The stories of six lead generation campaigns that drove real business results
Inspiring tales of six businesses that smashed their lead gen targets on LinkedIn
June 18, 2019
It tops almost every B2B marketer’s agenda: how can we meet our lead generation targets? We’re judged on the number and cost of Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs) that we deliver – and if that flow doesn’t keep up, we come under pressure. Leads matter. However, not all leads matter in the same way.
As marketers, we don’t just want impressive lead generation performance – we need impressive and measurable revenue performance. If we can demonstrate the value of leads as well as the quantity and the cost, we find ourselves in a far stronger position. That’s why the most effective lead generation strategies don’t just optimise around generating more leads. They optimise around generating the leads that are most likely to convert to valuable customers. They integrate with and support sales to help those conversions happen.
For this latest post in our case study series, I’ve pulled together six of the most inspirational stories of B2B marketing teams deploying smarter lead generation to help their businesses grow. These are businesses that don’t just smash their lead generation targets; they deliver profits, sustainable growth, and boost productivity and morale in the process. Every single one of these businesses has been able to transform the value of lead generation by focusing their strategy on LinkedIn:
· Templafy generated 25 MQLs a week for a 475% Return on Investment (ROI)
· Reed Exhibitions used LinkedIn to generate 20% of all revenue for its SNSR risk and security expo
· Matmatch built the business model for its engineering materials platform, by growing its pipeline of suppliers 10x
· Alliance Manchester Business School filled courses faster with benchmark-beating click-through and engagement rates
· Comarch filled its new business pipeline two years ahead of schedule to drive growth in a new market
· Audi built a pipeline of high net worth buyers for its new A8 model through a video view rate of 35% and a click-through rate of 5.7%
The stories of these six businesses show how sophisticated lead generation strategies do more than just keep sales happy – they drive measurable business growth. Here’s how they did it:
Effective lead generation builds on awareness and engagement
Lead generation is a lot easier when people know who you are – and know the type of value your solutions can provide. That’s why many of the strongest-performing lead generation campaigns on LinkedIn have two elements to them. They drive awareness of what a business has to offer through targeted video, ads and content in the feed, and combine this with a direct, personalised call to action, often through Sponsored InMail.
Many successful lead generation campaigns are also very successful brand-building campaigns. Matmatch and Comarch both fall into this category, building awareness among audiences that had little familiarity with these businesses to begin with. What distinguishes them from other successful brand campaigns is the way they focused on building that awareness among a specific target audience that they had identified as part of the lead generation strategy.
When the engineering materials platform Matmatch needed to increase the number of its enrolled suppliers, it started by distributing strongly branded, animated videos that showed how signing up could provide access to new customers. It then followed up by targeting the same audience with Sponsored InMail offering a free demo of the platform.
Similarly, when Reed Exhibitions launched the SNSR Expo, a new risk and security conference for the Middle East, it led with thought-leadership content on risk and security issues and then used engagement with this content as the starting point for the lead generation and nurturing process. Reed Exhibitions used LinkedIn conversion tracking to identify the businesses whose employees were engaging with the content, and then used LinkedIn Sales Navigator to identify and reach out to the most likely decision-makers at those businesses.
Effective lead generation takes different routes to the right audience
To generate quality leads, B2B marketers need the ability to reach a relevant audience at scale. They can reduce cost per lead (CPL) when they are able to develop distinctive approaches to targeting that audience. By building bespoke segments, and defining their audience in different ways, they can avoid bidding on the same targeting characteristics as other marketers – reducing the amount they have to pay.
Luxury auto brands traditionally target established luxury consumers by focusing on likely indicators of affluence such as age and seniority. However, Audi realised that this approach wouldn’t fit the likely profile of buyers in the Middle East, where luxury consumers are often younger. It focused on another indicator of buying power by targeting those working in government-related jobs, and then used the LinkedIn Insight Tag to confirm that those engaging with its campaign fitted the luxury buyer profile.
Matmatch mixed different approaches to reaching relevant engineering materials suppliers, using LinkedIn profile data to target at scale while also leveraging account targeting to reach out to specific businesses attending trade shows. This provided an alternative route to likely prospects – and by securing meetings in advance, it helped to maximise the business’s investment in the trade shows themselves.
For Alliance Manchester Business School, which was once forced to base its lead generation campaigns on unreliable email lists, it’s the range of targeting approaches available on LinkedIn that enables more efficient lead generation. The marketing team is able to test different targeting approaches and optimise around those that prove most effective. The digital transformation partner Comarch also tested different targeting approaches for key sectors like retail, travel and hospitality as it aimed to accelerate growth in France. It was then able to switch budget to the targeting approaches that performed best.
Effective lead generation personalises content to audience priorities
Segmentation plays a crucial role in effective lead generation, enabling businesses to personalise content to the most pressing current priorities of different audiences – and provide compelling reasons to engage. The ability to call out a specific target audience in Sponsored Content delivers a measurable uplift in engagement and click-through rates – and by tailoring campaigns to different segments, marketers can also personalise the ongoing journey, and increase the chances of leads converting to revenue.
Comarch has been able to maximise the impact of its lead generation budget by investing in research that demonstrated the specific value of digital transformation for retail businesses. By releasing eye-catching data at key moments in the year for retailers, Comarch was able to increase engagement around its content – and increase the flow of leads.
Templafy is one of the fastest-growing software businesses in Scandinavia, offering a software-led solution to the problem of keeping documents on-brand and legally compliant. The addressable audience for these solutions is broad and varied, which has enabled the business to take different approaches to targeting and engaging its prospects.
Templafy targets general campaigns at IT and marketing functions in enterprise-level businesses – people who will instantly understand the problem of brand consistency. At the same time, it uses an Account-Based Marketing (ABM) approach to target insurance businesses with tailored content – and take advantage of the huge specific opportunity in a sector that produces a large amount of customer documents.
Effective lead generation optimises around lead value
“I’d far rather have one lead from the right kind of prospect than 100 less relevant ones,” says Templafy’s Traffic Manager and Growth Hacker Casper Emil Rouchmann. “When it comes to measuring the value of campaigns, we’re not interested in vanity metrics like clicks and impressions – we’re interested in Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR). When we evaluate our channels in terms of lead quality, sales opportunities and lifetime customer value, LinkedIn comes out on top by a very wide margin.”
By optimising lead generation activity around the value of leads rather than focusing on lead quantity and CPL in isolation, Templafy has been able to generate massive ROI. LinkedIn targeting has reduced CPL by 55% - and the quality of those leads has also reduced cost per sales opportunity by 43%. Overall, the projected value of Templafy’s LinkedIn-sourced pipeline represents an ROI of over 475%.
Other top-performing lead generation campaigns take a similar approach to optimising around the quality and value of leads rather than just the cost and quantity of them. The approach that Reed Exhibitions took to qualifying leads and planning follow-up through Sales Navigator led to a conversion rate from leads to signed exhibitor contracts of over 30%.
Matmatch has switched the vast majority of its budget for targeting suppliers to LinkedIn, because of the lead quality that the platform delivers. “When we compared different channels’ performance on cost per lead (CPL) for the quality of leads that we needed, LinkedIn was miles ahead,” says Matmatch’s Head of Growth, Ben Smye. “As a result, we’ve stopped using some other social channels in our strategy – and LinkedIn is now our main source of leads for suppliers. It’s the only place we can reach the specific audiences we need and drive quality leads at the right cost.”
Effective lead generation removes friction from the journey
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms are common to many of the most successful lead generation campaigns, removing friction from the process. For Templafy, LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms play a critical role in helping to capture the telling details like location and function that enable personalised lead nurturing. For Matmatch, Lead Gen Forms generated over 1,000 leads and grew the business’s pipeline of suppliers by 10x.
Effective lead generation doesn’t end with lead generation
Sophisticated lead generation strategies don’t just have the goal of delivering relevant leads to sales. They aim to integrate the onward journey into their planning, providing sales with the details they need, or integrating sales into the lead generation process itself.
Templafy uses the data from LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms to develop bespoke nurture streams for different locations and functions, enabling it to personalise both follow-up content and outreach from sales.
Reed Exhibitions integrated sales into the lead generation process itself. Its campaign took engagement with content as a signal of interest from an organisation – and then used LinkedIn Sales Navigator to prospect those organisations. The sales team was able to identify the most likely decision-makers and reach out with personalised content. This approach to accelerating the journey through the funnel. helped to deliver ROI of 19x for LinkedIn activity, with 20% of all revenues for the SNSR Expo coming from the platform.
Comarch’s use of LinkedIn Sales Navigator to follow up on leads delivered a seamless experience for prospects that helped fill the new business pipeline in France two years ahead of schedule. “You can do the best advertising campaign, but if there’s no co-ordinated follow-up action it’s likely to be a waste of time,” says Comarch’s Chief Marketing Officer, Matthieu Lacroix. “Building our sales networks has been the big change for us. We not only have a sustainable business pipeline for both our retail and travel business units, but I’m now confident that our contact network means we’re discovering all of the relevant opportunities for our business. We’ve got a long sales cycle that can easily last nine months, but despite that we’ve already closed between five and ten deals as a result of engagement that began with our LinkedIn campaign.”
These are just some of the most recent stories of businesses using lead generation on LinkedIn to accelerate growth. You’ll find more on our Customer Stories hub.