be useful!

Create meaningful touchpoints

Have a game plan that allows customers to become aware of you, learn about your unique value, sample your product or experience, understand how to get the most out of what they just bought from you, and refer you to their friends. That is the strategy that will deliver meaningful touchpoints for both client loyalty and repeat business.

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.

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.