How do you define a valuable lead? Some companies operate on close professional networks where hot leads can be easier to find. Others invest heavily in cold calling to narrow down an ocean of prospects into a steady sales stream.
Lead generation strategies are business-dependent. There’s no single method or list of steps a company can take that will work in every instance. This is, in fact, the major advantage of both sales and marketing – companies that think creatively and reassess their approaches end up with the strongest base of customers.
65% of marketers consider traffic and lead generation their most important task. The importance of standing out in your field and finding new leads is doubly important as we move into 2020. Here are a few ways to adapt to this approach.
1) Co-Create Exclusive Content
While you don’t want to indirectly support your competitors, there are likely numerous other industries related to yours that have similar customer bases without overlapping with your business. It’s time to reach out to the companies that target demographics similar to your own to start discussing what type of lead-generating content you can collaborate on.
There are several benefits to co-creating content. For one thing, you create a new business relationship that could pay off greatly in the future. Your online reach is at least double, as you and your collaborator spread the content simultaneously across channels. Better yet, the time it takes you to create this content – be it an eBook, video sales letter (VSL), whitepaper, or otherwise – is half of what you’d put in by yourself.
Make sure the content is gated in some way that allows you to collect email addresses and phone numbers of interested prospects. As long as your industries don’t overlap, these potential customers won’t mind receiving marketing messages from you both, and the size of your leads list will grow exponentially compared to a solo venture.
2) Influencer Reach Outs
Influencer marketing isn’t just for B2Cs. The rise of micro- and nano-influencers has created valuable marketing opportunities on Instagram and elsewhere for a wider range of industries. Forbes recently declared influencer marketing the next big thing in B2B. If you’re not working with influencers in your industry, you’re missing out. In fact, it’s likely that your competitors are already looking for partnerships to dominate this lucrative social channel.
You don’t have to outspend your marketing budget to work with a celebrity influencer. In fact, partnering with an influencer in the 5k-10k follower’s range, or even a nano-influencer with as few as 1000 followers, can be much more effective in gaining valuable leads.
These smaller influencers typically have more active fan bases that will appreciate your content more than a wider audience. There are tools you can use to find influencers in your demographic, but a simple hashtag search and a review of your own followers can bring you to some valuable leads.
3) Share Your Content Across Channels
The competition for the top spot on Google and high-conversion Facebook ads never ceases. It’s likely that you already have a strong strategy in place for your top online marketing channels. If not, it’s time to reevaluate what’s working and what’s not, with an eye toward expanding your reach.
An omnichannel approach to your marketing keeps you up-to-date with the latest shifts in consumer tastes, potentially giving you an advantage when a particular website or media outlet takes off. Reddit, for example, is one of the most visited sites in the world, yet its ad revenue is comparatively small at just $100 million in 2019.
These sorts of gaps between audience numbers and advertising spending are common across the web and could signal an opportunity for you to engage with an entirely new audience on a growing platform. Be sure to keep a wide scope, and consider options you may have previously overlooked.
Streaming apps like Twitch and Periscope were once considered pure entertainment, but even LinkedIn has its own streaming service now. Where else might your potential prospects be spending their time online?
4) Focus On The Phone
A Salesforce study found that 92% of customer interactions happen on the phone. No matter the impact of digital media, people still want that human connection when they think about spending money. Short of meeting them in-person, the telephone is your best bet for connecting with new leads.
Getting a warm or hot lead on the phone can be the decision point for whether they become a life-long customer or take their business elsewhere. Having a great over-the-phone experience makes the former much more likely.
There are a number of ways to facilitate this success, starting with optimizing your organization. This might include having a separate number or phone line for particularly hot leads, or by directing some of your online marketing toward a phone call with a sales rep. Whichever methods you choose, make sure you’re ready to handle questions and concerns in real-time. Working on your phone voice never hurts either!
5) Reach Out For Referrals
2020 has been a year of social distancing and quarantine, all of which have led to a mood of solitude and isolation. Now might be the time to reach out to those you’ve not spoken to in a while, particularly when it comes to your professional network.
We all have acquaintances we’ve spoken to a few times, perhaps at an industry conference or social function. With social media, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch, yet those budding professional relationships can easily fall by the wayside when we’re busy with work. Luckily, reconnecting is as easy as making a phone call or sending a LinkedIn message.
Don’t just reach out to people who may be interested in what you’re selling. Sometimes a simple check-in can lead to better business relationships for you both later on down the road – particularly if they keep you in mind when they come across a potential lead.
Nurturing the right connections and generating leads takes time. It’s a consistent effort that you’ll come back to time and again, constantly reoptimizing and tweaking to see what causes real improvement. It’s this kind of strategy – the one that’s ever-evolving – that works best. As long as you keep change at the front of your mind, you’ll be poised to make your future sales with the utmost confidence.
Image Credit: Gratisography; Pexels