The B2B market has irrevocably changed in the last few years. Customers are better informed and expect a different, more personalized type of service. Strategies that worked even a few years ago are becoming outdated, leading CEOs and VPs of Sales to seek new ways to generate leads.
Our 2021 Ultimate Guide to Lead Generation for B2B Service Businesses will teach you how to update your strategy.
How to get more B2B leads in 2021?
While the question for many businesses is “How can I get more B2B leads?” the real question should be, “How can I get more qualified B2B leads?”. Quality over quantity.
So, we’ll focus on how to get well-qualified leads.
How To Implement the Right Lead Generation Strategy
Choosing the right strategy depends on several factors, including:
#1. What is Your Product or Service?
When customers buy your product or service, they are fundamentally purchasing a solution to a problem. A good product addresses a specific pain point. It could be that you save them time, money or offer them a solution that’s not on the market. Whatever it is, make sure that your marketing materials demonstrate the value of your solution.
#2. Who is Your Target?
Understanding who you are trying to sell to requires deep research. What are the demographics, what don’t they like about competitor’s solutions, how can you make life easy for them? Etc.
#3. What is Your Business Revenue Model?
Different revenue models require different lead generation strategies. One-off purchases, scaled pricing, and subscription prices require their own considerations and knowledge of various consumer personas.
#4. Where Do Your Customers Hang Out?
Specific platforms have distinct demographics. If your B2B consumer persona is serious business people, try LinkedIn. If they are Millennials, Instagram could be the right place.
Tips to Plan Your B2B Strategy:
Understand your customer persona
Underline the value of your product or service in your marketing materials
Understand that different business models need their own approach
Concentrate your efforts in the places your personas congregate.
Five Channels for B2B Lead Generation
#1. Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is all about content and solid SEO (Search Engine Optimization). It is still one of the most effective ways to get site traffic — and leads — to your site.
Capturing leads can be done with this process:
1) Write helpful content that targets keywords and questions relevant to your product.
2) Valuable content will help you rank and appear in the SERP when your target market is searching for solutions.
3) Once your leads visit your site, you need to find a way to get their details.
4) Use gated content that requires them to leave their name, phone number, and email address.
Which Gated Content Can Act as a Lead Magnet?
This content will depend on your product, service, and target audience. But some of the types of content that attracts leads are:
White papers or ebooks
In short, offer your prospects valuable content, and they’ll arrive.
The thing to remember when using inbound content as a strategy is that it takes time to bear fruit. So keep at it. It can take as long as 6 to 12 months.
#2. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
If you need something quicker than inbound marketing via SEO, PPC advertisement is a solid strategy.
This process involves paying for site traffic. There are several pros and cons here.
-Lots of traffic
-Potential to target your demographic
-Can get expensive
-Not all traffic is verified
Additionally, there are lots of options available in the ad space. Banner ads and ads that target demographics via social media (for example, Facebook) are good. Additionally, Google offers a wide range of services to get your product or service in front of the right eyes.
Native ads are another appealing option. These are the ads that appear like native content on a news feed or other digital publication.
#3. Social Marketing
Having a social media presence is crucial for most products or services. Creating brand awareness and establishing expertise and credibility in your field are great ways to get attention.
1) Make social media posts that are interesting, helpful, and include your CTA. However, it’s not always time for the hard sell. Most of your interactions will be with people in the awareness stage of the sales funnel, so a gentle approach is the most effective.
2) Use social media to drive traffic to your site or landing page. You can use content like blog posts, videos, or other values to achieve this. Once you’ve got them there, you can try and capture their details.
How to Generate Lead Through LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a fantastic resource for B2B leads. This platform is where most prospects are.
Here is a proven lead generation strategy for LinkedIn:
1) Make a solid profile.
2) Be active with posts and in relevant groups. Make connections.
3) Engage, make connections, be helpful, demonstrate how your solution can help.
4) Collect relevant details and contacts, which by now should be warm leads
#4. Influencer Marketing
Millennials have become skeptical and untrusting of traditional advertising. For this reason, influencer marketing took off because it offered something similar to trust and word of mouth.
However, while marketers generally used it for B2C products, influencer marketing has become popular for B2B recently.
Depending on your niche, this can be very effective. And not necessarily by using well-known names. Micro or nano influencers can be very effective, with the bonus of locking down on very tight demographics they serve.
#5. Outsource Lead Generation
While the above tactics are effective, outbound lead generation still gets the best results. However, many businesses struggle to generate enough leads for their sales people.
By outsourcing cold calling and appointment setting, you can let your reps focus on their core competency: closing deals.
With the assistance of a B2B lead generation service, you can make sure each prospect is fully qualified and warmed up already, leading to higher conversions for your sales team.
B2B lead generation costs time and money. Formulating strategies that work for your market and your target audience is vital. Using a combination of inbound and outbound marketing, you can make sure your lead pipeline is full of quality prospects interested in your product.
Author’s bio: John Dubay is the Managing Partner at Leads at Scale, an outsourced sales support company that helps B2B companies generate well-qualified leads at scale, ready to be closed.
A lot people I talk to think they need to be spending a ton of time to attract clients on LinkedIn. But, in my experience when you know where to spend your time and what to focus on, you can accomplish a lot in little 15 minute spurts.
LinkedIn is a great resource for marketing your business to help you attract clients on LinkedIn with ease. And it’s free. I used to spend $50,000/year in advertising. I love that all the marketing I do on LinkedIn is free!
Here are 12 tips to help you attract clients on LinkedIn in just 15 minutes a day.
1. Send 10 LinkedIn invites to continue to grow your network of your ideal clients and potential strategic referral partners. The more people you have in your network the easier it becomes to attract clients on LinkedIn. I noticed more prospects responded to my LinkedIn activity once I hit the 500 connection level.
2. Research 1 or 2 potential clients. This will help you target your services and they’ll be impressed by what you know about them.
3. Post 1 tip. Choose 1 tip to share that solves a common struggle among your target market. Like bees to honey your tips shared consistently attracts clients and draws them to you while building your thought leadership.
4. Scan and search for relevant LinkedIn groups to join. If you want to attract more clients on LinkedIn be found where your best prospects are. As of this writing (May 2018) I have found that the overall effectiveness of posting a new discussion inside LinkedIn groups have has shrunk quite a bit. Although there has been less engagement in LinkedIn groups, joining targeted groups is still a useful tactic to help you get connected with members inside the group who share targeted interest.
5. Keep a friendly eye on your competition. Watch what your competitors are up to from their LinkedIn activities and what they post. This will give you a good idea about how you can differentiate yourself from them and add value in your own unique way. *You probably want to change your settings to anonymous prior to viewing their profiles.
6. Improve your profile. Your LinkedIn profile will either make a great impression or a terrible one. You don’t want people to be confused as to who you help, what you do and why you’re different than your competitors. Remember, a confused mind says ‘no’. Go through your profile and make sure everything is complete, up-to-date and you’re communicating the right messaging. Read it as if you were a potential client or partner and notice what they would see.
7. Recommend 1 person in your network. One great way to get recommendations is to give them. Be thoughtful about who you give them to though. You should recommend those people who you have experienced their services.
8. Request 1 recommendation. Don’t just do great work for others. Ask them to recommend you as well. The best people to approach are those who already know, like and trust your work. There is a limit to how many people you can request recommendations from at one time. And you can’t ask someone more than once to recommend you if your request is pending. I know many of my own clients have told me what attracted them to me on LinkedIn was reading my client recommendations.
9. Leverage LinkedIn messaging. When you have a few minutes to kill, use the LinkedIn app on your smartphone to send and respond to messages. LinkedIn Messaging allows you to communicate with other LinkedIn members that you’re connected to. On LinkedIn, you can only message your 1st-degree connections (and, within group pages, fellow group members) for free. If you aren‘t connected, you always have the option to send an InMail. Next to each person’s photo you’ll see a green dot that lets you know they are online and on LinkedIn, which means people tend to message you back right away.
10. Create a quick video. Yes, you can create a video in just 15 minutes if you get out of the perfection trap. Smartphones have great video cameras which already has easy options to upload straight to YouTube from your phone. Just talk for 1-2 minutes where you can share a couple of quick tips. Then you can upload your video right from your phone straight to your page on LinkedIn. What attracts clients on LinkedIn faster is giving them the ability to feel like they can “meet” you even when you’re not available in person.
11. Share your comment on 1 or 2 LinkedIn posts in your feed. Ideally, you should look for posts on topics in your area of expertise. This is a great way to network with people and add value to conversations. Look for discussions that solve the problems of your ideal clients. When you add to the conversation, you’re showing the depth of your thought leadership on your topic and that not only attracts clients on LinkedIn the day you posted your comments, but even long after since your connections (and everyone else’s connections who commented) will have that post show up in all of their feeds as well.
12. Ask for an introduction. You can search LinkedIn for specific job titles as well as specific companies and geography and LinkedIn will show you a list of results and whether they are a 1st, 2nd or 3rd degree connection. It will also tell you who you are connected to who is connected to the potential prospect you wish to be introduced to. So, who makes a great strategic referral partner for you? Who is the ideal client / decision maker? You can find them all on LinkedIn, find how you’re connected to them and just ask for an introduction. It’s really that simple and easy.
If you’re currently not getting a steady flow of new leads and new clients from LinkedIn you’re stepping over $30,000, $100,000, even $250,000+ in new business. It makes sense then, to invest in getting expert help.
So, LinkedIn is just one of multiple marketing tactics you should have in your marketing plan. If you’re not yet sure what your marketing strategy should be, be sure to download my free printable MARKETING CHECKLISThere
QUESTION: What do you think is stopping you from unleashing the power of LinkedIn marketing for your business?
*This article was originally published in Lowe’s for Pros
A brand is a major differentiator among small business owners in the same industry—it’s a way consumers and even competitors identify a business. But creating a solid brand strategy is no easy feat. In part one of a three part series, learn how you can brand your business for success.
For many small business owners in the building industry, pondering the launch of a brand can seem like an abstract concept—like examining a piece of modern art for the first time and having no clue as to what it’s supposed to be.
Maybe it’s puzzling because it’s supposed to look simple, but still convey the essence of your company. An effective brand represents a tidy mini-portrait of what you want your business to be. It should instantly convey a clear image that resonates with customers. It should even project an engaging personality that draws repeat business because of positive, associated experiences with you and your crews. In the end, your brand-launching strategy will impact everything from the way you train your employees to your marketing/advertising methods and the visual images that are stamped on your trucks.
Here are five simple steps small business owners in the construction industry should take when launching a brand:
1. Define who you are—and what you want your business to be. It’s not enough to identify yourself as a residential or commercial builder or re modeler, plumber, electrician, property manager or landscaper. Nor is it enough to say that you “specialize in remodeling upscale homes” in a particular region. Potential customers need to know what you can do for them—right now.
“You need to target a very specific type of customer—not just a market, but a market niche,” says Yoon Cannon, a Philadelphia-based business consultant. “You need to find the subsets within the subsets.”
So if you use your marketing materials to focus on that upscale, local market, push a message that highlights a winning niche. Maybe you’ll provide homeowners with gorgeous lawns and gardens—and chemical free. Or you provide counter tops that represent the latest and most elegant designs of any local kitchen-remodeling business. Or you’re the plumber who can install fixtures that will turn a drab bathroom into a luxury spa worthy of a five-star hotel. Whatever your niche is, run with it.
2. Learn everything you can about your competitors—then brand yourself as something else. You can’t launch a brand without researching first what your competitors are selling. Are they fixated on price? If so, you need to latch upon something other than price, like value or service. One way to get a sense of this is to go online and seek public forums where the levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with completed projects are discussed.
“Learn everything you can about other builders and associated industry support companies that serve your area,” Cannon says. “Know their philosophies, approach, strengths, weaknesses, brand positioning and marketing plans.” (Look for more about distinguishing your brand from competitors in next month’s Branding for Success Part 2: Differentiating Yourself.)
3. Create marketing/promotional materials to constantly reinforce your niche. Once you determine who you are, then you need to align this focused message in all of your marketing efforts, whether online, print, radio or television. Keep the message clean and streamlined. Also, come up with a logo that’s simple and memorable. If you need to hire a brand or marketing consultant to advise you on your logo or messaging, do it. Since this brand is intended to last forever, it should be a one-time fee.
“Ultimately, you need to nail down a message that explains in a few words why your business is the smartest solution,” says Cannon, whose business, Paramount Business Coach, provides service companies with branding, business management and sales training. Then make sure all company materials—from printed materials to the shirts your crews wear—convey these words and images. This extends to everything that’s associated with your business, even your email address. So rather than use generic free accounts provided by Internet companies, provide your employees with email addresses that use your company name as the domain.
4. Come up with a story. A business isn’t simply a collection of tools, trucks and buildings—there are people behind it. Perhaps there’s a compelling story about how your company came together. The easiest way to engage customers is to share that story, whether in your promotional materials or your Web site’s blog.
“Every business has a different story, a history and background,” says Caitlin Sharp, a consultant at Design Management Company, a business management firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York City and London that works with residential/commercial development companies, among other clients. “Use that to make your company stand apart from all the others. Bring that story into your message.”
5. Get employees’ buy-in. Your staff needs to get on board too, so train them on the proper way to convey your brand identity. After all, the way they approach customers, perform jobs and follow up all speak to your brand.
“Your brand identity needs to stay the same and be conveyed effectively, no matter what form you’re talking about,” Cannon says.
Sigh! It can be incredibly frustrating to feel like the vision you have for your business is moving excruciatingly slow.
You have zillions of brilliant marketing strategies. The problem is there is never enough time in your day to execute or manage it all, especially without a marketing team.
I have found the biggest cause is from something called the Marketing Strategy Execution Gap. You need more soldiers on the ground to deploy multiple marketing strategies to free you up to shine as Chief Visionary. You need a marketing team.
You probably already tried outsourcing to a marketing agency only to be disappointed with the results. According to digital.com, 76% percent of small business owners report facing marketing challenges.
The core challenges of marketing fall into these 5 areas:
Generating traffic and leads
Training your team to generate traffic and leads
Lack of resources (budget / people / time)
Hiring talented people
I mean, starting a business is hard enough. Can’t these leads just come to you? You have a great business idea, right? You should be overwhelmed with leads, right?
After All, There are amazing musicians who, based on their genius of talent, should be worldwide superstars. But instead, they starve and struggle for decades because they were never ‘discovered’ by record labels who can market the heck out of them.
Your genius business idea is no different. Doing all the marketing yourself should no longer be an option.
As the visionary, how will you close that ‘Marketing Strategy Execution Gap’?
Option 1: Outsource your marketing to a bunch of freelancers or to a marketing agency.
Option 2: Hire your own in-house marketing team.
Which is better for you? …
Hear From 11 Entrepreneurs On Outsourcing or Hiring In-House Marketing Team
I’ve rounded up 10 small business entrepreneurs to weigh in with their opinion on this decision. Find out the pros and cons they have experienced with outsourcing vs hiring an in house marketing team. At the end I will also share my own experience from everything I have tried over 26 years of being an entrepreneur to help you make a more informed decision for yourself.
Ambroise de La Gorce, CEO/Founder Of Openinno shares, “Outsourcing and in-house marketing both have their pros and cons. Each option can be better than the other in different situations depending on numerous factors, including type of management, marketing tools used, sprints management, business stage.
In my opinion, outsourcing at the very beginning of the business can offer more flexibility. Recruiting in-house is necessary when the product/market fit is validated, to give more stability to the business. Then outsourcing 20% of the team or so when scaling the business can be interesting to gather the resources we can hardly find on-site.”
Kerry Maybank shares, “I mostly do my own marketing, but I have team members that are great at marketing and create more of the significant pitch documents for us. I also have gotten free advertising by doing interviews with the media.
My company does not have employees. We have team members. People come onboard with exceptional talents in particular areas of the business that significant interest at the time. Sometimes we provide equity if the need is that great or we barter and provide their companies something in return based on our expertise. It keeps costs down, and creates mutually beneficial relationships, while increasing the exposure of our firm.”
David Shares, “We keep our marketing in-house because it allows us to harness our own data and learn to understand how our customers interact with our business. Combining marketing customer data, building segments, and then activating those segments in your communication is something that really draws growth.”
Hiring in-house marketing employees is a lot to manage.
Peter Shares, “You need both. You need in house because no matter how much you pay an outside agency or group of freelancers, no one will care about your business or know your products/services better than you and your staff. However, there is so much to manage and oversee that you need outside agencies that specialize in the various verticals.
How we balance both outsourcing and in-house marketing team
Mark Walerysiak Jr. shares, “I’m early stage, and do all the marketing myself (at the moment). I could see the benefit of outsourcing particular tasks related to content / SEO. The more weedy stuff. But when it comes to telling compelling on-brand stories I would prefer to have someone inside the team and as close to the product as I am. When you eat, sleep, and breathe a product (and not worrying about other clients), you can communicate much more passionately about it in just about any form, and I think the audience can pick up on that. So the preference would be in-house if it’s doable.”
Laurie shares, “Our marketing needs are managed with both internal and external resources. Our internal team has a great deal of experience in marketing and PR – so we can typically tap into our own knowledge and experience for basic initiatives like drafting corporate communications and pitches, social media posts, email marketing, etc.
We outsource for marketing tactics outside of our areas of expertise, or if our bandwidth is tight – such as more complex social media campaigns, SEO and digital advertising.
Gary Shares, “I’ve always done my marketing in-house. I’ve only worked in or ran marketing companies, so outsourcing my marketing would be really weird, lol.The one piece of advice I would give entrepreneurs that feel weary about or otherwise unable to fully carry out marketing duties, still be involved. As a consultant, part of my job is to learn as much about my client’s brand as possible because the person or people leading the business know the most about their brand. I can help a client focus. I can help a client develop. However, no one can create someone else’s brand on their own.”
Staci shares, “As a new one-woman consultancy, I’m doing it all right now — marketing and business development as well as everything else involved in the business!
Honestly, while that requires more time and effort from me, I think it actually helps build trust and is part of my business values. With me, it’s personal, and my clients know that they can trust Blue Moss for personal dedication and utmost quality.
We do all the outreach to prospects. Keith Kirkpatrick Principal & Founder of 4K Research & Consulting
I have done all three options throughout my 26 year journey owning 4 different businesses. I once did all the marketing myself. But I quickly found that not to be the best use of my time as the Chief Visionary and Strategist. Just because I know how to do the marketing, doesn’t mean I should be the primary person executing it all. So, then I spent many years outsourcing to freelancers.
While it’s a good choice for one time projects, the danger is you end up spending way too much time vetting and project managing freelancers, which prevents you from acting as the Chief Visionary and Strategist. The other common pitfall with outsourcing is the temptation to hire the lowest priced freelancer. Like with anything else … you get what you pay for.
You risk super sloppy mistakes and oversights that cost you your brand’s reputation. Here’s an example a realtor friend of mine forwarded me. She subscribed to be on an email list from a marketing provider in her industry … to her surprise here’s what the email read:
My realtor friend was so confused! …. Here she thought she was signing up to let this marketing company do her social media posts and email marketing for her. Instead of getting info about the done for you marketing services she was expecting, an email template and an email from a weight loss company came instead. Certainly people do make mistakes. But, when you outsource to the cheapest provider, sloppy mistakes just seem to occur in high frequency.
Marketing is not a mindless task any monkey can do.
When I exhausted my patience for chronic sloppy mistakes from outsourced VA’s and freelancers I decided to let go the reigns and hired a marketing agency to take care of it all A-Z. I hoped outsourcing the majority of my marketing to an agency would remove the project managing off my plate.
I hired Several different agencies, but in each experience I didn’t see the ROI to renew. Instead, I discovered the project managers who were assigned to me were skilled at project managing (which is a good thing), but so many critical details got missed because they weren’t skilled enough in all things marketing. [CONTEXT] There are many great marketing agencies out there who have highly skilled marketers as project managers, but these agencies are often geared to Enterprise size clients, not so much for the SMB community.
What I do now, and my advice to other SMB’s (small-medium business owners) is the 70-20-10 mix.
70% of our core marketing is done in-house
20% is outsourced (one time projects or a specialty area we don’t have in house yet)
10% still is done by me (like recording videos, giving interviews)
I finally found the key to taking project managing off your plate as a small business owner is to make sure the project manager is a well-trained Full Stack Marketer.
Ok … there you have it. You just heard from 11 of us about our experiences and opinions on whether it’s better to outsource your marketing or hire your own in-house marketing team.
Whether you decide to outsource or hire in house, the next set of decisions you’ll need to make are things like:
Who should you hire first?
What’s the going rate for this and that?
What is the best marketing strategy they should be implementing for your business?
Where can you go to find marketers who know what they’re doing?
What should you look for when hiring your marketing person/team?
My answer to all of the above questions is this:
I would answer all of these questions differently depending on each unique business owner, bandwidth, budget and brand. If you want to get clarity on best way for you to eliminate the marketing strategy execution gap in your business why not take me up on my free offer? For a limited time, I am offering a FREE 45 Minute Strategy Call to help you work through this.
FREE THE WIZARD
Click the link below and Eliminate Your Marketing Strategy Execution Gap!
QUESTION: What other questions would you add to the list of 5 above? Share your comments and questions below.
Save Time with the Networking Tips to Generate Leads!
Networking is one of the most important marketing avenues a small business owner can take to generate leads. According to a 2013 survey conducted by Consulting Success, 36 percent of consultants spend more time on networking than any other marketing method, and 34 percent reported that networking earned them more money than any other promotional tactic. If networking doesn’t play a big role in your bottom line, maybe it should. Here are some key networking tips to prepare you for your next event and help you generate leads.
Networking Tip #1. Set Achievable Goals
Set achievable goals for a networking event. You could aim to talk to almost everyone in attendance for three to five minutes, or you could attempt to meet at least seven new people. The key to generate leads from networking is to make your goals measurable: Do you plan to meet new prospects? Set a number defining how many prospects you want to meet. Do you plan on getting your business card out? Decide how many you plan to distribute, and make sure you come equipped with enough of them.
Networking Tip #2. Know Your Audience
If you want to generate leads from networking events it begin by picking networking events where you can connect with your target audience. A good networking environment is defined by the quantity of connections you can make and their ability to extend your influence and help you generate leads.
To generate leads you need to know your audience from a marketing perspective. What business problems do they face? What solutions have they already tried? How can you offer them something new? Go with some idea of the answers to these questions and you’ll be better able to target those who can help you generate more leads.
Networking Tip #3. Rehearse Your Elevator Pitch
Before you go, prepare and rehearse a one-minute “elevator pitch,” which is a short description of who you are and what you do. A good elevator pitch should describe who you help and what you do for them. To generate leads just be sure to focus less on you and more on what you can do for prospects.
Networking Tip #4. Capture Contact Information
Most networking tips revolve around exchanging contact information, making it vital to plan your activities to achieve this goal. Forbes writer Andy Ellwood emphasizes the importance of collecting contact information instead of just giving it out. To prioritize this, he uses the tactic of deliberately giving out his last business card so he has an excuse to ask other attendees for their contact information instead.
Networking Tip #5. Follow Up
Any actions you take at a networking event will only bear fruit if you follow up afterward. Take notes on people you meet (the back of their business card is perfect for this) and when you get back home or to the office, enter this information into your database or contact management system so you can generate leads from the cards you collected. You can then take action to keep in touch with them.
QUESTION: What do you find is the most challenging part of networking to generate leads for you? Plus, share you best networking tips in the comment box below.