Are you on the lookout for new ways to identify prospects and generate leads in business markets? I’ve come across several innovative digital marketing tools and services that are worth your consideration. Have a look:
Ramp up your LinkedIn outreach.
Hugh MacFarlane, a longtime sales and marketing trainer and coach has added a prospecting service that uses predictive modeling to identify and target prospects for clients. Then it takes over the LinkedIn accounts of the client’s sales reps. The system then sends out a connection request with a note and direct messaging that offers thought on leadership content. It later follows up. Once the connection is established and warmed up, it hands the reins back to the representative .
Jason Kieffer offers a similar service using a message template stream on LinkedIn on behalf of the sales reps in small and medium businesses. These approaches seem ,to me, like a worthwhile way to remove some routine general lead tasks from the plate of your skilled salespeople. Now they can spend more time in productive conversations with interested prospects. As LinkedIn uniquely combines the professional with the personal, some marketers may question the technique as being in-authentic, or crossing a line with their sales people LinkedIn accounts. I’d recommend a test, with the representative’s agreement.
Surround your prospects with their own colleagues.
Shawn Elledge has created a nifty system he calls BuyrMail, which crafts cold prospecting emails to buyers. But this includes a cc addressed to other internal influencers, who have been identified by LinkedIn research. According to Elledge, the apparent social pressure vastly increases response rates and the number of meetings scheduled.
Outsource your top of funnel.
Full-service lead gen and qualification agencies are abound, but here’s a new twist. Ben Goldberg recently established Salesgig as an “outbound as a service” sales development function for SMB clients. Clients get immediate access to skilled, tech-enabled resources who can contribute to their top of funnel with speed and flexibility. It’s cash-flow friendly, since you pay as you go and avoid the fixed costs associated with staff and tech.
Stock your sales development function with pre-trained SDRs.
Ben Goldberg told me he has had success using PreHired, a company that recruits and trains sales development representatives and places them in a client company as new hires, all ready to go. The upfront training is free to the rep, but after they are placed, PreHired takes a percentage of their salary for first couple of years. A win win situation.
Qualify prospects up front.
Union Resolute is a general lead agency specializing in using intent data to identify high-value prospects for clients. As a business, they deploy a remarkably simple but effective client self-qualification process they call FitAnalysis. Mark Troy, founder and CEO, says the 15-minute questionnaire helps them focus their sales resources on the 75% of inquirers that are most likely to convert to a profitable client. This sure cuts down on the time and expense of marketing outreach to qualify leads.
Upgrade your chatbot.
Chatbots offer enormous advantages in B2B—not only as an instant customer service and immediate engagement, but also a handy way to collect contact information from site visitors. But the emerging new tools, like Drift and Intercom take the engagement potential to new levels, connecting with meta data like IP address and your CRM system. This optimizes the bot scripts and begins setting up a meeting with the visitor. Koen de Witte, who knows his stuff, says, “B2B chatbots are different from consumer. They don’t have to answer any possible question. The goal is to convert the unknown into known, and then route the conversation to live chat or a nurture stream. Being super relevant during the first question is the key.” I’d say any site not using these tools is leaving money on the table.