Entries Tagged as 'B2B Lead Generation'

8 proven B2B sales lead generation methods

Drive more sales leads by including these marketing tactics in your B2B lead generation programs

1. Internet marketing and search engine optimization

It is a “no-brainer” to say business buyers use the Internet to search for products or services like yours. In order to generate sales leads from these prospective customers, it’s critical to have an effective website that is designed to be a lead generation machine, and takes full advantage of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques so it will be found by prospective customers when they are actively searching.

2. Email

You can use email as a fast and cost-effective way to reach out and nurture your prospective customers on a regular basis until they are ready to respond.  Or by creating your own email newsletter, you can use industry news and tips to stay in your prospects’ minds until they raise their hands and become sales leads.

3. Direct mail

Even with the popularity of email, direct mail is still proving to be one of the most productive tools for generating B2B sales leads.  But sadly, many B2B marketing professionals fail to take advantage of direct mail as part of their lead generation programs.

Keep in mind that one-shot direct mailings to new prospects seldom work. Instead, consider developing a multi-touch campaign using direct mail integrated with your email and telemarketing programs.

4. Telemarketing

Telemarketing is a proactive tool that works well for contacting high-value prospects and determining that they are sales ready and should be forwarded to the field as qualified sales leads. However, many people don’t like to be on the receiving end of telemarketing “cold-calls.” Consider using it as an effective tactic for B2B sales lead follow up and qualification.  You can set up your own telemarketing program in-house, or there are literally hundreds of telemarketing firms or call centers to choose from.

5. Advertising

When done correctly, digital and print advertising can be a highly effective sales lead generation activity. However, you should only consider using it on websites and in publications that deliver messages directly to your targeted audience.

Retargeted advertising, showing your ads to prospects who previously visited your website can be very cost effective. As can using ads on social media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) which can be delivered only to those that meet your criteria.

6. Event marketing

Whether you conduct seminars or workshops live, via the Web (webinars), or by telephone (teleseminars) events are a great sales lead generation tool.

Teleseminars are the least expensive, with the only costs being conference phone line rental and promotion fees. Webinars are a bit more expensive, but they create an interactive, multi-media environment for attendees without them having to leave the office. Live, in-person events are often the most expensive, but allow you to get face to face with prospects.

Prospects who attend your events can often be considered marketing qualified leads (MQLs) , as they obviously have an interest in the information you are presenting or a need for your product or service.  Why else would they attend?

7. Partner referrals

By joining forces with complementary partners, you can instantly multiply your sales lead generation pool while reducing your costs by sharing expenses with your partners. Of all the sales lead generation programs, complementary partner referral programs often generate the highest quality B2B sales leads.

8. Relationship marketing

Relationship marketing, or sales lead nurturing, is the approach underlying all of the “sales-lead-generation-success” methods. Keeping in touch with prospects via a series of ongoing communications and offers throughout your prospective customers’ consideration processes until they are ready to buy lets you pick up sales others leave on the table.

The goal: Connect with customers in a meaningful way

By using these eight proven B2B sales leads generation methods, you will capture more sales-ready opportunities for your salespeople to turn into new business, meaning greater sales revenue and profits for your company.

Readers, what other sales lead generation tactics would you recommend, and why?

 

Offers are key to generating more leads and sales with your B2B Marketing

In every recent research report I’ve seen about business-to-business marketing goals, “generating sales leads” is at or near the top of the list.

The best way to generate sales leads is by making strong “offers” or “calls-to-action”

Your prospects, just like you, are people that respond to things that interest them, or that can help them solve a problem, or make their lives and jobs easier, or increase their company’s profits. Yet, everyone is busy, and there’s a cacophony of marketing messages, advertisements, social media, emails—all competing for attention. So, what kinds of offers are working best today?

Start with educational offers

In the B2B marketplace educational offers such as how-to guides, buying guides, white papers, case-studies and invitations to events on the same subjects are the basic tools for eliciting responses from prospects.

Focus on quality, not just quantity

Consider making your offers self-qualifying. Who, other than a qualified prospect, would be interested in a white paper on your technology? Yet everyone—including many unqualified prospects—may want to take advantage of an offer for a free iPad.

Make offers for each stage of your prospects’ buying cycle

When determining what your lead generation offers will be, consider tailoring them to appeal to people at different stages of the buying cycle. This could mean offering a white paper or information kit for prospects who are early in their consideration process vs. a seminar invitation for the prospects who are the middle of their buying process vs. a free consultation or needs assessment for those who are closer to being ready to buy.

More offers = more leads

To maximize the number of responses and leads from your marketing communications, you should make multiple offers.

When you make multiple offers, you give a variety of prospects at all stages of the buying cycle the chance to select the offer appropriate to their needs and the stage of their buying decision process.

Here’s an example:

To request your free Energy-Efficient Lighting Selection Guide,
sign up for the free webinar on the latest in energy-efficient lighting
or schedule your free lighting analysis:
Visit www.YourLightingCo.com/EnergySaver
Call (800) 555-1212 or (212) 555-1212
Email info@YourLightingCo.com

Make it easy for people to respond to your marketing

Include the address of an appropriate web page (URL), an e-mail address, a toll-free phone number and a regular phone number (for your international callers). See the above example.

Qualify your prospects while you are at it

When prospect respond, ask them questions that elicit the information you need to determine if the respondent fits your definition—agreed to by sales—of a qualified lead.

All your response channels should ask subsets of the same qualifying questions. For example, the people who answer your incoming calls should be asking the same questions as those on your website’s response form.

Remember that lead qualification is not an interrogation. You don’t want to scare prospects away. Minimize the number of questions you ask and keep those questions short. Or consider using “progressive profiling” in your web forms to ask a couple of additional questions each time they respond.

Readers, what are you top tips regarding B2B offers?

 

B2B lead generation terminology: Getting on the same page

A lead is a lead. Or is it?

I always recommend to my sales lead consulting clients that they create a glossary of terms related to their B2B lead generation programs. Why? To reduce misunderstandings.

Here’s a first draft of a glossary I gave one of my clients to help them get started writing theirs. Perhaps it can be a starting place for yours too.

Contact:

A person at company or contact name on a database

Customer:

A company, division, department or facility that has purchased from our company.

Database:

A listing of contacts at specific companies and facilities which is available for ongoing use. Also often called the Sales & Marketing Database or Customer & Prospect Database.

Decision Maker:

A contact who makes or approves the final decision to buy.

Influencer:

A contact who recommends or influences the buying decision. Also called Recommender.

Inquirer:

A contact who has responded to our company’s marketing (Website, direct marketing, exhibits, advertising, etc.). Also called Responder or Prospect.

Inquiry:

A response to our company’s marketing (website, direct marketing, exhibits, advertising, etc.). Also called Response.

Lead:

A broad term used to describe everything from lists to inquiries to tradeshow leads to sales ready opportunities. To avoid confusion, this term shouldn’t be used.

List:

A list of contacts at specific companies and facilities, as in a rented list. Also called “Database” if available for ongoing use.

Marketing Qualified Lead:

An inquirer, responder or prospect at a particular company and facility who has been “qualified” as meeting the minimum definition of what represents a sales-ready opportunity.

Prospect:

A contact who has responded to our company’s marketing (website, direct marketing, exhibits, advertising, etc.) or has been contacted and determined to have some potentional, but has not yet been qualified as being sales-ready. Also called Inquirer or Responder.

Recommender:

A contact who recommends or influences the buying decision. Also called Influencer.

Responder:

A contact who has responded to our company’s marketing (website, direct marketing, exhibits, advertising, etc.). Also called Inquirer or prospect.

Response:

A response to our company’s marketing (website, direct marketing, exhibits, advertising, etc.). Also called Inquiry.

Sales Accepted Lead:

A Marketing Qualified Lead that has been accepted by sales.

Specifier:

The contact who specifies our company’s products or services.

Suspect:

A contact who appears to be similar to our company’s Prospects, Marketing Qualified Leads, Sales Accepted Leads and Customers, but who has not specifically expressed interest or determined to be a Prospect.

Do you have terms and definitions to add to a BtoB sales lead glossary?

 

Are inbound leads really leads? I believe the majority are not.

I think some of the information being touted by companies that have a stake in inbound marketing can be misleading. What I am talking about is the categorizing of all inbound inquiries as “leads.”

Ask any salesperson if all inbound inquires are leads, and when he or she stops laughing, you will probably get an earful about how inquiries, unless they have been prequalified, are a waste of salespeople’s time.

I blame the mailing list and database compilers for starting the problem by calling the contacts in their databases or mailing lists “leads.” In my experience, contacts from compiled databases aren’t leads until they have been qualified. Until then I believe they are really just “suspects.”

Not-yet-qualified contacts, such as inquiries (responses) generated by inbound and outbound marketing, are a bit better than suspects, as they indicate that someone actually took some kind of action (e.g., inquired, downloaded, visited, registered, or attended). But I wouldn’t classify these inquiries as “leads” either; I’d classify them as “prospects.”

The majority of inbound inquiries need to be nurtured and qualified with outbound marketing in order to be “qualified” as leads. Don’t believe that? Look beyond the hype and you’ll see that even inbound marketing companies like HubSpot use outbound marketing tactics such as e-mail and telemarketing to proactively follow up on, nurture and qualify their inbound inquiries.

The bottom line?

The most effective lead generation programs involve both inbound and outbound marketing.

What do you think?

 
Need help with B2B lead generation, marketing and sales?
For more information, please call Mac McIntosh at +1-401-294-7730, send him email at or visit www.sales-lead-experts.com