The main driver for marketing is often lead generation and companies used to rely on sales people to find their own leads via references, social selling and cold calling – which are all great tactics but don’t work alone anymore. The new buyer is well documented in my book, The Radical Sales Shift. Additionally, 63% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their top challenge. 1
A lead generation strategy through inbound marketing and campaigns compliments the efforts of the sales teams and when done successfully, can greatly reduce the need for prospecting by the sales team, even to the point where many sales people can rely on inbound marketing to meet their sales quotas.
You Need Brand Awareness
However, if you have little to no brand awareness in your target market (which includes both your ideal customers and geography), your lead generation efforts will be hampered. We believe in an integrated marketing approach that acquires leads through brand awareness activities such as advertising and sponsorships. Both are relatively low-cost tactics to place your company name and possibly even your value proposition in front of a huge number of potential customers. It may not have a complex call to action or turn into a lead ready for the sales team, but increasing your reach in your target market so that they recognize you as a credible company will assist your lead generation efforts because you have eliminated one of the barriers to purchase – that no one is aware of what you do.
You Also Need To Show Your Expertise Through Thought Leadership
Another purchase barrier is for your prospective customer to wonder if you are a credible and trusted company. We are all wary of internet scams, phishing and identity theft – all legitimate fears when handing over your personal information to a company that you have never heard of. So make sure your digital presence is credible and authentic and supported by thought leadership. You will see more leads and more response to your calls to action.
Thought leadership such as whitepapers and webinars showcase your expertise, educate your prospective customers and help you communicate your value proposition. Read our earlier blog on how to become a thought leader and put it to work. Companies that maintain a consistent thought leadership cadence see results.
Over a third of c-suite execs and decision makers surveyed—39%—said thought leadership content had influenced them to ask a vendor to participate in the RFP process, and 47% said such content had a direct impact on awarding business.2
One of our most favourite thought leadership tactics is webinars. We wrote a blog about why webinars are an important part of content marketing. If you aren’t currently doing webinars, think about adding them to your tactical plan. And if you are, read our tips to improve your webinars here.
Finally, if you move to a lead nurturing approach, you will need thought leadership content to support it.
And Now, Finally, Lead Generation Tactics
Once you have mastered brand awareness and thought leadership, you’re ready to layer on lead generation campaigns. Our favourites include:
Lead Nurture Campaigns
Lead nurturing develops relationships with prospective customers throughout the entire sales funnel, and through every step of the buyer's journey. It matches marketing efforts to the needs of prospects, and provides the information and answers they need.
This means that you understand the information your prospective customer is looking for when they are in the information, consideration and decision making stages of their purchase decision. What do they need to know? How do you show that you understand and have what they need? Is that supported by case studies? Do you answer questions they may have about competition – both direct and indirect? If so, you’re doing a great job and will see results. Now work to deliver that content on a cadence that works for this person. Lead nurturing campaigns require a high level of personalization or they will fail. It’s an advanced marketing tactic and we love it!
Marketing automation helps lead nurturing campaigns but it’s not critical. On a smaller scale, you can work manually through a lead nurturing campaign and you’ll quickly see that if you adopt this tactic, that the gains in time justify the cost of the software.
A less advanced technique is an acquisition campaign. It is a multi-channel communication strategy delivered in a strict cadence over a 3-week period. It gets results. Every time. But, you need to get comfortable with supplying a hook and giving permission to unsubscribe. It’s all worth it though.
All of these strategies and tactics are critical to generating inbound leads for your business. If you would like help from the experts who have increased revenues 30 – 100% for our clients, please connect with us.