Generating leads for some means the "spray and pray" tactic: sending mass messages with a non-personalised offer or a very intrusive selling service, which does not necessarily correspond to the needs of the selected target group. Unfortunately, this has nothing to do with generating leads nowadays, and more with spam.
Generating sales leads is a real challenge for marketers who care about valuable contacts to people potentially interested in a given product or service. In today's world, entrepreneurs are simply attacked with offers and can not get away from the sellers. Cold mailing and cold calling as methods of acquiring customers have become less and less effective because they face the reluctance of recipients irritated and overwhelmed by such marketing activities. Additionally, the disadvantage of the presented options is supported by the fact that not many cold emails or calls are personalised. This makes this type of contact annoying for potential customers and may discourage them from the brand. Therefore not only will they not use its offer, but will advise against it to other potential clients.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been implemented in the last year and it can be seen as a serious obstacle for people involved in generating sales leads. New legal regulations require obtaining permission to send all offers. Customer acquisition is also hindered by the fact that before the introduction of the GDPR, consumers had to re-agree to the processing of their personal data for marketing purposes. For some consumers, it was an ideal time to clean the mailbox from unnecessary subscriptions.
In addition, Facebook is introducing more strict rules regarding obtaining users’ data. Developers are thus hindered by access to information left in the application by Internet users, and Facebook itself emphasises the role of data confidentiality. From the Facebook users’ point of view this is great news, but for marketers, it’s another challenge, because it also affects access to information about the competition and the possibility of targeting some ads.
All this makes the valuable B2B lead generation an increasingly difficult task. Below, we suggest how to prepare for this challenge and present ways to obtain leads legally and effectively.
Don't have time to read the whole article? Have a quick look at 6 ideas for B2B lead generation.
Generating sales leads: how to start?
Generating sales leads is associated with the preparation process, not only on the part of the sales department. The more resources available in-house, the better and faster you can start the lead generation process. How to plan generating sales leads so that it will bring results in the shortest possible time?
First of all, define who is the lead for you: the conceptualisation of ideal groups of recipients is crucial for proper communication strategy. You can use tools such as Personaapp or HubSpot generator.
Once you know who is your target group for your lead generation campaign, create a CRM system. Such a platform enables the management of customer relations, and it is used to collect and store all available information about people who are in contact with the company. As a result, the system collects data on purchase preferences, behaviour on the website, etc. The technological solutions included in the CRM approach are aimed at maintaining existing and creating new customer relationships. This is an absolute must-have for the process of generating B2B leads on a larger scale.
It is necessary to set out the operating schemes based on the sales funnel. During the whole process of acquiring clients, you can specify several stages that should be taken into account when designing the strategy. A sales funnel in a metaphorical way that symbolises the fact that not everyone who visits your website will be your customer. For this to happen, a person must go through all the stages of the funnel. At individual stages, you can "warm up" lead by increasing his interest and at the same time the chances of finalising the transaction. Remember, however, that it may take up to several months to get a lead to close a deal.
What can be the example stages of a sales funnel in the process of generating B2B leads?
- Awareness Phase - prospect get familiar with the solution.
- Interest Phase - prospect demonstrates an interest in a product.
- Evaluation Phase - potential client research your competitors.
- Decision Phase - a final decision is reached.
- Purchase Phase - products or services are purchased.
- Reevaluation Phase - customer decide whether or not to renew their contract.
- Repurchase Phase - client repurchases a product or service.
Check existing resources and update them with missing elements.
It is very important to verify the resources that you already have in the organisation and to identify those parts that are worth working on. Prepare content that will be useful not only to marketing departments but also to sales. If you have premium content, such as e-books, whitepapers or video recordings, consider its disposition as gated content: the content will be available for download in exchange for an e-mail address, for example, on a dedicated landing page. The emphasis on the content is completely justified: it will not only affect the recognition of your brand or its expert image, but also the position in the search engines page results.
How much does it cost to generate leads? The price depends on many factors.
Generating leads is a process that is time-consuming and requires appropriate human resources, but also a technological infrastructure that will enable collecting customer data.
The cost of generating leads is often not just a price that we have to pay directly for acquiring contact. The costs associated with this task should also include all the tools and systems that are necessary for success and continuous acquisition of new customers. These may include e-mail marketing or web push notifications platform. It is also not a good idea to combine multiple functions by one person (eg a Public Relations specialist and a salesperson) because the overload of tasks and responsibilities may cause inefficiency. Although in practice, people responsible for both spheres should work closely together.
You can not give a clear price for generating leads: their price will differ from the industry, brand recognition or lead classification. For some, there will be an e-mail address that is relatively easy to acquire, for others - a full set of data for which you can pay up to several hundred dollars.
During processing sales activities, this cost will change depending on their effectiveness. After testing several solutions and tools and selecting the most profitable ones, as well as getting to know the target group in depth, the cost of acquiring a client can be optimised.
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Generating sales leads: how to analyse?
As in every process, also during the generation of sales leads, a stage of analysis and optimisation is necessary. In order to achieve better and better results, it is necessary to look at the existing activities and evaluate them, confronting the sales results they brought. With each subsequent campaign, you can learn something, and in particular, get to know your target group better and see which elements affect it best and bring the most benefits to your company.
Be sure to follow your company's website and learn about the potential of Google Analytics. First of all, do not focus only on how many people visited your website, it is also important how many recipients spent time on it, where they come from and what devices they use to view it. Thanks to this, you can identify which content on your blog is the most attractive to the readers, and this is a clear signal to create similar content in the future.
Optimise and test different solutions to see how they perform for your potential customers.
Different versions of landing pages, differing only by the header or the CTA button, can convert in a completely different way. Test them on your content and select the ones that generate the most valuable B2B leads, and when creating new creations you will be smarter for such a useful lesson.
Experiment with different methods and tools. Segments within one target group may have different preferences, including those related to the used communication channels. For effective reaching out to your audience, try out solutions such as e-mail marketing, social media, web push notifications or influencer marketing. Measure the results and select those solutions that will allow you to design your next campaigns as efficiently as possible.
Accurate analysis and optimisation are time-consuming and labour-intensive but necessary for further action and long-term results. Thanks to it you will not only avoid wasting time but also discouraging people who are not interested in your brand products through unmatched messages.
The most common mistakes in generating leads
As in any process, also while generating leads, there are mistakes that cross out all the efforts made so far or significantly affect the number or quality of leads obtained. Marketers often forget about important elements, the lack of which prevents success, in this case acquiring a client.
Below we present the most frequent oversights of marketers, it is worth looking at them carefully and making a checklist, which complement will help to achieve better results during subsequent campaigns.
Too many goals at once
When you try to achieve many goals in one campaign, the recipient may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information. In addition, too many messages and CTA (calls to action) cause chaos and distract the user's attention. If your goal is to attract a person to use a free trial, do not encourage him to do more things as to like your Facebook page or sign up for the newsletter. The more clear and readable message you send, the more likely the campaign is to succeed.
This is the mistake that is associated with the one described above. The most important thing is that the call to action is understandable and also easy to find. On the other hand, too many CTA buttons can make your recipients feel lost on your site - he does not know which action to take. It is common practice to create several or even several dozen types of CTA and test them on separate landing pages.
No landing page
We have already mentioned the importance of the landing page above. Campaign dedicated pages should present the most important information, a clear message for the recipient and a specific CTA that reflects the response desired by the brand. Unfortunately, a frequent mistake is the lack of even one such site. Sometimes brands use their main websites in campaigns, distracting potential customers with other content. Landing page optimised for the B2B lead generation campaign can be a place where the customer will find all the necessary information and leave a contact, preferably an e-mail or phone number. The less unnecessary content your landing page includes, the bigger the chance that you will get satisfactory leads both in terms of their number and quality.
Unpleasant user experience
When designing the landing page, make sure you provide the right user experience. A responsive mobile website is an absolute foundation about which many entities forget in the preparation for generating leads. An unintuitive mobile site where you can not leave a contact or read the offer, discourage potential customers and bounce back on numerous generated leads. Make sure that all elements, especially CTA, display correctly on every type of screen.
Not adjusted offer to the target group
To attract potential customers with your product, you must offer something that they expect. Prepare an offer or content that will be valuable and attractive enough to allow recipients to make contact with you in the future. Sometimes products that seem to be very high-quality and innovative may not be attractive for a specific audience. It is worth to prepare a number of marketing personas to realise what goals, problems and desires your target group has.
The product is unprepared for expansion
When introducing a new product to the market, do not rush to acquire customers until the product is fully functional or until you eliminate the basic mistakes. First of all, invest time in testing and optimising your solution. Some customers will give you only one chance to get them interested in their product: it is worth showing them the final version or clearly indicate that they are dealing with the beta version.
Requiring too detailed information
Internet users are becoming more aware and value their privacy - respect it. In the beginning, an optimal solution is to ask for a name and e-mail address. If a given action requires detailed information, customers may be discouraged and think that, for example, a given e-book is not worth sharing such personal data and discontinue the process.
Lack of cooperation between the marketing and sales department
Often, those who are responsible for marketing activities do not take into account the process of generating leads, and vice versa - sellers do not take advantage of the marketing potential of the brand. To achieve the best results, it is worth combining the acquired knowledge and experience in both fields and supporting your efforts.
How to generate leads?
You already know the most important concepts related to lead generation and you have learned the whole process, as well as the most common mistakes that happen during these activities. Now it's time for practical tips and suggestions on how to get sales leads. Get Ready!
It is a form of marketing that allows customers to find brands and start an interaction with them. The contacts acquired in this way are very valuable because they result strictly from the needs of a person who has done some action on the Internet that allows them to find advertising. Although inbound marketing methods can be time-consuming, in the long run, they can result in a great return on investment and fruitful business relationships.
Creating and publishing valuable content is a great idea for acquiring new customers. Content marketing includes preparation and distribution of content which can have several forms: textual, video, infographics or podcasts, in order to attract the attention of the recipients and raise interest in solutions offered by the given entity. You can provide so-called gated content and ask for customer’s e-mail address in exchange for a piece of content. Thanks to this you will have the right context and at least one touchpoint for making contact in the future. In addition, by creating high-quality content, you build your image as an expert, which can help you win customers.
Pop-ups and web push notifications
The page of your brand is its business card, but also the source of the necessary information for customers and the machine for generating leads. Take advantage of its potential to get in touch with people interested in your products. A good idea may be to use different types of notifications, encouraging your site’s visitors to leave an e-mail address or read the new content. The message, in this case, must be clear, attractive so that the user knows what to expect.
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Search engine optimisation of the website increases the chances of finding it by the user, and thus lead generation. The more optimised the page is, the higher it will appear in search engine results pages. What actions optimise a website? The crucial thing is an adaptation to the current requirements of search engines, as well as the inclusion of keywords which will help customers to find the page. In addition, obtaining links to a given website on other valuable sites increases its credibility as a qualitative source of information.
Search Engine Marketing is a form of results to the phrases searched by Internet users. Advertisements on search engine results pages display websites that include specific keywords. A significant advantage of this advertising form is the context - the consumer is currently actively looking for a given service or product, and this is the perfect moment to present your offer to him.
Social media give a lot of opportunities when it comes to establishing relationships with potential customers. Many options in generating B2B leads are provided by LinkedIn as a platform dedicated to business contacts. First of all, it's worth taking care of your image on the web by completing your profile. The next step is to expand your network by adding friends and active membership in discussion groups. Another solution is SlideShare, which allows you to place the presentation on a dedicated platform. All these activities can be supported additionally by paid campaigns on LinkedIn. Watch out! LinkedIn campaigns are not the cheapest, so before you spend a large budget, test whether this solution will bring you the best results and see if your target group is actively using this platform.
Unlike inbound marketing, this form is characterised by initiating contact with the customer from the brand. It’s also called outgoing marketing, therefore, consists in searching for potential customers and trying to build relationships with them. A feature of this type of activity is reaching a group much wider than those interested and looking for a given product or service. It can have various forms, some of them are presented below.
Although we have slightly disproved this theory, it is worth mentioning that cold mailing can still be effective if it is run in the right way. It is also worth considering if it is still "cold" mailing if we personalise it?
The so-called "cold mail" is a personalised message to a potential customer with whom an e-mail contact occurs, in the vast majority of cases, for the first time on the part of a given brand. Such messages often go into the spam - but if they are personalised, they respond to specific needs and refer to the person's activity, they can gain trust and interest. Getting familiar with the content and answer to the message is the first step in warming up a lead.
Importantly, according to the law, you can not send your offer to a person who has not consented to it. That's why cold mailing can only be used for legitimate addresses. In the first message, only try to interest the recipient, without details that may seem intrusive. Do not "attack" the recipient immediately with the offer, but first "warm up" the contact, so that your potential customer will be more ready to become your client. Otherwise, you will get a "frozen contact" from your "cold email".
As in the case of cold mailing, the term means contacting a potential customer via phone for the first time. Currently, the specificity of business communication (especially at the beginning of the relationship) is moving into the sphere of electronic mail, messengers and chatbots, and it is increasingly difficult to get a phone number for decision-makers and achieve success in a short time, which may be a less effective form of generating leads.
Facebook Lead Ads
How to generate leads via social media? There are many ways to use them in lead generation campaigns. One of them is a content distribution which enables reaching the best audience. You can use private and business profiles as well as formats such as events or groups.
An interesting advertising option on Facebook is Lead Ads. Clicking on the ad opens the window with the form automatically filled in with Facebook data, which makes the process quick and allows to obtain real information. Facebook offers precise targeting, thanks to which your campaigns can be very effective. A similar ad form is offered by Twitter or LinkedIn.
Internet monitoring, including social media, will prevent you from omitting any mention regarding your brand online. Social listening allows you to listen to the voice of consumers and respond to their needs. How to generate leads thanks to Internet monitoring? The real advantage lies in the answering to given mentions (post and comments) and the response time. React to references not only to your product or service but also to the whole industry. In this way, you will be able to recommend your solutions in an unintrusive and helpful way that is contextually adapted.
As you can see, generating leads is not a one-time activity, but a process that needs to be repeated, analysed, tested, optimised ... and repeated again. It is worth paying attention to the multitude of solutions that can be used to effectively generate leads. Do not limit yourself to one, proven method and rely on data, so that the results may surprise you. We keep our fingers crossed!