Is SEO Lead Generation Dead? 3 Things You Can Do Now.

We’ve been seeing an interesting phenomenon during the past few weeks.

 

We’ve been hearing from prospective clients who have been doing a lot of SEO lead generation – or in some cases who are SEO companies themselves – who are reaching out to us for help with lead generation because recent Google updates have caused them to miss out on substantial numbers of sales leads.

 

More people are telling us that recent changes to the Google algorithm have made SEO more unreliable. Companies never know where they are going to rank in the Google search results from one week to the next, so they are looking for help to find a more reliable and dependable way of doing lead generation.

 

With all of the various changes constantly being made behind the scenes to the complex “rules” of which sites get rewarded in the search rankings, is it possible that SEO lead generation is becoming too unpredictable and inconsistent? After all, you can’t win a game when the rules keep changing.

 

We believe that SEO lead generation is not going to go the way of the dodo anytime soon – but these recent conversations we’re hearing from other people in the SEO field are a useful reminder that companies shouldn’t rely too heavily on any one method of lead generation.

 

Similar to “diversifying your portfolio” of investments to save for retirement, every company needs to have a diversified portfolio of lead generation activities.

 

Instead of relying too heavily on unpredictable SEO lead generation, here are some ideas for what you should do instead:

 

Find the companies you want to target, and go after them. This is one of the more “traditional” tactics in lead generation, but it still works – especially for B2B sales where the target market is often specialized and limited to certain companies or narrow industry verticals. Instead of relying on Google search results for prospects to find your company, spend some time and resources doing more research to identify which types of prospects are the ideal fit for what you sell. The best B2B sales prospects aren’t always searching for solutions providers and vendors – but they might be happy to hear from you if you approach them with a proactive message about how you can help solve their problems.

 

Get more social. As the search engines have gotten more competitive, with more companies trying to get their sites ranked higher in the search results, more people have gotten fed up with search engines (which are often cluttered with irrelevant results) and have turned to their social networks instead. The lesson for marketers: devote more time and resources to building up an audience on social media that trusts you and listens to you, rather than try to compete with all the clutter and noise on the search engines.

 

Create warmer “cold calls.” Cold calls are one of the oldest tools in the sales person’s toolbox – but they still work, because they actually put sales people on the phone with the decision makers who matter. But B2B sales organizations should do more to “warm up” their cold calls by getting better-qualified sales leads. By devoting some time and resources to finding prospects who are a great fit for what you sell, tracking down the best people to contact at each prospect company, and finding out as much as possible about the prospect’s business needs before even picking up the phone, you can create warmer cold calls that will lead to better sales results.

 

Many sales professionals used to think that “cold calling is dead” because of all the great new digital marketing tools. But instead of “cold calling,” think of it as “warm calling.” Instead of making massive numbers of “cold calls” to lists of people who you don’t know anything about and who don’t want to hear from you, we can use these great digital tools to do better research, identify the prospect, target the right people – and then have your sales people make a “warm call” to get on the phone with the person they need to reach.

 

SEO lead generation is not “dead” yet – but it has gotten more unreliable for many companies that are struggling to keep up with the constantly changing rules of the search engine game. Many B2B sales organizations would do well to avoid relying too heavily on SEO. Instead of leaving yourself vulnerable to sudden changes in the rules of the search engine rankings, be proactive about building a solid foundation of a “diversified portfolio” of lead generation tactics – with both inbound and outbound lead generation activities. SEO can still be a great answer for your company’s lead generation needs – but it doesn’t have to be the only answer. Keep building your company’s audience on social media. Keep reaching out to customers directly via e-mail and direct mail. Keep making smarter cold calls with better-qualified sales leads. There are many other ways that B2B sales companies can target the prospects that matter most to you, in a more consistent and proactive manner.

 

How to use LinkedIn for Lead Generation: Ideas from our “Manage Your Leads” LinkedIn Group Members

We got a great response to our call for submissions from our “Manage Your Leads” LinkedIn Group. Many of you responded with your ideas on how to use LinkedIn for lead generation, how to get a foot in the door at a prospect’s company, and how to get past “gatekeepers” to decision makers by enlisting the support of allies within the prospect’s company.

 

Some of the best responses came from three of our LinkedIn Group Members: Joel Bash, Thomas Clifford, and Monika D’Agostino.

 

We asked:

 

What are some successful ways of using LinkedIn for lead generation? How have you used LinkedIn to get through to prospects? What real-life success stories or lessons would you like to share?

Here are a few of the success stories and LinkedIn lead generation tips from our special “panel of experts.”

 

Joel Bash – First, find your true target market

 

“Business Development is akin to building a muscle in the body. If the muscle is being worked out on a consistent basis with enough force, it will build up to a desired mass of beauty and strength. The same goes for Business Development. What I’ve seen in my 28 years of doing Business Development is that most people don’t focus on the muscle that they want to build up. They just build up any muscle that they can get to and hope for the best.

 

“In other words, people do not meet their exact target market on a regular basis – and yet they wonder why they are not achieving the desired results. They go to networking groups, events, etc. and come back with a mound of business cards, only to find out that 90% of these people do not have the ability to help them even if they want to – and the remaining 10% don’t get sufficient follow-up. So there you have it.

 

“LinkedIn or any other bastion of referrals can only be helpful if the target market prospect is being sought. Just ask people in general, how many prospects they meet in a week and then ask them, how many are actual targets? Many people haven’t properly identified their target market.

 

“It is very prudent to duplicate one’s past successes. Once you know your target market, it is relatively easy to find an abundance of sales leads through your friends, contacts, LinkedIn, etc. It just requires the same discipline as building a muscle.”

 

Joel Bash is President at Joel Bash & Company, Business Introductions Connector and Business Development Consultant.

 

Thomas Clifford: Using LinkedIn Advanced Search to find the perfect fit with prospects

 

“I use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search tool exclusively as a successful lead generating tool. For instance, I recently did a search for content marketing firms where I wanted to get my foot in the door.

 

“After narrowing down the results to just a handful of companies I wanted to target, I chose one firm to target.

 

“I then researched the firm further and learned more about their target market. I knew the fit was perfect. I then wrote a one-page, conversational, non-salesy letter (yes, the old-fashioned type of letter!), signed it and mailed it to the Founder and CEO.

 

“The response was amazing. I received an enthusiastic email from the Founder and CEO saying how thrilled she was to be reading a ‘real’ letter—she never sees them anymore. She then passed my letter on to her head recruiter, and I am now considered a copywriting resource for the firm.”

 

Thomas Clifford is a B2B Content Marketing Copywriter.

 

Monika D’Agostino: Research, research, research.

“I use LinkedIn to generate leads and qualify prospects all the time. It’s a great way to find out if people actually are still with a company. Way too often you will find names on lists but they have already moved on, so LinkedIn validates them as a professional, and also provides insight on the groups that they are part of.

 

“LinkedIn can also be an effective way to get your foot in the door with a prospect’s company. Use LinkedIn and other tools to research the company and the prospect. The more you know about your prospect, the better equipped you are to have an intelligent conversation.

 

“Prospecting is about finding a fit and the more you research, the better qualified your prospecting will be.”

 

Monika D’Agostino is the Chief Consultative Sales Officer with Consultative Sales Academy.

 

Thanks again to everyone who submitted ideas. We would love to hear from you about other sales lead generation, prospecting and marketing topics in the future.

 

Mystery Solved: Where Do Technology Leads Come From?

Where do good technology sales leads come from? Are technology leads always just out there waiting for you to find them? Are these sales leads lying dormant within a company waiting for some sales rep to come along and harvest them?

 

Or are technology leads created when the forces of business change come together and create new needs, like when a company expands or moves their offices or launches a new product?

 

The answer to all of these questions is “Yes,” but there are major differences in the internal chemistry of these two different types of technology leads and it’s important to recognize the differences when you are conducting your lead generation work.

 

Both types of IT sales leads can exist and co-exist within a company at the same time.  Leads that “always exist” within a company are considered “dormant” opportunities that are there because every organization has problems, issues and challenges. There are always better, more efficient ways to accomplish something. To uncover “dormant” sales leads, you need to show your prospects that you can help them tackle an ongoing challenge.

 

Uncovering “dormant” sales leads by stimulating interest:

Sales leads that are lying dormant require you to create demand and stimulate interest for your solution. For example, your services can eliminate redundancy by streamlining a customer’s production process from 37 steps to 12 steps while maintaining or improving quality.

 

This sounds like a great solution but chances are you don’t have prospects calling you all day for a demo. Why? Because the pain that you are solving is lying dormant with in  the context of how your prospect is currently doing business.

 

Chances are your prospect is reasonably happy using a process that the company has been successful with for many years, and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Thus the sales drivers in this lead are going to have to be created and stimulated by your efforts.

 

To get dormant sales leads you need to show the prospect what is broken, and how your solution can fix it better than the alternatives.

Dormant sales leads are not going to come to you. Instead, you will need to be the engine behind this type of technology lead generation.

 

  • Advantages of dormant sales leads: The biggest benefit of working with dormant sales leads is that you were the one who uncovered the lead and brought it out of dormancy, so you are probably the only vendor talking to the prospect. Instead of trying to drown out the noise of other competitors, you can focus on educating your prospects, building relationships with them and getting them to buy into what you’re selling.

 

  • Disadvantages of dormant sales leads: Dormant sales leads give you the challenge of a longer sales cycle because your solution was not already on the drawing board. Since the prospect was not already considering a solution like yours (or perhaps had not even realized that there was a solution on the  market), you will need to patiently work with them to make the case for ROI and sell them on what your solution will save the company so they can find the money to buy it.

 

Sales Leads resulting from internal changes:

 

Technology sales leads are also created as a result of internal changes at a company. Every time a company changes its core functions, launches new products, moves its location or expands its operations, there are new opportunities created for B2B sales leads. These sales leads that result from internal change are often referred to as “low hanging fruit.”

 

Why? Because low hanging fruit is easy to recognize, ripe and ready for the plucking. Internal change sales leads tend to offer short sales cycles and highly motivated buyers.

 

  • Advantages of “internal change” sales leads: The prospect is almost always ready to buy, they know what they want, and the sales cycle is short because the prospect needs to bring new systems and solutions online as part of its internal ramp-up in business operations.

 

  • Disadvantages of “internal change” sales leads: You might find yourself in a “cattle call” where you’re trying to sell to the prospect along with 10 other vendors. This can lead to difficulty in building relationships with the prospect, since you’re competing in a noisy din of vendors all screaming they have a better mouse trap. These sales leads might also present you with lower margins because the prospect is playing vendors off of each other and looking for the lowest possible cost. If a prospect sees you as just part of a “cattle call” of undistinguishable vendors, you lose differentiation and risk having the sale turn into a commodity purchase based on price alone. When companies are making a big push to bring new systems or solutions on board, they tend to evaluate many different solutions at once, meaning that the prospect gives you no “one on one” time because of the volume of vendors and you have to submit your proposal without an opportunity to drive home your key selling points.

 

Which type of technology sales leads are most profitable for you to pursue?

 

Most sales organizations build their new business development and lead generation programs on searching for low-hanging fruit. These business leads require less skill to develop, but unfortunately there are fewer of them. After all, if all IT leads were a matter of picking the low-hanging fruit, we’d all be a lot wealthier!

 

To develop these low-hanging fruit sales leads, reps must move through a high volume of prospects and “skim” these leads from the top of the prospecting funnel. There is more luck than skill involved here and few reps can sustain the rigors of this type of prospecting day in and day out.

 

On the other hand, creating IT sales leads from dormant pain issues is an advanced sales prospecting technique and requires skills, strategy and finesse. It’s a process rather than a simple phone call to create these types of business leads. Finding the more lucrative (but time-consuming) dormant sales leads requires a more experienced lead generation expert with a more nuanced understanding of the industry and the client’s business.

 

It is critical that your team generate these dormant sales leads as part of the foundation of your lead generation program, because low-hanging fruit leads are not predictable, reliable and cannot be generated consistently.  For example, in the Great Recession we are working our way out of now, low-hanging fruit business leads have all but disappeared as companies have locked down their spending.

 

Technology lead generation is never truly easy, and the biggest rewards go to the companies that know how to put in extra effort to uncover the most lucrative business leads. Don’t let your company starve while you wait for low-hanging fruit to head your way. Instead, put in the time and resources to finding the sales leads that are out there, but haven’t realized that they need to hear from you yet.

 

Looking for a technology lead generation company to help manage your sales leads? Talk to Strategic Sales & Marketing for comprehensive lead management services to help you through the IT lead generation process. Our industry-leading technology sales consultants and appointment setters know how to cultivate, qualify and close on complex B2B sales leads in a variety of technology industries. We can help you find more sales leads, better qualify your sales leads, conduct more efficient appointment setting, and improve conversion rates to overcome your IT lead generation challenges and turn B2B sales leads into bigger sales results.


Contact Strategic Sales & Marketing for a free quick quote or a free, no obligation Test Drive of our lead generation services.

 

EXTEND YOUR LEAD GENERATION SERVICES TO THE INTERNET

Internet has become one of the most essential tools to be used in modern day business set up.  Given the numerous benefits that the medium has on offer, various organizations and business owners are realizing that there is no way one could stay away from the internet.  The same is the case with lead generation services too.  Among the many sources of lead generation, which are available, internet is the most successful in the recent years.  Business owners also reap benefits of not requiring a physical presence for the same.  You could be anywhere and your internet lead generation system will work for you, without a rest, 24 by 7.  Here are some tips for you to get started with internet based campaign for lead generation.

KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE: This is especially important when you are dealing with external lead generation companies.  You have to inform the lead generation company about your audience.  Who is your audience is not defined by its age or just some other demographic factors.  You have to mention a lot else about it starting from its interests and hobbies to the way it spends its time.  Some lead generation companies also conduct extensive research, by themselves, before starting the campaign.  This is important to ensure that the right destinations, on the internet, are being targeted for the various lead generation activities.

SET UP THE PROCESS:  In case, your work is being handled by an external provider of lead generation services, this step would be handled by it.  The process basically is set up to find out what one does with the lead.  Most people tend to generate leads and then find it difficult to find out as to what exactly has to be done with it.  Once the process has been set up of how a lead is being processed till the time it is converted, it will really help companies in using them more effectively.

HAVE THE WEBSITE: There are two ways to go about it here.  You can either direct all the traffic to your home page or set up a separate landing page for the people who are reflecting interest in your services.  In either case, you have to ensure that you have proper mechanism to capture the information that the lead is ready to divulge.  The more the information, the better would it be for you.

KEEP A CHECK: Finally, it is important that you are in total control.  You should keep a check of what has been happening with your lead generation efforts.  This is possible on the internet by accessing the statistics.  You can have the statistics on your own website or check it through some other affiliate website.

Reasons Why Outsourcing Appointment Setting Is the Right Way to Go

Outsourcing of one’s appointment setting requirements to external appointment setting companies is not an uncommon phenomenon today.  An increasing number of firms are realizing that escalated competition, consumer expectations, employee attrition and all those business issues are more pressing and that is hampering their ardour towards appointment setting.  Hence, it becomes more logical to outsource the work to a company which is dedicatedly involved in the process and can hence generate better results.  Here are a few other compelling reasons to hire appointment setting services from professional companies rather than getting it done in house:

 

KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRENDS: Trends in the market change continuously and that has especially been the case in the last couple of years.  Change is the only constant as they say and it applies quite seamlessly to the market structure.  Technologies change and so do perceptions and one has to hence adapt to those changes.  However, these changes would be known to only that individual / group which is incessantly in touch with the industry.  The same is the case with appointment setting too.  There are various new techniques which have ushered into the system and professional appointment setting companies know best about how to put them to use.  If you set up an in house department for the same, it might take you some time and money to be able to gauge all these advancements and changes in the industry.

 

UNDERSTANDING THE AUDIENCE:Professional appointment setters work on different projects which all have different target group. Hence, they understand the sense of the market and adapt themselves accordingly.  Therefore, they end up being better at the job than those firms which are venturing into it as a supplementary activity to support their main business.

 

EFFICIENCY: Again, appointment setters do this job day in and day out.  This makes them more efficient and can, thus, set more appointments than the employees that you might hire in house.

 

ONE POINT OF CONTACT: This is one of the most attractive features of hiring external appointment setting services.  When you build an in house team, you have to deal with the many employees who are a part of the team.  You have to manage leave requests, lack of performance, attrition, appraisals and much more.  However, you are relieved of all of that when you work with a professional company.  You are only in touch with one person who is handling your project and the rest is handled by the company.

 

Hence, one can realize that outsourcing of one’s work of setting appointments comes loaded with many benefits which one can explore.

 

Press Release as a Highly Relevant Tool for Lead Generation

Lead generation has never been a simple task.  People, over the years, have realized it, the hard way, that an increasing competition in the industry has meant an increasingly saturated prospect.  It is because of this reason that telephone marketing, bulk emails and even text messages are being termed as intrusive or undesired by many people.  This has coerced marketers and lead generation companies to think beyond telemarketing lead generation and develop innovative ideas to break the jinx.

 

Press releases are the most sought after ideas of the modern day marketers and providers of lead generation services.  There is an educated understanding of the prospects today which makes one believe that press releases could be a handsome tool in the hands of the people.  With an escalated competitive activity, prospects are becoming averse to marketing messages which talk ruthlessly about the promoting brands.  They are only ready to believe information which is coming from a trusted source, a source which is considered to be genuine, transparent, unbiased and honest.  News papers, blogs and online news websites fit into this perception quite seamlessly.  People consume news without doubting the intentions of the article writer.  It is here where press releases can fit in as a source of unparalleled and unprecedented fame for the company.

 

While it is established that press releases are a compelling tool for B2B lead generation, what one has to also realize is that the job, after all, is not all that simple.  Journalists are always on the lookout for stories but they are not willing to take up something which might not interest their audiences.  In other words, you have to build such interesting stories, around your brand, which might be compelling for the journalists and finally the news readers.  Here are some ideas which can help you achieve the objective.

 

Charity events are one of the most sought after ways of attracting instant media interest.  That also lends a philanthropic touch to the company and its work.  One can, in fact, take such charity events as an indirect tool of indulging into telemarketing lead generation alongside.  People might be contacted in the name of the event and a subtle message about the brand can be passed on alongside.  Hence, not only is the event being promoted but the organization’s societal message is coming out subtly too.

 

Over and above this, technological advancements, innovative management activities, lectures in prominent colleges and grand functions are some other ways of generating media attention and hence boosting one’s B2B lead generation efforts.  Through this, the lead generation companies can ensure that their lead generation services are generating the desired results.