How to Hack B2B Lead Generation
Who should you target for your B2B product or service?
The best marketers think deeply about where their potential customers hang out, gather information, and discuss their buying options. After 20 years of sales and marketing, I have come to think of lead generation as nothing more than finding signal in noise. If your company has been around for more than six months, you probably have customers — and your customers are the VERY BEST SOURCE, or signal, for generating leads. In short, your customers are the blueprint for your future success. Instead of taking wild guesses at who might buy your product, you are now using actual data to find your next set of customers. What a concept! So building on this idea, let’s get right into the coolest hack for B2B lead generation.
- Make a spreadsheet of your best customers (exclude customers with low margin, low volume, and low odds of paying on time)
- Use an easy, cheap data source such as Sales Genie, Hoovers, or ZoomInfo
- Look up your customers and extract the industry codes, revenue size, number of employees, and any other information where you think your customers share common ground
- Find the strongest patterns you can among your customers. Are 20% of them from the exact same industry? Are they all in the western states? Are they all 500+ employees? Create a profile of your ideal customer.
- Now use the same data sources to pull companies meeting this same profile
- Voila! You have a customized set of leads that you used from your own data. Whether you know it or not, you have started down the path of leveraging big data and predictive analytics. Reward yourself with a huge ice cream cone.
- If you want to kick it up another level better than doing it yourself, there are solutions that look at much deeper information to curate leads such as the digital assets, social media, trigger events, and buying signals. Among these services you might consider are LeadCrunch, LeadSpace, and Lattice Engines.
- Now research these leads and target them in the most customized way you can through email, phone, and social media.
In closing, I want to share a quote from Steli Efti, CEO of Close.io, from his sales lectures at Y Combinator. I hope this quote will encourage you to, in addition to generating great content for inbound marketing, proactively target and sell to companies that are a good fit for your offering.
“…outbound sales is great because you can define that. Say, ‘I want to close that dude or that gal,’ and then you pick up the phone or you send an email. You proactively go forward. That’s the awesome part of outbound sales. You can decide who should buy your product, and then you go after them proactively. The other thing that’s awesome about outbound sales is if you can make it work, it can scale pretty dramatically. And the third thing that’s awesome about it is that if you compete with other technology companies, other startups, most of them will want to shy away from it. So if you can embrace it and make it work, you’re going to crush them independently from who has the better solution.”