You need to increase B2b sales, but lead-generation for B2B sales can be challenging. Yet it does not have to be! As long as you realize you are in a different arena than your B2C peers. They use a shotgun – you need to use a rifle.
During the last several months our clients have asked us to analyze their lead-generation processes and to recommend changes. Their concern was triggered by the COVID-19 crisis. Almost all of our clients were focused on using Social Media or PPC for lead-generation, despite selling B2B.
For B2B lead generation, Social Media is inefficient. The higher your product’s value the more inefficient Social Media or Pay-per-Click advertising becomes. If your primary customers need the CEO or Board of Directors to sign off to purchase your product, you had better have some in-person contact with them.
This does not mean that Social Media or PPC is not needed at all. It does mean that less than 20% of your marketing budget should be allocated to that channel. Social Media platforms can be used for harvesting contact information that can be turned into leads.
Our view on B2B lead generation is that you start at the beginning. You go down the trail of a potential customer’s existence and start your sales funnel there. For example, if your looking for customers that service airplanes, your lead generation starts with FAA licensing records . Identifying each potential company that can use your product is critical. They become your TAM and the cornerstone for determining your market size.
How to find your leads
You start by defining what type of companies are potential customers. You then look for the point of touch where the company has to enter the public record space. That is your base information. Selling to a specific industry implies that potential customers have licensing or registration requirements in common.
You focus on that commonality and go digging. For example, one company that manufacturers golf training products discovered that a simulator manufacturer certifies golf pros on their simulation equipment. They listed the certified pros on their website! You now have an instant list of leads, if you are targeting pro-shops.
How to define your leads
Your list of target companies is the cornerstone for building a file on each individual company. The next step is to build a list of useful contacts in each company. This master list of contacts needs to be nourished continuously, with whatever additional details you can discover for each contact, including information on LinkedIn or any industry organizations they are members of. Once you have the beginnings of a dossier, start the process of reaching out to them.
Contacting your leads
This is where the fun begins and where your people skills come into play. There are many options for cold-contacting a prospect. Some examples are:
- LinkedIn – The single biggest resource. However, follow the etiquette and do not spam anybody.
- Cold Email – Focus on your subject line. This will increase your opening probability.
- Phone calls – you will have to get by the gatekeeper, but if you do, your chances increase.
- Get an appointment – work within your targets structure and get an appointment to make an introduction. In other words, talk to the gatekeeper!
- Industry Association – join and become active.
- Snail Mail – actually a highly effective way to get an appointment.
- Networking – use your present contacts to get an introduction.
- In person cold call – only works in some industries such as hospitality. Requires a thick skin.
- Trade Shows – with the end of COVID-19, they are active again. For B2B they are one of the best ways to meet new leads in person.
Get your market right! In B2B you do not play the game of large numbers. Instead, make sure you know your TAM and then have a laser focus on SAM.
Because of the high unit value of each sale your market is smaller. Your competition is more fierce. Your sales cycle is longer. Therefore, you have to be more creative in getting to the most crucial point, namely your opportunity to show your product’s value to the decision maker.
Know your industry and the people in it. Do your homework and focus your expenditure. Let the Internet play a supporting role and get to know your customer in person.