Lead generation is the lifeblood of any sales organisation. It is also one of the biggest challenges for tech companies.
It’s no longer cold calling and mass mailings. It’s become a custom, targeted approach to generate leads and nurture them through the buying cycle. Successful sales team are using more strategic tactics to generate leads and grow sales.
How to Improve Lead Generation for Tech Companies
A Clearly-Defined Approach
You can’t depend on mass email, traditional advertising, or cold calls to generate leads anymore. Tech company sales and marketing times have to have a regimented strategic plan with a clear pathway to leading customers through the buyer journey.
Marketing teams are using a combination of inbound and outbound marketing techniques to generate leads.
Inbound & Outbound Marketing
Inbound marketing encompasses efforts to make sure your company is in the mix when potential customers are searching for the products and services you provide.
Engaging website and landing pages are just the first steps. It also means a strategic approach to SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and content that drives traffic organically. This also includes content marketing practices to establish you and your company as thought-leaders and worthy of trust.
It’s important. Decision makers typically consume five or more piece of content before they ever engage with a sales rep.
While inbound marketing is positioning your organisation when people are seeking what you have, outbound marketing is working to capture their attention and convince them to take action. It can be difficult and expensive. You’re pushing your message out far and wide and waiting for it to resonate.
Too many sales and marketing teams focus the majority of their efforts on outbound marketing techniques instead of inbound efforts. However, the majority of B2B purchase decisions are now made online. Before potential customers reach out to you, they’ve already done most of their research.
68% of B2B customers prefer to research independently online. If your sales message isn’t already there, it’s too late by the time they get serious about making a purchase. 60% of B2B customers say they would rather not communicate with sales teams as their primary source of information.
ABM (Account-Based Marketing)
Many tech companies are finding a more efficient way to generate qualified leads is to focus attention on customers in the middle of the sales funnel. ABM (Account Based Marketing) identifies prospective customers and manages relationships in a targeted way. Customised messages to high-value accounts provide information in an organic way to catch B2B targets as they do their research.
A “drip feed” method of consistent content can be targeted to move potential B2B buyers through the funnel.
Tech companies are using marketing automation to generate content and scheduled follow-ups in addition (or in connection with) Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
Data-Based Marketing And Sales
If you want to connect with economic decision-makers, you need to customise your approach. Your CRM is a starting point, but AI and Data-Driven approaches can help you optimise your selling.
80% of viewing on Netflix comes from its recommendation engines. That’s why they recently spent $1 million to improve its algorithm. Amazon’s recommended products based on browsing history and past purchases. More than a third (35%) of the company’s $233 billion annual revenue comes from its suggested products and predictive algorithms.
While you may not have millions to spend on recommendation engines, you can apply the same strategy. Tracking touchpoints, inquiries, leads, and past purchases can give you insight into where the potential customer might be in their research. Use these insights to target your message.
Sales and marketing are about delivering the right solution to the right customer at the right time. All three things must be in alignment to close the deal.
Machine learning can analyse data and provides consistent optimisation. Split testing can analyse the effectiveness of marketing messages to zero in on what works.
Customers communicate differently with you these days. They seamless shift between different method of communications. Whether they use email, text, social, phone, chat, or IM, most sales teams aren’t equipped to handle multi-channel communication. For tech companies, it’s critical. After all, you’re supposed to understand tech.
That omnichannel approach includes social selling. LinkedIn has become a growing force for connecting with decision makers. It’s easier to connect there than through a blind email, especially if you can get first- or second-party introductions.
90% of top performing salespeople incorporate social selling into their sales strategy. They have found significant advantages to social selling:
Reduced account research time
Increased number of leads
Deeper relationships with clients
Improved lead conversion rates
Shorter sales cycles
Increased win rate
Sales teams are using social selling to prospect and qualify potential customers, build sales pipelines, drip feed content marketing, and get referrals.
Referrals from satisfied customers carry an implicit endorsement. It’s a great way to open the door to a conversation and it’s particularly effective. 84 percent of B2B buyers start their purchasing process with referrals from colleagues, according to a study in the Harvard Business Review. Peer recommendations play a role in more than 90 percent of all B2B buying decisions
Quick Response Times
Inbound sales leads are gold! But they can melt quickly if you don’t respond in the manner the potential customer wants.
The Harvard Business Review reports that sales team responding to leads within the first hour were 7 times more likely to have “meaningful conversations” with decision-makers than those companies that waited more than an hour to respond.
The same study of more than 2,000 companies revealed that just more than a third (37 percent) of companies regularly responded within an hour.
The Next Generation Of Buyers
Baby Boomers may still hold most of the C-level executive jobs. They are still the wealthiest generation in history. However, that’s changing rapidly. Two years ago, Millennials became the majority in the labor force.
Marketing to Millennials is now mainstream. Right behind them, there’s a whole other group: Gen Z.
Generation Z (Born Mid-90s to Mid-2000s) will be the largest number of consumers within the next two years. While every generation is different, Millennials and Gen Z are the first to be digital natives. Gen Z never knew a world without smartphones with video chat. Both generations grew up with the internet, online shopping, and social media.
To be effective, tech sellers will need to adapt the way they communicate with the next generation of B2B buyers.