We’ve all been sales leads at some point. When we sign up for newsletters, pick up the phone to ask about a service, when we get a random phone call and we didn’t hang up. When we open the door. That’s when you become a lead.
And leads are like liquid gold in the world of sales.
What is a sales lead?
According to Investopedia,
A prospective consumer of a product or service that is created when an individual or business shows interest and provides his or her contact information.
Businesses acquire sales leads through ads, events, opt-in forms and other marketing strategies.
To someone who is thinking of or has started building a business, generating sales leads is one of the first few big hurdles they have to overcome. You might build the best product that resolves the hardest issues, but unless you have leads, you just have a product. You’ve no business—yet.
Whether you’re selling insurance, pot pies or million dollar investments, the same applies—you can’t sell without a lead, you have no sales without clients.
Finding people who will be interested in your service or product is difficult, and that’s what makes salespeople treasured.
Now, sales leads are not clients yet. They’re potential customers.
Sales lead generation
The past decade saw an astonishing surge in the use of tech in businesses of all natures and sizes. Technology has made an immense and intense impact on the way businesses conduct sales and generate leads.
As an example, small businesses used to rely solely on word-of-mouth “marketing” and, if they’re lucky, their community will have a newsletter that they can probably advertise on or get an event covered.
These days, because of the high penetration of the internet across a huge chunk of the population at least in the US, even small businesses can leverage the web to generate interest in their business. A whopping 280 million people are connected to the internet in the states.
It makes sense to invest in marketing as they’re not as short-lived, costly and random as before. Social media and relatively low barrier to entry of marketing on the internet has changed the game entirely.
If small businesses can put their names out there and compete, imagine how much more reach enterprise and huge businesses get.
Lead generation techniques
Here’s a list of proven techniques that you need to adopt to build a solid lead generation system. As with any B2B business, if you’re not gathering leads online, you’re missing out. Recent studies show companies that use the internet to generate 60 percent of their leads are 200 percent more profitable than those who don’t.
That said, going online to generate leads isn’t only wise—it’s non-negotiable.
Keep an updated blog
Your blog is an extension of your business. It’s an indicator of your success and activity. But above all, it’s another channel where you can extend help and expert advice to prospects and clients. In the last few years, content marketing or using helpful content to attract a targeted audience has been booming, and it’s been very effective for businesses that do it right.
When you write and create content that addresses your prospects’ and clients’ problems, they will see you as a company that has their best interest at heart.
Backing it up
- 88 percent of B2B companies currently use content marketing as part of their lead generation strategy
- B2B companies with blogs generate 67 percent more leads per month over companies who don’t blog
- Firms that post at least 15 times per month get 5x more traffic over those that don’t blog
- The most successful B2B content marketers allot the biggest portions of their budget to content marketing: 42 percent of the total budget
- B2B marketers measure blogging success mainly by the quality of sales leads their content marketing efforts net
How to do it
Blogging is a long-term strategy. It doesn’t get you leads once you hit publish. You can’t write ten posts and quit because you didn’t get anything out of it.
That said, the best content is that which is sourced from people within your organization and among your target audience. Gather your team and ask them to write down the most common problems and inquiries your prospects face. Keep a regular schedule on your blog. Here at Tenfold, we are big on content, and we try to publish as soon as an idea comes to mind.
Gather your team and ask them to write down the most common problems and inquiries your prospects face. Keep a regular schedule on your blog. Here at Tenfold, we are big on content, and we try to publish as soon as an idea comes to mind.
Keep a regular schedule on your blog. Here at Tenfold, we are big on content and we try to publish as soon as ideas come to mind.
Attract an audience through shareable visual content
Marketers would argue that visual content is a B2C, retail marketing tool. Wait, are we forgetting that B2B decision makers are people too? And as people, we tend to be more responsive to visual content. Now, I know that businesses tend to shy away from visual content and see it as something that sits n the passenger seat of the content marketing car. However, visual content remains to be one of the sure-fire ways to increaase social shares. Social shares, among other channels, drive traffic to your site. And getting many eyeballs on your content, if the content is good, is bound to net you leads.
Backing it up
- Infographics grew from 51 percent to 62 percent in use from 2014 to 2015, the biggest leap for any B2B marketing tactic that year
- Humans retain 83 percent of info learned through visuals compared to 20 percent retained just by reading text
- Publishers who use infographics grew their traffic by an average of 12 percent
- 65 percent of the US population are visual learners
How to do it
If you can write a blog post, you can create an infographic (I’ll talk about graphics here). The essential ingredient to a winning infographic is solid, research-backed data. See, there are many online tools that can help you create beautiful graphics—even with no graphic design background. However, those with design backgrounds (especially information design) can create much better infographics that can display information in a beautiful and organized way. But, not having someone to make visuals for your team shouldn’t be a barrier because tech is here to help you out. You don’t have to be an Adobe suite master to start with your visual content marketing.
However, those with design backgrounds (especially information design) can create much better infographics that can display information in a beautiful and organized way. But, not having someone to make visuals for your team shouldn’t be a barrier because tech is here to help you out. You don’t have to be an Adobe suite master to start with your visual content marketing.
Here are some visual content ideas:
- Diagrams and Illustrations
- Slideshare Presentations
And online tools you can use to create them:
Getting better rankings on search engine results pages
Search engines exist to help people find what they’re looking for on the internet. With how huge and how much content there is on the internet, it’s tough to be the first one Google or Bing or Yahoo suggests when someone searches for, say, a software company. Here is where the competition component of search engines come in. How to do get Google to rank you higher compared to your competitors? How can you get that coveted first page on search engine results pages?
Ranking high on search results is a guaranteed way to generate leads—you get more traffic to your site and you get an audience that you’re sure has the interest and intention to engage. Besides, they willfully searched for a keyword related to your business and website!
Backing it up
- Google gets around 1 trillion searches per year
- 70 percent of links search users click on are unpaid, organic results
- Organic search drives 51 percent of traffic while social media drives 5 percent
- More than 90 percent of users never click to Page 2 of Google
How to do it
Just in the last few years, search engines have continued to get smarter. The target is to match the intent of searchers as close as they can. Way back, companies would use “black hat” tactics or shady techniques to “trick” or “game” search engines into giving their websites higher rankings. These involve putting up several sites which they then use to link to each other. Links are very valuable in getting your site to rank.
The logic used to be that the more links you have, the better chances you’ve got of ranking higher.
However, because of the improvements, Google and other search engines are putting emphasis on valuable, impactful and helpful content. So, as I’ve said, blogging helps you more than you realize. If you create posts and other content that people will find useful and people will love, you’re doing the bulk of the work to improve your search results. But, since the returns of getting steady organic traffic
But, since the returns of getting steady organic traffic are HUGE, it’s best to maximize all possible ways of ranking better on search engines. You can study SEO or hire a specialist to take care not only of some components of your content marketing strategy but by aligning your marketing goals with the tactics you use.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising on Social Media and Google
I know that a lot of B2B firms struggle when it comes to paid ads. Are they even worth it? Are we putting money in a pocket full of holes? Is this even in line with our business strategy?
Of course, spending money at the scale that pay-per-click ads need in order to find the right rhythm is not an easy decision. But, a good PPC strategy is very rewarding.
Straight talk: PPC is buying visits to your website in contrast to using strategies to generate organic traffic. Of course, marketing techniques can and must be used in synch with each other so it’s not like you can implement SEO and content marketing techniques as you roll out a PPC strategy.
The most popular type of PPC ads is the Page 1 of Google ad.
Backing it up
- Search ads accounted for $9.1 billion, or 39 percent, of the total web advertising revenue for the first half of 2014
- LinkedIn has 70 million registered users of which 50% are decision makers making it very wise to run paid ads on the platform
- Businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on Google Adwords
Get those leads
There are probably literally thousands of ways to get leads for your business but these four are tried, tested and have brought in revenue for many, many companies. Always remember that any lead generation strategy needs time, patience and a whole lot of testing to get to a situation where it puts your business in the position to get more leads.
Just be truthful to your message, be wise with your marketing and don’t be lured by shady lead generation techniques—you will get leads.
Original article by Dan Sincavage from Tenfold can be found here:
Dan Sincavage is a Co-Founder of Tenfold and currently serves as the Chief Strategy Officer. Dan oversees the Tenfold sales organization, manages strategic partner relationships and works with key enterprise accounts to ensure their success with the Tenfold platform.