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B2B Lead Generation

Navigating lead generation marketing strategies during COVID-19

These are strange, challenging times indeed for companies. Most are questioning their sales lead generation marketing strategies. No need to reiterate “COVID-19,” as the major news media has that more than covered – so much so, in fact, that many of us have found ourselves needing to limit our exposure to it.

As we all work to come to terms with whatever exactly this “new normal” is, businesses everywhere have had to make drastic changes in a very short amount of time for their financial survival. It’s a crisis. It’s certainly stressful.

But it’s also, believe it or not, actually an opportunity.

Yes, you read that right. An opportunity. No, not the “price gouging and fear mongering” kind of opportunity ($30 CDN disinfectant wipes, anyone?), the “build strong connections, offer real value and lead by example” kind of opportunity.

In times like this, you should be slashing budgets for your lead generation marketing strategies, right? Wrong. So very wrong. But, the fact that some of your competitors are likely taking the “hibernation approach” right now will work highly in your favour. Hence the opportunity.

The worst thing you can do right now is disappear.

There is a saying in the industry: “When times are good, you should advertise. When times are bad, you must advertise.” It’s actually more expensive in the long run to leave and then try to regain your market presence. To really take advantage of the current situation, you need to speak when your competitors are silent.

“The money you save by cutting lead generation budgets is actually pretty insignificant when you compare it to the profits lost in the long term,” says Leigh-Ann Clarke, Vice President with marketing and communications consultancy Clever Samurai.

This theory is backed up by Forbes as well, who say that “When marketers cut back on their ad spending, the brand loses its “share of mind” with consumers, with the potential of losing current – and possibly future – sales. An increase in “share of voice” typically leads to in an increase in “share of market.””

You literally have a captive (and more receptive) audience.

 If there was ever a time for lead nurturing and acquisition, it’s now. Most of us have found ourselves with extra time, working from home, online for the better part of the day, and, with social distancing being the new normal, longing for human connection and reassurance.

There is an emotional receptivity that simply did not exist before. This is the time to build those relationships, because it’s a proven fact that when customers feel inspired and confident, they are more likely to purchase.

It’s also an ideal time to examine all points of your sales funnel and marketing strategies (which companies like 360 Leads® can help you with). And if your client base includes any essential industries like healthcare or grocery stores, you should assume they’re looking for anything that might make their jobs easier right now.

“By making an effort to connect now instead of staying silent until things improve, you can make enough of an impact for them to choose you over a competitor,” adds Clarke. “And true connections beget more connections. For instance, a personal recommendation is even more prized than flashy advertising when customers are cost-conscious. Reaching out is how you will get those coveted online reviews, social media shares and word of mouth references.”

Research tells us that taking the risk pays off.

We might not have a collection of research on advertising in a global pandemic, but we do know that companies that invest in marketing during an economic crisis do better.

McGraw-Hill Research’s Laboratory of Advertising Performance studied the business performance of 600 industrial companies during the U.S. recession of 1981-1982. Those that maintained or increased their B2B marketing strategies spending averaged significantly higher sales growth both during the recession, and for the following three years, than those that eliminated or decreased marketing.

The study also found that those companies that were aggressive in their marketing strategies during the recession achieved a whopping 256% rise in sales over companies that chose to cut marketing spending.

The American Business Press and Meldrum & Fewsmith also have historically robust research on B2B advertisers in years of recession. In one study, they reported that “The findings of the six recession studies to date present formidable evidence that cutting advertising appropriations in times of economic downturns can result in both immediate and long-term negative effects on sales and profit levels.”

Look at what marketing strategies the brand leaders are doing.

 You may have noticed that some big brands have already released custom ads for the current pandemic conditions. You’ll notice certain commonalities throughout all of them: they are highly relevant, subdued versus flashy, honestly and earnestly explaining what they are doing to better help their customers during this time. Many are also making the effort to thank the health care workers, while encouraging social distancing to prevent the spread.

It’s time to be creative and lead by example.

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to share how your company has taken measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and ways that you have been supporting your community. This opens the door to ask how, specifically, you can help your current and potential leads.

From webinars and interactive livestreams to downloadable eBooks and free trials, there are a plethora of “contact free” and “social distancing friendly” lead magnets to try. But remember: the last thing you want to be seen as is a company trying to capitalize off of a scary situation. Be available, be transparent, be relevant and most importantly, be empathetic.

Remember, leaders rise in a time of crisis. In a time when there are plenty of voices of panic, you can be the voice of peace. When you’re ready to get started with your sales lead generation marketing strategies, we’re here for you.

 

 

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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 Sales Team Performance Uncategorized

Lead generation 101: conquer fears of cold calling

The dreaded lead generation cold call. A recent study revealed that 48 per cent of B2B sales reps fear making them.  Even though sales forces are supposedly made up of outgoing extroverts who are happiest when approaching new prospects, the truth is, we’re all human. And none of us like the awkwardness that can result when a cold call goes sideways. Luckily, there are ways to prevent this from happening, which will also boost confidence among your sales people, and reduce the fear of picking up the phone. Lead generation 101 requires that you conquer fears of cold calling.

Don’t worry about sounding like a sales person

It’s what you do and it’s an honourable profession. Remember this truth about selling: you’re in business to improve someone’s life or their business. You’re a talented problem solver and by providing your product or service you are actively improving business processes or performance for your customers. You’re adding value to your prospect’s business, and in your first conversation you need to demonstrate this upfront with an example of how you can do this. For example, instead of calling a prospect and saying, “Hi, would you be interested in hearing about how my company can help your company?” start with something like this: “Hi, my company just released a research paper outlining three key ways to immediately improve profitability in your industry. I’d be happy to share it with you in an email.” Knowing that you’re providing valuable information to your prospects can go a long way towards removing the fear and anxiety you might have around B2B sales cold calling.

Practice makes perfect if you want sales leads

That takes care of the stigma some people feel at being in the sales business. But there is another fear, the fear of rejection, that keeps many people from initiating contact. Fear causes the blood to flow away from your brain’s frontal lobe so that the more reptilian part of your brain, the amygdala, takes over. The amygdala helps you fight or flee, not the kind of reactions you need to think and respond quickly, and definitely not the ideal state to be in when cold calling prospects. The way to alleviate this fear is to practice making calls for potential sales leads. Try role playing with coworkers, (who are likely experiencing the same pangs of fear), and you will not only get better at it, but you will feel more confident so that the fight or flight reaction goes away. To reduce your fear even further, try offering something to your prospect rather than asking something from them. Much less stressful and a better way to cultivate a relationship you want to last.

Cold calling is essential to lead generation

Cold calling is an essential part of B2B sales and to be successful you need to conquer your fears and get better at it. To overcome the fear of cold calling, see above. But if you’d rather leave the B2B lead generation and appointment setting to us, we’re happy to help out. Contact us today!

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Uncategorized

B2B sales lead generation gets a boost from chatbots

Filling out an online form is about as exciting as watching paint dry, yet they’re a standard B2B sales lead generation tactic for many B2B businesses. In essence their success depends on the willingness of people to spend time filling in blanks in order to receive something they perceive as valuable, whether that’s an article, a white paper, or an online tutorial.

A more modern and effective inbound marketing alternative is a chatbot. Chatbots boost B2B sales lead generation and they are a quick and easy way to start a conversation with very little effort required from your target.

Bots have been proliferating on websites for not only customer support, but also for sales lead generation.  They are easy to use, and can be entertaining too. Having somebody waiting for you to answer is surprisingly compelling. Without even knowing why, users find themselves slipping down the conversion funnel, quickly getting the information they need without having to look for it. Instead, they are treated to the much more fun experience of a simple interactive conversation.

Chatbots and B2B sales lead generation

Most of us have had a chatbot experience before, but if you haven’t, here’s how it works for B2B sales lead generation.

You head to a website and a chatbot pops up on screen, introducing their virtual self. They should also ask you for your name, so they can continue the conversation in a more personal way. To avoid any confusion, at some point early in the exchange they should clarify that they are not a human, but are in fact a bot.

Using a series of AI-powered questions they get to the heart of the matter, and find out what it is you are looking for. They should be able to get it for you in a nanosecond, after asking for a few more details, like your email address so they can follow up. In some cases they might pass the person along to a real, live human to assist.

This interaction should be as pain-free as possible, so a good script is a must. If you need help writing natural-sounding language, check out any of the numerous tutorials that exist. A few helpful tips include:

  • Keep the messages short
  • Avoid slipping into a monologue
  • The bot shouldn’t post more than three messages in a row before waiting for an answer
  • Leverage GIFs, emojis and videos to up the fun factor

If a customer leaves a conversation, the bot can leverage the information it gathered the last time and use it to personalize the next interaction and continue where they left off.

Don’t let hot sales leads cool down

Having a bot is a great investment for any B2B business with a website, but the follow-up is even more critical. A study showed that the faster the response time, the better the odds of contacting the sales lead. In fact, it found that the odds of making contact with a new lead are extremely high within five minutes but drop off dramatically as the minutes tick by. Specifically a sales rep is 100x less likely to make contact if the first call is made 30 minutes after submission. The goal is to respond immediately and persistently to sales leads.

According to the Harvard Business Review, an audit of companies demonstrated the extremely short life of online leads and found that about half of all online leads were followed up only after 24 hours, or never followed up at all! What may well have been a hot lead may turn into a frosty reception for the salesperson making the call a whole day after the lead, if not later. When you’re paying mightily for each lead, that’s a big, fat waste.

So ensure your sales team reacts to a bot-generated sales lead with just as much speed and enthusiasm as your bot did in the first place. Or, consider your bot all for naught!

Find out how 360 Leads can help your business with a B2B sales lead generation campaign, whether that’s with a chat bot or not. Contact us today!

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Uncategorized

Why events are powerful for B2B lead generation

Who doesn’t love getting invited to an event? If that event is tied to one’s career, with a timely topic and interesting speakers, there’s an added incentive to attend. Events are powerful for B2B lead generation. For businesses, hosting events is a great way to increase brand awareness, reach out to potential clients and generate qualified B2B sales leads, both inbound and outbound. There’s no better way to present your brand and establish face-to-face relationships with potential buyers – at a time and place of your own choosing.

In-person events have been rated the most effective B2B tactic by the Content Marketing Institute for six years running, with 81% of marketers using them. And that should come as no surprise, since a well-organized event will inspire conversation and discussion – exactly the kind of things that build relationships.

Plan your own B2B lead generation event

Creating an opportunity for personal contact has never been as important as it is today. In the digital world we now live in, people crave interactions that are up-close-and-personal. That said, B2B lead generation events can take many different shapes and formats. It could be a small breakfast for 10 key industry leaders or a more casual after-work gathering for 50 or more people. These customized, bespoke events can be highly targeted, and just as highly targeted content works better than broad, catchall copy, smaller, ‘in-person’ events can bring greater results and potential sales leads for the bottom line.

Capitalize on someone else’s event

A tradeshow can offer the perfect opportunity to make a big impact on as many decision makers as possible in a limited time frame. From a sales lead generation standpoint, remember to put any new technology or products with a wow factor in the spotlight to attract attention and help you stand out in a crowd.

Remember that tradeshows offer an opportunity to stage an event within an event. You have a captive audience at a show or conference that you can invite to your own event, which can complement the overall tradeshow by showcasing the specifics of your products or services for a select audience.

Conferences also offer opportunities to sit on panels or be a speaker. Always accept these; they bring brand awareness and exposure to the right audience.

Pointers for organizing an event for B2B lead generation:

  1. Make sure events are convivial, entertaining and relaxing and ensure your invitation sets that expectation so prospective customers will be more inclined to attend.
  2. Events should be held in convenient locations and offer refreshments or a meal, i.e. breakfast sandwiches for morning meetings.
  3. Personalize your invitations and treat every invitee like a VIP.
  4. Events should have a main drawing card: a speaker who’s an in-demand major player in your industry, or a current topic that is of great importance to you and your peers. This could be new government regulations that will have an outsize impact, or a major trend that’s just starting to appear in your line of business.
  5. Events should allow for time to mingle over drinks or coffee, to create an atmosphere conducive to connecting with others in an easy-going, casual way.
  6. Make sure your event organizers are organized, goal-oriented people who have the same objectives in mind as you do.
  7. If you have speakers from your company participating, choose good storytellers with a deep knowledge of your company and business, and a knack for leaving an impression with an audience.
  8. Remember to keep it as short and relevant as possible. Avoid long speeches or too many speakers, and no hard sells. Always keep your audience in mind.
  9. For networking, send out a team of your best people. Set them up with the attendee list and have them pre-schedule some conversations with prospects.
  10. Be sure to gather all attendee contact information.
  11. Have an after-event plan: who will compile the insights you’ve gathered, who will follow-up with emails, phone calls and meetings to continue the conversations you’ve started.

Don’t forget

Remember, whether you organize your own targeted event, or participate in a tradeshow or conference, you’ll have the opportunity to meet people potentially interested in your offer. They might not immediately fall into your B2B lead generation sales pipeline at that event, but you’ll be better placed to approach them afterwards.

It’s because of the highly personal nature of these types of micro events that they are so successful. Face to face communication is always going to be the most effective marketing channel you can use. These events will require an investment of time and resources but if done well, you’ll make a great impression and will reap the rewards for a long time afterwards.

Find out how 360 Leads can help your business with a lead generation campaign. Contact us today!

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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

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. See how 360 Leads generated quality sales leads for our client Gray Tools.

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.

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Channel Strategy Uncategorized

Inbound versus outbound: which is best for lead generation?

With every new platform come new ways to reach out to potential customers, and B2B company marketers have a wide selection of tactics to choose from when planning a lead generation strategy. Simply put, these tactics fall into two main categories – inbound and outbound lead generation tactics – though the two are often combined in an integrated strategy. But what are the main differences between inbound and outbound marketing? Simply put, outbound marketing is the kind we grew up with – TV, radio and billboards, magazine and newspaper ads, direct mail and event sponsorships – whereas inbound draws customers to the product or service because of their innate interest in it.

A bit of history we all know too well

In the early years when advertising was novel, people enjoyed reading magazines and newspapers and relied on them to alert them to sales and promotions. People enjoyed watching TV commercials because they were told about products that were genuinely new and that they were interested in learning more about. As the decades passed, advertising lost its value to surprise and delight in the same way. Today we call it interruption-based marketing, which few people have any patience for anymore.

But it still has its adherents, who believe there can be value if you find a platform or medium with a big enough audience. The rationale is, and was, that if you hit upon an above average association with enough audience members, then that percentage of the audience would listen to the interruption and sales leads would convert into bonafide customers. But today, this kind of investment is looking more and more like finding a needle in a haystack. A big reason is the availability of ad-blocking apps and technology, along with new streaming services that are completely ad-free.

What the stats tell us

A couple of statistics to prove that point: 65% of people skip through online video ads. People don’t like ads for a few reasons: they’re in your face and intrusive; they don’t come across as genuine and don’t inspire trust or confidence in the product or service; there isn’t enough relevance to who the customer is, and what solution they are looking for.

B2B marketers might continue to place advertisements and send out direct mail as part of their approach. But to earn the trust of customers and build a long-term relationship based on that trust, B2B marketers turn to inbound marketing for generating sales leads.

Instead of pushing messages out to an audience who may or may not want to hear it, inbound marketing pulls already interested customers in. Customers find you when they need you, which almost guarantees they’re pre-qualified. So not only is inbound cheaper, more measurable and more targeted, it can also generate sales leads that are farther down the funnel.

A list of lead generation inbound tactics:

  • An SEO (search engine optimization) strategy where we take a look at your website, do a keyword audit, and ensure your content includes keywords that will draw more organic traffic to your site.
  • PPC (pay per click) advertising also uses keywords that people are using to search and require buying an ad that will appear on search engines at the top of the SRP (search results page). You only pay once a customer has clicked on the ad and has gone to your site.
  • Content marketing is creating useful, relevant information that people need and want, and using it to draw people to your website, to sign up for a newsletter, or to download a piece of content in exchange for their contact information that you can follow up with.
  • Social media accounts. Creating and programming social media accounts with valuable information that people want to read or watch is a good way of demonstrating your expertise in your industry and becoming a trusted source. As noted above, millennials and more people in the business world actively search for this and you will earn their trust which hopefully converts them into a paying customer.

At 360 Leads we’ve run many successful B2B lead generation campaigns and would be happy to discuss how we can help. If you’re ready to explore a lead generation campaign, contact us today.

 

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B2B Lead Generation Uncategorized

Generate leads by opening the gates to good content

The majority of B2B content to generate leads is gated, meaning to get access to information, users must submit some of their personal details. But is this the best approach? Consider that once you’ve put the final touches on a white paper or a case study and you’re ready to unleash it on the world, putting it behind a gate could reduce its download rate by about 95 per cent.  That might be fine if you already have a profile in your market, like IBM or Cisco. But what if you’re in the middle of rebranding or just starting to put yourself out there as an expert? Wouldn’t it be more important to create meaningful touchpoints and get the word out about your services or solutions to as many people as possible, rather than just lock it up and hope the downloads happen?

A one-two punch that will generate leads

While gated content remains a mainstay of B2B lead generation marketing, some experts believe a one-two punch works better. Real-Time Marketing and PR author David Meerman Scott suggests companies offer one of their best pieces of content ungated and at the end of it list a secondary and equally compelling offer. The idea is that if you show customers the kind of expertise you can provide, they will want more. If you immediately ask for emails and info before providing any information, you’re setting up an adversarial relationship that is a turn-off for most people.

Scott estimates that ungated content gets between 20 and 50 times more downloads, therefore a gated white paper that gets 2000 downloads could potentially get up to 100,000 if offered up for free. Then, if just 5 per cent of them go for the second piece, you’ll end up with potentially 5000 sales leads.

Gated versus ungated

There are believers in gated content who say experience has shown them that gating content is the better way to acquire sales leads. Debra Ellis, founder of Wilson & Ellis Consulting tried ungating and gating the same piece of content on alternate days. While she found that downloads were almost 50 times higher on ungated days, the contacts who ended up calling her company had downloaded the guide on a gated day.  It proved to her that those who are seeking the kind of information and service your company can provide, are willing to pass through the gate to get to the stuff they want.

Both insights are valid when it comes to demand generation performance, but if you have a piece of content that is dynamite, why not offer it for free? It’s a way of getting your expertise, services or solutions out there, and those who take you up on your second gated piece are those who really want to work with you in the long run.

To recap, creating great content is no longer the finish line, it’s the starting line in successful lead generation business campaigns for a conversation with your customer. Businesses have to cultivate new relationships starting with some “no obligation, risk-free information” that will help potential customers with their everyday struggles. If you deliver relevant, actionable business information to readers, they will want to keep getting that from you, and your content will have done its primary job of generating sales leads.

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B2B Lead Generation Channel Strategy

Lead generation companies help convert leads into sales

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.

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Uncategorized

B2B lead generation leaders are…

B2B Lead generation is a massive industry, with countless verticals capturing qualified leads that can be sold to companies looking to acquire new customers. But according to The Black Report, only 17.3 per cent of companies actually reach their lead generation targets.

There are different lead generation verticals geared to different industries, but the most effective are those which attract numerous, deep-pocketed buyers with a high volume of search traffic (as opposed to a reliance on personal recommendations). A few of the standouts are the legal and education industry, in which the value of a converted lead is high. Some others are business and professional services (which reach 23.3 per cent of their targets), Technology (which reaches 21.4 per cent), and Financial services (which reach 41.7 per cent of their targets).

But what, beyond their demographics and size, do these markets have in common that leads them to perform better in B2B sales performance?

A few things.

People looking for legal services and educational opportunities are actively searching online and are typically heavy users of digital services, and therefore easier to reach with an online lead generation campaign. Sales lead generation is a better-established practice in financial and professional service industries, and digital lead generation has a long standing prevalence in technology industries, so the fact that these sectors are top performers in this area is understandable.

Manufacturing (where lead generation reaches just 7.7 per cent of their targets), and the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries (reaching just 12.5 per cent) are more recent adopters of lead generation, so there’s a learning curve there. In addition, these companies may have less marketing-oriented cultures, and may operate in environments with rigorous regulatory and privacy requirements that limit certain types of lead generation activities.

If this sounds like your company, you might need to retool your lead generation programs to get better results, and that means:

  • Examining channel choices, measuring ROI, eliminating what isn’t working, and doing more of what is.
  • Combining a mix of tactics anchored by relevant offers to build effectiveness across all channels.
  • Matching budget priorities to B2B sales objectives to ensure lead generation is sufficiently resourced.

If you are handling your own lead generation you have to find a way to bring sales, marketing and operations to the table to commit to a shared focus and accountability for topline growth. For some companies this is easier said than done, with teams widely dispersed or working remotely which can prove difficult to coordinate. Sometimes it makes more sense to get an outside lead generation company to put their focus and expertise to work for you.

A lead generation company can address specific needs, such as these:

  • If data acquisition is an issue, an expert can provide specific, targeted data matched to an ideal customer profile (industry, business size, geographic location, job title etc.).
  • If lead generation program strategy and planning is weak, an expert can create an efficient, systemized approach to lead sourcing, nurturing, qualifying and sales appointment booking.
  • If website results are limited, a digital lead generation expert can improve website metrics and develop digital advertising campaigns and optimized landing pages.
  • If outbound telemarketing isn’t getting results, a lead generation expert can get sales reps off the phone and in front of the right people.
  • If there’s a great story to tell, but it isn’t being told, a lead generation company with integrated marketing and communications expertise can help craft a compelling brand message and awareness-building campaigns.
  • For companies of every size, effective, ongoing sales lead generation is the foundation for sustained topline business growth. If it’s not on the radar as a key strategic priority, it should be.

Learn more about how we can help you with qualified B2B sales leads by contacting us.

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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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Sales Team Performance

How to kickstart your lead generation campaign

The new year is for new beginnings and if your lead generation needs a reboot, now’s the right time to give it the attention it needs so the year ahead will be a success. Here are some helpful tips for the coming year that will help with your lead generation campaign.

Review your successes (and flops)

What were your goals for 2018? Did you want to build your subscriber list, boost sales, or raise awareness on social media? Were you working on new products or services and plan to start selling them this year? Whatever your objectives, a good way to begin every year is to do a bit of reflection. Pull relevant data and see what happened over the past 12 months. If something worked, try to understand why and build on those efforts this year. On the other hand, if something clearly didn’t work, it’s time to try something new.

Data analysis for any upcoming lead generation campaign

The most important asset of your marketing department is your database, where the lifeblood of your marketing and lead generation lies. The health of that information is paramount to your business’ success, so find the time to evaluate the age, source, quality and relevance of the content, as this will ensure you are equipped to make the right decisions going forward. Take some time this month to analyze and improve your database.

Know your market

A lot of sales teams handicap their own efforts by not fully understanding the motivations of their customers. Why someone is considering buying something is as important as when or where that decision might be made. Once you understand their reasons for buying something, you can effectively position your widget or service as the best one for their needs. No amount of time spent researching a buyer’s motivation is ever wasted. It’s how you will generate the most sales in the long run.

Sales loss analysis

Good sales loss analysis can help you see what you did well and where you went wrong in a previous sales situation. This includes lead generation, marketing, sales support, sales documentation, the sales team and managing the entire process. If any of these are fumbled you could lose the sale to a competitor. Feedback from the sales team is a good start but even more helpful is hiring an independent third party to solicit feedback from prospects at all stages of the sales and marketing process.

Keyword research

Think of keyword research as not just a means to an end – better SEO – but as essential information to aid your B2B sales and marketing efforts. Keywords are what your prospects use to research the products and services they are looking for, so they are paramount to your success. Spend time now doing this critical task to amass the best arsenal for the tasks ahead – not just for SEO purposes, but to be deployed in every aspect of your outreach.

Don’t believe the hype

There are hundreds of companies that will claim to know how to sell to your audience, but ultimately you are the best judge of that. If you study your market carefully and learn everything there is to know about how (and where) they start the buying process, you will know exactly how (and where) to target them. And no slick B2B marketing company can sell you anything else, because you will know exactly what you need to get the attention of your market.

360 Leads is purpose built to help B2B companies acquire more customers, deepen existing relationships and optimize sales team performance. Find out how we can help you hit all your targets in 2019.

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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

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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Channel Strategy

Turn digital traffic into real qualified sales leads

In The Black Report™, our global study on sales lead generation, marketers selected digital lead generation as their top lead generation channel, while salespeople selected outbound telesales as their top channel. We say they’re both right, but the important question remains: how do you turn digital traffic into real bona fide sales leads? The key is to integrate the digital leads into a full lead generation strategy.

Here are three things to think about:

Keep score

Not all sales leads are created equal. Many companies have great website traffic, visitor engagement and repeat visitors that could all be considered warm leads. Developing specific scoring criteria on what is and what isn’t a lead can be the difference between salespeople wasting their time and investing it against real prospects. Your scorecard should include site visits, fill forms, download requests, webinar participation, and more. The lead scorecard for each company will differ, but not having one means there is no benchmark for determining what you classify as a sales-ready lead.

More qualified traffic means more qualified leads

Digital advertising campaigns for a client of ours in the B2B category have been setting user engagement records on LinkedIn and industry websites. The click-through rates are frighteningly good, but these numbers mean absolutely nothing on their own, other than our client and our lead generation team get bragging rights. These clicks all link to a very specific call to action, linking to lead scoring and eventually, the wider lead generation program.

Now what?

While every company and campaign is different, an action we often take is to put the B2B digital sales leads into an outbound calling program. Don’t just let these leads sit in a list that keeps piling up. Instead, make contact when the scorecard says it’s time. But don’t be too aggressive or premature with any outbound contact—you only have one chance to make your second impression count! Set the expectation of contact in advance via your digital call to action. Whether it is a phone call, an email, or a social media post, ensure that the prospect knows they will be hearing from you soon.

If you’d like to learn more about how we drive ‘insane CTRs’ to convert digital traffic into qualified sales leads, contact us.

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Channel Strategy

If you want sales leads, pay for the fans on social media

What is the appeal of social media for brands? Engaging potential sales leads? Starting conversations? Building communities? Not quite. Till recently, social media attracted marketers in large part because it was a totally free form of lead generation. Of course, that’s changed.

Now, if you want your brand messaging to get eyeballs and interactions, you’ve got to pay to play. That’s because most of the time, your content just isn’t going to go viral. Sure, there are viral phenomena that make the rounds of the Internet, but it’s crucial to remember that these are the exceptions—not something to rely on.

In a recent study, Sprinkler estimated that the average Facebook user is exposed to about 1,500 stories every time they log on, while the extra social user is exposed to 15,000. Every one of these stories has to compete against others for newsfeed real estate and user attention. Facebook’s algorithm determines which posts get prime positioning: it considers engagement potential and the investment made to drive engagement—sponsored posts get favoured. So, is the end of free social media a catastrophic loss or an untapped opportunity for sales lead generation? In fact, it’s a massive opportunity waiting to be harnessed through:

Promoted tweets for sales leads

Target the people you’re trying to reach by geography, interest and gender, and have your tweets appear in a feed, or in specific searches. Set a maximum amount to pay per click, follow, retweet, reply or favourite.

Promoted posts for sales leads

Get your message in front of the people who matter most by breaking through the clutter and building exposure with posts that appear higher and more often in Facebook newsfeeds.

LinkedIn ads for sales leads

Advertise B2B offerings on prominent pages to potential sales leads, targeting by job title and function, industry, company size, seniority and age, and groups. Choose between pay-per-click (PPC) to drive response and pay-per-impression (PPI) to build awareness. Maximize ROI with special offers, whitepapers, free trials and demos.

Instagram for sales leads

Benefit from an almost exclusively millennial audience and 58% more engagement than Facebook. According to Union Metrics, Taco Bell saw a 29% point gain in ad recall for the rollout of its breakfast menu, and its Instagram following jumped 45% during its month-long ad campaign.

Ready to get in the lead generation game? Talk to us at 360 Leads about where to start.

Categories
B2B Lead Generation

Lead generation: marketing and sales need to collaborate

The number of sales leads a business needs is a great point of contention between sales and marketing teams within an organization. Sales executives always find they could use more to keep the sales funnel flowing, while marketing executives believe they’re providing enough. In fact, marketing professionals say their lead generation activities are 35% more successful than sales professionals think they are.

Marketing needs to send leads to sales

To keep salespeople neck-deep in sales leads that will help them meet their targets, the marketing department needs to ensure that it is sending qualified sales leads their way. It’s not constructive to send over unqualified leads that haven’t indicated interest in the business product or service. Case in point: Poor sales opportunity qualification is responsible 32.5% of the time for a company not meeting its sales lead generation targets, according to The Black Report™.

There’s just no greater waste of time for salespeople than trying to wedge uninterested parties down the sales funnel. In fact, it’s terrible for business. Of companies that aren’t meeting their revenue targets, 70% generate fewer than 100 sales leads monthly, and only 5% generate more than 2,500.

Fill the gap lead generation

Clearly, there’s a gap that can be filled through better communication between sales and marketing teams. Marketing can help ensure sales teams meet their quotas by being more invested in this process and not turning over leads too early. There is also ample opportunity to take advantage of third-party sales lead generation companies to keep the sales funnel full. In this scenario, expenses in acquiring these leads will be a valuable investment, not just another expense without satisfactory results.