In the post-COVID world, e-commerce faces a lot of challenges. Because of the series of lockdowns consumers’ purchasing power has plummeted (affecting B2C trade) and businesses experienced a drastic shrinkage, which had an adverse impact on B2B deals. So, it is no wonder that B2B sales lead generation (as well as getting business leads in any sector) stays one of the top five marketing priorities for companies to focus on.
We as a seasoned B2B lead generation agency realize that entrepreneurs should go all lengths to expand their reach and attract new clients. That is why a comprehensive strategy of lead generation for B2B by Belkins’ invariably includes both inbound and outbound mechanisms of acquiring B2B leads.
B2B Sales Lead Generation: Inbound and Outbound Marketing Allied
It is a matter of common knowledge that inbound marketing is exceedingly effective in B2B lead generation, enabling lead generation companies to map out and implement sophisticated policies that help to convert random site visitors into loyal customers. Modern specialists in marketing have grown strikingly good at capturing the attention of unsuspecting social media users and bringing them through all the phases of interaction with the company. If all is done professionally, a person becomes not just a return customer but a brand advocate, advising enterprise’s products or services to their working and social environment.
However, as far as B2B sales lead generation is concerned, inbound marketing has its ceiling. The number of agents operating in this niche is quite limited which causes intense competition. Besides, lead generation companies seem to have exhausted the possible arsenal of creative ways of brand promotion.
Evidently, in the volatile and rapidly changing business world of the early third millennium, the traditional “make it high-quality and they will come” approach appears insufficient for B2B ventures having big-time aspirations. They start to look for other methods outside the classical sales funnel to tap fresh markets and win new clients. And outbound marketing is a good crutch in this eternal quest for customers.
Planning an Outbound Campaign: Channels to Leverage
Contemporary people are overfed with advertisements. Being approached by dozens of sales reps addressing them via various media day in day out, individuals and B2B companies are often annoyed with unsolicited offers. However, once employed smartly, targeted outbound techniques can yield positive results supplementing your conventional inbound efforts. What rapport channels are to be paid primary attention to with this end in view?
- Cold Emails
When people hear it, they imagine getting a database of prospects and sending advertising messages with links and product descriptions to all and sundry. If you have a similar vision, you are rather behind the times. Although creating extra buzz never does harm, a mere buzz will it stay unless you get personal.
The personalization touch practiced by astute marketers in cold email campaigns is not only about knowing the name of the addressee and their birth date or anniversaries of important occasions. To hit the bull’s eye you must do preliminary customer research, employ audience segmentation, divine their problems, and zoom in on groups that display the highest sales potential, offering a pain killer of your make. In this way, your cold emails will become a little warmer and your prospects feel more predisposed to talk to you back.
The major obstacle you can face in cold emailing is various spam filters organizations install. You can counter them by employing email deliverability software that can ensure your messages will reach all stakeholders you mean them to.
- Direct Mailing
While cold emails are generally looked down upon, direct mails tend to be responded more often since people feel they are not just another guy out there but a valuable individual worth contacting in person. As a result, the appreciation for being treated in an exclusive way often translates into mental readiness to accept offers you extend to them. And if you manage to convince the prospect that this offer is really special, the odds are that they will open their checkbook wide.
You may even send potential clients small presents delivered to the doorstep accompanied by a handwritten note. However, such moves can make the addressee feel uncomfortable so such ideas should be implemented wisely and with care.
- LinkedIn Lead Generation
In the first quarter of the 21st century, people lead two lives – one is physical and the other is virtual existence in social media. Ignoring this second epitome of modern humans is a felony that in the world of business spells stagnation or even decline. And, conversely, leveraging Facebook and Instagram is a sine qua non for organizations to enter the commercial major league.
In the B2B industry, the most relevant social network is LinkedIn where you can harvest tons of data to be further used in your marketing endeavors. Moreover, three-fourths of LinkedIn users don’t mind being approached with sales conversations, which turns this channel into an efficient marketing tool.
- Cold Calls
Despite being often disregarded as way too imposing and irritating, cold calls are the only chance to speak to people in real-time. Yet, this live communication is what makes them a double-edged sword. One can’t hope to succeed in talking to a complete stranger (who is a decision-maker of a serious organization) unless the conversation is thoroughly thought out on the caller’s side.
The caller must be prepared to hear “Not interested” or “No thanks” in a dozen of polite variations and have a killer argument handy to get past those initial denials and win the prospect’s attention. Then, the caller should be able to pack into a sentence or two the gist of the offer they have for the lead and show what value it can bring to their business. In a word, cold calling is an art, and conducting it on a hunch won’t fly.
- Digital Advertising
Typically, you place the advertisement of your firm and its products/services on the most popular search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing will do). Then, such pay-per-click ads appear on the top or sides of organic search results with keywords pertinent to your business domain. Alternatively, you can pay for banner ads to be displayed on partner pages or some frequently visited websites (like LinkedIn or other social media). Supposedly, people will get interested and contact you to become your leads.
Sounds great until you remember the high cost of such an endeavor and immunity of modern consumers to similar advertisements, which makes this outbound channel a pricey tool of doubtful efficiency. But don’t hurry to discard this method. To make it cost-effective, you should think pre-targeting.
Instead of trying to address everyone and his dog, you should narrow your reach to potential clients from the list of B2B organizations whose sphere of activity, previous engagement, and browsing history are related to your company’s products. Building such target lead lists is a job of work, but once you direct your efforts at them, you can be sure their brand awareness will grow. Then you can move in to try other channels like cold email or calls that will be a little warmer now that your leads will have heard something about you and will be less likely to turn down your offer from the outset.
- Event Marketing
Participating in exhibitions, trade shows, and webinars gives you an excellent place of contact with prospective customers. At such venues, you can meet them face-to-face, exchange business cards, and use all your persuasion powers to turn them into clients. A great advantage of this channel is that attendees of such gets-together come there as leads already. They are interested in products and services promoted there and are available for being approached with business offers.
Business-savvy entrepreneurs in the sphere of B2B can’t ignore any tools that may enlarge their target audience. When applied wisely, outbound marketing channels serve as a powerful complement to conventional inbound techniques able to generate leads and expand the customer base.