B2B lead generation: 10 Beginner Techniques

This is the start of the most complete list of B2B lead generation techniques on the Web.

In a series of 3 articles, we will be introducing beginner, intermediate and advanced b2b lead generation techniques.

Here, you will find 10 beginner strategies, tips and tactics.

So if you’re looking to build a lead generating machine, you’ll really enjoy this list.

Each item highlights the size of the company that usually engages in such techniques and to whom they sell.

1.

Cold emailing

Fits: Microbusiness, SME, Enterprise.

Selling to: SME, Enterprise.

It’s no secret that cold emailing and calling is the most effective B2B lead generation tactic across any types of business.


Source: Statista US B2B marketers July 2017 survey

Why is that do you ask?

Because, with a little bit of automation, even just one person can send out thousands of emails and generate a decent amount of leads.

All this at a low price per lead (from $0.10 for contact data to $1-5 for a warm lead).

So how and where do you start?

1.Generate the initial email list emails of target customers – there are three primary ways to generate the initial email list:

  1. Use a virtual assistant to manually create the list.
  2. Buy static B2B contact data lists from data providers.
  3. Use the most advanced contact data that also provides you indications of intent to buy.

2. Write the email templates – there are great resources on the web on how to write cold-call emails.

What we found that worked best (after sending thousands of cold emails): start with something, test different versions, track performance and continuously improve from there.

No blog can tell you exactly what is the perfect email to entice your customers.

Only you can figure it out by testing.

3. Find an email automation software – whether you intend to send a few emails a day or thousands, we recommend using an email automation software.

Why?

Because inevitably, you will forget to follow-up on the leads that did not respond to your first and second emails and that’s just a waste.

An email automation software will help you send out hundreds of personalized emails easily and automatically send out follow-up emails.

We tested a LOT of email automation software and our favorite up to now is Mailshake. We like it because it sends the emails from the user’s email address (removing the chances emails will go to spam), it recognizes bounced emails and removes the leads, it helps clean up email lists and it’s not very expensive.

4. Test the campaign – before you send out many emails, test the campaign on emails of friends and family.

Might sound trivial but even when professional marketers set-up campaigns a lot can go wrong.

5. Decide on email timing – the timing of the emails matters and changes per buyer.

For example, If your buyer has a senior position, chances are they are in meetings all day long. So it is best to send before or after business hours.

How to know what is the best time?

If you already have customers, you can ask them.

If you are just starting out, experiment by choosing a different time for different campaigns and see what works best in your industry.

2.

Cold calling / Telephone prospecting

Fits: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

Selling to: Micro-business, SME.

More people intensive vs. cold emailing but also very effective.

When to use this method?

When your Life Time Value of a customer justifies the cost of sale.

Here are the steps to take:

1.Generate the initial phone number list emails of target customers – same approach as described above for cold emailing but with phone numbers.

2. Write the call script / flow – whether you call yourself or it is a team of SDRs (Sales Development Representative) who does the actual calling, a script is a must.

Why?

It will help you think about the best way to communicate straight away why the person on the other side should not hang up the phone.

It will also help you think about how to deal with pushback before you even pitched your great service.

A good script can increase the probability the other side will listen to you by more than 30%.

3. Assess automation [for large companies] – if you run a large enough operation of SDRs, you should assess using an automated dialer.

The dialer calls the phone number lists and when it manages to connect, it patches the call through to an available SDR.

This reduces representative downtime.

4. Decide on call timing – timing matters more in calling vs. emailing.

Why? A person might glance at emails while doing something else. They won’t pick up the phone.

Here, a famous study by MIT found that the best time to call is between 4-6pm and the worse time is 12-1pm.

In terms of days of the week, Wednesday and Thursday performed best.

Point of cation – this study was done across many industries and so the exact opposite might be relevant for your clients.

We recommend starting with these times and then testing and improving to find the best time for your specific industry and buyer.

3.

Website articles

Fits: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

Selling to: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

Think of blogging and writing website articles as an investment in the future.

If you take the time to write a quality article and publicize it well, it has the potential to create a long-term steady stream of leads.

Articles will also act as a steady base for a sustainable stream of leads which you can supplement with other business development activities listed in this list.

Why do we keep stressing the point of quality?

Google’s number one aim is to help users find answers to their searches. And fast.

So if your article is of low quality, and does not really help the reader, the reader will leave it quickly. Google will understand this and downgrade your article.

This can result in your article being buried somewhere in the 100+ results – e.g. no traffic.

So how do you write great content?

Here are a few resources we personally use:

Moz

Backlinko – SEO copywriting

4.

Paid search

Fits: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

Selling to: Micro-business, SME.

B2B paid search can be difficult to get right.

Many B2B companies target niche markets with few profitable keywords.

As a result, B2B companies often make the mistake of targeting broad keywords with a lot of traffic.

Why mistake?

Because it is irrelevant traffic.

The key to mastering paid search is experimenting.

Even the best of experts don’t know in advance which ads and which keywords will yield the best results.

Before you start experimenting, we recommend that you understand the Lifetime Value (LTV) and Cost To Serve of a customer for you.

This will help you understand two things:

  1. How much money it is economical for you to spend while you are testing and optimizing your ad campaigns
  2. What is the maximum amount you should spend per ad

For example, Let’s assume you make $10,000 per year from a customer, it costs you $1,000 to serve and on average, customers stay with you for 4 years.

So, bringing in a customer is worth for you ($10,000-$1,000)*4=$36,000.

That means that even if you go crazy and spend $10,000 experimenting with different ad campaigns to find the right keywords, and only get 1 customer, you are still profitable in the long run.

5.

Attend trade shows and conferences

Fits: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

Selling to: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

We are not talking about conferences where you are the target audience.

We are talking about conferences and tradeshows aimed at your target customer where you can network.

This method is very time consuming but has one of the highest conversion rates out of all this list.

6.

Meetups

Fits: Micro-business, SME.

Selling to: Micro-business, SME. Less applicable when selling to traditional industries

Local meetups are an excellent place to meet with potential clients.

It is less effective vs. emailing simply because of the scale of how many meetups you can attend and the number of people you can meet.

Two types of meetups you can attend:

  • Meetups dedicated to the industry of your buyer (for example, Digital Publishers NYC)
  • Meetups dedicated to the position of the buyer (for example, HR Professionals NYC)
7.

Linkedin

Fits: Micro-business, SME.

Selling to: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

This one is an obvious one.

But some people don’t realize the wealth and breadth of what you can actually achieve on Linkedin.

  • Connections – Connect with relevant decision-makers in your target customers to increase network. Once you are connected, you can use LI to cold call them.
  • Groups – Join relevant professional groups and frequently contribute.
  • Articles – Share your blog articles through posts and messages to magnify reach.
  • Comments – Provide helpful comments on questions posts.
  • Posts – Post your open positions.
  • Recommendations – Write a recommendation for your best past clients.

8.

Twitter

Fits: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

Selling to: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

Twitter is a great channel for generating general awareness of your business.

You might not convert leads directly from Twitter but a good Twitter account with thousands of followers helps increase employer’s trust in your business.

If you are just getting started with Twitter, here are actionable steps you can take to increase the number of your followers:

  1. People you know – ask everyone you know and everyone at the company to follow the company account
  2. Share your content – If you have great content, share it! People will like it and then their followers will see the content and follow you as well.
  3. Tweets about competitors – Look for tweets about your competitors. Perhaps someone is looking considering purchasing their services and is looking for a recommendation? It can be a great indication for you to sweep in and offer your services.
  4. Tweets about your industry – Look for tweets that use words relevant to your industry. Follow those users. They are likely to follow you back and take interest in what you are tweeting about.
  5. Asking for recommendations – Look for tweets asking for recommendations relating to your industry. Respond and be helpful and you can gain valuable followers.
  6. Participate in Twitter chats – We personally love Twitter chats. The good ones can be a goldmine for followers. If you respond well, you gain become an industry expert and gain valuable followers. Use Twubs to find relevant chats for you.
  7. Follow potential customers – If they follow you back – great – they will be exposed to your marketing machine free of charge. If not, you can use the information of what they are tweeting about to tailor your sales approach.
  8. Interact with industry opinion leaders – Follow them, retweet them and answer their questions. They are followed by many and you can gain great exposure this way.
  9. Use hashtags – people are searching Twitter for specific topics. If you use hashtags correctly, they can find you and your account.  We recommend using https://hashtagify.me/ to check you are using the correct #.
  10. Host a Twitter chat – If you have a large enough account, you can host your own Twitter chat. This will help your company solidify its reputation as an industry expert.
9.

Facebook

Fits: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

Selling to: Micro-business, SME.

Many B2B businesses wrongly avoid Facebook because they perceive Facebook as targeting consumers.

But even if you are selling to businesses, ultimately you sell to people.

And Facebook is the largest social network.

To succeed on Facebook, you need to have an iterative process of trying things, learning and improving on what works.

It takes time to successfully “crack” Facebook but once you do, it can be a great leads source.

Here are a few tips we personally saw that work:

  • Great content – we know we keep on repeating ourselves but if you have great content, your ads simply will work better.
  • Visuals – amazing visuals are more important here vs. Linkedin and Twitter. Simply because of the share of screen they capture when people browse Facebook on their mobile
  • Videos – you have 3 seconds to capture someone’s attention when they scroll through their feed. Video is a great way to do so because movement captures the eye.
10.

Customer referral program

Fits: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

Selling to: Micro-business, SME, Enterprise.

Your highest converting leads will probably come from customer referrals.

These leads already decided that they want to buy your service, did their research, got a referral and now they are coming to you.

So, how do you build a successful customer referral program?

  • Make it worth their while – you want to incentivize your customers to refer customers to you. Obviously, if your service is not good, it’s unlikely they will refer even with incentives. But if they are genuinely happy with your service, incentives are a great way to be top of mind. We are big fans of giving more of your product as an incentive and not monetary incentives but it really depends on the buyer in your industry.
  • Make it easy – make it very easy for someone to refer leads to you. We recommend building a dedicated landing page for the customer referral program where your customers can enter the leads.
  • Prioritize – when someone refers a customer to you, they want to be sure you will treat this customer well and with priority. The refer reputation is on the line. In your sales funnel, build a prioritization mechanism for customer referral leads.

Final thoughts

If you are just starting out building your B2B lead generation machine, focus on 1 to 3 of the techniques highlighted in this article.

Master them and then move to try out additional ones.

Don’t attempt ‘to do all of them simultaneously even if you have a lot of money and resources.

If you have any follow-up questions, we are here to help.

Feel free to contact us on [email protected]

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