Lead Generation Experts by Dr. Karl Ruegg

Qualified Lead Generation Services

Posted by Dr. Karl Ruegg on April 4, 2018

8 Ways You Can Generate Your Own Leads if You Don’t Have Marketing Support

Posted by Dr. Karl Ruegg on

How do I generate leads?

  1. Use social media to find prospects you can help
  2. Offer consultations via LinkedIn
  3. Get referrals from current customers
  4. Ask your personal network
  5. Attend a networking event
  6. Revisit closed/lost opportunities
  7. Implement an email sequence
  8. Write blogs

Over the last 10 years, inbound marketing has proven to be a great way to generate leads and acquire customers and help you hit your quota.

Inbound marketing is a holistic, data-driven approach that leverages content on your website to attract buyers researching your products and services online and then convert them to leads so that you can close more deals.

It mirrors the way people buy in today’s digital environment and works in both B2B and B2C situations.

But what if you don’t have a marketing department or your marketing team doesn’t practice inbound? What if you have to generate your own leads?

Many sales professionals don’t have the marketing support to rely on a steady flow of inbound leads, but still have to hit their quotas. Luckily, the inbound sales methodology provides many ways to fill that need. Here are a few ways you can start generating inbound leads on your own.

Inbound sales is a way to identify and connect with prospects that leverages the inbound mindset of building relationships way before someone is ready to buy.

Most successful salespeople already practice some version of solution selling. They know sales is about consulting around the prospect’s problems, not closing the deal. It’s about letting the prospect define the pace of the process and offering education and advice as a way to build confidence and trust that makes it easy and safe for a client to buy. Here are a few ways you can make it scalable and efficient on your own.

How to Generate Your Own Leads

1. Get on social media and offer to help someone

Most salespeople are on LinkedIn, but may not be using it effectively for generating top-of-the-funnel activity. It is a salesperson’s dream to be able to connect in a high-value, low-effort way to find interested prospects, and social media is a great way to do so.

A few quick recommendations to make sure your LinkedIn Profile looks professional:

  1. Post a professional, relatively current picture that reflects your professional demeanor.
  2. Try to connect with as many people as you can. The more connections you have, the wider your reach will be. You don’t have to be best friends with the people you connect to.Tangential connections can be amongst the best for potential prospects.
  3. Post in the “Share an Update” section that you are currently looking to identify and help a specific type of prospect with a specific type of problem by a specific date. For example: We are looking to work with three new commercial landscaping companies by September 1, 2018 that are interested in building their business in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area.
  4. Get three recommendations from current clients demonstrating high-quality work that can vouch for your value, professionalism and effectiveness.
  5. Extra credit if you can broaden your professional brand to Facebook for Business, Twitter and Snapchat, although this does increase the amount of work involved.

2. Post a blog article on LinkedIn with an offer for a 15-minute consultation

I speak on behalf of HubSpot 50 times a year, and often when I mention “blogging” to my audience, people’s eyes glaze over. They think of blogging as a structured and difficult way of writing a college essay — and writing is up there with public speaking on the list of things that people hate and fear.

But blogging is really just a conversation, and a blog topic can be as simple as answering the standard questions about your product that you do every day, such as “The Beginner’s Guide to [Common Business Challenge]” and “X Things You Need to Know About [Business Area].”

3. Ask your current clients for references

In the course of my work helping digital agencies fill their sales funnel, I frequently ask my clients the last time they pinged their current clients, thanked them for their business, and asked for help in generating more business.

Everyone agrees that referrals are effective, but for some reason it’s hard to implement it effectively. You can follow the seven steps below to get started:

  1. Check with your account manager to make sure the customer is happy (and if they’re not, set up a call anyway to see how you can make things better).
  2. Ping the client with a phone and an email and ask for a 10-minute conversation.
  3. Thank the client for her business, explain that you value your relationship and you are always interested in making it more valuable to your client.
  4. Ask if there are any other contacts or companies she can think of that would be interested in the same level of service.
  5. Get the name, phone number, and email of the contact, and why your client thinks it is a good fit.
  6. Ask if they can tee you up with a quick introduction email.
  7. Extra credit: If you can, send them a handwritten note or small item like a T-shirt thanking them for the referral. Little touches go a long way.

4. Ping your brother-in-law (and other personal acquaintances)

Working your personal network is another sometimes-overlooked option that is fairly easy to get started with because you have built-in trust. There are certain people you’ll meet in a personal context that you wouldn’t think of as a lead generation machine but can be incredibly valuable.

In today’s busy world, you have yoga friends, work friends, neighbors, and more — but they exist in these separate buckets that don’t necessarily intersect. The key is remarkably simple — if you are at the point in your relationship where you can talk business, let potentially useful acquaintances know. Identify the type of company you are looking for (size, employee number, revenue amount, location, etc.) and send an email that they can forward to make the connection.

Of course, mixing the personal and professional like this needs to be effective and respectful — but it is a great way of broadening your reach.

5. Attend a networking event

Whoa — face-to-face interaction in 2016? This is the fun part for me (but can be really hard for others.)

Attending these events should be part of your routine, because they’re a great way to grow your reach and potentially drum up business.

Below are four basics that I remind people of before they dive into networking:

  1. It’s about mingling and being human and having fun. Don’t take things too seriously!
  2. Explaining your “always be helping” philosophy face-to-face is usually a pretty big differentiator.
  3. Bring business cards to hand to your new acquaintances.
  4. Offer to connect on LinkedIn from your phone while you are standing next to someone. I usually respectfully ask — would you like to connect on LinkedIn? If they say yes, I just hand them my phone and say, “Can you find yourself and connect?”, which makes things a lot easier.

6. Revisit closed/lost opportunities

These are businesses that already know what your company does. They might have seen a product demo or made it through a discovery call and it just wasn’t the right time to buy.

Touch base with these prospects every six months. Ask how their priorities have changed, if their business and team goals have shifted, and what their challenges are.

Invest in marketing to these prospects, because they’re already more qualified than new, warm leads. Enroll them in appropriate marketing email drips, send them relevant blog posts, and keep communication personalized.

It might not be the right moment the first or third time you follow up, but it could work in your favor the fifth.

And you never know when a prospect will change jobs and finally have the budget or business case to implement your solution. By staying top of mind, you’ll be the first vendor they call.

7. Implement an email sequence

Blond explained that one of Rainforest’s most successful email sequences is addressed from their CTO. Rainforest’s SDRs send the email to the CTO of a prospect’s company, framing the message as if their CTO asked them to reach out.

“It’s creative, it grabs attention, and it allows us to cast a wide net over each prospect’s company,” Blond said.

To send a successful email sequence, have a clear purpose for each one. For example:

  • Email 1: Address pain points
  • Email 2: Explain a value message
  • Email 3: Name drop a big client
  • Email 4: Qualify your message
  • Email 5: Include a product message
  • Email 6: Reach out one last time

Implement a comprehensive, purposeful email sequence and see it work for you.

8. Write a blog

Are you writing blogs yet? You should be. Start by writing about what you’re an expert in.

It could be sales process optimization, referral marketing, or your product/service — but whatever you do, start writing, and share it on your company’s blog, your personal social media channels, and your customers.

In 2018, it’s important for you to be a visible expert in your field. Not only will it display your expertise, but you’ll educate your prospects as well. Need some help on your first post? Reach out to your resident marketer or blog editor for a quick lesson. They might even offer to help you write a post or two.

Don’t like your leads? Get out and generate new ones. Try these tactics and close more business this quarter. 

Offline Lead Generation – Part 1

Posted by Dr. Karl Ruegg on

5 Ways Lead Generation Software Can Enhance B2B Sales

Posted by Dr. Karl Ruegg on

The B2B sales model has undergone many changes over the past decade thanks to advances in technology and innovations such as specialist B2B lead generation software available from Lead Forensics. 

Today’s sales teams can now benefit from using technology at all stages of the buyer journey, from initial parts of a sale, to helping with the generation of leads and their nurturing, so they can concentrate their manpower on a more consultative sales process. 

By devising an excellent marketing and sales strategy, and investing in the right tools, businesses will be able to attract the best leads, qualify them and improve their profits as a result – which is where lead generation software comes in and why it can be so invaluable for a company. 

So if your organisation is aiming to improve its B2B sales, how can this form of software help you generate higher conversions?

1. Target relevant B2B leads

Any sales process becomes far more successful when it is based on relevant insights and a deep understanding of the target audience. Lead generation tools can provide this information.

But why is this so important for your business? Because you will now have the power to see which companies are landing on your pages, determine their intentions and target them as hot sales leads. Your sales force no longer needs to waste time with cold contacts and can instead get to work on only warm and qualified leads. 

Without lead generation software in place the whole process of locating these types of leads is extremely difficult, if not impossible. 

2. Understand user intentions

When you are able to see which pages your site visitors are looking at, you can then start to determine which services or products they are interested in. With this knowledge at your disposal, when approaching new leads you can draw on the specific areas of your business that each prospect has been viewing. 

As part of the sales process is focused on establishing individual prospects’ intentions, building a relationship, and gaining their trust, lead tracking software can give you the insights you need to start conversations off on the right foot. From that point on you can then focus all of your attention on negotiating and closing the sale, before moving on to the next targeted prospect. 

3. Get accurate contact information

Even if you know who has landed on your pages, it’s still difficult to locate their contact details in order to follow-up on potential leads. However, with the help of IP tracking you will be able to view the contact details for every business that has visited your site.

This information can be used to target the prospect, or can be assigned to a member of the sales team who can contact them at a later date. Understanding who has viewed your pages, as well as being able to access their contact details, will save you time and provides quick access to the information you need to enhance your sales results. 

4. Streamline the sales process

When it comes to your sales chain there are a number of stages to complete before your website visitors will actually convert – the buyer’s journey. As time is money your company needs to streamline the sales process as much as possible if you want to generate greater profits and reduce unwanted admin. IP tracking software can help with this in a number of ways.

First of all, trigger reports can be setup to notify your sales team when specific activity occurs on your site. I.e. when certain target prospects visit or return. Secondly, bespoke reports can also be sent directly to the inbox of key personnel in your company so that they can chase hot new leads straightaway. Whilst streamlining the sales process, IP tracking software allows you to focus on increasing sales through relevant, as opposed to random, leads. 

5. Focus on your sales pitch

With a constant stream of relevant B2B sales opportunities and insights being presented to you via IP tracking software, you won’t need to focus much of your time and effort on this anymore. Instead, work on your sales and marketing techniques. It will mean incoming leads that you pick up convert at a higher rate. 

It’s not just about being able to follow-up on leads, your team also needs to be able to sell and close the deal on every available prospect. So as the leads are generated for you, your sales team has time to perfect their pitch, aim to seal every deal, and propel your business forward. 

Turn your leads into conversions

As you can see there are a number of ways in which lead tracking software can enhance your sales process. This simple but effective way to track and target hot leads means that you can increase your ROI and attain more business as a result. So it makes a lot of sense to invest in lead generation software. 

With the insights from the software, combined with a dedicated and talented sales team behind you, you could soon be generating more sales and watching your company’s revenue soar.

Find out more about our B2B Lead Generation software with our Introduction to Lead Forensics.

Top 4 Digital Lead Gen Trends

Posted by Dr. Karl Ruegg on

top-4-digital-lead-gen-trends

More and more marketers are being asked to create more and more leads using more and more tactics, in an increasingly crowded communications environment.

At worst, it gets marketers fired.Lead generation is such an important part of most digital marketers’ responsibilities that our friends at Formstack—longtime sponsor of Convince & Convert—produced an entire report about it: The State of Lead Capture in 2016.

This interesting new study talked to 219 marketers and c-suite executives in small and mid-sized businesses in the US about the current state of lead generation.

There are literally dozens of data points, observations, and recommendations in the report, and I very much encourage you to go read it yourself.

But to provide a handy summary, here are the top four digital lead gen trends that I took away from the research:

1. Websites Remain The Most Likely Source of New Leads

Twenty-four percent of respondents said their website was the biggest generator of leads, with email marketing and paid search at seventeen percent each. Social media was fourth at 15%.

Indeed, websites are still a huge source of lead generation for most businesses (even here at Convince & Convert where we encourage all visitors to sign up for our killer email updates). It is important to recognize though that rarely do these tactics work in a vacuum.

What you do in social can inform how well your website works at lead generation. Your paid search campaign can produce the email signups that culminate in leads that you attribute to email marketing.

I prefer to think of it as a true marketing ecosystem, where many tactics can take prospects to many places, all of them aligned to capture information from prospects.

2. Marketing Metrics are Misguided

This is particularly true in small and mid-sized businesses that are unlikely to have the software horsepower (like the amazing Datorama) or dedicated analytics personnel to really dig deep on advanced metrics.

Yeah, it’s easier to be great at marketing math if you have a pile of software and room full of nerds. But you can still be very good at metrics without any of that stuff; you just need to measure the things that matter.

There has been much discussion in the past year in the content marketing realm (inextricably linked with lead generation) about divining true return on investment from efforts.

And yes, the respondents to this Formstack survey are measuring many things, but none of those are ROI.

Just 28% of marketers are measuring sales created by paid lead gen activities. This means that 3 of every 4 marketers cannot possible calculate true ROI because they have no data for the “R” which equals “return” which means “money.”

For clarification, true ROI is only calculated ONE way and ONE way only: Return (money) minus investment (cost), divided by investment, expressed as a percentage. That’s it. That’s the formula, period.

72% of marketers are counting lead volume, website traffic and similar metrics and calling it “ROI”. It’s not, and someday those fuzzy metrics aren’t going to be enough to justify their budget.

3. Quality of Leads is More Important Than Quantity of Leads

I think we’d all agree with this in theory, because eventually those leads have to turn into customers for marketing to be worthwhile.

And 54% of the respondents to this survey said that lead quality is their #1 priority (versus 46% for lead volume).

Despite this finding from Formstack, I’m not sure how often we actually run marketing programs based on this principle as I see an awful lot of effort going toward initiatives that create a lot of low quality, top-of-funnel leads that are unlikely to turn into revenue.

4. Invest in Conversion Optimization

One of Formstack’s big takeaways from this State of Lead Capture report is that conversion optimization (they can help you do this) is critical in 2017.

We put way too much emphasis on traffic generation and not nearly enough emphasis on converting that traffic. The impact of conversion rate optimization is geometric. Once you unlock what works from a conversion perspective, you can then expand the tactics you use to fill the top of the funnel, and your results will grow exponentially.

If you’re not methodically working on increasing your conversion rate, stop spending money on marketing and fix that first.

 

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