Unless you're in central London, you wouldn’t put up your Christmas lights in October. But you should be already planning your 2024 go-to-market strategy.
Yes, 2023 saw a slow down in the SaaS sales cycle. But companies are still as interested as ever in buying good business software — technology remains a huge driver of efficiency and revenue. Indeed, SaaS sales are the highest they’ve ever been and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue next year.
What is changing is how deals are made. And your B2B lead generation strategy for 2024 needs to really meet the consistently higher expectations of your target audience. Where they’re at.
Now more than ever you need to build a relationship, not just sell a product. Let’s get into four ways you can deliver on the lead gen trends of 2024.
Sustainable lead generation is not about sending out loads of messages — if it ever was — it's about sending the right message to the right person at the right time.
“With sales cycles slowing, delays and loss rates increasing, sales professionals in 2024 must work harder to hit targets, creating a premium on the value of each and every lead and ultimately its percentage of conversion to opportunity,” said our sales director Liam Huskinson.
This also means that while there are many ways to kick off moving prospects down the funnel, conversations matter.
“To truly create sales qualified leads [SQLs], in a market that has never been more saturated, you must pick up the telephone and speak with your intended audience,” Liam said, after you’ve understood that they fit your ideal customer profile.
“How else can you truly understand your prospects, needs, interests, requirements, pains, challenges and potential upcoming projects?” he continued. “We will continue to see the trend that conversion of SQLs result from a telephone outreach and/or having a conversation [online] with a potential prospect.”
You can’t expand your product to a new market or vertical until you’ve proven your home market. Now, more than ever, you can’t just promise, you need to be able to boast real logos with testimonials of how your product or service helped them achieve business goals.
Once you have that, you can reuse/recycle that content across all platforms and sales materials, so you are able to create an impact-driven B2B lead generation strategy. Liam says your 2024 lead gen activities must include an omni-channel approach:
“These are all necessary in today's lead generation landscape to create brand awareness, define your target market, and enable personalization,” he said.
When looking to expand to Europe, it’s as essential as ever to make sure that case study is translated — not just into the local language, but for SEO and cultural values, too.
As ever, it’s also important to make this relationship building and sentiment analysis data-driven to really embrace continuous improvement and better qualified leads.
When looking for qualified B2B leads in Europe, there is no better first point of contact than LinkedIn, with a higher conversion rate than more traditional cold calling. It not only is much more likely to be more up to date than the questionable lead lists you can buy elsewhere, LinkedIn is perfect for B2B lead generation with a broader business reach — which drives to more scheduled meetings with target customers — than anywhere else. Also, instead of interrupting your prospects’ workflow, you are able to engage with them asynchronously, when they are more open to interaction.
One of the reasons we are so successful with LinkedIn lead generation is that we are not only able to reach out to qualified tech buyers on behalf of your company, but we are doing so after having established ourselves as industry thought leaders. That way your brand is quickly connected with thought leadership too. Bonus, by using local SDRs, we are likely already connected to your targets or at least have shared connections, which builds trust faster.
You will also find success not by just posting but by directly engaging with prospects — often in the form of comments and sharing other people’s work. Lead generation is inherently a conversation and LinkedIn is a good place to help you have that conversation in a way that moves you along the buyer journey quicker.
Make sure to leverage a mix of one-to-one conversations, public post commenting, Sales Navigator, InMail, and groups for targeted outreach. Try using video or voicemail to make things even more personal — but wait until after at least the first back and forth to not be too annoying.
But LinkedIn isn’t the only game in Europe. If you are expanding to German-speaking markets don’t forget the German social network Xing. And, while LinkedIn is still the dominator for the French markets, you’d be remiss to skip posting and engaging on Viadeo there too. And of course, if you sell developer-focused tooling like for infrastructure or platform engineering, you need to be active on Discord and GitHub.
Finally, when thinking about B2B social media outreach, don’t forget to look at the traditionally B2C ones. Particularly retargeting ads — which push messaging to those who’ve visited your product site but not converted — perform well for Facebook (for an older audience) and Instagram and TikTok (for a younger target.) This is a situation when your B2B prospects are more relaxed and open to considering a new technology, while they are scrolling.
Finally, remember that anything you do online is more likely to be held up and compared against your competitors — keep an eye on what they’re doing but don’t copy it.
Also Read: Guide to Lead Generation in France
One of the reasons LinkedIn is so successful is because it lets you learn about your prospects in real time, making it easier to create meaningful, personalized messaging. More and more, everything in the tech buyer’s journey needs to be customized to their needs — this is especially true in these tighter times. You need to understand your prospect's pain points and position your solution as a way to ease it.
While the SaaS sales funnel will continue to be a little longer in 2024, that gives you the time to not rush anything but to instead create a truly personalized outreach — which frankly all of us as consumers have come to expect.
By the way, we’ve played around with the different generative AI tools around lead generation — after all, we are technophiles just like you — and in our opinion they are not up to snuff yet. Which you’ve probably also realized with the increase in spammy LinkedIn DMs and emails. You only have one chance to make a first impression and we see our competitors adopting this tooling too soon. Even when they fill in the right name and company blanks, they come off as robotic and careless, risking getting you blocked quickly.
Keep watching this space — we certainly will — but for the foreseeable future, you will still fare better with a local that has the necessary grasp of language and technical domain expertise to personalize messaging that sticks.
Always remember, don’t spam. Bring value with every action.
Need help building and delivering a successful B2B lead generation strategy for 2024? Contact us today!