Trade shows are an important part of generating leads and filling the sales pipeline for many. In fact, a survey conducted by IDG reported that conferences and trade shows are listed as second, behind companies websites, on effective B2B lead generation tactics. But when crisis strikes (i.e. COVID-19), many have found that attending trade shows is no longer a viable option. At a time when we’re all being asked to social-distance, the last place anyone wants to be is in an exhibit hall, surrounded by a ton of people.
So, what do you do now? How can you pivot that budget to something else meaningful? More importantly, what strategies can you implement to help fill the sales pipeline? These are all valid concerns. Things don’t have to come to a halt just because conferences have been canceled or postponed. There are still ways to get “out there”.
Here are 5 B2B marketing strategies to keep your sales pipeline active:
Host a Virtual Event
With more and more people working from home and utilizing video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts or Zoom, now is a great time to embrace video. Maybe you’re used to having a weekly in-person coffee or networking event, move it online. Or, see if you can get a list of the conference attendees and invite them to an event you’re hosting. You could team up with other types of vendors and see if they’d be interested in joining. Try to bring value to the businesses you’re trying to attract. They’ll be more inclined to attend. Almost like hosting your own mini-trade show.
Try Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Account-Based Marketing or ABM is one of those hot topics right now and rightfully so. 84% of businesses who used ABM, reported that the strategy offered a higher RO1 than other marketing campaigns. ABM is the strategy that directs marketing resources to target and engage a specific set of accounts or companies. Rather than casting a wide net in an attempt to generate leads and fill your sales pipeline, you’re identifying key prospects and you tailor your message accordingly. Think about it like being at a conference. If there was a specific company or person you were hoping to connect with or have visit your booth, you might seek them out. It would be very targeted and you would customize your message just for them. That’s the idea behind ABM.
This is another great example of a way you can still get your brand and brains out in front of people. Typically this would be a free event to sign up for, but key phrase there is “sign up.” Make sure you have people register for your webinar so you collect their contact information and can follow up with them after. Your webinar topic should be informative and a value-add to the people attending. What it shouldn’t be is an hour of you self-promoting and making it a sales pitch but calling it a webinar. Beyond lead generation, there are other benefits of hosting a webinar. Like, 1) positioning yourself as a thought leader or expert in your field, 2) deliver value and keep your audience engaged, and 3) broaden your reach by communicating with hundreds of people at once. Now that’s something you wouldn’t be able to do at a trade show.
Create or Expand Your Digital Marketing Strategy
If you’re already marketing online (as you should be), great! If you’re not, now might be the time. We recommend taking a look at your strategies. With your trade show budget freed up, there might be some opportunity to:
Start a paid media plan or look at increasing your ad spends. Think Google, LinkedIn or Facebook.
Look at putting some dollars towards paid social, “boosting” or “promoting” your existing posts.
Invest in that CRM you’ve had your eye on or perhaps another piece of marketing technology to help you work harder and smarter to generate leads.
Devote more time and resources to creating valuable content for your site.
There are lots of possibilities here to either up your digital game or to start it. Not sure where to start? Check out the Digital Kickstart Checklist on how to pivot your business to digital quickly.
Guest Posting and Speaking
Since time and energy aren’t going into prepping for and promoting attendance at a show, maybe those resources could be spent working to do outreach and promote or create some really great content. That way you’re getting your name out there and building authority on topics you have an expertise in. Another way to build that authority and get some “face-to-face” time with people is to be a guest speaker on a podcast or webinar. I know it’s not the same as speaking at a conference or networking in person, but it’ll allow you to keep your distance while still actively trying to fill your sales pipeline.
Please don’t let lack of trade shows make you feel like you have to make a trade-off on achieving your goals. These are just a few strategies and tactics to consider with your newfound time and additional budget. But there are plenty of opportunities out there.
Running a remote marketing firm provides a lot of benefits for our team and our clients. But having a team working from home most or all of the time isn’t without its challenges. One area that I get asked about a lot is how to successfully onboard a new work from home employee? How do you make sure they feel like they are part of the team quickly? How do you make sure they have the tools and access they need to get up and running quickly?
Here are some of the strategies that have worked for us. We also reached out to our network of business owners, managers and talent leaders to get their thoughts on strategies for managing onboarding remote employees. Their insights are included throughout.
Clearly Layout 30 and 90-day Plans
Whether your new team member is working from home or not – having a clear 30 to 90-day plan is so critical. SHRM points out that 69% of employees are more likely to stay based on their onboarding plan. At Lake One, we turn to the same tool we use to plan and manage our client Marketing Springs – Asana. We build out all the tasks and milestones for our new team members and link it up to the essential resources they’ll need to accomplish their onboarding from links to our standard operating procedure to the company drive file structure.
Jennifer Zick, Founder and CEO at Authentic Brand adds, “New employees – whether working in a physical office or remotely – need clarity in two primary areas in order to get up to speed and become productive in their roles. First, any new employee needs to know where to find what they need to do their job. Secondly, they need clear definitions on what they are responsible for, and what success should look like.”
Diversify Training and Communication Styles
Mix up the training schedule to make sure your new team member gets to spend time with a diversity of folks. This helps the new employee develop connections within the company and absorb information better. Not to mention, putting the responsibility on one person to get a new employee up to speed can be a lot.
Tyler Anderson, Principal at Andcor Talent states, “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to communicating during onboarding and beyond. Each leader (and team member) needs to understand communication preferences and needs. Some may prefer and are comfortable with email. Others need verbal communication and interaction. And others want a combo of both.”
Outline Subject Matter Experts
Make it clear – who in the organization owns what. This not only saves time across the board, but it sets expectations for both the new and existing employees. If you have a standard operating procedure (see below) this is a great place to put this information. Some HRIS systems also have a place for this in an org chart.
Anderson recommends, ”Getting them up to speed fast and hit the ground running by pairing the remote employee with an on-site employee or if everyone is virtual, another remote team member who they can go to for advice.”
Zick notes, “Many companies may not have well-organized online databases or platforms full of training materials, sales collateral, HR documents, or other resources that new employees can quickly locate. In these situations, it might make sense to align an employee with an internal guide – a “sherpa” of sorts – who can answer questions to help them quickly get to the right person or place to find what they need. Collaboration tools – like Slack – can be invaluable in these cases, allowing employees to quickly ask questions and crowdsource answers from their peers. The key is to open as many pathways to answers as possible, as quickly as possible, to help the new team member feel fully equipped to do their job.”
Set Up All Accounts in Advance
One simple thing you can do to make sure your new team member is ready to hit the ground running is getting all their account access set up in advance. There is nothing more frustrating than over the course of 30 days constantly having to ping a supervisor to get access to this, that or the other thing. Make an account run through a task in the onboarding plan. That way your new team members on their first day can go through all their welcome emails from systems, make sure they can access everything and feel good about checking some things off their onboarding plan.
Anderson suggests, “Break up onboarding/training tools. Don’t throw too much at them all at once. Also, if you can get started on setting those tools and accounts up before official day one, all the better.”
If Possible, Have an In-Person on Day One
Depending on where your team is actually located and where the new team member is, this work from home onboarding idea may not be doable. But if it is, even grabbing lunch or breakfast with your new employee can help defer any jitters on day one. If you can’t do it, is there another team member that’s close by?
Anderson notes, “When this whole C-19 thing is behind us if you have a physical office, bring the new hire in and go to lunch or a happy hour. But don’t just let it be a one-time thing. Hold quarterly gatherings and continue to make them feel like part of the team.”
Break the Ice
Like with any new job, the first few days can feel like you’re an outsider. That can be especially true for remote employees who aren’t onsite. Find ways to break the ice with new employees. Whether it’s fun facts, a game, or something else. Keep it light and fun.
Cami Zimmer, EVP Sales & Marketing at Glympse says,“Use “Reply All”:Send out an email to the group with an icebreaker question, asking everyone to respond via email and “reply all” so that everyone gets to know each other a bit more.
Don’t cut the Chit-Chat: It’s personal chit-chat that actually helps employees relate to each other! When working remote, team members do not have a chance to make small talk with others in the coffee area. We have to build time for this small talk into group meetings. Try to spend a few minutes at the start of each meeting to discuss personal or department updates. Ask that team members send in recent photos through Slack or other chat tools.”
Anderson says, “Learn and share fun facts: “What are three (3) things people you know well would be surprised to learn?” Give examples – e.g. survived a plane crash, world-class chess player, child actor. Give the new hire a couple of days to mull over the questions and share what other team members have said in the past. After learning what teammates answer, they might be more willing to open up. This exercise is great for building rapport and humanizing remote team members.”
Schedule Video Meet n Greets
A key part of our operating procedure at Lake One is daily standups and regular check-ins. Get your new team member looped in on these ASAP. Even though they may not be fully up to speed – the face time with the team is crucial and they’ll also start to get the habit of how the team works remotely.
Anderson advises, “Set up a series of orientation calls/video chats within the first few weeks with the CEO and each member of the leadership team to learn about company history, culture, goals, structure. In addition, set up calls with team members in other departments within the first month. Maintain this going forward in long-term across functions and combining new and tenured team members. Depending on the individual’s communication preferences, at a minimum suggest starting the call with a video chat to do a quick wave and know who you’re talking to and then turn it over to a phone call.”
Have a Standard Operating Procedure? You Should
We run on EOS ® Traction and our standard operating procedure is our north star. If you don’t have one – start documenting one. This is also a great way to help familiarize them with how y our organization operates and executes consistently. In an office setting – it’s easy to pop up and ask a question. Virtually, that’s not always possible. Standard operating procedures help give guidance on how the business handles key situations.
Zick says, “What has been effective for us, and for many of our clients, is having a very regular and predictable cadence of communication – whether through in-person or virtual meetings. People quickly feel included, valued, and aligned when they know that they are “in the loop” on the company’s strategy, decision-making, and work efforts.
Because our company runs on EOSⓇ – The Entrepreneurial Operating SystemⓇ – much of this cadence is built into how we operate. Our executive team meets weekly and quarterly to work on the business. Additionally, our consultants – our Fractional CMOs – come together twice per month as part of our “mindshare” community. In-between these planned meetings, we use collaboration technologies (Slack and Basecamp) to stay connected, share ideas, celebrate milestones, and reinforce our company values.”
Setup Regular One-on-Ones
Another holdover from working face to face – one on ones are key. But even more so with your work from home team. In the first few weeks, it may feel like overkill but do this at a minimum weekly. First, it’s a great way to build up that comradery and second, it’s a chance to identify any early questions or concerns that might be harder to pick up on working way from each other.
Rob Weber, Managing Director at Great North Labs says, “Productivity should be measured and greater expectations of asynchronous work should be accepted. When not working in a face-to-face environment, you’re much more likely to see work schedules drift and become more flexible. This flexibility though should still require certain regular check-in meetings or standups to ensure collaboration and free-flowing discussion. I’m also a big fan if possible to occasionally still meet-in person, such as for onboarding, annual planning, etc.”
Anderson suggests, “Maintain a consistent communication structure. Include regular check-ins and checkpoints that are mandatory for every team member. Sets expectations of how each team member should interact, communicate and adhere to the plan for every team member. I also suggest leveraging visual communication tools.”
Anderson says, “Keep in mind, not everyone is built to work remotely so before you onboard be sure you have the assessment data to identify who will work well and who will not. Some really need face-to-face interaction and the structure of an office environment. Others will work well independently and thrive in a virtual one. There aren’t enough tools in the world to turn one into the other. They may be successful but you run the risk of losing them to the environment that’s better suited for them.”
Zimmer notes, “We were/are lucky in that we had a remote policy in place before this all happened. We all have laptops, Zoom, Slack and are used to working remotely part-time. Thus, we really haven’t noticed much of a pause to business. Being in the Last Mile industry, we are experiencing an increase in inquiries, even, keeping most of us here at Glympse rather busy.”
Weber reminds us that, “The characteristics of a well-managed business are similar for all businesses, regardless of whether they support work from home operations or face-to-face. Accountability is created through transparent delivery of key performance information which empowers the workforce to make decisions wherever they are working from.”
Zick advises, “Through this time of chaos and uncertainty, the very best advice that I could offer to leaders and employees is to give one another abundant grace. Everyone is adapting. Everyone is coming up to speed on our “new normal”. And everyone’s workplace experience is being radically changed. The silver lining in all of this is that – as a global community – we’re learning how to work differently, and the lessons that we learn through this time of disruption can carry us forward with new skills, deeper empathy, and an even higher level of workforce productivity. Together, we will get through this.”
Over the last decade, lead generation for manufacturers and industrial organizations has transformed. While the industry is still heavily relationship-driven, like every other vertical it’s been affected by digital disruption. Marketing for manufacturers is changing rapidly. B2B buyers are empowered with more data then ever and shopping experiences in our consumer lives are informing our expectations in our business lives.
As the modern economy evolves – manufacturers and industrial firms may find themselves wondering how to get more sales opportunities in a quickly changing sales and marketing environment.
If you’re ready to move past the basics of lead generation, these are the manufacturing and industrial lead gen trends we’re seeing drive success as we head into a new decade.
Industrial Lead Generation with Account Based Marketing
Account-based marketing can provide manufacturing and industrial firms a strategic way to market only to the prospects your organization’s value most. It flips the thinking of a funnel. Instead of casting a wide net and working to qualify down to the best opportunity, you identify the accounts you want to work with and target outreach and promotion to reach and influence buyers. Generally, it works as an additive strategy to a diverse sales and marketing program and can run parallel to an inbound effort. It’s also a great way to repurpose and leverage your inbound content in a complementary strategy making sure you maximize your content investment.
Centralize Marketing if you Sell Through Distributors
For manufacturers who sell indirectly through distributors, consider centralizing marketing efforts. By creating a coordinated marketing effort, you can provide a digital co-op marketing initiative to your distribution partners. It serves two purposes. First, it provides a central place for potential buyers to go to as they research products. As the manufacturer, you retain brand control. Second, it’s a value add to your distribution channel as you can provide a steady stream of leads. It can also serve as a channel to recruit new distribution partners. Finnleo, a sauna manufacturer with a dealer network distribution channel, is a great example.
Leverage Inbound for Manufacturing Lead Generation
Inbound marketing is a great way to drive a steady source of new leads for your manufacturing or industrial firm. Inbound marketing at its core is about creating content that answers your potential buyer’s questions early in their research process. The content is designed to convert prospects along with conversion funnels, maybe you provide a webinar or request a quote. Inbound also serves as a great way to develop your organization’s thought leadership and is extra powerful when combined with industry outreach and PR. Further, inbound aligns well with how engineers want to consume content based on research from Engineering.com When asked about preferred ways to acquire engineering information, a search is the top channel for finding answers to questions. This begs the question: if your engineering buyers have questions, whose content will they find, yours or your competitors?
Leverage marketing automation and CRM
A key part of successful lead generation for manufacturers is implementing right sales and marketing tools. Essential to that tech stack is a CRM that your sales team will actually use, with data governance that is meaningful to your business and marketing automation that helps nurture and identify opportunities. Marketing automation in manufacturing is also a powerful tool to help drive efficiency into often manual processes from lead routing and quote management to data governance and lead nurturing.
Outside of paid media for account-based marketing and promotion around tradeshows, retargeting is an absolute must. If you’re doing any sort of lead generation program – retargeting is a low-cost way to drive additional conversion opportunities off people who respond to your manufacturing lead generation programs but don’t convert on your website. You’ve already invested a ton to get a prospect to your manufacturing website, if they don’t convert, set aside a small add budget to serve ads to them after their visit to try again.
Monitor social conversations
Depending on what your firm makes, monitoring social media for conversations around needs or trends can be a great way to identify opportunities for direct sales, PR opportunities to talk about your offering or identifying new channel partners. You can monitor conversations in several different ways. Join groups on LinkedIn, set up feeds or lists on Twitter or search on Facebook.
Activate paid media around trade shows
Trade shows are still a great gathering place for manufacturing and industrial firms. But following up with people from trade shows can sometimes be a bit – meh. Instead of grabbing everyone’s business cards, leverage your marketing automation tools and let people book real meetings with you. Or set up a nurture sequence for those who stop by the booth.
Activating paid search around the tradeshow name is often a low-cost way to drive traffic to a landing page ahead of the trade show. Here you can promote any giveaways or reasons for people to book time with your team.
Monitor industry news & trends
Similar to monitoring social media, monitoring news alerts can be a great resource on multiple fronts. It can inform you inbound content strategy, support your account-based marketing program or provide opportunistic outreach opportunities for your sales team. The easiest way to do this is to set up Google Alerts or create a Feedly account to monitor terms and topics that matter most to your industry and buyers.
There is a constant flow of tech tools rolling into the market. Here are a few of our favorite lead generation tools for b2b. Of the tools mentioned in that post, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is probably the most relevant for our friends in manufacturing and industrial organizations. One of the features I find the most useful is the account and lead recommendations. As you interact with and tell Sales Navigator what kind of leads and accounts you’re interested in, it surfaces new contacts and accounts that are similar but might not have been on your account based targeting list. It’s a great way to expand your scope with the accounts you can truly add value to instead of randomly selling to anyone with a pulse.
In a time of crisis, there can be a lot of uncertainty. Whether it’s knowing how or if you should change your inbound programs, turn your ads off, or adjust your automation. As marketing professionals, it’s our job to remain calm and advise clients on the best course of action when it comes to inbound marketing and marketing automation. So, what would you advise? What would you do?
Course-Correct the Messaging and Adjust the Automation
Jeff Schneider | Founder & President, Marketing Ninjas – “This is a tough one for sure. We’re advising our clients to stay the course, but to shift messaging and content towards what could be considered to be more helpful, knowing that people are hunkering down and social distancing. This way they’re still adding value and still staying front of mind with people. Strange times these are. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.”
Eric Foutch | Managing Partner, Red Branch Media – “We have adjusted all of our client’s messaging so that we show their current customers how they can leverage their solutions during this time. For prospects, we have also shared similar messaging by extending free trials, offering white-glove implementation, etc.”
Lucas Hamon | Founder & CEO, Orange Pegs -“No, I would not recommend staying the course. It’s completely tone-deaf. Every single person on this planet is impacted by this event and for many, it’s all they want to talk or hear about. I say lean into it. Help your customers find paths during these times to prosper vs weathering the storm.”
Myrna E. Arroy | Growth Consultant,Pepper Inbound Marketing– “Update messaging, turn off automatic marketing that’s not relevant.”
Suzanne Marsalisi | Marketing Manager, Communico – “Agree. Make sure to check workflows and sequences as well as scheduled social media posts.”
Break-Even Clients are Better Than No Clients
Elliot Miller | Partner, Chief Marketer,BrackenData – “Reassure clients (especially the executive teams) that at times like this it’s better to let CPL go up, ROI go down, margins go down than it is to reduce the volume of incoming customers. You can keep the lights on with many break-even customers but not with no customers. Tactically, messaging has to be a lot softer. Tone shouldn’t be too whimsical right now. Better time to focus on TOFU, not BOFU. If you don’t have something actually helpful to say about coronavirus, stay away from the topic
Not All Ads Are Bad- Just Watch Your Tone
Tracy Gorenflo Graziani | Founder,Tog Loft / CEO, Graziani Multimedia – “I think it’s tone-deaf and in poor taste to run certain ads, so I think it really depends on the content. Right now people are terrified. My advice is to only focus on content that is immediately helpful.”
A Time of Crisis Might Also Be A Time of Opportunity
Dave Roma | Founder,Drive Agency – “I’ve been seeing posts in some of my Google and Facebook Ad groups about CPCs declining… so research that to see if it’s true and then offer them the opportunity to double down on paid traffic acquisition at a discount… or use this as a reason to keep the ads running and this should lead to lower CPAs”
Whitney Parker Mitchell | Founder & CEO, Beacon Digital Marketing – “We ran an analysis across all our media campaigns and have seen: CPC is down, CPL is up slightly. We haven’t seen a drop in conversions. Agree on the strategies above though about the focus on TOFU in the immediate next week and then reassess. We also talked to our programmatic ad vendors and they said they are seeing clients pull spending from B2C ad buys, but so far B2B is still pretty steady for now. We have had many ask for advice on it; as of today, I haven’t seen indicators in ad performance that suggest people should pull back. Financial reasons are another matter though.”
Take Advantage of Doing the Right Thing in a Time of Crisis
Susan LaPlante-Dube | Owner/Principal, Precision Marketing Group – “This is so client-specific, but don’t take blatant advantage of the crisis. People can see and feel it. We have some clients whose businesses have been destroyed (they live by the interest rate) and others (hello, virtual meetings) who will thrive. I think it is most important to be genuine. If you know that your client’s offerings are at “the bottom of the food chain” in a crisis, encourage them to pull back. If you know that these challenging times are beneficial, encourage them to spend and capitalize… but, please, in good taste. Don’t take advantage of others misfortune, take advantage of doing the right thing with your good fortune… My two cents.”
Michelle O’Keeffe | CEO, EngagingIo – “Some business services will be needed more, and others less. It really depends on what they’re product/service is. Do the right thing in advising them.”
We hope that the need for this advice is infrequent and short-lived. But remember, when marketing in a time of crisis, don’t take advantage of the situation. If your organization legitimately has a product, service or content that can provide value during unpredictable times by all means – share it. But otherwise, maybe rethink what you’re pushing into the eco-system.
The saying goes, “Work smarter, not harder.” But in a lot of cases, you need both. You need someone or something to work smarter and harder. That’s what marketing automation provides. Marketing automation is technology that allows you to automate, streamline, and measure your marketing tasks and workflows. By utilizing it, you’re being smarter about where your time and efforts are spent by allowing automation to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Like we covered in our blog on sales and marketing automation, marketing automation helps to accomplish the following:
Automated lead-hand off
Social post scheduling
But did you also know that it can help with lead generation?
1. Leads and Landing Pages
How do you turn a lead into a customer if you’re not first capturing them as a lead, to begin with? Lead generation landing pages are a great way to capture those new leads and gauge if your prospects are interested in your product or service. Marketing automation platforms or “MAPs” will generate specific landing pages that speak to the segment of the audience you’re targeting and display relevant content and resources to them, automatically. Here is where you should be asking them for their contact information, in exchange for that piece of content or resource they’ll find valuable. Once you’ve collected the prospect’s info, the marketing automation software will sync the data directly to the prospect’s profile.
We’ve all been on the receiving end of an email that was clearly sent to a bunch of people and there’s absolutely no personalization involved. How special did you feel? More importantly, did you even open and read that email? Probably not. With marketing automation software you have the ability to personalize, which is important. In fact, marketers saw an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.
Thanks to marketing automation, gone are the days of having to manually enter in prospect or lead information to ensure they’re getting a personalized experience. Using MAPs allows you to send automated and personalized emails at scale and implement email drip campaigns, which is a great way to nurture your leads. Most programs come fully equipped with segmentation capabilities, which allows you to divide your lead database by channel, sales funnel position, what industry they’re in and much more.
3. Custom Website Experience
Offering a custom and personalized website experience to your prospects and leads can provide increased engagement and decreased bounce rate. Are you sensing a theme with all this talk of personalization and customization? Your buyers have come to expect it, and if you want to increase your leads, we recommend following suit.
Imagine your leads hit your website and you have the ability to personalize your blog recommendation to them. Or serve messaging that’s tailored to a specific buyer persona. It’s no wonder why Dynamic Yield saw a 111 percent increase in demo requests after personalizing elements of their site. That’s the beauty of automation. It allows you to move away from the one-size-fits-all experience and give your buyers a truly personalized journey.
4. A/B Testing
So now that you’ve got your landing pages in place, your lead nurturing emails are being sent and your custom website experiences are happening [thanks to your marketing automation], you can set it and forget it, right? Not quite. What works today and for one person, might not work tomorrow and for someone else. When in doubt, test it out. A/B tests on your landing pages, emails, and more can show which content, headlines, or images resonate best with your audiences. Once you have that data, you can use it to customize your appeals. But how? You guessed it, marketing automation. The more you know about what your audience is looking for or what they respond to, the better content you can serve them and the more likely they are to become leads and then hopefully customers. More on A/B testing here.
5. Sales and Marketing Collaboration
Last, but certainly not least, can’t talk about lead generation without mentioning the importance of sales and marketing alignment. Everyone has the same goal: convert leads into customers. The way they go about doing this can look very different. Same goal, different approach. So where does marketing automation fit in? While CRMs centralize all the data that sales needs when it comes to incoming prospects and accounts, marketing automation platforms help marketing centralize the customer behavioral data from website activity, email campaigns, social media engagement and more. (Checkout of favorite lead gen tools here.) Using this behavioral data to help improve lead quality can help eliminate some of the disagreements between sales and marketing. Better lead quality and more aligned smarketing teams? It sounds like a win-win.
These are just a few of the ways that marketing automation can help boost your lead volume. But don’t just take our word for it. According to VB analyst Andrew Jones, 80% of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, and 77% saw the number of conversions increase. But remember, the content you’re providing needs to be relevant and of value to these leads. Content for the sake of content isn’t going to move the needle. You have to be intentional about what you’re creating and who you’re creating it for. Let your content be smarter and your automation work harder to achieve your lead gen goals.
Lead generation is one of those things that you can do alone, but probably shouldn’t. Like cutting your own hair, it’s not that deciding to do it yourself is inherently bad, but you might end up with a bowl cut straight out of 1995.
Here are the benefits of using a marketing firm for lead generation and why partnering with experts might be the best choice for your organization.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of using a marketing firm for lead generation is alignment. A great firm will know that while the ultimate goal is getting more leads, you won’t be able to achieve or sustain that without alignment throughout your entire program. So what do I mean when I say ‘alignment?’
First, I’m talking about sales and marketing alignment. What a marketing firm does to increase lead gen will support sales initiatives. A firm will be focused on bringing in the high-quality types of leads that sales needs. They’ll also enable sales with tools– such as email templates, ebooks, white sheets, etc.- to help them close deals. Furthermore, a marketing firm will also encourage input from sales to create a symbiosis of feedback and continual improvement.
I’m also talking about alignment with your business objectives and goals. One benefit of working with a marketing firm on lead generation is that they can help you ramp up your current targeting or pivot to a new market segment when necessary. They’ll be able to right-size your existing program with the tools and strategies to take your company where you want to go.
2) Multi-Faceted Strategy
Additionally, a marketing firm will be able to implement multiple strategies and tactics to increase your lead generation. Firms typically have experts in varying areas of specialty- an SEO expert, a social media expert, a content expert, for example- that make up their larger team. They’ll put their heads together to create a lead gen strategy that encompasses all different angles of marketing in a cohesive way to get the best results.
As your program grows, the needs of a lead generation program will change. Sometimes a paid media strategy to bring in leads isn’t always a good fit and maybe you actually need to back off on the social posting a bit. A firm will have the wherewithal and experience to implement these strategies (or not) and make changes as the program develops. Working with a marketing firm for lead generation means they will have the experience to know how – and when – to pull the right strings.
3) Automation Experts
A key element to lead generation is marketing automation. The right partner for your lead generation program will be an expert in this area. You can read more about the basics of marketing automation here, but in short, automation is a way to make your marketing work smarter and harder for you. Working with a marketing firm means you’ll have experts doing the setup and management on your behalf. They’ll work in your CRM to make sure incoming leads are nurtured and addressed appropriately.
A marketing firm will also be able to set up the parameters to sort your leads for you. They’ll be able to set up the automation to make sure the job candidate leads go to HR and any complaints go to Brenda in accounting. (Just kidding. Unless you want them to…). They’ll also be able to qualify leads appropriately, which is essential as higher volumes of leads start coming in. This means that leads can be screened for fit before they ever hit the desk of your salesperson. For instance, let’s say a lead comes in that meets most of your criteria to be a good lead, but isn’t ready to buy yet. They can be automatically enrolled in a drip campaign that nurtures them along to keep you top of mind, but they won’t be handed to sales just yet. A marketing firm will be able to help you identify your criteria and set up the backend work to make it all happen.
4) KPI Reporting
Because a lead generation program has many elements, tactics, and levers, it’s easy to get lost in the reporting weeds. A marketing firm will be able to narrow your scope and focus on the KPIs. Furthermore, they’ll be able to tell you what those KPIs actually mean. So your lead volume is way up but your traffic is down- what does that mean? Is it a problem? Do we like it? There’s always a story behind the numbers. A firm will be able to read it to you.
5) Unbias Insights
Another benefit of using a marketing firm for lead generation is that you’ll have a neutral, third party present to help with decision making. They’ll use those reporting insights we just talked about along with their combined experience to offer unbias solutions on how to move forward. It can be hard to see the forest through the trees and a firm will bring a new perspective.
Partnering with a marketing firm means you’re bringing a team of people whose sole objective is to help achieve your goals. This is important because starting up a lead gen program often means changes for internal sales and marketing team. It might be a new process to handle leads or an ask to do something new. A marketing firm will be able to discuss the big picture objectives and the reasons for change to encourage your team and make them feel comfortable with it.
6) More Leads
This benefit was so obvious I almost forgot it, yet it needs to be said. The biggest benefit of using a marketing firm for lead generation is more leads. Nothing is ever guaranteed, but when you bring on a firm with everything stated above – expertise, alignment, automation skills, etc. – it translates into a stellar lead generation program.
Lead generation is important. Actually, it’s critical. Without leads coming in the door, you’ll become stagnant. Working with a marketing firm for lead generation means more leads and company growth. A firm will be able to align your program with your business objectives and get your sales and marketing teams working toward a common goal. They’ll bring the experience and unbias insights needed to take your lead gen to the next level.
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