Quick! Name your favorite swamp…
Oh, those marshy, boggy, bug-infested, zones of stagnant water. They serve their purpose, but only a very few hardy (and a little crazy?) souls want to live there.
Now picture a babbling mountain stream, cold, clear and rushing down it’s rocky streambed like it’s in a big hurry to get where it’s going.
Where would you rather be?
What’s true of B2C is also true of B2B. If you want your B2B business to be successful, your list of leads must constantly grow. Without the right leads and connections, your sales get stagnant - and your business takes a slip backwards into a green, murky, swamp-like state.
A constant source of leads and customers can transform a stagnant business into a glacier-fed, scenic river. So how do we lose the mosquitos and bring on the pines and salmon?
One of the biggest problems with generating the right leads is knowing where to look for them and how to attract their attention. That’s a no-brainer: of course you have to go look for leads!
If you’re struggling to attract leads for your B2B business, we’re here to help. Here are a few ideas that can help you generate those refreshing, life-giving B2B marketing strategies that grow your company.
1. Ask for Recommendations and Referrals.
Have you ever thought about asking your current clients or customers to help spread the word of your products and services? Because these individuals already have first-hand experience with your business, they can act as some of your best marketers to help you gain new leads.
After completing a project or selling an item with a customer, take the time to follow up on how they felt about your product or service. If they are pleased with your work, ask if they could recommend you to a few friends or if they know of any individuals looking for similar products or services.
Always give them something they can hand off to their friends and associates that gives clear contact info for your business. The approval of a loyal customer can help you gain new customers quickly.
To further promote the generation of recommendations and referrals, come up with an incentive for clients or customers that introduce you to new individuals. This may mean a discount off their next purchase or even an affiliate program that overs them monetary incentives. Come up with an incentive that works into your business plan and you may see even more recommendations and referrals from happy customers.
And, as always, encourage them to give you a thumbs up on popular sites like Yelp or Consumer Reports or YP.com. The resistance point here is that they might see it as a hassle or not worth the effort (we all know it’s mostly negative reviews that make it onto these websites because people like to complain!). A phone conversation or email might work better, and just ask them for one thing they liked and one they didn’t. Then ask if you can quote them in future marketing efforts. Save up a library of positives for testimonials and ads.
2. Use LinkedIn Groups
LinkedIn Groups are a great way to increase your connections with other individuals in your B2B sector. Because groups allow for like-minded individuals to engage and interact with one another, you can post knowing that your audience is already reading. Groups are also great for developing partnerships, business connections, and more.
To utilize LinkedIn Groups appropriately for growing your leads, be respectful and remember that selling is secondary to networking here. Shoot for being a leader in your industry by providing useful information to the individuals in your group. Rather than looking to make a pitch for your products and services, look at how you can develop trust with the other group participants.
LinkedIn allows you to join up to 40 different groups. To get the most out of LinkedIn and the connections you can create, keep active discussions in as many of these groups as possible. When you find individuals interested in your products, services, and what you have to offer, provide them with contact information that allows you to take the sale offline.
3. Have a Clear Target Audience
If you don’t know what kind of people you’re looking for when generating leads, you’re going to waste a lot of time and money annoying people who don’t care about your business. Too many B2B businesses make the mistake of ignoring the consumer profiles that are crucial for B2C marketing. But even though you’re not marketing directly to a consumer, businesses still have their own brands, identities, company culture and priorities. They also have individuals who make buying decisions, and THOSE are in fact, people you can identify with.
Come up with general archetype business that you have the most success with. Just as you would create a persona for your ideal consumer, you’ll want to think about what businesses would purchase your products. What industry are they in? How many employees do they have? Where are their offices located? What are their economic realities? Recent changes in leadership?
When you have the ideal business in mind, you can create content that has a target. Trying to appeal to everyone is the same as appealing to no one. While you may feel that targeting just one style of business will shut you out to other potential B2B customers, it actually means you will pull the companies you’re looking for in like a magnet. With a stronger approach and direct content, your lead list will grow with the right contacts. And you can always develop more profiles later.
4. Read Feedback and Apply It
Feedback can come in many different forms, so you’ll always want to keep your eyes out. Some common places where you can find feedback is through review boards, from your sales team, or even on your analytics page for your website and social media pages. Each area can provide you with an inside look at the thoughts of your customers and clients.
All too often, we want to ignore negative feedback as the result of a bad lead, or that the decision maker just isn’t ready. And while this may be true in some situations, it may actually mean that we aren’t providing the right content to make the right fit happen. Instead of ignoring your feedback or dismissing it as a bad lead, consider what the individual or company is saying and if it holds any weight.
Studying your data analytics or listening to the roadblocks your sales teams are running into, you can refine your product or your approach to better attract customers. Maybe your sales pitch is off. Maybe your calls-to-action aren’t strong enough. Or, maybe you need to revamp your product or service.
Growing your lead list can be difficult – if you’re not following current best practices. Instead of struggling to come up with as many leads as you can, you may need to focus on gaining fewer of the right leads that will ultimately lead to more conversions.
So trade your algae-encrusted canoe for a whitewater raft and get ready for adventure!
We have lots of other ideas about B2B marketing strategies, especially when it involves using the internet in ways that will astound you! Although we’re based in Savannah GA, we can go just about anywhere to help a business grow their brand.