This Week’s Big Deal: Combine Lead Gen Sources to Grow Your Pipeline

April 1, 2019

Where do B2B leads come from?

The answer, of course, is many places (and, all too often, not enough places). Strategic B2B organizations are widening their scopes when it comes to lead generation, taking steps to ensure that promising prospects get in their pipelines from a variety of different sources.  

These companies are no April Fools. They recognize that more is better, and that nurturing an array of lead gen avenues can help offset the ebbs and flows inherent to each individual one. But still, many of us find ourselves wondering: how do we improve lead generation with what we already have?

Our solution might lie in combining the forces of our best performers.

How to Improve Lead Generation by Combining Tactics

The 2019 B2B Marketing Mix Report (gated) from Sagefrog breaks down the current hierarchy of sources for B2B sales and marketing leads:

Not too many surprises here. Referrals lead the way because nothing is more persuasive than a personalized recommendation from someone you know. Tradeshows and events provide the opportunity to engage prospects directly in a suitable context. Email, SEO, inbound, and social media are all proven B2B business development mainstays.

Each of these tactics can be successful on its own. But today we’re going to explore ways that B2B sales teams can pair them together for better results. Here are a few examples:

Referrals + Social Media

LinkedIn is the No. 1 driver of B2B social media leads, and with its interconnected network of professionals, it can also be a powerful referral engine. Many of today’s reps are active prospectors on the platform, seeking opportunities to connect with new buyers and share helpful content. But don’t underestimate the importance of maintaining your existing relationships and leveraging them for new strategic introductions.

Last year we broke down some of the most effective methods for earning referrals on LinkedIn, which include taking advantage of the TeamLink feature and reverse-engineering warm intros.

Inbound + Email

“Inbound” is a broad term that encompasses everything the marketing team does to draw visitors and prospects to your brand organically. But what to do once your brand has attracted these individuals?

Email is a common and reliable follow-through method. The standard blueprint involves prompting a visitor to share their email address in exchange for content, and then having the sales team reach out. However, if you’ve noticed a decline in success with this tactic, you’re not alone.

One way to strengthen your results is to get more specific and personalized in your approach. Offer multiple downloadable assets and tailor your messaging based on what the person downloaded. You could even create a custom PointDrive package with additional resources the user might find helpful based on what they originally requested.

We know that today’s prospects want to be helped, not sold to. So, the generic “Hey, got time for a 20-minute chat about our product?” email has lost much of its appeal.

Another combination worth pursuing is inbound + social media. Work with your marketing team to set up Website Retargeting on LinkedIn, enabling your company to serve ads to folks who’ve visited your site and capitalize on the interest they’ve shown.

Webinars + PPC

It’s not common for salespeople to run webinars, but perhaps it should be.  The sales team often has the expertise and charisma to make them entertaining as well as informative.  

The latest B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks report from CMI and MarketingProfs shows that audio/visual content (including webinars) is the fastest-growing type among practitioners. Companies are seeing the value of these engaging experiences. The same report shows that webinars, specifically, are rated as the second-most effective content for demand generation at the consideration/intent stage, behind only white papers:

Tradeshows + Direct Mail

Collecting emails at an event or tradeshow is the typical model. Therein lies our problem. Many folks who share their contact info at such gatherings brace themselves for an unpleasant deluge of sales outreach; sometimes they even use a secondary email address for an inbox they won’t check.

Direct mail, as we can see in the lead source breakdown cited earlier, is not too trendy these days. And that might be all the more reason to give it a shot. Data analyzed by the Direct Marketing Association a few years back found that direct mail still drives relatively high response rates:

So instead of the typical email post-show follow-up, consider sending a personalized letter to the contact in physical form. This actually reduces the amount of information you need to collect, because as long as you know their name and where they work, you can simply send your letter to their company with an “Attn: [Name]” on the envelope.

Heat Up Your Lead Generation Efforts

As the warmth of a budding spring sets in, this is no time for your pipeline to cool off. If you’re wondering how to improve lead generation this summer, combining the powers of your most fruitful sources might be just the ticket.

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