Generating new leads and business opportunities is a complex and time-consuming task. Developing the right strategy and optimising this strategy is vital for improving the quality of your campaign results, and maximising your return on investment (ROI). This article details six ways that you can optimise your business’ B2B lead generation strategy.
#1 – Ensure Your Data is Targeted and Refined
Before beginning your lead generation campaign, you, of course, require data. Whether you are building a data list yourself or purchasing the list from a regulation-compliant data provider, you need to make sure that this data is suitable and is in-line with your targets and goals.
The contents of a data list can vary depending on your objectives for the campaign and the general targets for your business. As such, to effectively generate leads, you must ensure that your data is correctly targeted and is appropriate for achieving the desired outcome.
If you carry out a lead generation campaign with poor quality, untargeted data, you could be wasting precious time and resources and have few qualified leads to show for it.
When building a data list, there are a variety of tools that you can use to your advantage. You could utilise the LinkedIn Sales Navigator to conduct research into businesses that match your qualifying criteria and would be ideal to target for your campaign.
Another example is Hunter.io, formerly known as ‘Email Hunter’. Hunter.io allows you to identify the contact email addresses within a business or if you already have a data list, you can use it to check the accuracy of the information within your list.
When requesting a compliant data list from an external data provider, all you need to do is provide them with details regarding your campaign. Typical information includes; the market you are attempting to penetrate, the types of business within those markets, the ideal size of the business and any other qualifying criteria. They will then use it to build a data list that caters to your needs and objectives.
#2 – Integrate your Approach
There are some marketers and salespeople that tend to segregate their methods of generating leads. They will often use a limited strategy and tend to stick to a single method and focus on optimising that method.
Although it’s important to optimise your strategies to increase effectiveness, it is also important to utilise and integrate a multitude of tools and strategies in order to achieve your desired results.
There are a wide range of marketing integrations that can support your lead generation process and your customer acquisition strategy as a whole.
One such integration is between email marketing and content marketing. Content marketing is a marketing method that works brilliantly with email. With content and email marketing integration, businesses often include a call-to-action at the end of their content pieces to encourage readers to become a subscriber to their mailing list.
When subscribed to the mailing list, the readers will receive email notifications about new content the business has released. This engagement between the business and their audience helps to build brand awareness and reputation, whilst simultaneously guiding members of the audience through the sales funnel.
Another highly effective marketing integration is telemarketing and email marketing. People often avoid telemarketing for their lead generation strategy because they are not overly keen on the idea of cold calling. Warm calling, however, is a method that people are much more receptive to.
Rather than making the initial cold contact via telephone, sending an introductory email first can often make the second stage of contact much simpler and smoother. After the first introduction via email, the prospect will be more likely to take a follow-up call, rather than an ‘out of the blue’ phone call.
#3 – Set Realistic, Trackable Targets
When developing your campaign, you need to set clearly defined goals that are realistic and easy to track. In other words, you will want to set some SMART targets. SMART targets are a simple way of breaking down your ideal outcome for the campaign and turning it into a clearly identified goal that you can work towards.
SMART is an acronym that stands for: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound.
SMART helps you to determine what your specific target or objective is, how you can measure it’s progress, whether the objective can realistically be achieved, whether the goal is relevant to the activity and if you have set a suitable timeframe to achieve the goal.
For a lead generation campaign, your SMART target could be to generate twenty-five qualified leads by week five of your ten-week campaign. This target is specific, can be measured with ease, could certainly be attainable, is relevant to your campaign and has a reasonable timescale. Once you have set your targets; you can begin to organise the process which will be used to achieve them.
It is also beneficial to periodically review your progress your targets and the performance of your strategy. Analyses help you to determine whether your chosen method is effective and appropriate for achieving your goals, and could also be vital in highlighting aspects of your approach that require alterations – which brings us seamlessly to #4.
#4 – Collect and Analyse your Campaign Metrics
No matter what approach you take to lead generation, whether it be email marketing, telemarketing, PPC, or more; there will be aspects of your approach that will need to be tweaked and adjusted to optimise your lead generation strategy. When left unaddressed, these aspects may turn into problems that could affect the results of your campaign. At first glance, it can be unclear what the underlying issues are with your approach. Your campaign metrics hold vital information that can be used to identify these issues. Analysing metrics can help to highlight problem areas within your approach, and help you make well-informed changes that will optimise your lead generation strategy.
Despite being invaluable for identifying areas of improvement, analysing your metrics can be time-consuming; however, this process should never be rushed. Failing to allow enough time to fully comb through your findings and what they mean, could result in unnecessary changes to areas of your approach that were working perfectly.
As well as rushing the analysis, some marketers and salespeople tend to make changes based on their own judgement or personal preference. Of course, there will be times when the choice that you prefer, may not be the most effective choice. Without conducting any form of analysis, you could end up making uninformed decisions that can harm your lead generation strategy.
Another point to mention is the occasional anomaly. Although your metrics can be an invaluable tool for tracking your performance, there can be instances where aspects of the data will be inaccurate due to an anomaly. Some anomalies include; the open-rate being unrealistic, a large number of email bounce-backs, or errors such as inactive links.
These anomalies can affect your data and analyses, which is why it’s important to conduct more than one round of testing and analysis before making any drastic changes to your approach.
#5 – Teamwork & Motivation
Not every method of improving your campaign performance revolves around your strategy. Your employees are your most valuable tool and they require the same focus and attention that your strategy does.
If your campaign fails or doesn’t go as planned, you don’t completely get rid of it, you work on bettering it, and the same goes for your team.
Mistakes are a part of being human, so rather than punishing failure, it’s better to support your team and help them see the lessons in their mistakes. Providing support and training will not only make them feel confident in their role but will, in turn, have a positive impact on your campaign results.
Don’t just keep your employees up to date on their individual targets, keep them in the loop with the progress of the company’s targets and goals. Letting your team know when they are having a sizeable impact on the company’s progress towards objectives helps to boost motivation and can make for a more productive and focused team.
One method that we, as a business, use to reward our team and boost their performance, is an incentive program. The whole team gets involved and it makes for a bit of friendly competition around the office.
You don’t have to offer huge prizes, it could be something as simple as a small cash prize, a late start or early finish, an extra annual leave day etc. Rewarding your team and showing appreciation for their hard work will help to maintain their motivation and focus.
#6 – Go for Quality, not Quantity
One huge mistake that a lot of businesses make is thinking that lead generation is just a numbers game and as a result, they prioritise the number of leads and opportunities, over the quality. With lead generation, high-quality results are far more valuable than high-quantity results. If by the end of your lead generation campaign, you were able to generate 50 leads, but the quality was not up to scratch, those leads will either fall through or will only give short-term benefits to your business. However, if you were to generate 20 high-quality, targeted leads, you are far more likely to see the long-term benefits to your business.
Oft-times, those using what’s considered a low-quality approach, will try to rush through the sales process and push their prospects into making a decision that they may not be ready to make. They will typically read from a robotic sales script, or use pushy sales techniques, using what’s known as the ‘spray and pray’ technique – essentially throwing mud at the wall to see what sticks. Although they can end up generating a fair number of leads, they will rarely be of high-quality and are often not a good fit for the business. With the low-quality approach, the customer rarely gets all of the information or support that they need before making a buying decision, and getting that information and support makes a world of difference. The high-quality approach requires giving a little more care and attention to your prospects. Rather than using pushy and aggressive sales tactics, it’s all about making your interactions more valuable and convenient for the customer. If they are busy, schedule a more suitable time to contact them. If they have a number of questions to ask, block out some time where you can address all of their concerns in full. If they would like to see some case studies of your previous work, focus it around the work you have done in their industry, not just your most successful projects. Of course, even with the quality-focused approach, your interactions may not result in a lead, but that’s business. One thing is for certain – the leads you do generate from your quality-focused strategy will help to maximise your ROI and accelerate your rate of growth.