When it comes to B2B lead generation, what is the most effective (and cost-effective) way to benefit your bottom line?
Before we answer that, it’s important to understand what lead generation actually is and how it has changed over the years. Lead generation is the process your business goes through to identify potential prospects and then taking on a variety of different marketing tactics to turn those leads into sales opportunities. A successful lead generation engine constantly keeps your business pipeline full of sales prospects and plays a key role in the success of your business.
There was a time when buying lists was a highly effective lead generation technique. But thanks to changing consumer habits and Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which defines how and when businesses can target prospects, it is nowhere near as effective of a lead generation technique as it once was. Today, unless it’s a highly focused (read: expensive) list, purchased lists are only good for their phone numbers. And if we’re being honest, while continually feeding your sales funnel is important, cold calling prospects probably rates very low on your ‘want to do’ list. (Don’t worry, we too hate cold calling).
So, that leads us back to our initial question: what is the most effective (and cost-effective) lead generation techniques?
3 surprisingly simple lead generation techniques
Get on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the alternative to the old lists concept. Everyone who is anyone is on LinkedIn, which means your new prospects are there and waiting to be found. Search for people in your target market and then reach out by sending private messages explaining who you are, what your business does and why you’re reaching out. (Yes, we know, it’s kind of like cold calling, but at least you don’t have to pick up the phone and have that awkward conversation.) Also, get in the habit of regularly sharing updates on LinkedIn and other social media channels. This helps drive up your visibility, which will lead to new prospects reaching out to you instead.
Build your email list. Again, with CASL this is harder to do than it used to be, but it’s not impossible. An easy way to grow your email list is to attend trade shows because then you may have legal, temporary access to the attendee list. Not all organizers allow this, but it’s fairly common so it’s worth asking about. Another way is to align your e-marketing with one of your strategic partners by sending out a joint email newsletter. This is effective because it means you are using both of your email lists for one newsletter, giving you legal access to a larger mailing list. (Yes, we just gave away our CASL loophole secret.)
Network. Network. Network. While social media and digital marketing are great tools, face-to-face mingling is the most effective way to make the greatest impact. The short two-way conversations you have with each person you meet is what helps to fast track the trust cycle and turns leads into sales. Visit your local Chamber of Commerce, join a BNI networking group and/or attend industry events. Whatever you choose to do, just get out there and meet people. That’s the surest way to generate new leads.
Your business’s brand speaks to your identity and your raison-d’être. How do you know if and when you should rebrand? We answer that in our next blog post.