B2B lead generation seems to be a mystery to many marketers. Just do a search on the topic and you’ll find little that’s helpful.
In my opinion, there are two reasons for this: One, people are searching for that killer lead tactic that will help rain down leads, and, two, people fail to realize that successful B2B lead generation is made up of activities that are very hard to quantify and pin down.
That's why I've put together this list of five B2B lead generation practices that must be used in some combination to guide the act of building a steady stream of highly qualified leads. No matter if you run a marketing department tasked with generating leads or you’re an individual salesperson trying to fill the lead gap, this is your plan of action.
1. Small Batch Direct Mail
I know we all want to do that blast thing and have it rain leads, but the more personal you can get the better. You will receive far greater results targeting 50 or 100 ideal prospects a month and reaching out with a personalized letter outlining one highly actionable idea than any other form of mass communication out there.
For example, imagine getting a personal letter that included a statement like this: “We’ve found over the years that our customers want to know how to generate more leads. We’ve also found that one of the most effective ways to actually do this is [fill in your killer tactic here]. If you would like to receive more tips like this or learn how to more fully employ this idea, please visit our video series here [your URL].”
2. Relevant Warm Calling
I would never advocate cold calling, although plenty of people still do it. The problem is that the notion of cold implies dumb calling. I still get calls today from people who start off by saying, "Hey, I would like to come by and sit down for 30 minutes to learn more about what you do and see if there are any synergies."
Picking up the phone and connecting after thoroughly researching relevant and personalized discussion topics is how you create warm calls.
You can begin to inject this idea into other lead generation elements as well. For example, if you have a webinar sign-up form, start asking for phone numbers. You don’t have to make it mandatory, but try reaching out to a few that provide the number simply as a way to make sure they have what they need, offer to answer questions about the event or even send them a tool for note taking.
3. Smart Networking
If you want to make networking pay, you have to look at it as a tool for connecting others rather than getting connected. Instead of reaching into LinkedIn to see who you can connect with, reach into your existing network and find a handful of people who need to meet some shining stars in your network.
When you view networking as your opportunity to build bridges that help others, guess what happens? You become a lead magnet.
Yes, this takes time and effort and it can be hard to quantify right off the bat, but building lead momentum isn’t for those who are afraid of work.
4. Interview Ideal Clients
I intentionally stayed away from the word podcast and said "interview," because so many people don’t want to be podcasters. However, I want you to create a podcast so you can gain access to your ideal clients in a highly leveraged way.
If you want to work with CEOs of midsize manufacturing companies, then create a show where you interview successful CEOs of midsize manufacturing companies who just happen to be happy to share their journey to success with your listeners.
Podcasting is not as complicated as it might sound and there are plenty of resources, such as The Podcast Answer Man, to help teach you what you need to know to turn this into a lead generation play.
5. Paid Traffic
I’ve placed advertising as the final piece of the B2B lead generation list, not because I don’t think it has much value, but because it’s so much more effective when you are doing many of the other elements prior to buying ads.
Ironically, advertising is the easiest tactic—anyone with some cash can throw up ads and generate a few clicks and maybe even leads with very little effort. The only problem is that the leads are often uneducated and unqualified.
The way to create the highest quality leads is to invest in teaching them how to be ideal clients. When you employ many of the previous tactics, you can use your advertising to drive prospects to any number of educational opportunities, such as video tips, webinars, e-books and, now that you have one, your podcast, knowing that the traffic you send to these elements will do the proper job of educating and ultimately selling.
Here’s some of my favorite plays for paid traffic:
Facebook look-alike audiences: Check out Jon Loomer’s great explanation of this fairly new Facebook advertising option.
Syndicated content: Paid options such as Outbrain can be effective ways to get your owned media assets and content in from targeted leads. Neil Patel of QuickSprout has a great tutorial on Content Syndication.
You’ve probably run across some of these suggestions in search for lead generation answers, but the real point here is that you’ve got to employ numerous lead generation tactics, working together, in order to create lead momentum.
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