Let’s go fishing for leads
If you want to know about lead generation, ask a really good angler. But not just any angler, I‘m talking about an expert with the fly rod, a wizard with the wand.
Someone who knows the water, the weather, the flies and the lures. Someone who has built up an encyclopedia of knowledge from years of experience. And, most especially, someone who knows all about the fish and their habits.
Angling – just like lead generation – is at best, an inexact science.
The bait that works for one fish, won’t work for all of them.
And that‘s just how it is with lead generation. No two businesses are the same, so they can’t be expected to react to the same bait – and there’s a lot of different bait out there.
What are leads?
To put it simply, leads are your potential future customers who you’ve managed to identify. But, how do you go about generating those leads?
Using intelligent sales CRM software — in association with your company website — to capture leads is a straightforward process. Offer something of interest such as a white paper or helpful video tutorial in return for a potential customer’s contact details. Suddenly, you’ve got a pretty lengthy list of leads.
Capturing qualified leads – and not just a lengthy unqualified lead list – is the real purpose of lead generation.
Qualified leads know what they want, they’ve researched the possibilities, they know their budget, and they’ve identified your business as a possible source to resolve their needs.
- Are unsure of the particular problems which they wish to resolve
- Don’t understand what your business can offer
- Don’t have the necessary budget for your product
- Have not yet spent enough time being ‘nurtured’ in the sales process
- Know the problems they wish to resolve and how to resolve them
- Fully understand what solutions your business can provide
- Have actively engaged with your sales team as part of the ‘nurturing’ process
- Know what their budget is and are actively engaged in finding solutions within that budget
What is lead generation?
Lead generation – or lead capture – is any B2B marketing strategy used by a company in order to introduce its business, products or services to prospective customers. The aim of the process is to further engage the prospect in the full sales process.
In the same way that an angler can have a hundred flies or more in his lure box, a business can use countless marketing methods to achieve this goal.
And just like the angler – remember his knowledge of the weather, the water, and the fish itself – lead generation is a combination of many factors, which combine to determine the correct strategy for you.
That correct strategy is out there somewhere, and it’s up to you to find it.
The old methods versus the new
There are a multitude of ways to capture B2B leads. These can be divided into two main camps; Old School and Digital.
Let’s take a look at some of the Old School methods first. But remember, many Old School practices can be enhanced with a modern twist.
#1. Conferences and trade shows
Conferences, events and trade fairs remain as lucrative sources for instigating B2B lead generation. Personal networking at conferences and trade shows, dedicated to a particular sector or industry, lets you focus on a niche market, and allows you to instantly make the right connections, face-to-face.
For example, a networking event dedicated to sales executives could be the ideal lead generation platform for a sales CRM software company.
#2. Seminar fringe events
Large conferences usually gather a broad spectrum of individuals from within a common industry. Like fish in a pool, all your targets are in the one place, at the one time, creating the ideal environment for successful lead capture.
Select the targets you really want to meet and provide them with a valuable add-on conference, talk, product or version launch, or even a free drink and some food. Along with an opportunity to network among their peers and catch up with old friends, it gives you the platform to network directly with targeted qualified leads.
Plus, you’ll be surprised how many attendees at conferences welcome these opportunities, and the chance to escape the buzz of the sales arena.
#3. Broadcast and traditional media
Newspapers, magazines, TV and radio haven’t gone away. Although, sometimes it might seem like that.
Here’s the thing; if you know what attracts your target audience, and what media they’re using, you can grip their attention.
Along with targeted traditional media, modern business can now create their own media – via podcasts, webinars and video – featuring personalized content. Once you broadcast this content, you can identify, connect and interact directly with your audience.
#4. Event sponsorship
If your budget allows, sponsoring an event – such as a golf tournament – can be a great way to get your company in the spotlight.
Not only will it raise your company profile, but it can offer you multiple avenues of qualified lead gathering.
#5. Ask for reviews
Reviews, as a means of lead generation, cross the borders of both old school and digital lead generation.
Reviews have become one of the must go-to sources when we consider investing in a product. People have come to trust reviews, even as much as advice from a friend or colleague.
Never miss an opportunity to ask a happy customer to offer a review of your business. There are multiple outlets such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and TrustPilot, where good reviews can really help to forge your lead generation process.
#6. The power of Referrals
In the world of technology, a personal referral comes as a form of human, and welcome advice. Especially, if it comes from someone whose advice is greatly trusted. It can create an outpouring of valuable new leads.
Nurture influential clients who can act as this point of referral. It may even be possible to offer incentives such as discounts for every new lead that is generated by a referral.
These “old school” methods of lead generation are without a doubt still relevant and successful today. However, using a combination of both “old school” and digital lead gen will help your company branch out and reach more of your target audience, just as using different bait is the tactic of an expert angler. Look out for part two, which will include digital best practices to encourage continuous sales growth.