Lead generation has been around for a long time. Think cold callers. They pretty much necessitated the invention of caller ID. But that type of shoot then aim approach doesn't work if you're hoping to build the thing every successful business needs: loyalty.
At A Brave New we care about generating leads that are the right fit for your business. Leads that will translate into loyal customers.
This type of lead generation is more important than ever for 4 simple reasons:
- You no longer control the flow of information, or the conversation: In 2020, prospects can easily find all the information they need about a product without even talking with you, and they decide when to talk to you.
- Complex sales involve multiple decision-makers and you need to build trust with all of them: High-value and complex purchases require buy-off from numerous people and these people can be so busy you have to make it through a labyrinth of executive assistants, email, and more. It’s not as easy as jumping on the phone.
- Trust in salespeople is at an all-time low: In recent surveys sales is the least trustworthy profession. This means your salespeople will be more successful if they enter into situations where some trust already exists.
- Your competition is fierce: According to Hubspot’s Dan Tyre, companies used to have an average of 7 competitors. In 2018, the average was more than 40.
All this means that finding the right leads that are an ideal fit for your unique product or service is more important than ever.
Is It Possible To Generate Leads For A High-Value Product Online?
We’ve talked with a lot of people through the years who doubt that their website can become a consistent source of qualified leads because they have a niche high-value product. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
It’s true that you probably won’t close a ton of sales through an online shopping cart if you sell something worth $50,000 or above to other businesses. BUT, if this is the type of business you’re in, we think you’re a perfect fit for effective digital lead gen. There are a few simple reasons why.
High Value = Long Sales Cycle
Any company that has a long sales cycle needs to find ways to build a universe of prospects before they’re ready to buy. Inbound marketing does just that.
Complex Sales = Research
If you’re selling something complex, then your target audience is going to do a lot of research into the right solution before they buy. A content-driven lead gen program should make that research easier for the prospect.
Complex Sales = More Decision Makers
For the most part, no one is going to make a large B2B purchase without involving multiple stakeholders. When executed correctly, you could use a lead gen program to build relationships with all decision makers before your sales team gets involved.
More Trust = Higher Close Rate
A lead gen program that focuses on being ridiculously helpful to prospects will create trust in your company as prospects move through the buyer’s journey. This will result in a greater close rate once the sales team gets involved.
If you make an investment in generating the right leads, you’ll turn your digital channels and your website into the engine for your business.
Is All lead Generation Created Equal?
Ok, so we’ve made the point that it’s possible to generate leads online for your high-value product or service. But, not all lead gen is created equal. In fact, some lead gen approaches do more harm than good. Below we’ve detailed four of the common lead gen approaches that we think aren’t worth your time.
- What It Is: Cold calling is exactly what it sounds like: identifying a list of potential clients and calling or emailing them without any prior connection with the sole goal of pitching business.
- Why It Doesn't Work: Executive assistants and spam filters make it easy to avoid cold callers; not to mention the more important fact that no one wants to be pitched a product they don’t think they need.
- What We Do Instead: If you have callers who you still need to keep busy, choose to invest in an inbound approach where they follow up on leads that you’ve attracted and are already interested in your company and what you are selling.
- What It Is: There are a lot of companies out there today who will promise you meetings with leads who fit your ideal customer profile. They work by sending out connection requests and InMail en masse and then immediately bombarding people with a meeting request.
- Why It Doesn't Work: Making a connection just to ask for business is cold calling through a modern venue. People don’t trust it.
- What We Do Instead: Our preferred approach on LinkedIn is two-fold. First, advertise helpful resources that someone can download if the resource helps them solve the problem they have. Second, identify some key prospects or accounts and then build actual relationships with them over time.
Investing Solely in SEO
- What It Is: There are SEO firms out there today who will tell you that by targeting and monitoring certain keywords in your content, adjusting the structure of your site, fixing your technical SEO, and building backlinks, you’ll turn your site into a revenue machine.
- Why It Doesn't Work: While we agree that many of the tactics above are important (although we’d take issue with just focusing on keywords rather than topics), they aren’t enough to drive growth. It’s only one component of success.
- What We Do Instead: We’d make sure you have your SEO bases covered, but instead of focusing on individual keywords, zero in on the topics you want to be known for and create a content and conversion program built around them.
The Next Cool Idea Your Team Has
- What It Is: Marketers are creative people. We want to break the mold and do cool things. So, it’s inevitable that every so often your team will come up with a shiny, new idea to chase because you aren’t seeing results with your current efforts. Before you know it you’ve totally retooled what you’re doing and in three months you’re wondering what went wrong.
- Why It Doesn't Work: One of the key elements of any successful marketing effort is consistency. It can be boring, and it can take a while for results to build, but if you have a sound strategy and stick to it on the execution side, you’ll see results.
- What We Do Instead: Invest in a holistic inbound marketing approach for at least a year and then determine what to do next based on the results.
How Can Inbound Marketing Help?
The inbound methodology flips traditional lead generation approaches on their head by focusing on attracting, educating, and building trust with prospects before selling them a product or a service.
It’s an approach that fits with how people consume information and make buying decisions today. And it’s the approach that will help your business grow by attracting and qualifying the right type of prospects.
The Inbound Marketing Flywheel
The inbound methodology puts customers at the center of a flywheel. The focus is on being ridiculously helpful to customers, prospects, and leads in the sales process so you can turn the flywheel faster and faster to drive more growth.
In the inbound system, lead gen starts by focusing relentlessly on the service you provide to your existing customers. By providing a great experience, you will both generate referrals and proof that can be shared with prospects during their journey with you, which will in turn result in more sales, which will lead to more customers.
You get the idea.
Being Helpful from Attract To Close
At its core, inbound marketing is about being helpful from the moment someone types a search into Google until long after they become your customer.
This process isn’t about chance. It’s about a disciplined process designed to attract the right customers, equip them with the information they need to succeed, and then earn the opportunity to work with them.
This post was originally published as the introduction to our ebook: Generate The Right Leads. Build Trust. Achieve Breakthrough Growth. Download your copy to learn practical inbound marketing strategies and tactics that will drive growth for your business.