Fire up your lead generation ENGINE

Monika Chmielewska in

Blog/Fire up your lead generation ENGINE

Lead generation is the main sales result improvement method used in B2B companies nowadays. Every B2B sales rep knows, that leads can be very different in terms of quality. Unfortunately, managers don’t always realise it.

Lead quality – value that describes probability of converting a lead into a signed deal

Inbound leads are usually different in terms of “temperature”. For instance, leads actively reading your blog are warmer (more willing to talk to your reps) than those who know you only from paid advertising campaigns. In outbound campaigns, the temperature of leads is the same in a majority of cases – they’re cold because you’re initiating contact with someone who doesn’t know you yet. So, if every outbound lead is cold, do they differ in terms of quality?

Lead temperature – value that describes how interested leads are in your offer

Outbound leads differ in terms of “fit”, meaning how well they fit your ideal customer profile. The difference in lead fit affects lead quality. Certain customer groups are more suitable to become ideal customers. Companies that you’re targeting might be more willing to talk to you depending on your localisation.

Lead fit – value that describes whether leads fit your ideal customer profile

For example, if you run an e-commerce development agency in Vienna, digital shops from Europe will be more willing to discuss cooperation with you, than American e-commerce companies. What does it mean for you?

Your ROI from campaigns aimed at your ideal target customers will be greater, than campaigns that aren’t optimized to reach that perfect target group. In the second scenario, you might still generate a decent amount of leads, but they won’t sign as many deals.

In other words, to increase lead quality:

  • You should increase lead temperature for inbound leads
  • You should increase lead fit for outbound leads

How can you reach more ideal customers?

Step one: pinpoint your ideal customers

Pick those companies that will be the easiest to convert into your customers. A good starting point is looking through your portfolio. Map the location of your existing and past customers, what industries they were in, and their most important characteristics. Collect the titles of people who made the decisions to cooperate with you, and write down what convinced them to close the deal.

With this data you can start prospecting. You want to look for companies that have the budget to work with you, and a good indicator of that is their website and their social media profiles – do they look good and are they regularly updated? It’s not the only important factor here, but companies that have abandoned their website and don’t exist on social media are usually the ones that are experiencing financial trouble.

Step two: multichannel outreach to ideal customers

Once you define a narrow group of ideal customers, it’s on you to do everything you can to reach them and initiate conversations. The most popular way to do it is broad outreach to the right prospects through one channel of communication, usually email. The problem with this approach is that it carries a high risk that our message will be ignored because of inbox clutter.

You can’t have that risk in case of ideal customers. When generating inbound leads, marketing teams use multiple channels (own blog, paid media, newsletters, remarketing, etc.). Why not use the same multichannel approach in outbound?

Multichannel outreach

There is no silver bullet strategy, but an example approach could look like this:

  • Email chain sent to main decision maker
  • No response – message main decision maker on LinkedIn
  • Still no response – email a different decision maker
  • No response – message different decision maker on LinkedIn
  • If nobody responds, try it again in the next quarter

This is just a basic idea, and it’s open to experimentation. But notice that even with this simple extension of your outbound campaign, instead of having one opportunity to reach a prospective client, now you have 4 opportunities. This approach is most recommended when reaching out to ideal target customers. In case of a more broadly targeted campaign, the effort might not be worth it in the end.

Step three: minimise risk

There is a drawback to the multichannel outbound approach – it might make you look like a pushy salesperson. To avoid this, take your time in crafting the content of your messages, and your outreach strategy. Apply personalization, avoid hard selling, and focus on starting a conversation.

Another risky element is coordinating your outbound process. You can’t afford mistakes if you’re targeting your ideal customers. The most important part of managing your campaigns is to stop sending messages to people that have already contacted you – for example, if someone submits a contact form on your website, make sure you exclude them from your campaign.

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Monika Chmielewska

Inbound marketing specialist with the focus on lead generation.