85% of the startups fail within one year of starting operation. Setting up a robust global lead generation engine is the first step to your customer acquisition and revenue generation objectives. Here is a checklist to ensure its success.
1. Social Selling With LinkedIn
You need to warm up your remote target audience through social. Also, there’s a good chance most of them are your third level connections on LinkedIn, which means you don’t have access to the best of their profiles and updates.
Enter LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Sales Navigator is a great product from LinkedIn to shortlist your prospects, track their activities and requirements, and to get in touch with them at the right time through reliable means.
You can find more resources
2. Content Marketing
Needless to say, creating and distributing relevant content effectively to your target audience not only builds up a community of relevant followers and helps you immensely with SEO, but also crowds up your sales pipeline (specifically prospects going for free trials).
Remember – Bill Gates said Content is king. And you rule it!
3. Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization is the art of creating great, relevant content, along with the ability to follow a simple set of broad rules pertaining to the code of your website and the various elements it has.
And considering 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine (Interconnected World: Shopping and Finance 2012), and leads generated through SEO have a close rate of 14.6% (Search Engine Journal), it only makes sense to have a good SEO strategy in place, with in-depth research in keywords, and regular analysis into what your competitors are doing as well.
Also, don’t forget your specific long tail keywords while you’re at it. You can give meta keywords a miss, since as per current guidelines, meta keywords carry zero weightage (and end up showcasing your entire SEO strategy to your competition!).
4. Search Engine Marketing – Google Adwords
Google is one of the biggest companies in the internet world. And that is because Google Adwords works. If you are looking to capture users with a crystal-clear buy intent, invest wisely in Adwords.
Here is how you can get started quickly.
Also, contrary to what you might have heard, it always helps to have quality backlinks, although the focus has starkly shifted from quantity to quality.
5. Social media marketing
Do not underestimate the power of social media when it comes to generating leads. With the kind of laser beam targeting most major social media allow, your target audience is within your reach, wherever they might be.
The key here is to be selective about the geographies you wish to target, and to intelligently list down the behaviors and likes of your target audience. It also makes a lot of sense to have a fixed budget for all of these activities, and to complete your organic efforts with paid advertising for maximum results.
6. Custom landing pages
Each campaign of yours should ideally capture the user interest with a different, relevant hook by highlighting a problem they face, and presenting a viable solution with a strong call to action
Also, you need to see if your team can handle the quick creation of different landing pages themselves, or if you need a tool to generate custom landing pages quickly and efficiently. There are several marketing automation software providers that cover quick creation of custom landing pages. You can try Leadsquared here.
7. Strong online reputation of the sales team
Although the video in point 1 about social selling has covered this, I cannot help but stress upon this point enough.
Since your sales force is going to communicate with prospects and close sales virtually, their virtual credibility matters a lot. Users outside your direct influence are not going to buy from you if they don’t find who they are speaking with credible enough.
Encourage your sales team to build a good online reputation. Some of the ways to go about it is to build and maintain a great LinkedIn profile, put up a professional looking pic, ask your existing clients for testimonials, mention achievements, awards, even social causes you support.
Although LinkedIn covers most of this, it would also help to be active on Twitter, and have profiles on platforms like Crunchbase, Zoominfo etc. It has also been popularly found that answering questions credibly on platforms like Quora helps your professional standing significantly.
Everything needs to be tracked and measured. Website traffic can be easily tracked with Google Analytics. Further insights can be gained through KISSmetrics or similar tools. Social media can be tracked through their respective advertising analytics, or through Hootsuite or Moz. SEO analytics can be tracked and measured through Moz or Keyword Spy, which also measures competitor SEO for you as well.
Be clear about your requirements (current and short-to-medium term), compare all features, ensure easy scalability, and go for a ton of free trials. It is also not uncommon for your needs (and in turn, your tools of choice) to change with time. The idea is not to generate a load of usage data, but to generate actionable insights based on which you can improve consistently.
I hope you were able to check most or all of the items off this list. If I missed out on anything, or if you have anything to add, please mention it in your comments.
Also, if you liked what you read, please share it in your social networks.
Edit – July 14, 2015
Of all the wonderful suggestions I had on the social media, I had to mention this most basic and effective lead generation mechanism:
9. Cold Calling
Cold calling can be one of the most effective lead generation mechanism for anyone. For this you need a few basics in place like, zeroing in and implementing the right infrastructure in terms of calling, creating and nurturing databases (Refer to point 1), CRM and sales automation, to creating the right environment for your inside sales team etc.
Here is Leonardo DiCaprio giving a top level description of how it all goes down.
Well maybe not quite like that, but at the core of things, you should Always Be Closing, and should create, promote and invest in practices and tools that get you there. This concludes my attempt at listing down such tools and practices. I am always open for suggestions and will make more edits to this piece if required.
So keep the suggestions coming!