Lead generation is one of the most important aspects of the sales process. You need leads to turn into customers, so without them you have nothing. There are many different strategies to generating leads, but the use of digital channels has become one of the easiest ways of doing so, and B2B marketers are starting to realize it’s potential.
Lead generation is all about reaching out to the right people and turning them into qualified customers. Buyers today are a much bigger part of the selling process itself in that they do a lot of the work themselves, through social media and online interactions. If you can learn to use these digital tools in your favour you will be more likely to get better results from you B2B lead generation pursuits.
Here are 4 tips to getting the most out of digital technology when it comes to lead generation:
Social media, social media, social media
There are so many social media platforms out there at the moment, and it’s important for B2B marketers to make use of them. One of the most important things to get out of social media is to use it to generate traffic to your website, so make sure you’ve got easy-to-access links to it.
It’s difficult to keep up to date with every social media platform out there, so it’s best to focus your attention on just a few and get the most out of them. Each platform offers something different so you must tailor your methods for each one.
Twitter is often touted as one of the better ways to get your brand out there through social media. It’s best used as a way to engage with your customers through sharing content that is interesting and will make the customer want to come back.
LinkedIn is one of the most effective social media tools for B2B marketers. There are multiple lead generation tools to choose from. Their Advanced Search function lets you search in location, industry, current company and more, as well as letting you save the search results. The Groups function is invaluable as a lead generation source. There are over 2 million groups on LinkedIn so it’s safe to say you’ll find something that suits what you’re looking for. As long as you maintain a level of activity in your chosen groups, and post content that is beneficial and interesting to the readers, you will be sure to find leads that you can cultivate.
Facebook has some useful tools in their events pages and detailed audience targeting. YouTube is a good way to show your physical product through videos. And Google+ is useful in that it’s got a good community culture. Similar to the LinkedIn Groups, you can search for Communities through industry, location etc, and share your content to relevant ones, generating traffic and leads.
Don’t neglect email
Despite the rise in social media, email is still one of the top ways to generate leads for B2B marketers. The best way to avail of it’s benefits is through the use of marketing automation features. These use data analytics to tailor a strategy that targets the right people with the right message. They can also be set up to deliver messages automatically at timed intervals. The emails should include some sort of call-to-action tailored for the customer that will generate traffic to your site, and therefore make a more promising lead. Using email in this way is a great way to stay in touch with a lead until they become a direct customer.
Content is key
Content marketing, in the form of articles, e-books, white papers, etc, is a huge part of B2B digital lead generation. It is the key to every other part of your digital strategy. Without the content there is nothing to share on social media or offer through email.
The key to good content marketing is, first of all, making it search-engine friendly so that it can easily be accessed by more people searching for the topic. Secondly, you need to make sure your content is interesting and of value to the prospective leads. Good content marketers do this by looking at problems from the prospective lead’s point of view and giving solutions to these problems.
Interact personally with the customer
Or as personally as you can get online. This means that you shouldn’t just be sharing content on social media and hoping people will look at it. You need to invite feedback and reactions to your content. Make sure you’re replying to any prospective leads that might contact you on Twitter or Facebook or any other way. Respond to content shared by others and they are more likely to respond to you. This is the best way to start a conversation with your prospective leads.
This kind of direct interaction is known as social selling and is extremely important for your B2B lead generation. First of all, like email, it’s a good way of keeping in touch with prospects and nurturing them until they are ready to buy. Secondly, it reaches out to the customer on a more personal level, which is what you’re looking for. Nowadays selling is all about establishing trust with customers. It’s been shown that 70% of the process of buying is done before the customer gets to the sale itself, which illustrates how important social selling is. You need to build relationships with prospective leads before they will become customers.
You also have to make sure that it’s not just your sales team that’s involved in these aspects. Employee advocacy is an important part of your strategy. After all, if you can’t get your own employees to interact with your content, why should a customer.
The main thing to take from this article is how much the sales process has changed in recent years. Prospective customers now have most of the sales work done before they actually start to buy anything from you. They’ve done their research online. Your strategy needs to adapt to these changes, which is where these tools come in. There are so many digital tools to utilize for B2B lead generation, and it’s up to you to find the right ones for your company, and to use them to reach the right audience with the right content.