How to Generate Leads in B2B Sales
The Rapidly Evolving World of Business->Business Sales
by Matthieu McClintock
Most companies are missing the boat as far as social media is concerned. They wonder why they aren’t getting more followers or people engaging with their content. It can be for a number of reasons, your content may be self serving, aggressively sales oriented, incorrectly targeted but the most common is its lack of being sponsored. To build an aggressive lead generation tool using social media you need to sponsor content that drives leads, for example landing pages or web graders. Posting the content without sponsoring it will only do you good if you are already a Fortune 500 company with hundreds of thousands of followers.
Create a Google Alerts account for your company with relevant keywords to your business as well your business name as well. Google Alerts notifies you in a daily email when and where your keywords are mentioned on the web. This tool is amazing and basically allows you to make marketing decisions with more actionable data, not to mention keeping you aware of when your keywords are being mentioned and in what context. Use this Business Intelligence to tailor your digital marketing accordingly.
Landing Pages are the #1 lead generation tool on the planet and potential customers typically land on them after clicking on sponsored content or a PPC Ad. They’re great for SEO and typically provide a “content asset”, be it a white paper, case study, vendor report, ebook, etc. They also all have one thing in common, they require you to fill out your contact information to be given access to the content asset.
Create and/or Join LinkedIn groups that are both large and active and contribute on a consistent basis. The entire global commerce landscape is on LinkedIn and there are groups for every industry and niche so join one that meets three criteria:
- They are large (1,000+ members)
- They are relevant to customer and competitor personas
- The group is active (high levels of daily activity)
If a group does not exist for your industry or niche then create one, promote it everywhere and contribute quality content. This is ideal because it makes you or your company a thought leader in your respective industry, vertical, niche, etc.
Promote a Free Value-Add
Most companies can offer something for free as an incentive to turn them into a lead they can eventually sell to. As a software company, we offer a free web grader that crawls your website, gives it a mobile and desktop score as well as several recommendations to make it more SEO-friendly. It’s a free and useful tool to the end user and if they’re concerned with SEO, they fit one of our customer personas and when using the web grader, they provide their URL and email address. As a result, we can generate a ton of leads by simply promoting “Get your Free Website Grade Today!”
Think of something similar your company can do online. For me, I oftentimes come across articles, typically on LinkedIn, that are useful to me as an employee and as a result, useful to the company I work for. You can’t get something for nothing so I have no problem giving away my email address for a content asset that may help me improve my skills in the domain of my job responsibilities and therefore, add value to the company. Give things away for free to generate leads but be smart about it. For example, I was recently at a conference where vendors were giving away T-Shirts. They didn’t ask anyone to write their name and email down, they just gave away the shirts — I grabbed a bunch and haven’t visited one of their websites- neither have my co-workers.
Someone should have told me what their company did and they should have made me write down my name and email for the shirt. Without that, there’s no way to track anything. I’m sure many would argue it promoted brand awareness but typically not enough to convert someone into a lead, let alone a sale (unless we’re talking about the fashion industry). I wear these shirts often, as do my co-workers, and most of us don’t even remember the name of these companies unless we are wearing their respective T-Shirts.
Create Leads using Google Maps
Not everyone can generate leads so easily. Maybe you have a customer persona you’re aiming at but they’re hard to reach. Case in point, I previously ran a company that sold software to automotive dealerships (B2B Sales). Although all of the above recommendations did help generate leads, 90% of our sales came from using Google Maps and searching for car dealerships in town after town until we had covered every major American city. Even with a quality lead list on our side, Google Maps brought in much more business due to the sheer number and quality of leads.
Although relatively new, SMS Marketing is the way to go for many types of businesses, namely retail, and is an excellent lead generation tool. You create a call to action and incentive to get your customer to Text a “KEYWORD” to “SHORTCODE” and now you have their mobile phone number and they have a time sensitive mobile coupon for whatever you offered with a link to your website and a phone number to reach you at. Generating leads doesn’t get anymore direct than SMS.
Smile and Dial
Most people forget this part or simply don’t want to do it. They’re too good for it, they’re nervous, maybe they do call but don’t know their product enough to get past “Hello.” Once you begin building your list of quality leads it’s time for a calculated blitz where you attack from air, land, and sea — all in coordination with one another. In our case it can be an introductory email, phone call, or perhaps a direct message on social media. However you close deals, no one will ever convince me that you do not need to dial leads non-stop to build a book of business in the B2B Market. You cannot forge long term business relationships by email only.
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