COVID-19 did not spare any business, whether big or small. It must have had an impact on your business and may have turned some of your plans upside down. It could be that in the past few months of lockdown, you have lost some clients and business operations have slowed down. But now with lockdowns opening in most states in the US and around the world, and with the world taking baby steps towards normalcy, growth will be of paramount importance for businesses.
If you’re in the B2B space, B2B lead generation will now be more critical than ever before for the rest of 2020 and beyond. So it is time to start building your funnel and growing your pipeline. The challenge, however, is tactics that worked so far may not produce the same results.
The question on everyone’s mind is that with face to face meetings and B2B events still not happening at large scale, and with budgets quite tight, how can businesses generate new leads?
These hurdles can be overcome with a slight shift in your approach and by adopting the right tactics. Here are some simple, yet effective lead generation strategies that will help you to generate new leads for your B2B business as the world begins to open up post the pandemic.
Focus on the Most Important Contacts
Assess your current database of prospects – those you contacted prior to the lockdown and those you did not. Now isn’t the time to reach out to each and every one of your targeted accounts and prospects. Rather, you should spend some time on lead scoring and evaluate the prospects and leads based on how important they are. You can score in terms of how likely they are to make a buying decision right now, how long it is likely to take for them to make a buying decision, the potential deal size or the LTV (lifetime value) of the account, where the leads are in the sales funnel, and other factors such as buying intent based on the new dynamics, organizational changes, technographic shifts and so on.
Using these data points, find out the most important accounts and leads and focus on them. You’ll stand higher chances of conversion. In the current situation, trying to pitch your product/service without giving consideration to the industry or sector can be expensive and time consuming, and it might still not even give you the desired result. On the other hand, certain industries are likely to have an increased need for your product/service and so you musy shift your focus toward them.
Set Realistic Goals
Don’t set goals you cannot achieve. You may not be able to generate new leads and make conversions in the same way in current times. The world is only just getting back to its feet. So, set realistic goals for your sales team. For instance:
- Set short term KPIs and start with a routine to follow them
- Assess the current market potential
- Set a target for yourself / your teams, such as
- Connect ratio or the number of people you will have a meaningful conversation with on a daily or on a weekly basis
- Follow up ratio or the percentage of your initial meetings that will have an immediate follow-up schedule
- Closing ratio of your initial meetings that actually turn into customers
- Have a well-crafted and personalised email or email cadence ready that you can shoot off soon after the call is over
- Track your progress so that you know what the next steps for you should be
Review All Your Existing Leads
Save All Your Business Cards Leads
There are leads you have likely not touched. For example, leads from business cards that are lying forgotten about in your drawer. If you don’t have a centralized database, now is the time for you to create one. Use a business card scanner app like ScanBizCards to scan all physical business cards. This app will then upload the contact information to a centralized CRM. Once you have the details in one place it will be easier for you to reach out to your leads. And since you’ll now have your business card leads in your CRM or some digital form, you can add notes on how the discussion went as this will help you with follow-ups.
Find Leads In Your Emails
Over 124 billion business emails get exchanged daily with the average office-goer handling over 100 emails per day. Emails are thus a treasure trove of potential leads. All you need to do is to download an app like ScanBizCards on your smartphone and connect your business email account to use its Email Signature Capture feature. This feature will then help you to capture new contacts from your emails automatically.
Update Your Message
In the past few months, customers’ wants and needs have certainly changed and they’re in fact still evolving as the world opens up. So, if you stick to the same message that you had prior to the lockdown, it might not garner the attention you need to position your brand. Update your message or create a new message that addresses the current situation. For example, now is the time when your brand needs to convey to the market that you:
- Help to solve a problem
- Help to accelerate the growth of business
- Aid in minimizing their business risk
If you are able to articulate your new message on various social media channels, on your website, and in all other forms of advertising that you have chosen, you improve the chance of prospects reaching out to you to know more about your offering.
Revamp Your Website / Your Offering
When buyers are looking for a particular product or service online, the first thing they do is search the web. If your prospects are led to your website, they would want to know more about you. Hence, ensure you use the correct tactics so that your search engine ranking is high. Putting up the right content, client testimonials, blogs, and other information such as CTAs, forms and tracking tools on your website is key to keep your visitors hooked.
Here are some tips:
- Have an exit-intent popup to capture the visitors’s info before they leave your website. This could be in the form of discounts or exciting offers.
- Play around with words and make your CTA a compelling one rather than use oft-used words like “subscribe”.
- Use colour codes that contrast well so that the visual appeal is high.
- Use web push notifications to retarget the leads and encourage them to come back to your website. This is a powerful tool as it can be used both on smartphones and on desktop computers as well.
Product or Offering
It could be that you are not generating enough leads because what you are offering is not relevant at the moment. So, not only your message, but your offering, too, probably needs a change to meet the evolving customer demands which has seen a change during the pandemic. A complete change isn’t always possible though. In such cases you should give freebies or offer upgrades or new features which will tempt the prospects to buy your product/service. While deciding what would work best for you, do keep in mind:
- Your budget
- The message that your brand conveys
- That what you are offering should be unique and not easily available elsewhere in the market
Use Social Media Channels More Intensively
People are spending a lot of time online nowadays. So, you need to be more active and visible on the various social media platforms to bolster your B2B lead generation efforts. Without professional networking, it will be a challenge to grow your leads. And in current times, networking will still predominantly occur online.
- Write about your new offerings and offers on Facebook. Set the right CTA.
- Use hashtags to tweet about trending topics.
- Post articles, comment on other posts, and connect with leaders on LinkedIn.
- Post pictures on Instagram about how you are keeping your office sanitised, how you are providing round the clock service despite so many still working from home.
- Join industry groups where you can blog on topics that are of interest to the members.
- Participate in group discussions in various forums.
- Live stream videos of the leaders of your company.
- You can use user-generated content where you use photos that your clients share with you to promote your product. Encourage existing customers to share such photos and articles on various social media sites.
- Host contests and giveaways on social media channels.
Added to this, you can also host webinars, These are an effective way to reach out to a large audience. Make sure, though, that when you do, you:
- Choose interesting and relevant topics
- Don’t host it for an extended period of time as the audience will begin to lose interest
- Have important people and influencers in the panel
- Not focus on simply selling your product but have a meaningful discussion instead
- Not all might be able to attend the session. Hence, once the session is over, you must upload it on your website and even share it on social media.
Remember that it is not just the product/service that you need to brand. The need of the hour is also to brand yourself as a sales leader, technology or business leader. When the audience begins to know you as a leader in the industry, they will want to try your offering as well.
Don’t Rub Leads the Wrong Way
Prospects are not really in the mood to fill out long and complicated forms or answer innumerable questions. So, when you have online inquiries or begin speaking to a lead, avoid turning the conversion process into one that rubs people the wrong way. Keep it simple and straightforward. Customers are currently looking for effective products that will help them, ones that are not beyond their budget, and those that can be bought easily and quickly.
If you are going to sit passively waiting for prospects to reach out to you, then think again because that is not going to happen. Instead, be brave, get your plan in place, and use these lead generation strategies to reach out to new prospects and get back to growing your business – slowly and steadily.