Linked Strategies Blog
 

Search Lead Generation

As we highlighted in a previous blog (Click to Read) your lead generation can be highly beneficial for your business whether it is saving you money, time and resources – but only when it’s done correctly.

Building your business with help from outside professionals can offer increased efficiencies and economies of scale.

We have already explained what lead generation is and detailed why it’s best for companies to outsource their lead generation tasks in other blogs, so in this blog we will guide you how to go about doing it correctly.

When outsourcing your online lead generation, you are essentially relying on someone else to help your company find new customers.

But before you can know how to outsource your online lead generation tasks you must understand the different types of lead generation.

While online marketing will continue to evolve, here are some proven lead generation techniques that are working for professional online lead generation firms today.

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Like most of us these days, when potential clients want to learn how to solve the challenges they face, one of the go to solutions is to Google their question, problem or issue.

SEO provides an opportunity for you to match qualified clients with your online content.

It can get complex, but if you play your cards right, you’ll end up on their short list when they are looking to purchase services.

Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising

Going the organic route with SEO is a very tedious process. If you’re not willing to play the patience game, another proven way to get on your prospects’ radar is to buy your way onto search engine results pages for relevant keywords.

This technique gives you greater control over the keywords with which you want to be associated because you only pay when someone clicks on your link.

These leads are not only typically less expensive than traditional print advertising, but is often of higher quality because the potential client is usually searching for a specific solution.

PPC is also completely trackable.

Email Marketing

Direct Mail: reaching the right audience with the right offer and the right message is the key to marketing success, and no other lead generation technique gives you access to any number of otherwise inaccessible prospects.

Direct email is an extremely efficient and flexible medium that can serve many different purposes:

●      to sell your products

●      to generate sales leads

●      follow up enquiries

●      get more business from current customers

●      keep in touch with former customers

●      close sales in advance … and much more.

It allows you to present every benefit of your product or service anywhere, anytime, not just in their offices and during the business day, but in their homes, in the evenings and on weekends.

Cold Email: is organizing email outreach to potential customers who fit your target customer profile, but don’t know you yet and had no prior relationship with you.

Warm Email: on the other hand a warm email is outreach to someone who has shown interest in a product or service either by following your company on social media, signing up to your email newsletter, as a referral from a friend or previous client or some other expressed interest.

LinkedIn Marketing

LinkedIn may not be the social network that first comes to mind when talking about marketing. In fact, it is mostly considered a jobseekers platform.

As a result, B2B marketers sometimes overlook the platform’s ability to generate professional leads.

Social media is one of the most over-hyped lead generation tools considering how many leads it actually gains. However, of the five major networks, LinkedIn is easily the most effective.

Seventy Percent of Marketers say LinkedIn is an effective source for generating leads.

With more than 530 million users in over 200 countries and territories, LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network online.

So it’s no big surprise why over 80% of leads for B2B marketers generated through social media comes from LinkedIn (Oktopost), which is over four times more than all the other social media platforms put together (19.67%).

Referral Marketing

Spreading the word about a product or service through a business’ existing customers, rather than traditional advertising.

The most coveted prize in sales, besides making the sale of course, is getting customers to recommend and encourage other people to try your products or services.

Referrals account for 65% of all new business according to the New York Times. That means on average, two-thirds of consumers make purchases because someone they know recommended a particular product or service.

It makes sense because people are always talking about the products and services they enjoy, and the companies who offer them.

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association reports that every day in the United States, there are approximately 2.4 billion brand-related conversations.

People are four times more likely to buy when referred by a friend, therefore strategic use of referral marketing allows professionals to tap into the remarkable potential of consumer recommendations to achieve exceptional results.

Content Marketing

Marketing is undergoing a digital revolution. Traditional lead generation techniques, prospect nurturing and making connections are growing less effective.

Content marketing is at the heart of this revolution.

–        White Papers or e-Books

One of the most common online lead generating techniques, white papers can establish credibility and generate qualified leads.

These also make great pay-per-click offers. They can be offered via a website (either available free or behind a registration screen), or distributed through third-party services.

A variation of the white paper is an e-book. Typically longer than a white paper, it serves a similar function.

–        E-newsletter

You can generate a significant number of new leads when people sign up If your e-newsletter offers high-quality, educational content.

Your e-newsletter is also a great way to nurture the existing leads on your list. Many firms also use e-newsletters to announce new services and make specific offers.

You can offer a free e-newsletter subscription on your website or in your email signature block to build your subscriber list.

–        Online Marketing Videos

Video is everywhere today, which makes it an ideal marketing tool for online lead generation.

Video can be used for a multitude of things playing an important function in lead generating and lead nurturing.

Few things builds credibility as well as a flagship client explaining how your firm solved their problem. It’s almost like automating the referral process.

–        Industry Research Reports

There are two benefits from offering research reports on the industries you serve:

–        these documents are an excellent lead generator.

–        they boost credibility and strengthen online brands.

This is a proven online lead generating strategy, but you still have to ensure your research topics are of great interest to your target audience.

–        Webinars

Webinars are the online equivalent of a seminar or other educational event. These require registration, so it will allow you to collect basic information on attendees. A webinar should be educational — not a thinly veiled sales pitch.

Successful webinars use topics that are of great interest and value to a target audience in order to build trust.

–        Blogging

Blogging doesn’t generate a lot of direct leads but it still has its unique role in online lead generation.

Due to the fact that a blog allows you to create a wide range of keyword-laden content that can be found in the search engines, it is a very effective driver of leads to your website.

This can attract a lot of qualified prospects to your website.

Without a blog, your SEO efforts will be handicapped.

Facebook Marketing

There are many marketing strategies to use on Facebook. But probably the most effective is the inbound strategy: being helpful and relatable to your audience by understanding their goals and partnering with them to overcome challenges.

For this strategy to work is to be available where they already spend their time – Facebook is perfect for that.

Facebook has over one billion daily active users Facebook has over five times the population of the United States and 15% of the world population.

The sheer number of users on Facebook is one thing but the amount of attention Facebook owns is the bigger draw for marketers. Globally, the average user spends at least 50 minutes per day on the social media platform.

Though not the most effective lead generation tool, Facebook’s tools cater to companies that wants to form an authentic relationship with their audience by creating and distributing quality content that’s helpful for users.

Now that we have highlighted some proven lead generation techniques that are working for professional online lead generation firms, here are some critical things to keep in mind when looking to outsource your online lead generation tasks:

1. Assess Your Needs

You might be thinking finding a lead provider should be the first step in the outsourcing process. But to get the most out of outsourcing your lead generation tasks, first you’ll need to conduct an internal assessment to determine where your lead generation efforts are falling short, and what areas you need to focus on to improve your results.

Doing a needs assessment will help you recognize the areas in which outsourcing lead generation offers your company the greatest value.

It will provide your eventual lead generation partner with an idea of where the gaps are in your current sales and marketing funnel. This knowledge will enable them to help establish a system that addresses your core concerns.

Define Your Lead Needs

Before approaching a partner for outsourcing your online lead generation, evaluate which kind of lead will be of most use to your organization.

Some lead generation providers will try to convince you that all leads are equal, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

The type of leads in the lead generation process range from unqualified; cold lists; opt-ins (to receive more information about a business, product, or industry); to nurtured leads who are considering to become a customer of your company.

Each of these “leads” is in a different stage of the buying process — some actually qualify as leads, while others are merely names on a spreadsheet.

You can find out which type of lead is best for you by evaluating your lead nurturing capabilities and sales alignment.

Does your company have the resources to nurture large numbers of leads at the top of the funnel? Or do you have a small sales team with a lead nurturing program in its infancy better suited for leads at the lower end of the funnel?

Take a hard look at your business and determine your strengths and values.

The distinction is critical because your in-house capabilities inform the relationship you should develop with a service provider. Seek out providers that offer leads tailored to your unique targeting requirements.

Additionally, try to assign an adequate value to the task you’re going to outsource, so you know how much you can invest in getting it done.

Knowing the overall value in terms of dollars saved or potential dollars made gives you a good idea of the type of outsourcing budget you should have.

2. Identifying the Right Lead Provider

When outsourcing your lead generation tasks you’re essentially relying on someone else to help your company find new customers when outsourcing your lead generation.

Building your business with help from outside professionals can offer increased efficiencies and economies of scale for your online lead generation program.
When outsourcing your lead generation, you are essentially relying on someone else to help your company find new customers. So it’s important you choose the right partner with the right objective.

 

So after you’ve conducted your needs assessment, and before handing over the reins, ensure you choose the right lead generation partner.

The process businesses should use when vetting service providers has been well documented.

But because lead generation outsourcing is a burgeoning industry, the qualifications for the ideal lead generation provider aren’t as well known.

But that’s why I wrote this article, to help you through the entire process of outsourcing your lead generation program.

Knowing what to look for and what questions to ask in a lead generation partner is vital to making the best choice. Do your homework and talk to experts, only then can you make an informed decision.

The following are some important questions to ask when vetting potential lead generation partners:

  • How long have you been in operation and how much experience do you have with lead generation in our industry?
  • Can you provide some examples of companies that you’ve successfully helped achieve their objectives?
  • What is your process for reviewing your client’s system, identifying challenges and areas of need, and putting together an ideal lead generation process?
  • How do you coordinate the hand-off from lead generation to nurturing of a prospect with a partner?
  • How do you track results of core activities throughout the process?
  • How do you work with a client to review results and suggest modifications based on data?

To find a reputable lead generation specialist you’ll need to do some investigation:

●      Look for Social Proof – Check their social media, website, and blog to ensure they have well-developed marketing on multiple channels. This will give you an idea whether they interact with other like-minded B2B marketers and the quality of their content.

Look for social proof such as lead generation case studies and customer testimonials from satisfied clients that speak to the firm’s process and solution elements. These are hallmarks of successful companies with loyal customers. 

Look for Industry Expertise – There are a plethora of lead generation vendors out there, but not all of them are reputable or suitable. The ideal lead generation partner should have experience and insight into your particular business sector – basically functioning as a virtual extension of your team.

If you actually want to see results you will need not only a quality provider but a quality provider that understands your business and provides leads tailored to your unique targeting requirements.

●      Must speak the language – to be successful in generating qualified leads a lead generation agency or freelancer must be able to speak the language of your industry and your target audience. Particularly for the B2B market where potential customers are typically very knowledgeable about their business and can sniff out empty marketing.

Make sure you vet any agency on their knowledge of things like the key drivers, pain points and players in your industry.

●      Background checking – one good way to examine the company background of your possible outsourcing partner is by asking for samples of work done for their previous and current clients.

●      Look for Certification – in one or more Marketing Automation Software – the best lead generation campaign is flexible and automated.

●      Look for End-to-End Outsourcing Solutions – an end-to-end outsourcing solution is needed in order to provide an in-depth process in completing all the lead gen tasks. It also permits for bringing the greatest amount of outputs for the lowest total costs because it reduces the necessary employees.

●      Look for Extra Support – you need to do your research and explore the type of support a provider offers their clients. You would want your lead generation provider to go the extra mile to support your company.

There is a substantial amount of extra services providers can provide such as sales training for your team to help close leads more effectively or content creation services if you need to outsource some of your creative needs.

A quality partner makes all the difference in your success or failure with outsourced lead generation.

3. Making it Work

You’ve done your due diligence to find a good provider and handed over the reins to them, so now you can sit back and the leads will pile up…… well no! Your work is not done, in fact it’s safe to say it has just begun.

The best way to assure that the partnership works out is to establish a collaborative approach that will allow your outsourcing partner to leverage your value proposition. Ensure there is good communication between you and them. Be transparent about everything and don’t leave anything to assumptions.

–        Ensure the contract to the provider specifies every detail of the outsourced tasks and outlines exactly what performance is expected.

–        The draft should include specifics about the scope and cost of work, governance and disengagement plan. 

–        Ask for access to an online portal where you can access detailed information such as the number of calls being made, the number of emails sent etc.

During the outsourcing process, there has to be some measure of trust.

Therefore, your final responsibility in is to step back, relinquish control, and allow your outsourcer to do the job you’ve hired them to do –

If you are going to micromanage your outsourcing, what you saved in management attention and time will be lost, defeating the whole point of outsourcing in the first place.

4. Test Quality Assurance

When you purchase leads you’re purchasing data.

So data quality is the single most important factor for any B2B marketing program.

According to an analysis of more than 775,000 leads from B2B marketers released by Integrate, 40% of all B2B leads contain some type of inaccuracy.

That statistic highlights just how important data quality is when working with outsourced lead generation providers.

Despite the best attempts of trained professionals, human error is unavoidable and even email validation software is imperfect.

Top lead providers will rectify this by putting processes in place to clean their data and supply you with validated lead information.

5. Develop Realistic ROI Expectations

It can take time to build a successful online lead generation program because lead generation is a process, so you need to develop realistic ROI expectations.

You’ll need to adjust that framework based on the type of leads you pursue.

For example top of funnel leads won’t be ready to purchase your product or service, so you’ll have to wait longer to get a return on your investment.

Th ways:

– Better position expectations within your organization

– Better integrate your outsourced leads into your in-house goals.

6. Evaluate your results

Measure everything!

Evaluate results and revise your efforts as time goes on. At the end of it all make sure you get what you pay for and pay for what you get.

It’s important to know how much or if outsourcing has increased your efficiency, quality, and time-to-market.

Any good digital marketer/firm is usually relentlessly focused on reaching measurable goals, that’s the beauty of online marketing anyway.

Tracking performance over time will give you insights into the types of tools and methodology that create success.

You develop a sense of the kinds of demographic, geographic and firmographic data that contribute to top-converting prospects versus those that are a drain on your time.

Wrap Up

Doing lead generation in-house is often a drain on internal resources and isn’t a viable option if you don’t have the time and resources.

Outsourcing to the right lead generation specialist that can develop a strong lead generation solution specifically for your needs can be tricky.

Thus we encourage you to utilize the guideline points and questions provided to best evaluate your options.

But you don’t necessarily have to go beyond this blog to find a great outsourcing partner. 

We at LinkedStrategies are experts in lead generation that can develop a holistic lead generation campaign for your business.

Our unique prospecting methodology and highly-skilled sales staff will consistently get your company quality leads at the top of your funnel leading to appointments.