Is your lead generation lost in the crowd?
These days it’s harder to stand out more than ever. Poorly executed lead generation is contributing to a cacophony we just scroll past every day. After all, in just the marketing technology category there are more than 8,000 players. And that’s just one of about 16 overarching software categories.
What you need is to design a cohesive, creative and measurable lead generation strategy that allows you to be heard above all that noise.
“There is such a graying of how technology companies and especially software companies are positioned that it is far harder for somebody to make a buying decision.”
Our CRO Gavin Page reflected over how lead gen has become dramatically more sophisticated over the last decade.
What used to be associated with bulk cold calling of eager buyers is now as much about building a relationship — or leveraging an existing one — as it is about distinguishing your unique value proposition over a bevy of competitors.
Gavin says, “We need lead generators to educate the market as to why they should be talking to us, and that requires a multichannel approach.”
Contemporary lead generation necessitates this right mix of social outreach, strategic emailing and still picking up the phone to further qualify leads. And each of these prospecting actions must be backed by compelling content that balances features and your unique value proposition, while overall positioning you as an authority and thought leader in what you do.
And everything is continuously measured and iterated on, in response to your new market.
This article will explain the key ingredients to a successful, modern lead generation strategy that will allow your tech company to leave an impact.
A successful lead generation strategy starts with agreeing on your objectives and setting a cadence of key results that help you meet them. This is where you need to work backwards, determining your revenue goals prior to launching in a new country, market or vertical.
Let’s keep the sample maths simple by saying a typical customer brings in an annual recurring revenue of £50,000 and you set an annual target of £1 million. So you need to close 20 deals. That means you need a lead pipeline worth about £4 million — or about 300 leads to turn into 80 opportunities to sign those 20 new customers.
Then you determine how many people you need on lead qualifying and nurturing. A working year is really about 260 days. For an enterprise tool that costs about £50,000, one lead gen teammate — often called a sales development representative (SDR) — will send your sales team a sales-qualified lead about every other day. That means you need the equivalent of two full time SDRs to reach your annual goal.
A successful lead nurturing approach takes a combination of a contact data team, a sales manager helping with call scripts and email and LinkedIn templates, a project manager planning out the sequencing of the multi-channel exercise, and of course the sales development executors, fostering the connections. What’s good with lead generation outsourcing is you can have all that managed under a budget for two team members with a European focus.
Track everything in a CRM that allows for goal tracking, lead scoring and transparency for all involved parties. It also has the “hit by a bus” sales approach that allows for an easy handover to the sales rep and a detailed prospect and customer history.
Now that you know who is going to help you achieve your goals, you can decide together how they’re going to do that.
Who is your target audience? It’s best to first look at where you’re selling already. Your first round of contacts is usually calling into companies similar to your current customers. Then you need to look at the personas that closed your current deals.
Then it’s time to create a lead generation content strategy — or what we call your lead gen playbook.
For the broad lead pool that often comes with a SaaS product, you are probably going to be tossing a wider net, sharing a lot of content to a deep pool of prospects. This allows for more experimentation and a quicker brand awareness.
For more of an accounts-based enterprise approach, like with telecommunications, you have fewer prospects with longer sales cycles, so you need to really dig around for all the decision makers, and then make sure you don’t risk spamming them. Aim for quality over quantity. Accounts-based lead generation is about nurturing in-company referrals. Sales Force Europe leverages the long history and network our sales representatives have in the local markets to make quick in-roads at multinational corporations.
This can also be different by country. Rules and regulations can affect the activities that happen and the timing in between them — like double opt-in for email in certain countries and variable privacy rules. Germany needs a more formal engagement, while Gavin says the UK is more balanced between formal and relaxed messaging. Spain and Italy tend to prefer a more nuanced relationship-building approach.
You begin to develop your list of first leads to qualify and how often you are going to contact them. Don’t forget to work with customer support and marketing to make a (hopefully short) do-not-call list — you don’t want to risk a GDPR fine and waste time by talking to definite No’s.
Now that you know who you want to talk to, you can build a content strategy that targets them, with the appropriate cadence for each audience.
This includes both call and email scripts, as well as a solid social media campaign. This involves LinkedIn for content projection, Twitter for following prospects and learning what they are interested in, and WhatsApp to continue the conversation and stay on top of mind.
Gavin says over the last year LinkedIn has only grown in its importance, when you can’t necessarily call into a switchboard and get connected directly to someone’s desk.
As we all have experienced, LinkedIn can come off as salesy and spammy. Don’t connect with someone and then immediately send them a five-paragraph sales pitch. Gavin suggests being straightforward with why you are connecting with them as the first step in qualifying their interest. Then he says it’s all about timing and aiming for a personal touch — LinkedIn content automation does not work.
Follow their LinkedIn activity in groups and on their posts. Start reacting and even interacting with them, contributing to the conversation.
Once you’ve built a rapport, you still need to pick up the phone — or more likely schedule the Zoom — to have a one-to-one conversation to clarify what the meeting with the sales rep is going to be about. Of course, for smaller deals, you can also leverage our inside sales team to close.
Remember if you are approaching a new international market, you probably need to have all of this localized or translated into different languages. And local SDRs reaching out and qualifying your leads in the local language, culture and communication style.
You also need to constantly revisit your messaging. We use A/B testing to find the right content and cadence, and then continue to measure, iterate, repeat. What works in one vertical or country may not work in another. And you need market intelligence to make sure people aren’t getting bored of what you have to say.
For more on this topic, also read our most popular blogpost: “The Three-Headed Beast of Modern Lead Generation.”