Make no mistake: in B2B environments, cold calling is undeniably effective. One recent survey found that in 2019, 69% of business buyers accepted phone calls from new salespeople to learn about new partnership and vendor opportunities.
But is cold calling the best way to generate leads for your business?
Depending on your industry and target market, cold calling might limit your lead generation; it doesn’t work for all audiences. Your sales team will call hundreds of leads for one decent conversation, while your ideal buyers prioritize their time on LinkedIn or email. Even if cold calling is a good fit for your offering, exclusively focusing on one channel will limit the potential of your reach.
Diversifying your outreach approach can help you to yield optimal results in your lead generation strategy. There are dozens of lead generation strategies that require less manpower while yielding the same (if not better) results as cold calling.
Below are five successful lead generation strategies in a B2B marketing environment.
1. Cold Emailing
While the basic concept is similar to cold calling, email brings a few hard-to-ignore advantages over phone calls:
- You don’t interrupt your prospect. They’ll read your message in their own time when they have the bandwidth to take in the message.
- You can pack more value into your message, focusing directly on what matters most instead of managing small talk.
- You can create more comprehensive communication plans, with follow-up emails that include value-driven content to address common pain points, questions, and interests of your target audience in short, snackable snippets.
Perhaps because of those reasons, 80% of business buyers prefer to be contacted via email instead of a phone call when it comes to sales pitches. If your messages can provide them with true value related to their business needs, cold emailing can be a powerful lead generation tool.
2. Social Selling
Don’t think of social media as a sales tool reserved for consumer-facing promotions. Social selling, defined as “the art of using social media to find, connect with, understand, and nurture sales prospects,” has become a core tool in business environments as well.
A few of the most common social selling channels include:
- LinkedIn, the most successful marketing solution for 82% of B2B marketers. Post about your company, connect with target buyers, interact with their posts, and join relevant industry groups.
- Niche Facebook Groups, which allow you to network and make connections with people across the globe in the same industry as your business.
- Slack communities, especially invite-only groups within specific industry niches such as Enterprise Sellers, SalesStack, SDReady, and more.
- Twitter and Instagram, the latter being especially relevant in more visual industries. A social media presence across traditionally consumer-facing channels is becoming increasingly important.
Done right, engaging business buyers on social media helps you engage in real, thoughtful conversations. Instead of simply pitching your product, you can build genuine connections with your prospects that establish you as a thought leader and position you as the go-to solution once a business need arises.
3. Referral Marketing
Your current customers are, in many ways, your best sales opportunities. According to one survey, word of mouth is the driving factor behind up to 50% of all purchasing decisions. That’s also and especially true in business environments, where recommendations from trusted connections can be driving factors behind landing a big account or making a more convincing sales pitch.
Word of mouth is, by definition, organic. At the same time, you can encourage referrals through a few targeted strategies:
- Actively encourage happy customers to spread the word to their friends, co-workers, and anyone else in their network by utilizing a referral program.
- Gather testimonials and case studies for your website from customers you know to be happy with your solution.
- Engage in reputation management to encourage positive reviews and respond to negative reviews in ways that actually lead to problem solutions.
Done right, your current customers become core drivers in your sales pipeline, making more authentic, unbiased, and credible sales pitches on your behalf.
4. Website Optimization
Modern B2B marketing begins and ends with your website. In addition to listing core features of your solution and the background of your business, it should have active sales conversion opportunities that all prospects can leverage to move through the pipeline.
That starts with making your contact forms simple and easy to find. Any prospect with a question or just wanting to learn more should be able to get there within seconds of landing on your homepage.
Beyond that, gated content can help you capture prospect emails to engage in more targeted lead nurturing. Gated content here refers to in-depth content such as eBooks and whitepapers, which are free but gated behind a sign-up form. Offer enough value, and your prospects have no problem giving up their email address and contact info to get to the content. Now, you can engage them through a drip campaign to sell your solution and expertise until they’re ready to buy.
Generally speaking, your website’s design and user experience can go a long way towards engaging your website visitors and converting them into leads. It also pays to optimize your website for SEO, focusing on industry-relevant keywords to attract organic traffic from prospects through Google and other search engines.
5. Leverage Speaking Engagements
From virtual events to webinars and podcasts, speaking engagements provide a great opportunity to get in front of your audience. Once there, you can use your platform to establish your credibility and thought leadership, while also telling them directly about your product or service and how it could solve their pain points.
Some of these engagements can be owned. Any company can create a Zoom event or host their own webinar and podcast series. A more comprehensive version of the same strategy includes actively seeking out the events, webinars, and podcasts of personalities that your target audience considers experts in your industry. A guest appearance on these media can go a long way towards getting your audience’s attention, and turning that attention into new leads.
Beyond Cold Calls: How to Create a More Comprehensive Lead Generation Strategy
Each of these tactics can be as, and in many cases more effective than simply cold calling. But they’re at their best when wrapped into a comprehensive, multi-channel lead generation strategy that meets your audience where they are, and sells your solution in a variety of ways.
With that strategy in place, you can leverage the attention traditionally spent cold-calling your prospects towards lead nurturing. Calling leads who have already expressed an interest in your product or service has a much higher chance of success, building on existing attention to make a more specific, focused pitch.
Are you looking to build your sales pipeline? We can help. Download the Ultimate Guide to Tripling Your Sales Meetings Using Cold Emails today.