Everyone is looking for the Holy Grail of marketing, that Silver Bullet of lead generation. There’s a belief that if you just get the right keywords plugged into your content, or you can just produce one really great post that goes viral, you’ll have unlocked the secret to B2B lead generation.
You’ve probably guessed where this is headed, and here it is: there is no secret. Like so many things (exercise, education, a clean home) there is no magic behavior that will guarantee success. The key is versatility, planning, being persistent and having quality work that is all based on a smart ongoing strategy.
For instance, HubSpot created a graphic (see below) showing where B2B leads originate, including statistics for sources like blogs, email marketing and social media. But guess what the biggest category is for B2B lead sources? It’s “other.” This is because the most reliable technique that businesses have for lead generation is a “mashup” of identifiable activities.
What does that tell you about B2B lead generation?
There’s no one single secret that’s going to grow your business, nor is there a straight line to purchase, with potential customers neatly traversing a buyer’s journey through a series of encounters with your company.
Like a lot of things in life, lead generation is challenging. It might be that social media, email marketing, live events and telemarketing are all contributing to a particular lead converting, but it also may be due to the fact that during a phone conversation with a sales representative, the discussion turned to Cajun food and favorite dog breeds; and that’s what sealed the deal.
Does that mean you should abandon all efforts and stop pursuing your marketing objectives? Absolutely not. What it may mean is that you should stop relying on a single social media platform or only on email marketing to deliver results.
Here’s what you need to know to best use different marketing tools to generate B2B leads:
Email Marketing: Email marketing allows you to distribute content that builds trust and encourages your contacts to move on to your website. You can also use it to deliver promotional information that’s highly personalized and tailored to the specific place they are in the buy cycle. Here are a couple of things to try for a strategic approach to this channel:
- Find the right frequency and content. A loyal customer that buys from you monthly is probably happy to receive your weekly promotional emails, but a lead that has shown minimal interest is likely to unsubscribe when receiving that much attention from your company.
- Don’t shy away from using a call to action in your emails. Tell your followers what you would like them to do next.
- Balance the benefits of automation with a personal touch. For instance, use automation to thank your lead for browsing your website and subscribing to your e-newsletter, but when they fill out a form asking a question, take the opportunity to answer them personally.
Content Marketing: You’ve heard that you should be investing in content marketing, but you may question how this investment results in leads. Content should be high-quality pieces created with the purpose of adding value for your audience. Once you’ve created a reputation for expert information, your content will become a sought-after resource for potential customers. Here are a few things to keep in mind for content marketing:
- Content is never about you or your product. Think about your audience’s challenges and problems and offer insights and solutions.
- Mix up the formats. Video is currently big on social media, but you can reach more of your audience by also producing blogs, webinars and email newsletters.
- Produce high-value material that you provide in exchange for contact information. When they click on a link for an eBook or infographic, a contact box pops up so you can deliver the content to their inbox.
Telemarketing: In a highly automated, digital marketing world, telemarketing adds a personal element to your campaign. Use it to connect with leads, to learn more about their buying plans and build a relationship with them. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- This is a great way to make sure you’re connecting with the right people and have a clear idea of who all the decision-makers and influencers are at a particular company. Learn about the buying process and how it generally progresses, including budgetary considerations.
- Ask about challenges. A personal conversation is more likely to draw out reservations or concerns than other types of interactions. Find out what the barriers are to the sale.
- Offer more information. Maybe there’s a white paper or blog post that will give your contact helpful insights into their buying decision. Even if they don’t ultimately go with your brand, they will remember your helpfulness for next time they are considering a purchase.
Social Media: Think of this as the digital water cooler. It’s probably not likely to deliver the bulk of your leads, but it helps you keep a finger on the pulse of the market. You can engage in conversations that build trust and encourage your contacts to move on to your website. Here are a couple of things to try for a strategic approach to this channel:
- Don’t shy away from using a call to action in your posts. Tell your followers what you would like them to do next.
- Be present and participate. Find the right balance between looking for leads on social media and dismissing the possibility of leads on social media. Some companies take on an air of desperation, but you also don’t want to check out.
- Determine which platforms are right for your brand. LinkedIn seems like a logical priority for B2B leads, but if your company is highly visual, you should also prioritize Instagram.
Regardless of the marketing campaign mix you use we can agree; the quality and accuracy of your target list (database) is most crucial to the success of your lead generation efforts.
While list accuracy is measured by the accuracy of an e-mail address, or a phone number, list quality is measured by having the right decision-makers and influencers names on file. Use “intent” data to improve targeting the right companies.
What is Intent Data, and Why Is It So Important?
Prospects are actively searching, looking for companies equipped to solve their business challenges. They may be searching online, consuming content, attending a webinar or even doing research through a live event, all with the goal of addressing their business needs. They’re gathering information about who to contact and who can potentially help them become more successful.
Content consumption across the Internet is a strong signal of intent:
- 89% of buyers do online research to support their decision before making a purchase (ThinkWithGoogle).
- Of buyers surveyed, 47% viewed three to five content pieces before they engaged with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016)
Intent data is valuable, but its impact on your success is much greater when it is paired with the concept of “fit”. Fit helps determine the identity and intentions of stakeholders. It also helps prioritize leads based on how closely they match your best client criteria. Fit allows your company to bridge the gap between marketing and sales with a reliable lead qualification process.
Are you looking for a comprehensive approach to marketing, using tried-and-true principles and strategies for B2B lead generation? Contact us at Blue Valley Telemarketing, where we specialize in marketing solutions for reliable lead generation.