Keeping your sales pipeline filled with qualified prospects is essential for any business to grow revenue. To get to that point, you have to formulate an effective strategy to feed that pipeline with a steady string of leads. That, of course, begs the question: what does effective lead generation look like?
1. Finding the right targets
The first characteristic of an effective lead generation strategy is to make sure that you are targeting the right audience for your product or service. For B2B marketers in particular, this means finding not only the right companies within your target industry, but also identifying the right people to speak to at those companies. Before you can even get started formulating a message, you have to know and understand who you will be trying to engage with. Finding the right people is absolutely crucial, and it requires a great amount of research to find not only those in the right role, but also ensuring that they are people who make decisions, or at the very least, influence those that do. Building out an EXTENSIVE target list with the right companies (industry, region, size, revenue) and with the right people (decisions makers and influencers) is the first phase of a successful lead generation campaign.
2. Formulating the right messaging
This one seems like the most obvious aspect of lead generation, and sales in general. Having the right message is vital because this is how you present yourself and your product/service to a prospective customer. In regards to lead generation specifically, that means getting the attention of your target audience in order to pull them into the sales pipeline. You’ve already identified your target audience and ideal prospects, so, what are their pain points? What challenges are they facing that your product or service can solve? What channels/medium are you reaching them through? Having messaging tailored to the specific channels that you are reaching out through (calls, emails, social media digital events, etc.) will go a long way to drawing interest in your product and getting more meetings for your sales team. Ultimately, it has to be something that will make them want to start a conversation with you.
3. Utilizing multiple channels and tools
Another important aspect of a successful lead generation campaign is to not be narrow-minded with the tools and channels you utilize. Not every prospect can be engaged in the same way, so if you are too limited with how you reach out to them you will be missing out on opportunities. Whether it’s calling, emails, social media, SEO, or content creation (literature, videos, webinars, virtual events), everything should be on the table.
Also, integrating these tools and channels together to have a constant and cohesive stream of messaging that can keep you in front of your prospects is critical. Webinars and Virtual Events are great ways to integrate multiple forms of content that can attract, educate, engage, and pique the interest of any prospective client. A constant flow of quality content coming from multiple channels will keep your company and product top of mind for your target audience, so that when they are in a buying position they will come to you to do business.
I’m sure you’ve heard this many times before, but “activity breeds success.” The more you are pushing, the more results you will see in return. For lead generation, it’s no different. Once you have the right tools in hand (like all the ones I’ve listed above), you just need to keep going after your prospects, persistently. Too often, sales professionals will only make 2 or 3 attempts at reaching out to a prospect, and sometimes only once. What they fail to realize is that on average it takes 5 or MORE attempts to get in contact with a potential customer. It takes time and perseverance to get a prospect to raise their hand and say, “Okay, let’s hear what you have to offer.” Too often professionals give up after their initial outreach doesn’t net the result they want, and they lack the necessary diligence that makes sales happen. Which leads me to my final characteristic…
5. The right team
Without the right team in place, none of the above happens. Having the right people in place that can do the leg work to find targets, craft messaging, and reach out persistently is the only way to keep leads coming in the door and keep the sales pipeline full. Whether it’s in-house or outsourced, if you don’t have the right team in place that can do all of these things, then your pipeline will quickly dry up and your sales team will have difficulty finding new business to close. Preferably, you would have an experienced partner (with industry and product knowledge, of course) that can take on the job of lead generation, which will free up your sales team to focus on moving prospects down the pipeline and closing deals.
Andrew Burch is the Content Marketing Manager at Elastic Solutions. Email him @ firstname.lastname@example.org