In many ways, selling products or services to a company can be significantly easier than selling directly to customers. Companies, on the whole, tend to be less price sensitive and flighty than individual customers. This is why it is important for brands to generate B2B sales leads.
Also, most businesses buy products or services in bulk based on long-term goals. This makes them the perfect clients in some ways. While a B2B client is great to have, getting them on board is no easy task. In a recent marketing survey, generating new B2B sales leads was found to be a major stumbling block for most companies. About 61% of respondents considered producing a reliable supply of B2B sales leads as one of their most challenging tasks.
Using email and cold-calling campaigns to leverage lead building databases is a tried and tested method. However, beyond these somewhat outmoded approaches, there’s quite a lot that a marketing executive can do to help build a list of reliable and high-quality B2B sales leads.
Let’s take a look at five advanced techniques that you can use to help generate more B2B sales leads.
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1. Participate in The Community
According to a study by LinkedIn, 72% of B2B buyers research purchase options via social media. The same study also found that when reached out to by cold callers, only 4% of B2B buyers and influencers had a positive response. This is in contrast to a 87% positive rating for people who reached out to them from within their network.
While most businesses these days have a social media presence, where many companies fail is their follow-through. It’s not enough to just have a social media account. You need to have a strong campaign in place to grow both your following and facilitate your participation in the community.
This includes commenting on other posts, following influencers on various platforms, and growing your business’ professional network. Only when your network grows will your chances of getting B2B sales leads increase.
The goal is to get your brand out there, and into the networks of as many potential business clients as you can. When you do this, it starts bringing about a personal touch to the conversations you have.
Additionally, when people see you converse with them regularly, you will start becoming familiar to them. This way, when you’ll finally make your sales pitch to B2B sales leads, they’ll know more about you. The familiarity can increase your chances of getting a positive response.
2. Be a Thought Leader
The next technique is to grow your brand recognition and make the jump from being a part of the community to become one of its influencers. This, of course, is easier said than done. But while you may not become a leading influencer in a few short months, it can still help you build your reputation
People tend to look at influencers as authority figures in their niches. Not only do they take their recommendations seriously, they often also follow them. Building this authority can help you generate B2B sales leads.
But how can you position yourself or your business as an authority in a particular industry or on a certain topic? You can do so by publishing research reports, authoring white papers, and hosting webinars.
Even low impact, easy-to-consume content like videos, and podcasts can give a huge boost to your online visibility and credibility.
This is important from a business perspective since trustworthiness and brand recognition are both factors that significantly influence the number of B2B sales leads you can generate.
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3. Generate More Online Reviews
What B2B clients tend to value over everything else, is reliability and efficiency. Hence, it is only natural that you should excel at both of these to improve your chances of getting B2B sales leads.
Reviews can make a huge difference in such a case. A large number of positive product reviews from other buyers can help build a sense of credibility and trust with your product.
This is especially crucial when competing in the online space where buyers are unable to experience your products in person. In online retail, we use the experiences of others to guide ourselves to make what we hope are better and more informed choices.
Image source: amazon.com
Product reviews can be a great way to generate B2B sales leads. In fact, about 91% of 18-34 year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations.
However, it is crucial that reviews should be completely genuine. Buying reviews may be a tempting shortcut for a small business looking to make a niche in the market. But it can quickly backfire.
Paid or falsified reviews can hurt your search engine rankings, which can harm your chances of getting B2B sales leads. In some cases, they can even get your product or your business permanently banned by a distributor
In the long run, it’s far safer and more effective to send follow-up emails to existing customers. You can then ask them to leave feedback on their experience with your product or service. A good and genuine review can be extremely helpful in getting B2B sales leads.
Even if they do end up writing a negative review about your brand, you should reply to them in a professional manner. You must do everything possible to ensure that their issues are resolved.
When other businesses notice that you’re making an effort to resolve your customer’s problems, they’ll be more inclined to purchase from you. Remember, genuine online reviews, negative or positive, can be instrumental in generating B2B sales leads.
4. Influencer Marketing
Most B2C businesses are both fully aware and engaged in extensive influencer marketing campaigns. However, when it comes to generating B2B sales leads, the story is altogether different. Many B2B companies may not even consider influencer marketing as an option.
It’s been comprehensively proven that influencer marketing is an effective way to shape opinions and drive B2B sales leads. In the end, the decision makers at a company are still people. The people they’re influenced by may be different. But the reasons they follow an influencer and respect their opinions are largely the same.
So, if you’ve been reluctant about incorporating influencer marketing into your B2B marketing strategy, consider this your wake-up call. Reaching out to influencers who hold sway with small business owners or who are widely respected in your industry isn’t that hard
Getting them to collaborate with your business in some way can be transformational to the way your business is viewed by your contemporaries. This could include speaking at an event, asking them to endorse your products or services, or co-creating videos, blog posts, or ebooks with them.
Collaborating with them gives you access to an even broader audience. Their audience will be highly engaged, and that can help you generate B2B sales leads. Additionally, when your audience notices that an influencer has partnered with you, they will start trusting you even further. This can improve your brand trust.
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5. Attend or Organize a Trade Show
Attending trade shows is one of the best ways to make inroads in your industry. It should be a cornerstone of any good B2B sales strategy. Big trade shows are a major draw for the top players in an industry. This makes it easy to quickly network and get some valuable face time with a large number of senior executives in your industry. Doing this can give you tremendous perspective about your industry. Additionally, you can even grow your network.
However, trade shows aren’t just a place to schmooze with executives. In many cases, they are where some of the biggest deals in the industry are made. The only downside is that you will have to compete for attention with your industry rivals who will likely be in attendance as well.
However, the increased exposure will ensure that you can not only generate more B2B sales leads but can even promote your brand to more people. If your business isn’t ready for the international big leagues though, you could organize smaller trade shows at a regional level. This can reduce competition and give you a better chance of promoting your brand.
Alternatively, you could hold an invite-only executive event. This will allow you to court potential industry buyers in the local area without having to compete with larger corporations.
By hosting high-quality events, you’ll be able to build significant credibility and brand recognition among the attendees. And while you’re at it, why not invite a few industry influencers as we discussed in the previous point? Having them speak about important and relevant issues at your event will give it even greater impact and legitimacy.
Image Source:Flickr | Charles & Hudson
Bonuses: Re-Engagement Marketing and Referral Programs
Retaining an old customer is always easier and cheaper than attracting a new one.
Sometimes all it takes to re-activate a former client is a personalized email or telemarketing campaign.
Starting a campaign to re-activate old B2B sales leads is easy since you already have the information you need to contact them. It’s also much more cost-effective compared to acquiring new B2B sales leads.
You could also consider launching a referral program that rewards both parties. This would provide incentives for both your current customers and any additional customers they help bring on board.
For instance, Google has a referral program for G Suite which helps them get B2B sales leads and conversions. For every business that you refer, you get $7.50 for ever user that registers up to $750 per domain. This way, their customers can earn for every additional user that registers in their referral’s domains too.
While most companies have some form of retention and referral strategy in place, quite a few still don’t. Failing to follow up on and leverage good existing B2B sales leads is essentially like leaving money on the table.
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You need to be proactive and think out-of-the-box to generate new B2B sales leads. Try to participate in the community and become a thought leader. This can increase your brand reputation and reach.
Additionally, you can visit or organize a trade show to network and generate B2B sales leads too. You can also collaborate with influencers in your niche to promote your brand.
Do you know any other techniques that we may have missed? Please share them in the comments below.