Quality lead generation is the marketing barometer for just about any business.
Sure, you can measure many metrics. Clicks, engagement and the like. But the ultimate guide to whether or not methods really work? The number of qualified appointments you’re getting.
Wanna know something that will shock you? Lead generation doesn’t help businesses grow quickly.
Anyone can buy a list of leads, do a broad ad campaign, or use old cold calling tactics. The problem isn’t in getting a list of names. If that were the case, anyone could be a 7-figure business using the same ole techniques from the 80’s.
You’ve heard the adage, “work smart, not hard”, right?
Hard work will always be necessary and appreciated, but the data coming in says that automation will take over many of today’s prominent positions and we have a feeling that lead gen needs to be on that list.
This fact means that those with the data, tools and techniques will have a clear advantage. It’s something that we already see happening.
Studies are starting to show trends that indicate companies are looking to fill pipelines with better prospects and this is a need that will increase in popularity over time. For instance, HubSpot’s “State of Inbound” report found the number one challenge facing marketers is…
Generating leads (see screenshot below).
What is Good Lead Generation?
Generally, you should be able to see the benefits of good lead generation soon after reaching out to potential customers. Either getting a hold of decision makers quickly—or even warm leads contacting you directly.
Your outreach should stir a prospect’s interest to the point where they want to contact you and possibly arrange an appointment with the sales team.
The key is that it doesn’t start when you write an incredible sales email, or have the cold call of your life. Lead generation starts before your leads have ever hear of you. It begins with you hunting down some information (either a little or a lot).
Once you know what your customers look like, you’ll have a way easier time finding them where they hang out.
If you use data, along with lead generation techniques, the sales team will be dealing with prospects that know what they want. This will make it significantly easier to convert them from prospects to customers— shortening the sales cycle.
What Data and Where is It?
The details you use to target an audience will vary based on a few factors. We’ll assume that you are a B2B of some sort, but there are many variables that will dictate who you approach for your product. Things like:
- Product Function: What your gizmo does, or the service you provide will dictate how you’ll niche down into market.
- Company Size: Depending on your capacity, you could only want to go after certain-sized firms for business (i.e. you work with a limited team and have a limited output).
- Product/Service Cost: Perhaps the most influential. If you charge higher rates, fewer leads are needed and a more personalized approach can be taken (giving a typically higher close ratio).
Now, we’ll list out several data factors that you can use to narrow your search and weed out any companies that wouldn’t be ideal—or would likely be a suspect (not going to buy).
- Industry: Even if your product can be used across the spectrum of the business world, it will likely benefit you to narrow your market window. There will be industries that adapt/implement easier, close better, etc.. Yes, only choosing a niche or two will lower the number of available leads, but will likely dramatically improve sales (if you use some tips below).
- Company Size: The number of people working at an organization will give you a fantastic insight into their buying cycle. For instance, if they have 100+ employees, it’s likely that things would take longer than if they have a dozen (also easier to locate the decision maker with fewer staff). That said, the larger company would be a bigger account that would likely lead to a much higher revenue for your company.
- Company Revenue: This is more of a “big fish, small fish” indicator. If you have the bait and means to take down a whale, you won’t want to go into a smaller pond. However, if you know that bigger companies are a bigger hassle to sell—you may want to find a decent-sized lake and cast your net there.
- Common Decision Maker Role: Who is it that you’ll be talking to most often? What are their career goals, expectations, and common “to-dos”? Knowing this information will help you create and curate content and conversation that will warm leads up quickly. If you don’t know or use this data, you’ll likely be missing a large chunk of the leads you pitch with information they just don’t care about.
A Quick Word on Finding Data
There are really only two places you need to derive this data when you’re starting out.
- Your Current Clients: Find the people you love working with and those you don’t. Call them, ask questions, and listen. You’re trying to find out why they are so good (or troublesome).
- Your Competitors: This will take a bit more sleuthing, but you can find out who your competitors are targeting. Once you see their content, ads, etc. you’ll be able to see the benefits that you could also achieve.
Bonus Tip: Use a tool, like Majestic or others, to really dig down and see keywords your competitors are going after and figure out the things they’re using to entice prospects.
7 Lead Generation Tactics That Work
As promised, here are seven quick and effective tips to generate more leads. Obviously, you’ll want to target the narrowed-down leads that you’ve hopefully found using the data.
1. Cold emailing
From a financial point of view, cold emailing offers a great ROI. It provides the opportunity for you to achieve a lot without blowing a hole in your marketing budget. Cold emailing is also a good idea from a customer’s point of view. There are right and wrong ways to do it, though.
Don’t send spam.
Do entice the cold audience to respond by using creative means and content. This will be easier, especially when you understand both the business you’re targeting and the specific person you’re trying to reach. It makes it much easier to tailor the content and pitch.
2. Search engine optimization
Once you know who your audience is (through the data), it should be easier to find target keywords that will entice them into your sales funnel.
For instance, if you sell an inventory software product, the term “inventory software” is likely too broad and competitive. However, if you target a long-tail keyword like, “inventory software for small to mid-sized car dealerships” you’ll likely have less competition and a better understanding of those who click.
3. Social media
Either via ads or just your social platform, knowing who you’re talking to will help you, well, be social. If you go to a party with learn-ed doctors and you’re just a marketer with an education from the fiberoptic streets of the web—you may not have many good conversations.
Unless…you know what interests doctors.
4. Content marketing
Similar to tip two, content marketing helps you nurture that target audience once you have them in your clutches on your website.
To keep the example going, you can write industry guides, take surveys and provide insights that small and mid-size car dealers want to know. This will help set you up, not as an inventory specialist, but one who knows how to keep track of vehicles (and maybe sell more, too).
5. Lead magnets
Yep, you’ll be able to write better lead magnets.
Let’s use our dear car dealers and inventory software illustration again. If your download is a list of tips to decrease shrink, it makes sense for your product—but not for your audience. Unless Nick Cage and Angelina Jolie show up, they probably don’t have a shrink problem.
However, they do have issues calculating the number of cars they need to liquidate before the new models show up…
Write that guide.
Go after your leads, or create an event for them.
You can do this in person (still works well for some), or you can offer a “no-pitch webinar”. With all of the options for live video nowadays, there is really no reason for you to not be talking to your prospects face-to-face.
Warning: The words “no-pitch” will get them interested enough to come. While you should offer to speak with them further one on one, make sure you don’t try to pitch them.
7. Interaction on the website
Do you have a live chat? Or a phone number on the site? Or, at least, office hours?
Having a means for potential clients to interact with you while they’re on your website will dramatically increase the warmness of leads who are taking the time to research a solution to their problems.
Data shows that the faster you respond, the easier it is to talk with decision makers and shorten (or eliminate) the buying cycle.
Find Your Data, Use These Tactics, Close More Deals
There are no shortage of ways to generate prospects. But without a firm idea of who you want to speak with, it’s likely you’ll never be quite satisfied with the results you see. The worse problem is not being able to improve.
Using the same old leads, will always equal the same old results.
If you use the data and tactics outlined in this post. You’ll have a definite way to adjust and change elements. If one market doesn’t work, try another. If one piece of content doesn’t convert, write about another pain point.
Over time, you will get better and sell more.
Which of these tactics are you most excited about?
About The Author
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze, a lead generation software that helps B2B service companies find leads and have more sales conversations automatically.
Did you enjoy this post? Subscribe to have the best B2B insights sent straight to your inbox.