Lack of sales activity, lead generation, is the leading cause of B2B salespeople not meeting their quotas. This article describes four strategies for developing and executing a sustainable lead generation machine - never suffering from a lack of sales activity.
The four strategies are 1) branding/networking, 2) inbound lead generation, 3) outbound prospecting, and 4) creating raving fans. Each of these strategies is described in further detail below.
Branding and Visibility
A good friend of mine coined the quote, “no one ever bought something they weren’t aware of”. Makes sense, right? The first strategy is about getting brand visibility – making sure people are aware of you and what you do. Networking where your target market hangs out along with consistently communicating your competitive advantage are the keys.
Effective brand networking is comprised of the following five tactics
- Spend your networking time only in target-rich environments – organizations where your target market hangs out
- Your activities during networking events should not be focused on generating leads but rather helping to connect others with the people they want to meet – givers gain
- Have a killer elevator speech and be able to recite it with precision. When someone at a networking event asks, “what do you do?”, that’s your opportunity to build your brand.
- Disciplined follow-up after networking events will enhance the visibility you’ve begun to create. It takes several impressions before gaining top-of-mind-awareness.
- Be an active star on Linked In. Have a killer profile, post original content, and participate actively in the right groups – the same groups that contain your target market.
Get more detail about effective networking strategies at http://www.webstrategiesinc.com/blog/selling-strategies-5-proven-networking-techniques.
Inbound Lead Generation
70% of the B2B sales process is done online, anonymous to the companies being considered. Consequently, a comprehensive inbound marketing program is critical to generating high-funnel and low-funnel leads, nurturing those leads through the buying funnel, and building your email database.
The top B2B inbound marketing tactics these days are
- Search engine marketing, organic and paid, to generate relevant visitors to your website
- Content marketing and social sharing to increase search engine rankings and answer the questions your target market has
- Conversion optimization on your website to maximize the contact information obtained once people arrive at your website
- Lead nurturing via marketing automation, like Hubspot, to move those high-funnel leads through the buying process and turn them into sales-qualified leads
Learn more about the most effective inbound marketing tactics here - http://www.webstrategiesinc.com/blog/top-b2b-digital-marketing-strategies
Outbound activities like cold-calling and drops-ins should be a staple to your B2B lead generation program, assuming you want to grow at a moderate or high rate. The biggest upsides to outbound prospecting are predictability and scalability. The more outbound prospecting you do (if done well), the more leads you’ll generate. Need to increase your sales performance? Do more outbound prospecting.
Five effective outbound lead generation tactics are
- Outbound calling to get appointments with qualified prospects
- Outbound calling to identify the “right party”, the person at the targeted company who is responsible for buying what you’re selling. This makes your outbound calling program efficient.
- Dropping in at targeted companies to introduce yourself, leave information and/or get an appointment with a decision maker
- Outbound calling seeking advice about your products and services
- Prospecting in LinkedIn
Learn more about effective outbound lead generation tactics here - http://www.webstrategiesinc.com/blog/create-a-selling-machine-combining-inbound-outbound-marketing.
Create Raving Fans to Get Referrals
Unless your industry is being significantly disrupted by new technologies, the single most important strategy to grow your business is give your customers exceptional experiences.
Referrals you get from your existing clients and your personal network typically close at the highest rate. Don’t just talk about giving your customers a great experience, develop and execute specific actions that virtually guarantee it.
Implement a customer survey program and work hard to get candid feedback from your customers. Only by doing that will you understand how to improve and lead your industry in customer experience – giving your customers the “emotionomics” that result in more warm referrals. Learn more about “emotionomics” here - http://www.webstrategiesinc.com/blog/customer-service-the-age-of-emotionomics.
In summary, don’t put your sales success at risk by not having a full sales pipeline. Implement a diverse lead generation plan by combining networking to gain visibility, inbound marketing to generate high-funnel and low-funnel leads online, outbound prospecting to fill the pipeline in a predictable way, and get more warm referrals by creating raving fans of your existing customers.