With all the changes in technology, everyone connected in the mobile space from any location, and the death of old ways of getting information, businesses have to embrace new ways to generate business-to-business leads. Let’s take a quick look at what’s dying and what’s coming on strong:
Dying lead generation techniques:
- Telephone cold calling
- Print media, particularly the notion of “building a brand” through print advertising campaigns
- Direct mail marketing
- TV and Radio
- Yellow Pages for anything local
Strong New Ways to Generate B2B Business Leads:
- Peer-to-peer reviews from Social Media
Social media has been a tough area for many smaller and mid-sized B2B companies because of the extreme difficulty visualizing the ROI received from the investment. Any company today needs a strong mix of some parts of social media. The area that offers the best payoff for most B2B companies include:
- Reviews. These are an incredibly powerful tool. Potential customers look for them to see who else loves your products or services. Search engines like Google give strong rewards for companies that use reviews correctly and let them be seen online in the right format for the search engine to understand.
- Referrals and Messaging from Social Media Participation
- Groups. Any company that gives freely of its expertise in groups or communities WILL be rewarded with new business. Choosing the right groups, getting solid policies in place, and rewarding employees for participating online are challenges that will be rewarded.
- The New Messaging System. Having a strong social medial list of contacts is a tremendous asset to a company when they have any message to get out to people who know them or might want to do business with them. These lists are people who WANT to hear from you. As long as you don’t spam them with nonsense messages, they will be open to your new marketing message or hear your side of things in a crisis.
- Marketing Automation to Leverage Your Online Marketing Investment
The now mature online lead generation for B2B companies is still as hot as ever, it just takes more targeting and professionalism than it did 5 years ago. The front end lead generation techniques are still the same, SEO and SEM to catch people while they are searching or browsing websites and have them click on your page listing or ad. Here are the key things that are changing:
- Need for Laser-Like Targeting. Competitiveness and cost for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is steadily increasing. Few companies don’t use some form of SEO on their website. Many are making it a key part of their marketing investment. At the same time, SEM costs (Pay per Click, Google Adwords, and all the other paid advertising systems) are skyrocketing. For many of our clients, ad costs have tripled or more in the last three years. TARGETING and a coordinated effort between your Internet Marketing and sales team is essential. You have to generate better qualified leads from the start.
- Marketing Automation. Potential customers are looking online for their research information early in their buying cycle. Your sales team is no longer the “only source” of information on solutions to your customers’ problems. The result is that most of the visits to your website are from potential customers who are not ready to buy. Even when you do generate a lead, how ready is your sales team to nurture that lead for 6 months or more until they are ready to buy?
Marketing Automation processes insert a new step between lead generation and your sales team. Leads are nurtured with automatic messaging based on what THEY were looking at on your website. When they come back, that messaging is updated. Their activity is “scored” so when they are “ready-to-buy” the sales team is alerted to get on the sale. The increase in sales has proven to be several hundred percent over companies who don’t nurture their leads with some form of automation.
- MOBILE for B2B is critical to being ready when a potential customer needs you
For B2B, this is the simplest thing, but is constantly ignored. Your website has to be 100% mobile friendly. The key issue is that when a potential customer looks for you on a mobile device, you must present a sharp mobile-friendly presentation. This cannot be just pinching down the full screen of your “regular” website. That’s not going to work today. There are many ways to accomplish this and it is not an expensive investment. It’s MANDATORY in today’s mobile world.
- Be a RESOURCE
Companies in the old traditional marketing environment were a great resource. Their sales teams had the access to product information, spent time with customers, educated them, and nurtured relationships for years as customers’ needs changed and new products were introduced. Just as in the Marketing Automation discussion above, this is not how it works today. If a company is going to be a resource, it has to move that library of information online and give much of it away freely. Not an easy thing for most B2B companies to grasp.
If you are struggling with this, start with these 5 basic tools and grow it as you get feedback and generate more and more B2B leads.
- Blog – great for informal updates and excellent source of new website copy
- Video library of how-to information on your products or services (with a You-Tube channel)
- Media Center on your website (news releases, basic media information, images…)
- Download Center for everything paper you have on hand
- Basic Research Library to get to potential customers while they are early in their buying decision
In Summary, there are many NEW ways to generate B2B leads for businesses. Successful businesses will seize the opportunity from Social Media, Video, Mobile, and all the new technologies. They will use these new tools to do the same things we have always done to generate leads: Reach potential customers, give them a targeted message, engage them and find out what they need, and then sell it to them.
Read About: Building a B2B Lead Generation System