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Confronting Key Challenges in Generating B2B Leads for IT Products

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Confronting Key Challenges in Generating B2B Leads for IT Products

The IT services and software industry is continuing to prosper. According to Gartner, the industry grew 4.8 percent between 2013, with global revenue pegged at $407.3 billion. This comes as small and medium enterprises have entered the market with independently developed B2B solutions. Aside from that, steady growth within the sector is facing rising demands for software tailored for games development and office management. In this tide of positivity, IT businesses are beginning to put focus on marketing activities, particularly B2B lead generation.

Generating B2B leads is indeed a priority for software companies at this point. Intensified competition among important industry players has each business vying to get a huge share of the software market. As one step in getting ahead of rivals, efficient strategies are needed to secure a place within the sentiments of decision makers.

Many IT businesses however tend to forget that B2B lead generation is a complex process. First of all, you are spending money to advertise and promote your products. You are also compelled to look for marketing solutions that can support your goals. Without such facilities, you will fail to increase your lead volume, entailing a huge waste of investments.

Apparently, proficiency is needed when generating IT leads. Numerous factors need to be taken into account, such as:

Website traffic. With competition within the industry getting tighter, it is important to calculate your gains based on site traffic. Analytics tools can track your campaign’s progress within a certain time frame, identify strong audience touch points, and gain data needed for strategy adjustments.

Lead scoring. IT leads that enter your pipeline need to be segregated and scored according to levels of interest and engagement. For this, efficient lead management infrastructures are a necessity to gauge prospect preferences and identify personalities that express a willingness to purchase your solutions.

Lead nurturing. As prospects journey through the sales funnel, marketers need to focus on nurturing their interests to buy at a time when they are not yet ready. Email and social media campaigns are vital in this respect as they provide prospects with a constant flow of information.

These activities comprise the most prominent challenges IT and software services companies face with regards their lead generation. Fortunately, marketing operations can be streamlined by B2B outsourcing firms that know the industry inside and out and have the needed experience to boot.

 

The Big Three of Online Lead Conversion

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The Big Three of Online Lead Conversion

Conversion is the ultimate goal of B2B lead generation through the use of content. Whether you’re using websites, blogs, landing pages, social media profiles or email, success can only be measured by the number of prospects who are eventually converted into paying customers.

Unlike telemarketing or appointment setting campaigns, online marketing takes more time and strategy in order to produce results. Also, it’s much more complex on account of several factors that contribute to a campaign’s success or failure.

There are certainly a lot of different ways to achieve that, but when talking specifically of content as a tool for conversion, everything boils down to 3 aspects:

Grabbing attention through headlines and images

Let’s face it: people online don’t go straight into reading the text of an article. The first line of offense is always the headline and the accompanying image.

When people browse through hundreds of content online, the only ‘filtering’ tool they have is that very brief moment when they read the headline and see a picture that mostly describes it. And in that brief moment, your content must be able to capture their attention, harness it, and back it up by substantial content. Otherwise, they move on to the next, and you lose a potential client.

Being specific. Being very, very specific

A lot of marketers employ a hailstorm of gimmicks to lure readers into reading their content and clicking their call-to-action buttons. That’s great and all, but at the end of the day, you have to tell people what they’re going to get, and you have to deliver spot on.

The worst thing you could do is to drag them into a lengthy series of suspense and diversions only to end up disappointing them with the result. The only way you get them to commit (and be happy about it) is to lay everything on the table and never hide anything.

The power of incentives

Of course, showing them the door isn’t enough. You have to juice it up by dishing out incentives, but these ‘freebies’ have to be relevant to their end goal. To offer them something they don’t or won’t really need would come off as patronizing, and prospects don’t appreciate that. It makes them think that you’re throwing in anything just for the sake of it.

Instead. offer something that has real value, and make sure that you live up to the promise.

B2B Lead Engagement: How to get more Website Response

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B2B Lead Engagement  How to get more Website Response

Most of the time, when B2B leads are in the market for purchasing products or acquiring services for their company, they would search for it on Google and end up visiting several websites in the process.

If those prospects end up on your website, how confident are you that you have enough content, visual presentation, strategic lead capturing elements and site speed to keep them from moving on to the next?

Your website’s overall impact should encourage lead engagement so visitors won’t end up in the trash bin. But how exactly does one make a business website more engaging?

According to Howard Yeh, co-founder of ContactUs.com, a software-as-a-service platform providing advanced contact forms, live chat, lead capture and lead management solutions for businesses, you need to “get a potential customer excited about starting a sales dialogue with you”, and then “translate that excitement into action”.

Here are some of his tips on how to optimize your website for lead engagement:

1. Effective Lead Capturing Requires a Proactive Mindset

Take the first step in translating customer interest on your website into action. Don’t force your visitors to initiate contact.  If you were operating a retail store, you’d surely be training your sales staff to make the first engagement with the shoppers walking in the door.  On your website this mindset still applies.

2. More than Your “Contact Us” Page

Some websites don’t have effective paths for dialogue. By default, it’s often the “Contact Us” page. If you have generic action prompts, you’ll receive generic inquiries.  And more importantly, you may miss out on customer prospects who would have engaged with you if there were an easier way to do so. You might want to consider adding more navigation links to your “Contact Us” page.

3. Give Visitors a Reason to Contact You

If the only inbound leads you are getting from your website are from the “Contact Us” page, you might want to consider offering more contact paths.  Examples of lead-generation call-to-actions include: “Download a white paper or eBook,” “Schedule a sales demo,” “Join a webinar,” and “Get a quote”.

4. Don’t Rely on Form Submissions Only. Try Live Chat.

Adding live chat on website can be very effective in generating incremental leads. According to a LivePerson survey, 21% of buyers cited live chat on a website as a reason for choosing one website over another.

5. Capture, Segment and Prioritize

At a minimum, make sure your lead capture form is capturing enough information to qualify the interest and estimate the size of the opportunity. Your sales team will be more efficient if they have the necessary data fields to segment and prioritize the leads coming in from your site.

6. Respond Promptly

Once customer interest has been sparked and they’ve given you permission to contact them, it’s up to you to respond and satisfy the initial itch.  If you don’t, then a competitor eventually will.

7. Track What’s Working, and Do More of It

It’s important to have your leads provide some level of attribution back to marketing channels, thus closing the loop between marketing and sales. Each lead submission has the potential to append rich meta-data that gets transmitted along with lead and contact information.

Source:  7 Ways to Maximize Your Website for Lead Engagement

Why Grades Do Not Matter In Marketing And Business

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One of the qualities of a successful marketing campaign pretty much depends on the ability of the marketer to do the work required. And here is the fun part, how do you choose your marketers, then? For companies hiring new ones, what qualifications are you looking for in a lead generation representative? Will an interview bring out the truth, or would their grades be your indicator of their capacity? Will whatever evaluation method you use during the hiring process tell you who are the most qualified in generating sales leads?

Actually, if the interview with Laszlo Bock, Google VP for people operations, was any indication, then grades, interviews, tests and what-not’s actually do not contribute anything. And that is coming from a company that has collected a ton of data about hiring processes and employee performance. All their research reveals that there is no correlation between school grades and work performance at all. The only thing they learned is that some people are hardwired to succeed in school while there are others that are more attuned to corporate and appointment setting work, not school.

One thing for sure: the way you do your work after a few years will greatly differ with your work back in school. Being able to adapt to these changes will be the real measure of your employees’ ability to generate B2B leads.

Of course, there is also the communication medium to be considered. Will it be social media, email, or telemarketing? These will influence the kind of people assigned to the task.

The Three People You Need In Sales Leads Marketing

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As a business owner, you certainly want make a presence in all aspects of your operations. You have the energy and the determination to make your marketing and lead generation processes succeed. Still, there will come the time that you lose steam, feel sluggish, or simply run out of ideas to propel your firm forward. When this happens, it can pose as a serious stumbling block in the continued success of your company in generating qualified sales leads. But it does not have to be a serious handicap. If you have done your homework right, then you would know that your business will need at least three people to keep things going even when you are no longer around. And these are:

  1. The visionary – this is a person who can visualize the direction of the company 5-10 years from now. Well, they may not be able to foresee what to do the next day, but you do need someone with long-term plans.
  2. The strategist – a visionary sees where your business can go, but it takes a strategist to plan that path out. This is also the person responsible in communicating the vision to those below the business ladder.
  3. The tactician – basically, this person stands in the frontlines, putting the strategist’s plans into effect. If the plan does not pan out right, then it is the tactician’s job to make the necessary deviations to reach the desired goal. They can use various marketing tools like social media or even telemarketing, ensuring the success of their campaign.

The success of your business and its appointment setting processes depends largely on these three people. If make the right hires, then generating B2B leads will not be that hard anymore. Of course, it helps if you can alternate between yourself and them, just to make sure everything is on the right track.

Why Should Your Lead Generation Campaign Invest In LinkedIn?

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Why Should Your Lead Generation Campaign Invest In LinkedIn

As a marketer, you would want to use all tools available in getting in touch with business prospects. After all, this is an activity that requires a multi-touch approach in tapping your target market. Think of it as a matter of necessity. Business lead generation is not like the old days, where you can easily reach potential B2B leads through the phone or a simple visit to their shop when you have the time. These days, you have to work through different channels to get in touch with them. It could either be through telemarketing, email, social media, among other things. So, where does LinkedIn enter the picture?

LinkedIn is, for a lack of a better phrase, a social network geared towards professionals. This is a place where people of similar interests (around the globe) to connect, discuss their professions, and identify better opportunities for business. They can also create groups or publish articles that can be read by various people from any part of the world. These are just some of the benefits that professionals get when they sign up in LinkedIn. And this is also the reason why marketers conducting appointment setting campaigns are so interested in using this network. It is a virtual treasure trove of information that can help you find more business prospects.

Still, you might wonder if using LinkedIn as another business network would be worth your time and effort. That is a warranted question, since this is a relatively new form of social media network. It is a valid observation, but the achievements that LinkedIn has achieved in connecting professionals with each other. It is also a reliable source of information for many marketers who are planning their next campaign in generating and nurturing of potential sales leads. The professional data of professionals (most who are executives or sales managers in various firms) can be used by marketers in their promotions.

Let us look at the facts:

77 percent of business researchers use LinkedIn for their work. 83 percent of online marketers tap the network. As for reliability, 87 percent of LinkedIn users trust the information stored there for products and services they are interested in. And these are just a few of the reasons why LinkedIn has a lot of market power. In terms of effectiveness, this could be the next best source of market information, after Facebook. It is not that hard to obtain the information you need. If you already have an account, you only need to log-in, search for a professional group of your interest, and view the profiles of those found there. It is that easy.

The only challenge here, in this regard, would be the people tasked in handling your company’s LinkedIn profile. We all know how bad things can go when you put ill-experienced or incompetent people on the helm of our online efforts. The last thing you would want your telemarketing team to answer during a lead generation call is how much of a liar our online promoter is. And LinkedIn is the one place that you cannot afford to make a mistake. It has your professional presence there. Make it count.

Improve Your Appointment Setting Call Handling

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In any appointment setting campaign, calling B2B leads prospects on the phone is a normal activity. After all, identifying business leads and nurturing them for future conversion is not something you can do simply online. Either you talk directly to your prospects or, if not possible, use direct communication tools for it, like telemarketing, as an example. But since we are talking about calling prospects, we need to be good in handling it. So, how will you go about it, then?

First, you should plan your campaign carefully. All lead generation campaigns that fail lack the proper planning in their processes. If you want to be effective in attracting the attention of prospects, you need to prioritize learning what makes them tick. And that requires lots of planning.

Second, build rapport. Banter with them, if you know them already. If not, show them the necessary courtesy and go straight to the point.

Third, inform them of your call. Either by email or another business call, you need to tell them beforehand why you are calling in the first place.

Fourth, ask good questions. You need to know what exactly your prospects are looking for in the first place. Asking them good questions will give you clues about what you can actually offer them.

Lastly, do not waste their time. Time is precious, and you as a marketer should understand that. It is the same thing with your prospects. As a rule, the less time you need to spend in order to tell them your purpose, the better.

ese are just some tips that you can follow in order to be more effective in handling calls for sales leads. Will there be anything else you can add?

 

Simplicity Is Beauty For Lead Generation

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Simplicity Is Beauty For Lead Generation

It is said that a true test for a chef is to make a simple dish taste exquisite. That is also the same principle in marketing as well. How can you simplify the lead generation process without sacrificing quality and productivity, indeed, actually end up improving, of generating sales leads? Turning a complicated concept into a simple, impactful, and meaningful message is nothing less than a complex exercise. How you do that would be the true test of your ability as a marketing and appointment setting specialist.

So, how do you make that happen?

First of all, you need all the data that you can get. Be it figures, graphs, reports, etc. all of these can serve as information source. Once you have everything you need, now is the time for you to take them apart, piece by piece, looking for that common detail that they all share, that one detail that pretty much summarizes what your company’s product, purpose, and market is all about. Sure, this can be real work, and you might not be able to manage it, so you might want to leave the analysis to a business database agency.

Next is the crafting of the message. Remember, your message must tell a story, one that appeals to the emotions. Emotions are what influence a customer to buy from you or not. Next is the communication medium to use. It must be one that can have the maximum impact on your audience at the shortest time. Direct marketing tools like email and telemarketing might be good places to start. No matter what you use, if it can help bring you a lot of B2B leads, then stick to it.

Lastly, always be human. Marketing lead generation is a social activity. You are dealing with real people with their own idiosyncrasies and preferences. You have to adjust your marketing efforts to meet the unique needs of your audience.

First Call Resolution In A Telemarketing Campaign

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First Call Resolution In A Telemarketing Campaign

First-call resolution (FCR) is the immortal mantra of inbound marketing campaigns. If you cannot satisfy a customer’s questions on the first call, then your marketing campaign is not doing enough. While this is clearly applicable in the inbound marketing business, will it also apply to outbound lead generation processes? The answer is actually a ‘yes’. You can employ FCR strategies when looking for qualified sales leads.

The premise is actually simple: we want to resolve everything in just one call. This will save everyone the time, money, and effort involved in entertaining each call. The less repeat calls you make on a single person, the more people that can be contacted in a single day. In terms of marketing and appointment setting, qualifying leads with a single call can mean a big thing. But for this set-up to work in a lead generation campaign, you need to have initiative.

It is not bad to follow your sales script, especially if it comes from your client. In fact, you should follow it to the letter. But if you want to do better, then you have to take some initiatives and decide on your own if you should add more qualifying questions during the call. This will require some experience for you to do it right (not to mention a few experimentation), but in the end, this might be just what you need to generate more B2B leads. Such a judgment call may not be that bad to make, you just have to try

 

Generate More B2B Leads, The Game Of Thrones-style

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Generate More B2B Leads, The Game Of Thrones-style

HBO’s epic TV series The Game of Thrones is one mean package. Now in its third season, the series chronicles the fight between seven noble families to gain control of the land of Westeros. Considering the huge number of viewers, HBO sure has a real money-maker in their hands. But what made the show so successful? What can we, as marketers, learn from it? Can we apply it in our own lead generation campaigns? We could glean important lessons on how to best generate B2B leads, like the ones I have pointed out below;

 

  1. Start with a clear goal – the show’s producers had one aim in mind: grow the franchise by appealing to the current fans, and then expand it to other viewers through increased interaction. Sounds a bit straightforward, right? But it sure did succeed, considering the number of viewers.
  2. Proceed with the right strategy – The Game of Thrones did it with social media, and it worked well with them. In your case, you have to choose the tool that will maximize impact on the audience. If telemarketing gets you the business, then stick with it.
  3. Partner with different platforms – once you have your aim and selected a strategy, you need to work on the platforms in which you wish to talk to customers. For example, in the case of telemarketing, will it be outbound or inbound; surveys or promotions, and the like?
  4. Promote with right timing – the earlier you spread the word, the greater the attention it garners from the audience. If you have to conduct an appointment setting campaign, do it now, and you will increase your chances of bagging potential sales leads.
  5. Adapt with the insights you gain – from the fan art and inputs, HBO was able to formulate effective marketing tactics, further increasing the fan base. You can do that as well, by studying how the market reacts to your marketing strategies.

 

Interesting lessons, right? What other lead generation lessons from The Game of Thrones can you add?

How To Ensure Your Lead Generation Strategy Succeeds

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How To Ensure Your Lead Generation Strategy Succeeds

Employing lead generation strategies are only as good as your execution. No matter how good your sales leads plans are, nothing will happen if you cannot manage it properly. As a business owner or manager, you have to have a plan of action on this. It need not be that elaborate. To tell you the truth, you only need to familiarize yourself with only four basic steps:

 

  1. Develop a framework of execution – this is basically your guidelines on what to do and what to expect in your appointment setting process. There are a lot of theoretical models thought up by economists and marketers that can help you define your critical values and succeed in planning.
  2. Decide on the proper metrics – no B2B leads generation campaign is complete without some metrics put in place. Remember, marketing has expenditures, and your expenses need to be validated by the success of your campaign. You need some way to measure that, right?
  3. Diligently follow the plan – you can deviate a bit from your plan, but you need to stay focused on the general direction of your plans. Deviating too far from your goals will only add confusion.
  4. Determine your success record – and it has to be regularly done. Be it social media marketing or telemarketing, you need to measure the number of sales leads you generate against the cost and time incurred in your campaign. This will tell you whether you have succeeded or not.

 

Try following these basic steps and your lead generation campaign will be all right.

Engaging B2B Leads – Lady Gaga Style

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Engaging B2B Leads – Lady Gaga Style

Love her or hate her, Lady Gaga is still a force to be reckoned with. And the way she has captured the minds and hearts of people around the world is incredible. How she did that is a real achievement, the type that many marketing and lead generation companies to learn a lesson from. Really, what is the secret to this success? How can that translate to more sales leads for your business? In Lady Gaga’s case, she did that by appealing to one customer trait: identity.

To get inside the hearts and minds of your audience, you need to create a personal identity that they themselves will embrace. Lady Gaga does that by calling her fans her ‘little monsters’. Her message here is that, no matter what your flaws are, she will accept them all. That is the reason a lot of people flock to her. In your case, if you can create an effective identity, your appointment setting or telemarketing efforts will be much easier.

Receptive B2B leads will flock to your banner – as long as you hoist the right one.

To do that, you need to carefully examine what your business is. Maybe take a look back into the reason you came into business in the first place. Look at your strengths, the type of people you work with, as well as the people who buy your products or services.

Once you have considered all these, it will be easy for you to come up with a winning business identity. Just like Lady Gaga.