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The most effective IT lead generation techniques & ideas:a complete guide

In the fast-paced, highly competitive environment of Information Technology, the competition for the attention of technology decision-makers is quite high.

Technology firms face a special challenge when it comes to generating interest and buzz around their innovations.

Successful lead generation is one of the industry’s greatest challenges. Generating high-quality leads is the number one challenge facing B2B tech businesses according to a survey of more than 800 marketing professionals in software and technology.

Then converting those leads into customers is next.

New technology and marketing strategies are helping small information technology firms compete with their bigger counterparts.

But to do so effectively, firms need to identify and utilize an approach to marketing that emphasizes its unique value.

Working with a lot of IT companies over the years, I have realized the main problem is not in the technology used, it is the method of delivery.

How the message is distributed is critical.

Effective lead generation ideas to consider

A lot of IT companies are using the same marketing techniques in their lead generation efforts – SEO, cold email, LinkedIn, content marketing, webinar, etc.

In today’s overcrowded online marketplace, it can be really difficult for marketing professionals to find multiple successful IT lead generation sources. 

IT companies have a tendency to abandon a successful lead generation strategy once it has become successful.

This is for a couple reasons:

– Due to the pipeline’s long buying cycle, more time is needed to propose, close, and fulfil new sales.

– Their focus is shifted away from IT lead generation to oversight of new product development or service implementation.

– The interest in building up a second IT lead generation channel from the ground up, in an effort to diversify sources.

These may sound like great problems for your company to have, but for IT professionals they can quickly result in a dried up pipeline, the arch nemesis of a marketing manager for a growing software company.

Due to this, IT companies need to stay focused on lead generation and find several consistent sources for marketing and sales-qualified leads.

With this in mind, I have listed 10 effective IT lead generation ideas you can consider: 

  1. Best Practice Guides & Problem-solving Tutorials

Nearly every B2B solution provider on the Internet practices this very commonly used tactic.

Your potential customers have to upgrade their legacy systems to get in line with newly placed industry standards in order to stay competitive.

they may not know what they need to do, or they may only know what problems they experience with their existing solutions.

This provides an opportunity to create content that educates them and their team members on how to solve those problems.

  1. Email Courses

Pretty much all major email marketing solutions have a drip campaign.

While taking a lot of work to set up on the front end, it can be very effective for generating leads particularly when your software requires a high amount of education and supporting documentation to create a sales opportunity.

  1. Helpful Videos

Even if your software is industry-leading chances are you still haven’t tapped into 100 percent of your market.

So there are still people out there who don’t know how great your software can be for their business.

Creating customer supporting videos is good but using your time to create helpful video content to the percentage of your customers that use other software solutions can be even more fruitful.

Highlight benefits of your software over your competitor’s and show them how it will make their lives/jobs easier.

  1. Giveaways

Who doesn’t like getting something of value for free?!

However, the disadvantage of this strategy is the quantity over quality dilemma. There is a risk of receiving a quantity of leads that may not result in quality sales opportunities.

To help combat this, make sure you ask the person requesting your giveaway to provide some type of personally identifiable information about themselves in exchange.

You can also ask them to signup for your newsletter or share your link on a social network in exchange.

  1. Chat Boxes

This can help you to generate more leads for your business more directly, but consider having an established policy for how to handle support requests that come in through online chat.

To avoid muddying the waters between your sales and support teams, limit the use of your chat application on certain pages that existing customers are less likely to visit.

  1. Product Comparison vs. Top Competitors

This is perhaps the best way to demonstrate how your software is better and differs to the competition.

If SEO is one of your IT lead generation strategies, product comparisons should be an essential part of your digital marketing plan if you are looking to expand your opportunities.

Having product comparison pages built on your site will allow you to rank and run advertising campaigns for keywords centred around alternatives to your competitors.

  1. Test your Software

If you are making bold claims in your sales and marketing material you want to prove it by putting your software to the test…..publicly.

With the help of an unbiased third party you can share the results of the task success rate of your software or if it responds consistently under extreme conditions or if it is the only solution on the market that performs a certain task, publicly.

Of course, just ensure you inform your marketing reps and copywriters beforehand. You don’t want to be ‘caught with your pants down’ in public.

  1. Resource Guides and Round-ups

This ranges from industry experts offering tips on a topic, to listicles that rank, rate, or review the best/worst of anything that is important to your audience.

  1. Co-Marketing

This is a commonly used tactic with channel program providers in computer hardware and software verticals.

Your company can probably use this as a tactic online and offline to generate a variety of leads with limited out of pocket costs.

Chances are the partner will assist in helping you cover the marketing costs and also aide in cross promotion.

Don’t be afraid of requesting their support for a solution where you only white label their product, as long as your IT lead generation idea will also result in sales opportunities for the co-marketing partner.

  1. Industry Events Newsjacking

Whether it directly affects you or not, there is industry news published on a regular basis, daily for some industries like technology.

The most effective IT lead generation techniques & ideas:a complete guide

It could be industry leaders hosting conventions or startups raising capital or major tech companies getting hacked that impact a large percentage of their customer base, in this fast-paced world something will be happening.

If you run a blog you can definitely take advantage of the opportunities these events and happenings can provide to your business by creating content with your own unique insights and how it relates to your target customers, around them.

Running AdWords campaigns on relevant keywords for these events can have a major positive impact on your lead numbers.

There are a lot of ways your IT company can generate leads online.

No matter what tactics you choose, each strategy requires testing, a varying degree of manpower to get implemented, and a few tweaks or customizations to fit the needs of your customers and help you achieve your goals.

IT Lead Generation Tips

Tech companies are challenged to generate sales in an industry being reshaped by non-stop disruption.

With frequent shifts in software and services delivery, new business models, and a demand for constant innovation, marketing for IT companies is nimble work.

These 5 sales generation tips for IT marketing can help:

  1. Build a strong web presence

IT audiences have a low tolerance for poorly performing websites, therefore it is pivotal that you build a website that defines your value proposition.

For IT decision makers, perception is reality when it comes to assessing an IT company’s website.

  • 48 percent of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business.
  • 94 percent of people cited a website’s design as the reason they mistrusted or rejected a website.
  • 40 percent of people ventured away from a website if it loaded for more than 3 seconds.

Build a mobile-friendly website with an impactful, accessible, inspiring design coupled with interesting, valuable content.

Ensure you apply your call-to-action (CTA) is clear and conversion points, such as lead acquisition forms, are accessible.

  1. Make data-driven decisions

Using enterprise Customer Relationship Management (CRM), a marketing automation system or a combination of both to track the sales lifecycle and study sales trends helps sales and marketing identify drivers for current conversion rates (or the lack of conversions).

Aligning the sales and marketing reporting tools will better close the gap between website activity and activity within the sales process.

Unemotional decision making influenced by accurate data can reduce wasted efforts and optimize the IT companies’ digital presence.

Forms placed on the right side of a landing page generate 24% more leadsFormstack

  1. Build a lead acquisition foundation

Marketing automation is one of the most efficient ways to manage your marketing efforts.

You can also track ROI for campaigns, generate and nurture leads and personalize communications to the lead level of engagement and interest.

86% of marketers use lead scoring as part of their demand gen strategyDemandGen 2016

The most effective IT lead generation techniques & ideas:a complete guide

Well-designed landing pages, forms, and/or overlay CTAs enhance lead acquisition and lead capturing.

A clean, streamlined design will convert far better than a cluttered and unappealing one. Therefore try to keep forms short to increase conversions.

Setting up marketing automation will drive the best results. This will enable closed-loop marketing, allowing marketing teams to better understand what marketing channels work the best for converting the highest calibre leads.

76% of marketers have an automated lead scoring system in placeDemandGen 2016

  1. Avoid disruptive practices

Strong-arm or deceitful marketing tactics don’t usually work and hurts sales. In fact, it can ruin brand reputation.

You can establish audience trust by going multi-channel providing valuable information, demonstrating thought leadership and business authority with content assets tailored to the prospects’ different needs and behaviours. 

Focus on content that aids your target audience

Creating valuable content that nurtures each buying stage will enhance relationships with prospects down the funnel.

But an IT content strategy must focus on decision makers and technology endorsers serving their needs, pain points and unique value requirements.

For instance, top of funnel content can focus on audience concerns, helpful insights that address their pain points. Meanwhile, free assessment, evaluation or trial works well at the bottom of the funnel.

Regularly creating and publishing educational and authoritative content that address the pain points in the IT environment such as – improving efficiency, reducing costs, powering business, or driving innovation, can help the IT decision maker in determining business needs and technical requirements. 

You can increase your opt-in form conversions by 300% by providing incentives in the form of gated contentJustUno 

  1. Don’t let opportunities fall through the cracks

Respond quickly

Competition is quite stiff in the rapidly evolving IT sector. So if you delay follow-up, you’ll likely miss an opportunity to capitalize on a prospects’ interest.

Respond promptly to IT sales leads and opportunities by using an automated workflow to trigger content and an internal trigger email that shares the lead profile with an internal sales team member or internal sales person.

56% of B2B organizations verify valid business leads before they’re sent to salesMarketingSherpa

Study your CRM

Potential deals are lost because the sales team abandons contacts who aren’t ready to receive a proposal, complete an RFI or share an RFP, too quickly.

Study your CRM’s bottom of the funnel contacts. Have a clearly defined CRM sales pipeline to understand your opportunity flow. 

How to Engage Executives with IT Lead Generation

The process of generating leads for an IT company is hard but isn’t ultra-complex.

There are a few things that have to happen to engage executive level leads:

1. Profile presentation: ensure each IT personnel bio page is complete on websites or social media platforms such as Linkedin. Make sure you add photos beside each bio.

By doing this consumers are able to put a face to a name. This provides your customers with a sense of familiarity which allows them to make an instant connection with your brand.

2.   Coordinated message: once the personal profiles are constructed, make sure your company is in alignment with the bios. This might require some adjustment to the website to make sure that everything is in alignment.

3.   Data: When that is all done you need to find the data. Once you build the database out for your target market and identify the core market that you’re going after, you have to purchase that data some way shape or form or build the database from social tools that are available online.

4.   Compelling copy: write copy that is compelling to the market that will get your target audience attention and is sequential in nature. Usually anywhere from 5-7 total emails is required to get the attention of an executive.

To follow that up you want to create 3-7 content pieces that could be of interest to the market because you need to ‘drip’ on the potential customers that aren’t currently ready to engage with you.

5.   Technologies and Tools: ensure that you have the right technologies and tools that will allow you to deliver leads and generate emails in a way that will get delivered to the email boxes of the executive without getting flagged for spam or a marketing piece.

6.   Analytics: makes sure you have the capacity to measure your activities and be able to make actionable changes on the campaigns that you are running to get people to respond in a consistent and predictable manner. Ensure you’re watching the metrics to have a benchmark for success.

The main reason why most technology firms don’t generate high quality consistent lead flow is that they have a hard time identifying and communicating a value proposition in a way that will create intrigue to an executive.

They are typically unclear on how to build a value proposition and the demands for differentiation, marketing effectiveness, and sales are increasing and forcing IT service companies to improve their lead generation programs or suffer losses.

The key to understanding how an effective IT lead generation process works is the way the copying and branding all work together with data.

If you want to establish a successful IT lead generation campaign none of these should stand alone. You have to make sure that the data is amazing, the copy is integrated specific to that data and the method of delivery is intimate and of good quality.

If all work together in unison then you have the right recipe for success.