Lead Generation for Manufacturers: 9 Strategies to Crush 2020

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. 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.

industrial lead generation with account based marketing

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.

manufacturing lead generation with centralized marketing

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?

manufacturing Content

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.

MarTech Assessment

Activate retargeting

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.

Manufacturing lead generation with social monitoring

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.

Manufacturing news monitoring

Leverage tools

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.

manufacturing lead generation with LinkedIN

Top 6 Benefits of Using a Marketing Firm for Lead Generation

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. 

Benefits of Using a Marketing Firm for Lead Generation

1) Alignment

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?’ 

Related Read: Lead Generation Guide: Basics of Lead Gen

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. 

benefits of Using a Marketing Firm for Lead Generation

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. 

Benefits of Using a Marketing Firm for Lead Generation

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.

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Key Takeaways

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.

Six Easy Lead Gen Tips for Sales

Batman and Robin. Tom and Jerry. Mac and Cheese. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Sales and Marketing. These are some pretty iconic duos. You don’t often get one without the other. But, it does happen. Maybe you know that firsthand. Are you a sales professional who doesn’t have marketing support, either due to budget, size, or lack of resources? Maybe you do have a marketing team but want to ensure you’re doing everything you can to help bring in new business. You have quotas to meet, after all. Or perhaps you are the marketing team and you want to give your sales team some quick tips to help further the lead gen cause. No matter where you’re joining us from, you’ve come to the right place!  We’ve got you covered, with 6 easy lead gen tips your sales team can implement today. They’re pretty painless, easy to implement, and we’re confident you’ll be able to tackle them all: 

easy lead gen tips

Use Your Social Media

Believe it or not, social media is great for more than just hilarious memes {how funny are some of those though, right?}. If you’re in sales or are a business professional of any sort, you likely have a LinkedIn account. Most salespeople do. But there’s a difference between having an account and using an account, especially for top-of-the-funnel activities. Using your social media accounts to share content and promote your company is a great and free way to direct traffic to your website, and hopefully generate some leads. While LinkedIn is likely the most useful tool, you may have a lot of connections on Facebook and Twitter that it might make sense to promote content there, too. As an added bonus, sharing on social media can help you build a loyal and engaged following. 

LinkedIn Marketing Guide

Capture those Leads 

Picture it: you shared some really great content on your social media page and it was wildly successful and drove a ton of traffic to your company’s website. Fantastic! But…. what are you doing with those visitors? How are you getting leads from your website? Is the landing page they’re hitting compelling enough to get them to stay and more importantly, take an action? Get your landing pages up to par (if they’re not already) and then make sure you have an effective and clear call-to-action. There shouldn’t be any confusion for your audience on what you want them to do and what they get in return. Remember, they want to know what’s in it for them. After all, it’s about them, not (just) you. 

Related reading: Conversion Funnel Basics

Referrals from Current Customers 

Who knows the great work you produce or service you provide better than the customers you already work with? Identify a few clients you really enjoy working with and who really enjoy working with you. Odds are they may know people who are equally as pleasant to do business with. Schedule some time with them to thank them for their business and see if they have any other contacts or companies that would be interested in the same level of service. They may offer to make an introduction or just pass along the contact information. Either way, thank them profusely and follow up with the potential lead. If you’re not comfortable just coming out and asking your current clients, start by telling them or reminding them that referrals are welcomed… even encouraged.

Tap into Your Personal Network 

This is one of those easy lead gen tips that too often gets overlooked. I get it, I used to shy away from mixing business with pleasure. Meaning, I didn’t like to tap into my personal network, aka friends, when it came to business-related stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem helping {trusted} friends who ask me for help, but for some reason, it used to be tough for me to ask the same in return. Maybe you can relate? I’m here to tell you to get out of your own way. If you have friends or acquaintances who you feel comfortable discussing business with and who are willing to help, they might just be the untapped lead machine you’ve been looking for. Let them know the type of company you’re looking for and if they can help, let them! Be sure to make it as seamless as possible for them. This shouldn’t be added stress for them. Send them an email they can just forward on to make the connection. And who knows, maybe someday you can repay the favor.

easy lead gen tips

Competitive Intel

What’s the saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” I kid, of course. Your competition shouldn’t be viewed as the enemy. Rather, they should be viewed as an inspiration and someone who pushes you to be at the top of your game. If you’re playing your cards right, they’re viewing you in the same light.

When you think of your main competitors there’s likely one or two that come to mind who are just crushing it. What are they doing that you aren’t? What’s resonating the most with their customers? You can use that information to create more effective ads and additional lead generation strategies of your own. This isn’t about just following along with what everyone else is doing. It’s about keeping up with industry trends and looking ahead to stay ahead of your competition.

Networking Works

Don’t let the word networking scare you off. I know it’s not every business professional’s favorite thing to do, but it is so important to both your company and your career. I’m not sure about you, but when I first started out in the business world, networking seemed like such a daunting task. That was until I stopped putting so much pressure on it and decided to seek out events that were both relevant and resonated. That way it was something I looked forward to going to vs. seeing it as an obligation. It’s part of my routine now and should be part of yours too, especially if you’re in a sales position. It’s a great way to generate new business or to meet people who will refer you to new business. At the very least, it’s good practice for your “elevator speech”.

These tips don’t require a lot of heavy lifting.  Whether you’re the lone salesperson with no marketing support, the salesperson who wants to help with lead gen or the marketing professional looking to help their sales team, you can get started with these six easy lead gen tips as early as today. Good luck!

Related Reading: Interested in learning more about lead gen? Check out our Lead Generation Guide: Basics of Lead Gen 

Lead Generation Guide: Basics of Lead Gen

If you’re in sales and marketing, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about lead generation. Business folks, in general, are probably at least a little familiar with it. Maybe it’s discussed in business conversations you’re apart of or you’ve seen it in sales and marketing materials. But what’s all the fuss about? What’s so important about lead generation? We’re here to break down the basics of what it is, what’s tough about it, why it’s worth it, trends to watch for and how tools can help with it all. 

HubSpot defines lead generation as the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. Lead generators are things like job applications, blog posts, live events, coupons or online content. These types of things {hopefully} create interest and attract potential customers. The goal is to create unique ways to get people, the right people, interested in your business. 

Lead generation sounds simple enough, right? Well, if it were that easy, everyone would do it and do it successfully. We know it’s not that simple, so we put together a few insights into lead generation to help get you started.

Click here to have the lead generation guide emailed to you.

7 Best B2B Lead Generation Tools for 2020

Like all things sales and marketing tech-related, there’s an ever-expanding supply of options. Rather than inundate you with a list of 100 of the best B2B lead generation tools, we’re going to keep it focused. Here are the top seven tools we’re digging for generating new business leads in 2020. Seven, not a hundred.

1. Unbounce

b2b lead generation tools

Long time fans and users of Unbounce, they’ve significantly expanded the platform beyond landing pages. For organization’s who maybe lack design and/or tech resources, Unbounce makes lead capture easy peezy. With a diverse set of integrations, you can connect it to email platforms and other tools to build a marketing stack if you don’t have an all in one platform, like #2.

2. Hubspot

b2b lead generation tools

When you’re ready to scale and want a more unified view of your lead generation activity, Hubspot is the way to go. As they’ve expanded their product line up from a marketing tool to a platform for marketing, sales, and support, it offers tools from lead generation all the way through your customer journey. But even just getting started with some of the free marketing and sales tools will help ramp up your b2b lead generation efforts in 2020. For example, use forms and live chat on the free version of marketing to immediately start converting some of your website visitors.

3. LinkedIn Sales Navigator

b2b lead generation tools

For sales teams taking a targeted, account based approach, LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a must have lead generation tool. 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.

LinkedIn Marketing Guide

4. Calendly

b2b lead generation tools

There is nothing more annoying than trying to schedule meetings back and forth with someone. Calendly eliminates all the back and forth – but it also makes it easier to open up your calendar to potential prospects, referral partners and others who can bring value to your network. Setting aside a time for “office hours” and making that meeting link available opens you up to letting potential partners book time with you in a far more convenient way for everyone – and easily generate a lead.

5. Vidyard

b2b lead generation tools

Video is a hot topic these days – and for good reason. It’s a far more engaging and easily consumed form of content. When it comes to lead generation, personalizing outreach has a significant impact on improving response rate. My favorite tool for this is Vidyard. It makes personalized video super easy to produce and distribute. Don’t worry – you don’t need to be Scorcese – just get started.

6. Meetup

b2b lead generation tools

Depending on what you sell, generating B2B leads with Meetup could be your new secret weapon. Here’s how – find events and meetups related to your topic, in your area. Reach out to the organizer and see if they are looking for speakers. Many times – they’re open to it and it’s an easy way to get in front of an interested audience of potential buyers. Other options, if you’re a product and you need focus groups or beta users, you can find meetups that are often willing to share these kind of opportunities with their members. Do some research and see what groups are already getting together and how you can add value but increase your awareness.

7. Feedly
b2b lead generation tools

Keeping track of buying signals in your target accounts, verticals etc. can be a nightmare. Maybe you’ve set up a bunch of Google Alerts that have now been relegated to a folder in your inbox that you never actually check. Maybe you have an intern putting together a spreadsheet. Alternatively, you could setup feeds in Feedly to monitor accounts or industries to identify opportunities for reaching out with your b2b leads. Feedly goes with you on your phone and makes checking updates on the go a lot easier too.

Methodology for Best B2B Lead Generation Tools of 2020

I realize there are a lot of tools out there, but this list focuses on helping sales people do more of what they want to – selling and less of what they don’t – managing tools. That said, we’re looking at tools that help scale activity, make prospecting better and help drive b2b lead pipeline. We also love to hear about new tools so leave a comment if there’s something you think fits this criteria.

Using Marketing Automation to Outsource Lead Generation

Entrepreneurs and small business leaders are the ultimate hat-wearers. Unlike bigger, resource-opportune corporations, startups are scrappy. Anybody in a sales role likely isn’t doing just sales, the marketing person might double as HR, and the CEO likely wouldn’t be able to fit all his or her descriptive titles on a business card. Resources are scarce in order to put revenue back into the company for growth. If this sounds familiar, marketing automation can likely help you free up your employees’ time and aid in your business growth while you focus on all the other things your business needs. 

Marketing Automation to Outsource Lead Generation

What is Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is the use of technology to automate elements of your sales and marketing processes. While you are always looking to get more leads, implementing marketing automation allows for lead nurturing and followup at scale. There are many aspects and angles of marketing automation, but let’s talk about email marketing. 

Marketing Automation through Workflows

One of our favorite ways to use marketing automation to outsource lead generation is through workflows. Also called drip campaigns or nurturing sequences (and likely a few other names I’m forgetting), workflows are a series of emails intended to automatically move a buyer along in the journey. 

Learn more about the basics of lead gen in our guide. Get it here.

Enrollment

So how do you kick off a workflow and start automating your lead gen? Well, there are a few ways, but they all involve the user taking a specific action- visiting a specific website page, adding items to their online shopping cart but then abandoning it, making a purchase, etc.. We typically enroll users into workflows using content or “lead magnets.” We offer up a piece of content (eBook, infographic, comparison guide, etc.) that a user fills out a form to access. We get their contact info – including email- and they get their content. (Read more about this exchange here.)

From there, we know 1) who the user is, 2) what they downloaded, and 3) have the ability to infer what they are interested in. You might even get more info from your user like when they want to purchase and the persona they identify with depending on your form. (Again, here’s more information on forms and conversion funnels if you want to know more on that subject.)

Nurturing

Once a user is enrolled, your goal is to move them along. Nurture them with useful content and keep your business top of mind. We usually do 10-15 emails in each workflow campaign starting with a friendly, “Thought you might like this thing my company has” and ending the last email with a direct, “Contact us.” Three things to keep in mind here as you build out the contents of your emails:

1) Interest 

What are you emailing your leads about? Go back up a paragraph and find the word useful before the word content. Super important distinction. The most successful workflows are ones that continue to pique the interest of the user. If they downloaded an offer on subject A, don’t email them about subject Q. Your workflows should walk your lead through a natural progression of subject matter that ultimately leads back to a bottom of funnel call to action (contact us, schedule an appointment, buy this, etc.). 

2) Timing 

The timing of your workflows can be critical, and sometimes it can be hard to get exact. Too frequent and you’ll make an enemy. Too infrequent and they could move on to other options or lose interest entirely. As a general rule, we recommend about 7-10 days between these types of email communications, gradually increasing in frequency as you start to close in on your sale.

If you captured any timeline from the user on your form, use that, too. If they indicated they are looking to buy in the next 2 months, a more aggressive workflow might be in store. 

3) Other communications

What other marketing do you have going on? Make sure your leads aren’t enrolled in more than one workflow at a time. Additionally, use this opportunity to uphold other marketing efforts and communicate consistently.

Marketing Automation through Sequences

Another way to use marketing automation to outsource lead generation is by sales sequences. Take this scenario: Somebody submits a Contact Us form on your site. You email them back. No reply. You email them again. No reply. One more time for prosperity’s sake? No reply. So much wasted time. With sales sequences, you can automate that follow up. Draft templated followup emails to leads and have them automatically sent on a predetermined schedule. 

The same is true for cold-calling/emailing. Trigger your sequences by sending the first email out to your target(s) and let automation handle the followup. You can set followup and reminder emails to go out at specified intervals automatically rather than having to remember to do it yourself. For instance, you can send a cold email out on a Monday, and have marketing automation email that Thursday, at the end of the following week, and perhaps once more a week after that. Without automation, you would need to set reminders to do this and would likely be writing every new email rather than falling back into the loving arms of a template. Check out these leads followup tips to help you get started.

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Smarketing in Action: A Real-world Example

Hubspot provided a definition to smarketing in 2014, and that hasn’t changed. The gist is a process by which your sales and marketing team get on the same page around goals and communicate regularly. The results can be huge. A 2016 LinkedIn report found nearly 60% of teams that reported sales and marketing alignment saw customer experience improvements, and a 2013 report from Marketo found companies with sales & marketing alignment are 67% better at closing deals and drive 209% more revenue.

For a deep dive into driving sales and marketing alignment, check out our comprehensive guide on the topic. But today we’re going to take a look at smarketing in practice; there’s plenty on the internet that can define smarketing. What we’re going to look at is real-world examples of the impact it can have on your sales and marketing operations. 

This review will follow key topics touched on through past posts on sales and marketing alignment. 

Commit to Smarketing from the Top Down

In order for any smarketing effort to be effective, you have to commit to it throughout your organization – starting by leading from the top. 

Over the past year, our work with a client who believed in this from the C-level to the front lines has seen significant benefits from tight sales and marketing alignment. 

But how do you measure the benefit of sales and marketing alignment commitment? This isn’t a scientific, double-blind survey, but on average, our client whose leadership team not only buys into smarketing alignment but drives it forward, has seen faster time to marketing traction and ROI. This is especially impactful for inbound which on the short end can take 9 months or even up to 18 months to start showing in the numbers. 

If the anecdote above leaves you wanting more sales and marketing alignment proof, keep reading. We share some down and dirty numbers that back up our smarketing claims.

smarketing example

Establish & Track Key Measures

Knowing what and how to measure smarketing alignment can sometimes be a challenge. The two teams are often coming to the table with only their view of the funnel. But at the heart of a harmonious sales and marketing alignment, lies marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

You may have a program that with your first pass at an MQL definition is driving good volume, but when push comes to shove, your marketing contributed revenue isn’t all that great. 

The benefit of this is when your best-educated guesses go wrong. We have a favorite saying at Lake One, “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.” – multiple sources

Over the past 12 months, our unified sales and marketing alignment with our client resulted in increasing marketing-sourced revenue while actually flattening the volume of MQLs.

smarketing example

Wait, what? MQLs flatlining? It truly is about quality over quantity. Fewer, better quality MQLs could only be accomplished because of regular communication, and in two quarters of work, we saw a little over two times the marketing sources impact on revenue. 

smarketing example

Get Acquainted & Communicate 

Just saying we’re going to agree to a few measurables isn’t enough to drive an aligned sales and marketing organization. You need to develop a sales and marketing plan for regular communication and alignment checkpoints. 

Two heads are better than one, a whole group of heads – that’s magic. With the client we’ve been mentioning throughout this post, our smarketing alignment is tied into all of our marketing program meetings. Sales is represented in every meeting so we get to hear weekly what’s working, what’s not, and what’s coming up. This kind of immediate connection between two teams that don’t traditionally work together opens up lines of communication. Both teams feel comfortable lobbing ideas over the fence in between those meetings. 

Ideas that have lead to optimizations seeing traffic nearly quadruple and leads nearly double in 6 months. 

smarketing example

Smarketing Results and You

This is just one example from one client of how smarketing can drive impact throughout the funnel on an organization. Every organization is different, but with so much attention, smarketing or sales and marketing alignment or whatever you want to call it is getting we thought it was worthwhile taking a look at how bringing the two teams responsible for revenue closer together – can actually make a measurable impact. 

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Crush B2B Lead Gen Goals with LinkedIn Sponsored Content

It’s a common story. Inbound marketers do their diligence developing buyer personas; cultivating content plans informed by keyword research throughout the buyer’s journey designed to attract and convert B2B leads. We launch our campaign to the world. Check for form notifications. Hours go by. Days. *DING* WE GOT ONE! – oh, wait… it’s a guest blogging service in Croatia.

Well, shoot. Here’s the deal: it’s not that the inbound research is necessarily wrong. But the content and conversion paths are a long game. Driving B2B leads with content can’t always rely on the grit of our organic and earned efforts. Especially in the short term. Take this data from Hubspot for example:

LinkedIn B2B Lead Gen

It usually takes 3 – 6 months before we start seeing the blogs we’re posting today really start picking up steam in attracting the contact volume that can start to scale our business. It takes 12 months to really go crazy.

So what’s a marketer to do? Help crush your B2B lead gen goals with some help from the social network built for B2B. LinkedIn. If you sell B2B, you should already consider LinkedIn marketing. What we’re going to look at today, is sponsored content.

LinkedIn B2B Lead Gen

Get to Know LinkedIn Sponsored Content

LinkedIn Sponsored content is the promotion of a post from a page that appears natively in the LinkedIn feed [psst, here are some post ideas.] You can include a link to your site or landing page or build a lead generation form within LinkedIn that lets LinkedIn users request content, information, or other contact from your organization with the click of a button. The form will automatically populate with information from their LinkedIn profile.

Because it behaves like a native post you get the benefit of the engagement functionality resulting in brand awareness via the social nature of the network. This reach is extended beyond that of your company page with the assistance of an ad budget.

LinkedIn B2B Lead Gen

Setting up Sponsored Content

Getting your sponsored content campaign up and running requires a LinkedIn advertising account. For a complete guide to doing that, check out the Getting Started with LinkedIn Advertising chapter in our LinkedIn Marketing Guide.

Some things to consider as you plan your advertising strategy.

  • Budget
    • LinkedIn, like most online ad platforms enable total and daily budget parameters. Bids can be set per click or impression if sending InMail. Because of the niche element of LinkedIn (focus on work) costs are generally higher than you’ll see on other networks.
  • Audience
    • There’s a multitude of options for targeting ads from audience development around LinkedIn profile parameters like job title, professional interest, industry. etc.. But another powerful tool is combining LinkedIn with your own data whether using matched audiences like those who visit your website or for account-based targeting. All of this is covered in depth in our LinkedIn Marketing Guide.

Aligning Sponsored Content with Inbound

The LinkedIn B2B lead generation goal crushing comes in when LinkedIn sponsored content aligns with a well crafted inbound marketing program. If your marketing plan and website is built to be a lead gen machine, give the machine some extra horsepower by plugging in another channel.

First, look to your personas when you build out your audience targeting in LinkedIn advertising. Structure campaigns around them, their stage in the journey, and use the LinkedIn Insights tag to create audience groups for people who engage with content as they move through the funnel, adjusting the content you show them during their journey.

Second, make sure that the audiences are aligned with the timing delivered in your email nurture sequences. The goal is to create a multi-channel soft touch to attract and nurture your prospects along their journey.

Finally, once a prospect has achieved the desired behavior, make sure to exclude them from LinkedIn sponsored content both to conserve ad budget but to also deliver a positive marketing experience.

For more information, here are some additional ways you use LinkedIn for Lead Gen.

6 LinkedIn Post Ideas To Drive B2B Eyeballs

Creating LinkedIn posts for B2B can be a challenge when competing with all the other noise on social. However, unlike some channels that are heavily influenced by friends and families, research from Marketing Profs found that while individuals have a slight advantage, brands bring a fair degree of influence on LinkedIn, making it a key part of your b2b marketing. 

Additionally, MarketingProfs found that LinkedIn members will engage with content when it’s educational or informative, relevant to their specific interests, and related to industry news and trends. 89% of people said say they are interested in industry news, and 86% said that want tips and best practices.

Here are a few of our recommendations on how to create LinkedIn posts for B2B to drive views and engagement while giving the people want they want.

LinkedIn Posts for B2B

Create Posts That Give How-tos and Tips

As mentioned above, people use LinkedIn to learn more information. They go to the platform to stay relevant in their fields and competitive with what their colleagues are doing. They want to learn from their peers and find interesting, useful tidbits of info that are applicable to their own career.

Looking for more info on LinkedIn Marketing? Download our guide.

B2B posts centered around giving your audience just that- useful information- will go far. Make your audience feel smart with posts that fuel their natural inclination to do their job better.

Create Posts about Your Company Culture

B2B companies have a much larger opportunity to be seen and followed on LinkedIn than any other platform. This is simply because many professionals still want to keep their work and personal social channels separate. That being said, LinkedIn is a great place to showcase your business’ culture.

Create posts that show what your culture is about. Please don’t just spew culture-related buzzwords all over your audience. Post photos of your team, congratulate your employees on their successes, showcase how you’re putting your mission into action by serving the community.

We love this example of how our partner Beehive Strategic Communications used International Women’s Day to showcase their culture through dedication to gender equality.

LinkedIn Posts for B2B

Create Posts Giving Predictions and Unique Points of view

LinkedIn is a great platform for your company to strut its stuff, so to speak. You’re experts in what you do, right? Use LinkedIn to prove it. Make your proclamations and show your audience that you know what you’re talking about. They likely are following you for exactly that reason already. Don’t be afraid to make bold statements about your industry.

Furthermore, since we’re talking B2B here, your prospects are likely looking to work with a company that’s confident in their assertions.

Check out these tips on how to use LinkedIn for lead gen!

Create Posts that Provoke Thought

On that note, the average LinkedIn scroller will be looking to engage and interact. They are eager to offer their opinion and sound smart. This is partly due to the fact that commenting gains them visibility, which you can use to your advantage. By declaring your own point of view or making predictions about the state of [insert topic here], you have the opportunity to open up a dialog. Ask questions, invite feedback, and inspire your followers to give you their opinion, too.

Make it a point to write specific posts geared toward igniting discussion on a weekly basis. The more engagement you get, the more likely you will be to show up at the top of the newsfeed.

Create Posts Using Your Company Influencers & Thought Leaders

Because “B2B” by definition is Business-to-Business, we tend to forget about the humans actually running the businesses. So, even though we’re talking about posting on a company LinkedIn page, you can absolutely let individuals speak through your company. Especially when it comes to video, which we’ll talk about next. Your employees are brilliant authorities on your core topics. Allow them to generate, lead, and influence the conversations you want to have.

Here’s an example from HubSpot. They’ve showcased VP Katie Ng-Mak. She’s breaking through barriers about what it means to be a ‘salesperson’ and opening the door for other like-mind individuals to do the same, sparking a dialog in the comments. This video really hits on all the sections above, too.

Create Video Posts

How far can you get in your own LinkedIn feed before you see a video? Starting at the top of my feed, I got to post #5 and it was a video of a dog hugging a goose. Can’t make this up. Maybe not the most relevant subject matter for LinkedIn…? BUT right below that was a video on personal branding and authenticity. She recorded it on her own personal device- no budget, no frills, no extra equipment. You bet I watched the whole thing, took mental notes on it, and went on my way. Note that this wasn’t a paid spot, either. But here is some info on using LinkedIn Ads if you’re interested! 

When generating LinkedIn Posts for B2b, if you’re an expert in your field, which we already assumed you are, people want to hear from you. And video is one of the easiest, fastest ways to accomplish that task. We can guarantee that almost everybody (save for those people who really want to be actors deep down) are going to be camera shy at first, but the reward of video is worth feeling silly at first.

LinkedIn Posts for B2B

 

Lead Scoring Basics

What is Lead Scoring

Not all leads are created equal and for that very reason, we queue lead scoring. Lead scoring is ranking lead readiness to convert based on the lead’s behavior. The idea behind lead scoring is that certain activities speak to a lead’s readiness to be contacted by sales. A user who is highly engaged on the site, downloading multiple offers visiting key pages (like pricing), and signing up for the blog, etc. is (in theory) more ready to purchase than a user who visited one or two pages on the site a couple of times. Lead scoring allows a sales and marketing team to work together to develop criteria identifying leads likely to make a purchase so they can be followed up with by Sales.

Lead Scoring Basics

Continue reading “Lead Scoring Basics”