Lead generation has changed a lot in recent years. It’s typical for B2B buyers to go through 70% of the decision-making process without ever speaking to a sales representative. For sales representatives, that means it’s critical to use a diverse array of techniques to generate sales.
Much has changed in lead generation in recent years, but one thing remains the same: Generating leads is critical for success as a sales professional. The more leads you’re able to develop, the better chance you have of meeting or exceeding quota. With today’s market, salespeople need to be more creative and imaginative in creating strategies on how to generate more leads.
Here are eight tips on how you can do that.
1. Use LinkedIn and other social media platforms to identify leads.
Social selling has emerged as one of the most effective B2B lead generation techniques. LinkedIn is particularly critical. Most business professionals are on LinkedIn, and they’re logging in regularly. 40% of LinkedIn users check the platform on a daily basis. For business executives, that increases to 76%.
The beauty of LinkedIn for sales professionals is that it allows for hyper-targeting based on industry, job title, geographic location, and other segmentation factors. So you can locate the kinds of leads you most want to target. Although leveraging common connections can be helpful for connecting to people on LinkedIn, it’s not necessary to have a first or second-degree connection to connect.
LinkedIn’s search function is a great method for lead generation. You should also join relevant groups in order to find leads.
But it’s not enough just to be on the platform. To maximize your chances of drawing in and engaging leads on LinkedIn, carefully cultivate your presence. It can be helpful to spring for a business account and a personalized LinkedIn URL. Then, you should develop your profile to position yourself as an expert on matters relevant to your prospective leads.
2. Create your own content.
66% of buyers think that it’s very important for brands to provide content that directly speaks to their needs. Obviously, the marketing team at your company will be generating content. But to cultivate your own brand as a sales professional and bring in leads, creating your own content is helpful. If you can get leads to engage with your content, then they will want to buy from you personally. Sales professionals often are able to create excellent content because they are so connected to buyers.
To produce the kind of content that will engage leads, draw on your selling experiences. What do buyers most want to know? How do they like to consume information? Draw on your own knowledge and strengths to create content that’s specific to you as a seller.
3. Experiment with video techniques.
Video has become one of the most critical channels for engagement. The average user spends 88% more time on a website when it includes video. The medium is also great for consumer retention. Typically, people retain 95% of what they learn via video and only 10% of what they read in the text.
For salespeople, video can be a particularly effective tool because it enables you to speak directly to a large number of leads. This helps them to become familiar with your voice and face. You don’t need excessively high production value, simply talking into your webcam about issues that concern your leads can be highly effective. Consider doing a livestream or video conference, which can feel like special events for many buyers.
4. Develop personalized email marketing campaigns.
Even in the era of social media, email remains one of the most effective channels for lead generation. You’re probably already using email marketing services to generate leads. To increase your success rate, optimize and personalize your emails. Instead of using only one or two email campaigns, create different email campaigns for different market segments.
When sending out emails, tweak your template so that it’s unique to the lead you’re targeting. Use optimization tools to measure the success of different emails and subject lines.
5. Form partnerships with industry influencers.
Partnering with the right influencers is a great way to get yourself in front of potential leads. To identify good candidates, think about who your leads are and what content you’re consuming. Ask existing customers who they trust to provide industry insights. Once you’ve identified influencers, approach them about the possibility of a partnership. Guest blogging, appearing on a podcast, and other techniques are good ways to partner.
Most influencers get approached by many people, so it’s critical to approach them appropriately. Instead of asking them to do something for you, demonstrate what you can provide to them. Say, “I can write a guest blog on X topic which will help your audience with Y.” That helps establish the basis for a true partnership rather than just asking for favors.
6. Attend in-person networking events.
In-person networking events remain a great way to connect with leads. Select events that are likely to include the leads you want to target. Come armed with business cards, but while you’re there, put most of your effort towards being friendly and helpful. If you make a good contact, offer to connect on LinkedIn.
7. Ask happy customers for referrals.
Referrals are often more effective than leads generated through other means. To get a referral from happy customers, first check and make sure that the client really is satisfied with their service. Then, set up a quick conversation with the client. Thank them for their business before asking for a referral. If they are able to offer a referral, set up an introductory email.
Make sure to thank the referring client afterwards. You might even provide a small gift.
8. Revisit closed opportunities to see if the prospect is now ready to buy.
Even if you missed out on closing a deal previously, the opportunity might not be dead forever. Periodically check in with old opportunities to find out whether their situation has changed. Personalize the communication and provide useful information so that you’re adding real value in the interaction.