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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas Sales Team Performance Uncategorized

Are your sales leads dipping?

Many businesses right now are experiencing a slow down or a sales leads dipping, funk or drought. It’s the unfortunate reality in every industry during these COVID times. Some businesses are diversifying and/or reinventing themselves to survive. Some are shifting their business models and their sales lead generation strategies. The business world, and in turn the sales world is different from what we have known. While some uncertainty continues to prevail, what’s clear is that you should not give up on your sales and marketing and PR efforts.

The longer you are in business, the more unavoidable these forces are, so you plan for the possible outcomes that may come your way. You’ve experienced, in the past, some of your plans and targets getting crushed by the unforeseen. Familiar with these possible setbacks, you’ve always planned for disruptions by having a back-up plan B, even a plan C to get you through things. The sudden “coup de force” brought on by the pandemic was unexpected by most of us, making the world a different place from what we have known and uncertainty of what the future holds will continue to linger. This is a big change that came about without any warning at all, leaving you with some big decisions to make and a sales funnel that has temporarily dried up.

The focus at this point is about keeping the business running by bringing in more sales leads, and it’s about avoiding droughts in the future by having strategies in place and by dealing with the unforeseen right away. Here are some things you should avoid, so that you can survive and even unlock new levels of prosperity.

Blaming your sales team for a lack of sales leads

Now is not the time for the blame game. You should not pull your team in a meeting to tell them that they are letting you down. You see, the problem just may be that you are letting them down. Did you ever think of that? This is when you really need to rely on and trust your sales department.

This could be a good time for you to invest in your sales team more, instead of pointing the finger. Consider bringing on a firm that offers remote sales effectiveness training or even sales lead generation services. Hiring a company that offers these services can help you get the most from your existing staff, without having to let people go or bringing in a new team lead. A sales lead generation company can also help by replenishing your sales funnel with new sales leads, while your sales people stay focused on closing.

Buying a garbage or spammy email list

There are lots of ways to unlock new sales leads and find new customers; none of which require buying a cheap and spammy email list that might not even target the right people.

It’s true, email marketing campaigns can hold a solid return-on-investment and lead to a number of new sales opportunities or potential leads for you to work on, and even repeat business.

All of which is fantastic. Right? However, a successful lead generation email marketing campaign typically involves targeting the right people who have already voluntarily given you their email address. They could be existing customers or people who have signed up for your newsletter. One thing for sure, they should also be executives who have buying power and influence within a company.

Your brand name and reputation are far too valuable to start shotgun blasting to an email list of random people that have not given you permission or that are not the ideal target.

If someone puts you in their spam folder, they will automatically file your company and services in their junk folder in their brain. In this case consider your efforts fruitless.

Selling to anyone

During these uncertain times, is a good time to rethink your target market, your ideal customer, target audience, or your buyer personas. This is certainly not the time to throw them out and start selling to anyone or everyone you’ve crossed paths with. Yes, you may get a quick sale out of one of these contacts, but they aren’t really in your lead generation target market. This could mean that sales will cost you more over the long run in cancellations or high churn rate.

Cancelling or slashing your marketing and your PR budget

During these times of struggle or restriction, most businesses will say they can’t afford to spend any money on marketing and public relations right now. The truth is that they can’t afford not to spend money on marketing and public relations right now.

As you transform your business model or reconfigure your product and service offerings, you don’t have to spend on high-cost, prime time TV ads. You can invest in low-cost, impactful and high-reach marketing and PR strategies. This could include tactics such as:

  • Targeting your email list, or your existing social media network with a new sale or promotion
  • Doing some online re-targeting ads
  • Partnering with an association or industry publication and communicating to their readers via their channels
  • Garnering some thought leadership based, proactive PR/media coverage or earned article opportunities, blog mentions or podcasts in industry publications that target your buyers
  • Pushing out a direct mail campaign

These are just a few sales lead generation opportunities that you and your sales team can explore. The idea is to be strategic, not desperate for anything and everything, or anyone and everyone. React, but don’t panic.

If you overreact and do something too off course, your sales could dip even more and for a longer period. Or, you might even have to close your business forever. And, we don’t want that to happen.

Be proactive and plan for tough times. Equip your sales team, consider your target audience and don’t give up on your sales lead generation marketing and PR efforts. And, if you need to, hire some outside help. Remember, failing to anticipate and prepare is preparing to fail!

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B2B Lead Generation Sales Team Performance Uncategorized

Close sales leads faster with lead generation services

Are too many of your sales leads “nearly” closed?

Have you considered outside lead generation services?

Too many sales leads, that are near the end of your sales pipeline and not closing can be a problem. This can lock up your cash flow, which means you may have to delay investing in your business while you’re waiting for your sales team to close deals. You have a good sales team, so you’re pretty sure these deals will be done soon, so you concede that a new piece of big-ticket equipment or software can wait. But the days go on into weeks, and weeks turn into months.

You’ve been patient long enough. There are ways to shorten your lead generation sales cycle and unfreeze your business’ cash flow.

Things such as…

Outside lead generation services

You may have built up a stellar sales team. However, bringing in outside help that offers lead generation services and specializes in sales effectiveness training can give them a different point of view on things and help them refine or change their approach.

These lead generation and sales specialists can audit your entire sales process and find new ways to shorten your sales cycle or generate more qualified sales leads. The sooner you give your sales team the tools and processes they need, the sooner your cash flow will reap the benefits. Results from our Black Report indicate that 57% of sales and marketing professionals surveyed said that insufficient budget is being invested in their B2B lead generation efforts.

Say “No” to some would-be sales leads

Sometimes saying “no” isn’t closing the door to a possible sale. It’s opening the door for your team to work on more qualified sales leads.

Be specific in defining your ideal target customer, so you know when to tell a sales lead, “Maybe this isn’t an ideal match.” This is particularly true in the B2B lead generation space.

You don’t want your sales team spending too much time preparing detailed quotes or traveling to on-site visits if this sales lead can’t afford your solution.

Good lead generation strategies require that you determine 3-5 steadfast criteria that your qualified leads need to meet. This might be:

  • A minimum size of X
  • A minimum budget of Y
  • Direct access to (or influence on) the decision-maker

Read the sings, analyze the deals you’re closing and the deals you’re losing to find your company’s telltale signs.

Find tasks to automate

A sales job is a lot of work, researching, pitching, nurturing. It’s entirely possible that your lead times are too long because your sales staff doesn’t spend enough time selling.

Research shows that the average salesperson spends:

  • 21% of their time writing emails
  • Another 17% prospecting and researching leads

The sum of those tasks can equate to 2 lost workdays each week. Your full-time staff is now basically selling part-time.

You may uncertain whether you need to invest in a CRM automation solution. However, ask yourself how much time your sales team is spending on those “extra” tasks, and how much it’s worth to have them selling full-time. Since they really can’t do it all, you can also consider external lead generation services.

Make it as easy to payed

Be flexible with payment. Ensure that your company can accept any type of payment method that your customers would want to use. Also, make it easy for clients to pay you using any mobile device in a few quick touches.

You can also offer alternate or incremental payment plans to break things up. That way, you will have some money coming in and a predictable idea of when the next payment will arrive.

In times of financial stress, you might wonder if you should lower your price to bring in more cash. That’s possible. But before you do something that drastic, consider outside sales or lead generation services, automation or CRM software, and removing any possible payment barriers.

Remove the barriers and consider using any one of these tactics to shorten your sales cycle right away!

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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas

Google BERT can help with B2B lead generation blogging

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

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

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

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

Everyone loves a good story

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

Find the pain points

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

The beauty is in the details

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

Your audience should define your brand voice

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

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

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B2B Lead Generation Insights and Ideas

Sales lead generation – 20 to-dos for 2020

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

1- Review what lead generation strategies worked.

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

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

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

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

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

3- Bring in the experts.

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

4- Do some digital housecleaning.

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

 5- Reconnect with prospects that ghosted you.

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

6- Engage in “Compliment Day” Jan 24.

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

7- Take a closer look at your customer service.

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

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

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

9- Review your insurance coverage.

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

 10- Reach out to new hires.

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

 11- Get some plants.

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

 12- Look for ways to give back.

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

13- Help your site get better SEO.

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

14- Add a chatbot to your site.

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

15- Write it down.

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

16- Make some cold calls.

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

 17- Ask your best customers for referrals or reviews.

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

18- Learn about TOFU, MOFU and BOFU.

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

19- Keep remote workers engaged.

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

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

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

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

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B2B Lead Generation 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

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

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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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.

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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.