It’s hard to believe that we’re in the last week of summer (if, as I do, you consider Labor Day the end of summer). Eight months down, with four to go.
In my 20+ years in business, I’ve found that the last four months are great months to close outstanding business, and to get a jump start on next year. I find that closing business (for understandable reasons) tends to dominate the focus; often at the expense of getting the next year teed up.
But imagine for the moment that as you arrive in your office following your New Year’s holiday, you’re greeted with a full pipeline of sales qualified leads, ready and interested in talking with you about their needs and opportunities. What impact could that have on your 2016?
When I’m coaching sales and marketing teams, I always teach them to run through the end of the year, not to it. If you’re looking for some ideas to finish ’15 strong, here are nine (relatively) simple b2b lead generation strategies.
1. Target list
If your company and every member of your sales team isn’t currently keeping an up-to-date target list, jump on this action now. You can learn more about this list in the post I recently wrote, How To Design Your B2B Prospecting Approach to Achieve Consistent, High Value Results.
2. Be sure every page on your website has an appropriate call-to-action (CTA)
I’m always surprised how often I see a business’ website that is not taking advantage of the traffic they are generating. Every page on your website is an opportunity to generate a new lead or to advance an existing lead through your funnel; however, it is up to you to make it happen.
Believe it or not, most visitors to your site aren’t thinking about how they may be able to buy something from you or to engage in a conversation. By putting the appropriate CTA on every page, you turn a passive marketing page into an active lead generator.
You’ll want to ensure that the content on each page aligns with the appropriate CTA and is geared to the point in the buyer’s journey where the page applies. The tool to ensure this alignment is called a Content Map, and if you don’t have one, you can download it here.
3. Write an extra blog post/week
Blogging unequivocally drives increased traffic and lead generation. The more you blog, the more traffic and leads you receive. So, if you’re not writing at least a blog a week, start. If you’re writing one blog/week make it two.
Now, don’t just write a blog post for the sake of writing one. Be sure to stay focused on your teaching point-of-view. If you’re looking to come up with more ideas for your blog, read this post.
4. Write an article/create a workbook on an important issue
Take a look at the biggest issues your prospects face that involve what you do. Then create some premium content that addresses the issue. Don’t make it about you or your products/services; make it useful for them.
Tools like worksheets or workbooks can be very valuable. In our world, our prospects often struggle with creating clear strategies because they don’t have a clear view of how many leads they need to create to achieve their goals. So we created two worksheets that have both been very successful in this area.
Another example from one of our clients in the corporate travel management industry is a workbook. In corporate travel, the quality and effectiveness of a travel policy will have a tremendous effect on the overall costs and impacts of a travel management program. So they’ve created a workbook that can take anyone through a step-by-step process to create their own policy.
While neither of these examples focus on the seller, and they teach the prospect how to do some something, anyone downloading the content is demonstrating a need and a possible match. This makes connecting, engaging and advancing the lead a much easier process.
5. Social Media/LinkedIn groups
Smart social media engagement can also drive valuable leads to your funnel. Be sure you’re sharing all of the content you are creating through every member of your go-to-market team’s profiles. But, don’t simply auto-publish your blogs and other content. Create specific social media updates to be used for each piece of content.
While sharing content will drive traffic and some leads, real quality comes from engaging. Choose 2 – 3 groups that you will actively participate in (and have each member of your sales team do the same). Respond to questions and conversations, engage with other members of those groups and watch what happens.
6. Referral Campaign
Launch a referral campaign. If you’ve got a sales team, require each member to sit with at least three current customers each month for the sole purpose of checking in on progress and asking for referrals. If you don’t have one (or you’re a salesperson yourself), do this yourself.
We’ve developed an approach we call The Advice Meeting that enables you to do this successfully without ever actually asking outright for a referral. You can download our best practices document on this approach here.
The great thing about PPC is that it will predictably drive traffic to your site. However, before it makes sense you’ll want to have at least a few proven conversion processes. There’s nothing worse than paying to get people to visit your site, only to see them leave without leaving any identifying information whatsoever.
While we’ve advised clients on PPC for quite some time, we only recently began experimenting with it ourselves. The decision process we embarked on was quite exhaustive and we ultimately decided not to use the traditional forms of PPC like adwords. Instead, we’re using a relatively new approach that creates contextual ads, and while it’s too early to make a clear call, we’ve been pleased with the result so far.
The bottom line here is don’t just jump into PPC. Be sure you’ve had some success with paying for clicks first, and then make sure you have the systems in place to measure, test and adjust before embarking on this.
Remarketing enables you to tag site visitors and get back in front of them as they go about their business around the web, checking their email, watching YouTube, searching Google and even hanging out on Facebook.
It allows you to capture those who visited your site and didn’t leave any identifying information into leads, which is huge considering that 97% of people will leave your landing page without converting. It can also be very effective in allowing you to deliver contextual ads to identified prospects at specific stages of your funnel.
9. Sales Development
Saving my favorite strategy for last. Sales development is simply the single, best strategy to get lead generation and conversion ramped up and scalable. While sales development requires commitment and discipline, it can get started and ramped up quickly and typically yields results quickly.
Implementing one or all of these strategies will help you end 2015 in a positive way and begin 2016 positioned for success.