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10 Golden Rules of B2B Lead Generation

B2B lead generationLead generation is probably the most dreaded (and avoided) part of any B2B sales professional’s role, regardless of experience and seniority. However, lead generation has come a long way from the days of cold calling - the digital world provides a whole host of alternative methods to reach out to potential customers, all of which are much more targeted and simpler than cold calling, and increase the likelihood of getting that first stage meeting.

Sales professionals have therefore had to adapt their techniques to get results. Follow these 10 simple golden nuggets to maximise the number and quality of meetings you generate.

1. Create a priority list of target companies

It may seem obvious, but the first step to success is creating a list of potential clients. The ideal starting point is developing a ‘universe of companies’ within the particular sector(s) you want to target. This can be time-consuming - an alternative is outsourcing to market research firms or marketing consultants. Once you have your list, prioritise it to help focus your time - ultimately it comes down to factors such as company size and opportunity; likelihood of winning; brand; and synergies with your experience and services.

2. Find the decisionmaker

So now you know which companies are a priority, the next step is finding the decision maker. Head to LinkedIn – the platform’s 467 Million+ users and advanced search features are a godsend. It’s now easier than ever just to click on a company’s LinkedIn page and find the best contacts.

3. Build or buy data

If you’re not lucky enough to have your own expansive and up-to-date database, a fast and effective approach is to buy relevant contact data, then enrich this with your own information. Where off-the-shelf lists are not available, another option is to build a database - either on your own or by outsourcing to a lead generation company.

4. Go digital

A rule of thumb with successful lead generation is ‘put yourself in the client’s shoes’. As all potential clients are human, they will most likely want to be contacted in the least intrusive but most informative way possible. Sending an email or (LinkedIn) InMail has now become best practice, however these alone aren’t enough. Enter golden rule number 5 - personalisation.

5. Personalise

Showing a potential client that you’ve invested time researching their company, and clearly outlining what you do and the specific benefits to the client, goes a million miles! Further, because sales and marketing via email has soared, it now means inboxes get inundated with emails, most of which are sent en masse. Therefore the trick to making yours get the reply is personalisation and ultimately showing you’re a real person interested in doing business with them.

6. Do something different!

You don’t get many goes at contacting someone, therefore first impressions count. Doing something creative in your introduction email/InMail is another way to stand out. It can be something as simple as attaching a relevant white paper, or as fancy as sending a dynamic personalised video message from your CEO. Showing commitment counts!

7. Engage first, sell second 

The ultimate aim of lead generation is to get a meeting, however pitching in your best personalised email and simply asking for a meeting in the first breath doesn’t always work best. Avoid pressuring people, and engage first, sell second.  

8. Follow up

If you don’t get a reply, follow up. Try forwarding the original email with a short one-liner. This can increase responses by up to 50%. It’s also not a bad time to try phoning, which when following up a warm email doesn’t have the same cold feel.

9. Nurture

If everything you’ve tried doesn’t get a result, it’s likely that the company isn’t at the right stage of the sales cycle. Nurturing these contacts is the next best step. Ensure they receive your newsletter and relevant thought leadership material, and invite them to events where they will have the opportunity to interact with your happy clients. This is where a good email marketing engine is useful. These engines can provide you with valuable insight into where a contact is in the sales cycle at any given time.

10. The perfect match suppliers

There are a number of excellent B2B lead generation suppliers in the market that will take the right approach for your business. AboutMatch has a database of pre-screened suppliers ready to go for any companies looking for support in any of the 10 steps outlined above. Happy hunting!

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