In an ideal world, lead generation results in a sale. To get to that sale, many B2B marketers recommend approaching lead gen as building a better business partnership. What’s the best way to build that partnership? Use the skills you’ve already developed in your personal life: great communication, taking the time to learn, listening and the willingness to support each others success.
1. Communicate Well
Look at your overall marketing communications plan. Does it offer value to those you’re hoping to speak to? If you’re writing all about your product and how it can help potential leads, chances are you’re not offering all of the value you could with these communications. Consider linking to articles you’ve found valuable or sharing interesting insights from influencers in your industry (don’t forget to credit the source).
2. Explore Their History
Before contacting a possible lead, learn as much as you can about the company and their needs. Doing a bit of homework before reaching out to that person will better inform your communications and make a more favorable first impression. Add Twitter to your research tools. Read back through their tweets for links to articles or new products to learn more about their company. Have a look at the people the company follows, as well; there may be other possible leads in their social community. Don’t forget to follow the leads to stay up-to-date on their news and connections. There’s a reason why companies that use Twitter average two times more leads per month than those that do not, according to the Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Report, 2010.
3. Listen Carefully
Thanks to their acquisition of Radian6, Salesforce is better able to help users generate and track leads from social media. Now Salesforce users can listen to conversations about their brands, industries and competitors and react in real time. When a great possible lead pops up in the search, users can now add the lead’s social data into their Salesforce database and reference a specific idea or tweet when contacting them. This added data makes a cold call far less cold.
Don’t forget to listen to your community, too. Listen to their voice and their concerns. Reply to questions the members of your industry ask in communities or forums. Pause before responding to criticism and offer value in your response.
4. Support Their Success
Client just released a new product? Did they just post some excellent earnings? Share their message with your audience, as well. Consider opening a line of communication between your two marketing departments so they can share news. This extra step not only garners goodwill for you, it demonstrates to your potential leads that you’re interested in their success and that you’re willing to publicize their marketing messages as well.
What lead generation techniques have worked for you? Share your successes or challenges in the comments.