We all know that being able to generate quality leads is vital to the success of your company and without a solid lead generation strategy in place, your competitors are more than likely taking the lion's share of business and seriously stunting your company's growth.
But lead generation can be hard, expensive, resource heavy and even demoralizing if you can't make headway over the competition. This is especially true when relying solely on traditional methods and strategies that involve cold calling and emailing.
Let's change that NOW...
In this article we share the top lead generation tips and strategies from highly successful business owners and sales experts who share their insights on unique and proven business lead generation methods you can implement for your company right now!
There are two types of lead Generation
Inbound Lead Generation (warm leads):
Inbound leads are prospects that actively seek out solutions to their existing problems and are generally ready to buy from the company who can fulfill their immediate needs.
However, those prospects have to be able to find you in the first place. Perhaps they came across your company via a blog post you've published, been referred by an existing happy customer or actively sought out a product or service they require online and your company appeared in the search results...
This is why having an inbound lead strategy that works is highly important and if your competitors are being found over your company then you lose that business.
Your job is simply to qualify and close an inbound lead, no more, no less. Remember, the more warm inbound leads you capture, the more business you'll close.
Outbound lead Generation (cold):
Outbound lead generation is a different beast altogether. Cold prospecting relies on putting your company infront of as many people as possible without knowing that prospects's exact requirements (if any) and trying to convince them they require your products or services when they may not be ready to buy at that particular moment.
Outbound, cold lead generation - while still an important and relevant function of the Marketing mix - can often be time consuming, resource heavy, expensive and in a lot of cases demoralizing if you don't have a cool head and strong heart. It takes a real test of character to be able to make hundreds of phone calls and send many cold emails every day whilst usually being subjected to hearing no after no after no.
While many companies still solely rely on cold lead gen strategies, having a warm inbound strategy is vital.
22 Powerful Inbound And Outbound Lead Generation Strategies
Who better to learn about business lead generation than from top sales and business experts who are successful in their respective fields. Here are 22 lead generation strategies from the experts...
1. Influencer Marketing - Create Powerful Networks To Drive Warm Inbound Leads
Ryan Mattock - CMO, CommissionCrowd
Influencer Marketing (but not as you currently know it) is a powerhouse when it comes to hot inbound lead generation for business.
Traditionally, Influencer Marketing is a strategy whereby a company's Advertising and Marketing activities are placed on influential people (usually celebrities) rather than the target market as a whole. It identifies individuals that have influence over potential buyers, and orients Marketing activities around them in order to inspire consumers to buy.
Think about the likes of David Beckham endorsing Breitling Watches, Armani and Gillette. However, aligning your company brand with influential people has traditionally been the reserve of large corporations with huge advertising budgets, therefore it simply hasn't been a viable option for SME's... until now.
How SME's Can Generate Inbound Leads Using Influencer Marketing
In a digital world, SME's and Startups can now compete on a level playing field and utilise a form of Influencer Marketing without having to spend a penny on paid advertising or promotion.
We do this by creating communities of influential people who come together to contribute to important and relevant industry specific content - like this article - which is then cross-promoted across all of our networks in a win/win arrangement.
This simple, yet highly effective strategy provides incredible exposure for everyone involved and drives warm inbound leads from highly targeted audiences.
The result being that you no longer have to solely rely on Google ranking your content (if they ever do) or spending fortunes on paid advertising and promotion.
This method of generating inbound leads turned into the easiest and quickest way for our company and our contributors to secure a consistent stream of inbound, qualified leads without having to spend any money on paid advertising or promotion and using less resources than we were originally.
Learn how to implement this strategy for your business here: Influencer Marketing Lead Generation Strategy
2. The Right Target – The First Step In Effective Lead Generation
Caryn Kopp, CEO - Connect with Caryn on Linkedin
The #1 reason why those who want more leads don’t have more leads is the lack of effective focus on the first, most critical step of Lead Generation – Identifying and selecting The Right TARGET.
This is where it all starts. Get this right and leads can not only be easier to obtain but also the path to the closed sale can be much easier, with fewer objections.
Get this wrong and sales efforts can stymy. In my observation of working with hundreds of companies on streamlining their lead generation efforts, 25% of most sellers’ time is spent on prospects unlikely (or unable) to say “yes” in a reasonable time frame.
On a side note, we can debate the word “reasonable” in this instance. Management’s definition of a reasonable time frame for the path to “yes” (sales cycle) is often much shorter than a seller’s definition and sometimes is exclusively based on an anomaly (where someone tripped over an opportunity that closed faster than most).
Many tech companies come to us for the Door Opener® Service where we get them initial meetings with important decision makers.
One software development company’s CEO told us when we started working together that since everyone needs software, he targets everyone. However, our experience is when you target everyone, you actually target no one.
We coached him to look at his client base and identify those clients where the path in the door was easier, where he faced fewer objections not only on the way in but also on the path to close. Once he identified a group, we challenged him to narrow the group and identify a subset of clients where sales were larger, more profitable, and led him to additional sales (inside or outside the client company -not just one and done).
When he did this analysis, he identified one service offering which many clients in one industry came to him to provide. Further, this service offering was typically the first “point of entry” meaning that after the first project the same prospect came to him for many other projects.
Additionally, because these clients were large companies, often with decentralized decision makers, the same point of entry often led to more work from other departments and divisions.
When he refined his target, we also refined his sales message when communicating with this specific target to convey his expertise in this area. That’s when something magical happened! Even though his competition could also execute similar projects, none of them talked about it in their sales messaging. As a result, our client became the obvious solution when these big companies needed this type of work. Jackpot!
From this example it’s clear that targets were not all created equally. Some will have more urgency around meeting and getting started than others, some will have a larger need than others, some will be a point of entry for more sales and others will be one and done.
Take the time to narrow the focus, be deliberate and strategic in your choice of target and that’s when lead generation not only becomes easier but also more successful later in the sales process. You can always have more than target. And, remember, be the obvious solution for the target(s) you choose. Spend your valuable time on prospects who will say “yes!”
3. Use Innovative Tools To Scrape Information From Relevant Directories
Jói Sigurdsson, CEO - Crank Wheel
One of the most cost-effective ways I've found to prospect for outbound leads is to scrape information from directories where your target customers tend to submit themselves.
As an example, folks running digital marketing agencies are one of our ideal customer profiles (ICPs), and there are sites where such agencies submit their information so that they can be more easily found when their potential customers are looking for the most suitable agency.
You will often find quite detailed and up-to-date information on such a site, and it's reasonably easy to use a screen scraping tool such as Listly, or Data Miner, or my favorite, a Chrome extension called Web Scraper, to extract the data from these directory sites into a nice spreadsheet.
One drawback is that you tend to get generic email addresses like info@ or contact@, but I've found that if you have a relevant pitch and just ask for an introduction to the appropriate decision maker, you can actually get a fairly high response rate. In fact, smaller companies often still have one of their executives receiving the email sent to these generic addresses.
4. Find Groups Of Influencers And Help The Top 20%
Ali Mirza, CEO - Rosegarden Consulting
Inbound lead generation can take a while to develop, however, the importance of it is paramount. Creating a pipeline that consistently fills itself pays dividends in the long run.
Our strategy is always to find a few segmented groups outside of our industry but within our target market. Then, within these groups, we make it our business to help the most influential 20% of the group. After a short period of doing so, many within the group will quickly know what we do, and come to us for advice as our reputation is that of a value provider and helper.
5. Identify Your Happy Customers And Ask For Referrals
Morlyn Duma Maturere Connect with Morlyn on Linkedin
Lead generation is a key aspect in the sales process. I went to one job interview where they asked how I would land customers for their business. The answer that quickly came to my mind was referrals, yes referral leads as part of a strategy designed to bring inbound leads to the business. I have found over the years that best leads come from satisfied existing customers.
Satisfied customers are always happy to refer people in their circles who share the same interests and similar level of risk appetite, especially when it involves financial investments. Trust is already built and referral leads are much easier to close than cold leads.
Salespeople have to know the correct and most effective ways of asking for referrals. It is as good as being able to ask for business after a brilliant product presentation.
So, go for it! list all those happy customers in your portfolio and generate meaningful inbound leads that can add to your customer database.
6. Leads Are Easy To Find Once They Are Discovered - The Point Is To Discover Them
Alen Mayer, Alen Mayer (Keynote Speaker, Author, and Coach) - Alen's Blog
Your mission as a sales person should be to find companies that have immediate wants and needs. This means that something happened or is happening to them - a move, a merger, new investors, etc.
You have to look for any event that might create the opportunity for you, or better said, you are looking for events that can trigger the sales for you.
To start the sales process you need to find out who could be in the market for your products or services today and then recognize your selected customer’s wants and needs.
Searching for trigger events is the first step in forming the three main keys of every sale:
- Researching and qualifying your customers
- Being in front of them
- Being there when they are ready to buy - timing.
Without the trigger you don't really have a need to buy someone’s product now. Some studies show that companies with a trigger event buy 400% more often than ones without these kinds of events.
You need to differentiate and trigger events will make this possible. You will have tools to create the opportunity for you. After discovering trigger events, the next steps are to develop the customer’s perception of your unique value.
What can you do for them? How your solution can actually create value to them?
- Trigger events will give you the clue about the timing
- Trigger events are here to help you differentiate prospects from suspects
All needs are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.
7. Prospecting For Leads On Social Media
Taneil Currie, Digital Marketing Strategist - Tenth Concept
A good sale begins with a qualified lead. Identifying quality leads is vital to the health of anyone in a sales role. In today’s social selling world, there are numerous options for prospecting new leads and pre-qualifying them prior to making contacts through social media.
There are many social media platforms that you can invest your time in building relationships, engagement and even possibly close a sale, however if you are looking to take your lead generation to a new level and want to have a steady pipeline of sales, look no further than LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is not just a platform to upload your CV in hopes to find your next career move. LinkedIn is a business-centric social networking website that is ideal for B2B lead generation and is one of the fastest growing networks with over 500 million active users.
Having a profile on LinkedIn isn’t enough. As with cold calling a prospect, you still need to bring your A game, but there are some strategies that can help you create more visibility, make your profile stand out, and remove the “cold” aspect from making new connections.
Profile Optimization – Be Client Focused
Before you eagerly start connecting with potential prospects, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date and optimized for searchability. Have a professional headshot and remember your profile summary is an OPPORTUNITY! This is your chance to highlight your expertise and showcase accomplishments without being super boastful.
When you create a headline for your profile, think about the product or service you offer and the client you serve. Keep it simple, client focused, and use good keywords.
Keywords are your best friend on LinkedIn and will help your profile rank higher in searches if you carefully select the keywords relevant to what you do and who your ideal clients are. (if you are stuck, look at other professionals similar to you in your field for some ideas) Always ensure that your contact information is visible and up to date so that it is easy to get in touch with you.
Connecting – First Impressions
Building a quality network requires time and thought. Don’t be the dude who is looking to connect with anyone and everyone just so that they can brag about how many connections they have in their profile headline.
Be genuine and carefully consider the person you are reaching out to, and send a personal note when requesting to connect with someone. A one-line sentence can be the game changer, and the difference between someone accepting or ignoring you entirely.
Use the advanced search feature to look for ideal clients, based on company name, industry, location, job title. You can also save your searches, so if you created highly targeted search criteria, you can access it again and reduce time having to start from scratch.
Communication – Do Not Copy & Paste
One of the most annoying encounters I have experienced using LinkedIn is private messaging. STOP trying to sell and start having a conversation. This is so simple, yet so effective.
Take the opportunity to learn more about your new connection, share ideas versus copying and pasting a lengthy sales pitch with 7 links. Treat every inbox encounter as if it’s your next deal. The inbox experience should be personal, professional and each message should be carefully crafted.
Publishing – Be A Thought Leader
LinkedIn has great publishing tools and you should take advantage of them! Writing articles can help boost your visibility within the platform and it is also excellent for SEO search engine optimization.
This is your chance to share your expertise and industry insights. Again, keep your content relevant to what you do and the clients your serve. The publishing tools also offer great insight about who is reading and engaging with your content. This can also be an ice breaker when reaching out to someone through private messaging.
Remember, building a solid network of potential clients takes strategy and patience. Investing your time on LinkedIn can be rewarding if you stay client-focused and maintain professionalism.
8. 80% Of Your Business Should Come From Referrals And Introductions
Bruce King, Business Growth Strategist - Bruce King
If you operate in the B2B sector, it’s my view that 80% of your business should come from referrals and introductions. But many salespeople just don’t know how to ask for them properly, and so don’t get many.
Here’s how to ask. I wrote this ‘asking for referrals script’ over twenty years ago and I’ve taught it to many thousands of salespeople since. It’s probably produced a million or more referrals.
Here’s precisely what you say. You just need to replace my words about what I do and the type of prospect I’m looking for, with a phrase that describes the pain your perfect prospect could be suffering from. Here’s what I say:
“Mrs. Prospect, I like to invest my time looking after my clients, not looking for them, but like you, I too have to generate new business. So, I’d really appreciate your help please.
Would you mind very much if we just took a few minutes to brainstorm who else you know whose sales team might not be making their sales quota every quarter. I’d love some introduction please. Who springs to mind?”
I guarantee you this - your future income will grow in direct proportion to the number of times you ask this referrals question.
BIG PS. Ask for referrals whether or not you make a sale or an appointment to sell.
9. Lead Generation Methods That Exponentially Increase Sales
Alan McKenna, Digital Marketing Strategist - Business Acceleration Strategies
Three ways to exponentially increase sales:
- Find more leads and sales
- Drive more highly qualified leads
- Convert more sales from the leads you're getting
One of my clients recently drove 200 appointments in a week with one email.
How did we get that result?
Well, some of the most overlooked opportunities for driving leads and sales are within your existing database.
Where to Find More Leads and Sales...
Your list of clients and prospects are an absolute goldmine waiting to be tapped. Here are some of the things I do with clients to drive more inbound leads and revenue, and you should too…
Segment your database of leads based on RFM (recency, frequency and money) starting with the most valuable leads first.
Re-engage past buyers via email, text, voice broadcast and direct mail.
Re-engage highly-qualified non-buyers (there are specific ways to segment these types of leads based on engagement) by contacting them via email, and if you have their phone number, use voice broadcast and text, too.
Re-engage other leads and prospects with simple emails, requesting a response.
Dive into your social pages, online communities, client care and support desk software - listen and watch what's being said…you will find hot prospects in these places.
Referral acquisition - have real conversations with existing clients and ask them who they know that would also benefit from the amazing result you delivered to them - clients refer the best prospects.
10. Lead Generation Methods That Exponentially Increase Sales
Elinor Stutz, Digital Marketing Strategist - Smooth Sale
Contrary to popular opinion, outstanding connections and clients are found online. When you can verbalize your priorities and values well, you are then in a position to match those of others.
The next part of connecting well is to recognize the area in which you excel so that you may help your prospective audience improve.
Twitter is the best example of efficient prospecting. A brief posting conveys what you believe to be true for business. Sharing your best insights will attract people to you and your work. Likewise, you have at your fingertips what other people and organizations hold important.
Once you see the match in your thinking, use the platform’s messaging system to send a personalized introduction. Use the person’s name, state what caught your attention, and why you wish to connect.
The one error is that of people attempting to sell in the first message. It is best to see if there is interest in having a conversation to explore possibilities. One can describe the approach as friendly prospecting. Another way to boost the activity is to share the work of others that you admire.
Working in the manner described will bring about offers of collaboration along with unexpected opportunities. As others see your continued effort to help the community at large, your followings will grow organically along with a loyal clientele.
11. Prospecting For Leads On Linkedin
David Davies, Managing Director of Sandler Training - Sandler Training
Leverage the full power of LinkedIn to prospect for new leads more effectively.
Here are 10 ways you can use LinkedIn for lead gen more effectively:
- Prepare a digital version of your 30-second commercial and include that text in your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is a huge, never-ending, virtual networking event. Be ready with the right response to "What do you do?".
- Add relevant connections yo your network
Invest a minute or so each day clicking the "connect" button on the "People you make know" list that LinkedIn complies for you.
- Play Fair
Only 'connect; to people you actually know. If you don't know them try sending an InMail message ahead of time seeing if they would be open to connecting?
- Build out your lead list
Spend 5 minutes a day investigating the connections of your connections. Make a note of those you would like to be introduced to.
- Follow your current clients and prospects
Spend a few minutes each day looking up your current clients and top prospects. Follow their Company page. Review their posts and look for pain indicators or trigger events that might suggest they need your products or services.
- Post an update
Spend 60 seconds each day posting an "Update" to your growing LinkedIn network. No #BuyMyStuff diatribe though. Try to add value to your network, share personal experience and expertise.
- Join groups
LinkedIn lets you connect with people like you who share a common cause or interest.
- Use LinkedIn to celebrate the accomplishments of others
When you come across a news story or post that offers good news for them share the news.
- Write a recommendation
Devote a few minutes each day to writing and posting recommendations for your customers and key contacts.
The key to successful lead generation on LinkedIn is investing a little bit of time every working day. Don't be distracted by the shiny objects and attention grabbing headlines across LinkedIn.
Instead work on accomplishing your prospecting goals, and then logging out and picking up that phone. Don't mistake being busy with being productive when social selling on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools in my selling arsenal. I can directly connect over £85M of career sales back to original connections I made on LinkedIn.
Little and often really does provide outstanding results when you truly leverage the power of the world's largest business network.
12. Your Customers Are Your Best Salespeople
Steven Benson, CEO - Badger Mapping
The most important technique that we focus on at Badger Maps is Customer Success - working with our customers to make them really successful and happy with our solution. We’re available at any time across various channels such as phone, email and live chat, so they can interact with us in the way they want and when they want.
By making sure they’re successful with our product and being there to help them at every step along the way, we were able to build long-term relationships with our customers. This has helped us increase trust, referrals, and reduce churn.
A lot of companies see this as an expense they can toss over the fence or outsource, but I believe it's a critical competitive advantage for our business and more valuable than any other lead generation technique.
So many of our new customers come to us because they were referred by people they know who are already using our software. If your customers love and trust you, they become your best salespeople and they’ll bring you qualified leads.
Another technique we use is Content Marketing. Making targeted content around the keywords your market is searching for is invaluable for lead generation. Do research on the language and terms your ideal customer uses, and make content that answers their biggest questions.
If you put a lot of effort into your content you're not only strengthening your brand, you're improving the quality and interest of your average prospect.
You should have an entire series of content based on the keywords your ideal prospect is looking for. Define your ideal prospect as narrowly as possible, and create a few of them to base your keywords around. Promote your high quality targeted content in the same places your ideal prospects hang out, and promote it often.
13. Personalization Counts When It Comes To Outbound Lead Generation
Justin McGill, Founder - LeadFuze
Everyone talks about personalization when it comes to outbound lead generation. We teach a process that works extremely well and maximizes your time.
Use as much personalization as you can in an automated way for the first email. Use their name, their company, their domain, industry... whatever you can with merge fields from your data source.
When those emails go out... monitor who is opening and clicking on your emails.
THEN, those are the people you spend time really hyper-personalizing follow-ups for. Find out who they work with, do a screenshare video on their website, do things that really stand out so they know you only sent that to THEM.
This is what we instruct LeadFuze users to do and we are seeing a positive response for every eight opens using this strategy.
14. High Quality Content Drives Warm Inbound Leads
Laura Robinson, Business Growth Strategist - Write With Worditude
Every piece of content I publish online is part of my inbound lead generation strategy, gently transforming complete strangers into superfans who are eager to buy my products.
The bulk of my marketing effort goes into creating attention-getting, engaging online content, that builds my audience, and feeds my sales funnel. And this is what I encourage my clients to do too.
Right now there are people typing queries into search engines, hunting for a solution to a problem that you could help the with. Why don’t they just come to you? Because they don’t even know you exist.
Publishing online content that gets in front of these people (via search engine results or social media) builds your audience, which in turn creates a steady stream of warm inbound links. Once on your website, your web copy does that hard work of converting these mildly-interested persons, into hot leads.
Sure converting leads into sales is an essential skill for every business owner. But don’t underestimate the importance of publishing high quality online content so you can create a steady stream of prospects.
15. Lead Generation Is A Marketing Activity To Feed Your Sales Agents
Brian Marsh, Sales Director - FuturePump
Futurepump is a manufacturer that relies on distributors around the world selling it's products. Our role is to ensure that our distributors have all the tools they need to be able to sell our products as quickly and as easily as possible.
One of the most successful ways of doing this is to provide them with sufficient sales leads so that even the poorest sales team can't fail to make sales. We use a combination of tools to achieve this, and they are all carefully timed and aimed at the appropriate audience.
Firstly we use social media to raise awareness in a particular country or area, we follow this up by some carefully worded Facebook advertising deigned to bring people to our website and leave their details. This is then followed by regular newsletters and email bulletins about how well other people are doing with our product.
We then run another Facebook ad etc, this is a circular activity and will go on for as long as we need sales leads. We've been using this method for over two years now and so far the number of sales leads per area is constantly increasing.
I'm pretty old now and have been in sales for over 40 years, I've always believed that lead generation is NOT a sales activity, it's a marketing function and that sales people should be fed enough leads to meet their target.
I've been through cold calling, both door to door and telephone, I've used advertising of all sorts and I've been to more exhibitions than I care to remember but our current method of lead generation is by far the best I have ever employed.
16. Qualify Leads Using The B.A.N.T Method
Reuben Ash, Business Growth coach and consultant - Reuben Ash
After 20 years of selling software and an immense amount of sales training, I have learnt that to ensure your conversation rates are high, don't be afraid to qualify out from an opportunity.
I use the simple acronym BANT, which stands for the 4 things you need to make a sale:
If one of these is missing you will not make a sale. This is used extensively in the car sales industry and you may notice that last time you went to buy a car, the salesman would have asked you the following questions:
- What car are you interested in - this gives them an idea of Budget.
- Do you have a part exchange - you will probably say why you are part exchanging your current car so the salesperson can identify your needs.
- If the new car is for you - Authority.
- When you're looking to buy - Timescales.
This process normally takes less than 2 minutes of entering the showroom. If one of these doesn't meet the BANT profile, they will usually walk away.
If they qualify you as a prospect, they will then know that it's down to price or another model/dealer.
17. Know Your Averages When Cold Calling
Barry Orton, Business Direction Services - Barry Orton
The thought of using the telephone for lead generation fills many people with dread, especially for those from a non-sales background. But a simple trial can demonstrate how powerful it can be and also help overcome the “fear of rejection” that lies at the heart of most people’s dread.
The key is to establish the average numbers that apply to any given situation. Having confidence in the average numbers can reduce the de-motivating effect of inevitable rejection on some calls.
Typically around 25 dials can be made in an hour. If the outcome is (say) 1 sales appointment, the 24 non-productive dials can be viewed as miles driven on a journey before arriving at the destination; they are a means to an end and so are more easily accepted.
Once the discipline of using reliable averages on the phone for lead generation is embedded, it can be extended further down the sales process to great effect. Measuring conversion rates from phone dials to average number and/or value of sales can lead to highly reliable sales forecasting.
Working backwards and knowing the number of meetings required, appointments made and phone dials required for each average sale means that the whole sales process is predictable and therefore manageable.
18. Inbound And Outbound Lead Generation Go Hand In Hand
Mike Kawula, CEO - Social Quant
Businesses, especially newer businesses looking to generate revenue, need to utilize both inbound and outbound lead generation strategies.
It should never be Inbound vs. Outbound, because they both work when executed correctly and can both drive incredible revenue for your business.
With one startup I currently advise, we’re spending 80% of our spend on ABM (account based marketing) and it’s converting like crazy.
Once we identify a business that we know we can add value to, all messaging is personalized and the entire company is brought through the buying cycle.
This form of outbound marketing creates a great experience for our prospects.
At the same time, we’re also building our social presence, creating content (blogs, white papers) and building individual voices in the company to be seen as authorities and the go-to experts in this niche.
With my previous ecommerce store we also used both very effectively and we’re copying this approach with a new company.
We send a couple of thousand post-cards out each month targeted to a very specific niche that has an irresistible offer (a loss leader).
Once the customer makes a purchase, our support team (sales) are on the phone, assuring satisfaction from the day of the order to delivery. Each phone call we’re learning more about the customer, their business and their needs.
The sales team is incentivized and this increases repeat business and creates a life-time customer.
During this same time, we also spend heavily on CPC, SEO and Content Marketing each month.
This also results in new customers, who then are also introduced to our support team.
Look at your business and test both inbound and outbound approaches to find the optimal mix that will keep your pipeline full.
Both are highly effective and it should never be an either/or decision.
19. A Good Mix Of Inbound And Outbound Lead Generation Makes A Great Strategy
Aliec Heiman, Sales Strategist, Coach & Speaker - Alice Heiman
Inbound - Our best inbound lead generation strategy is referrals. Most of our clients are referred to us by the referral relationships we nurture and by our existing customers.
We have a referral process that we use to keep a consistent flow of leads coming in. LinkedIn also provides inbound traffic. Our LinkedIn strategy is simple, share great content, interact with customers and prospects and interact with those interacting with our posts. This generates several conversations for us each month and 80% turn into business.
Our email blasts generate inbound traffic also. We keep a steady flow of great content going out to our list and we get leads from people who read a bit of content and recognize they need help. They reply to our email and ask for a conversation.
Outbound - We go to trade shows where we can find our ideal prospects. We don't do cold calling, cold email or cold LinkedIn prospecting because we are small and don't need the amount of leads that would generate. However, all of our clients do cold contacts with all of those and we do recommend they have outstanding and personalized messages.
Additional Lead Generation Strategies
Below are a number of additional inbound and outbound lead generation strategies that can be applied to your business.
20. Networking And Trade shows
Attending networking and trade shows relating to your industry are a great way to prospect for new business leads. While there will be an initial outlay to attend these events, the leads that can be generated are significant. Trade shows and networking events put companies in touch with both consumers and potential B2B business opportunities and are a worthwhile addition to your existing lead generation activities.
Attract leads with giveaways in return for an email address and telephone number so you can notify the winner (and follow up with the lead). Offer coupons, free consultations and if possible demonstrate your products and services then and there.
Here's our company 'CommissionCrowd' attending the Sales Innovation Expo (Europe's largest sales expo) and taking the award for overall innovation for sales.
21. Communicating With Your List Frequently
If you have a company website you are more than likely capturing the contact details of prospects that are potentially interested in the products or services that you offer.
However, according to SalesForce it can take between 6-8 touches before a viable sales lead is generated. The reason being that today's consumer is almost immune to traditional advertising, Marketing and sales methodology and prefer to carry out their own due diligence before making a purchasing decision.
Attention spans are short and people are busy so it's not enough to make one phone call or send an email and hope for the best. It's important to speak to your list on a regular basis and keep them informed and up-to-date with your company and the value you provide. Lead with value propositions and the rest will eventually take care of itself.
22. Make Yourself And Company Stand Out As Industry Leaders
Make yourself and the key players in your business stand out as authorities and leaders in your industry. Write regular blog posts where you feature industry news, tips and advice. Always lead from a position of value and offer to take and answer questions from people.
Make sure you're active across as many social media platforms as possible and avoid self-promotion as much as possible. Remember, VALUE is key. People should feel as though you're approachable and they can come to you for advice without being sold to.
23. Public Relations Is Great For Lead Generation
Public Relations (PR) is a fantastic lead generator. The media are always hungry for interesting stories but it's important to get the angle right. The Media are bombarded with pitches from thousands of companies every single day so it's important to make yourself stand out and not simply ask journalists to promote your company (trust me, they won't).
Here's a great example of press coverage we received in the Guardian which focuses on our efforts to employ a diverse team using new technologies that weren't previously available: Matt Manages A Team Of Four People, He's Never Spoken To Any Of Them