Turkey and B2B Lead Generation? What is the gravy that makes your demand gen programs sing?
Even companies such as Green Leads do our own lead gen. Here's a quick list of what I'm thankful for this year as it pertains to b2b lead generation in hopes that you might find an idea or two that you could implement:
Alumni - Our largest source of leads. After 5 years of 2x plus growth year after year, the tribe is huge. Nurture your alumni, don't just let them move on. Deliver quality service and stay in touch with your clients. They will come back if you did a good job. LinkedIn is your tool.
Expand - In one day we acquired a company that overlapped 90% with Green Leads' offerings, delivered the market a one stop shop for Americas/EMEA b2b marketing, and doubled our size again. We were able to expand many of their European clients to the US and many of our US clients to Europe. Look at your existing client base and ask "how can we expand?"
Inbound - Yet again, our inbound leads consistently came in and our SEO was kept fresh by using HubSpot. Our blog subscriber list doubled, and our rankings improved. The two key elements we find to a successful inbound program is content and social activity. Keep the visitors interacting and coming back and SEO will follow.
SiriusDecisions Summit - By far the best place to be if you are into b2b sales and marketing. We sponsored both Scottsdale and London and in both cases walked away with tons of valuable information and new network contacts. Always be learning.
Technology - No inside sales/outbound lead gen team should be without VoIP, Click to Dial, and some sort of power dialing system (we use 8x8, Skype, Salesforce CTI adapter and ConnectAndSell). Selling doesn't start until a conversation starts with the prospect. Do what you can to have more conversations.
What are you thankful for? What filled your pipeline this year?
We all form instant impressions when meeting someone new. Guess what? The same thing happens when we read something from someone we don't know - and the proliferation of social media puts an awful of "new" people in front of us.
As Michael Damphousse says, "Good content creates value. Value creates trust. And, yes, trust creates leads."
On the Internet, it's all about content, whether you have a product to sell, service to offer or leads to pursue. The best content is clear, concise and compelling, creating a bond and a relationship with the reader. Can poor writing, misspellings and grammatical errors interfere? You betcha.
A few days ago someone in a sales group on LinkedIn posed this question: "Love reading and participating in this group, but I could not help noticing all the blatant spelling errors in our posts. Do you think it reflects negatively on our attention to detail and professionalism not to re-read our posts before we hit the send button? "
Intriguing responses followed, some dismissing an occasional error in a group comment as inconsequential and others characterizing them as a general lack of professionalism. Here are a few of my favorite comments:
"Numerous mistakes indicate a lack of attention to detail. If I am thinking of hiring someone to take care of my business, I want someone who is brilliant in their field AND cares about the details..."
"If one person, someone who is important to you, forms a negative image of you because of something you've written, doesn't it make sense to be more mindful? I would hate to think that I was shut out of an opportunity because I failed to take a few extra minutes to ensure that my spelling and grammar were up to snuff."
As someone who makes a living writing and editing other people's copy, I've often wondered about the same thing when I see a lot of errors. I've made my share of typos in rushing out an email here and there, but it does seem that a business communication rife with errors really gets you off on the wrong foot.
Can you afford to take a chance? Are your content marketing efforts going to impact demand gen? You owe it to yourself to pay attention.
"One thing that’s different with my events than with other events: Every sponsor and exhibitor and speaker is someone we think has something to offer you .... We appreciate their voice in our experiences. Thus, time spent with them is also time spent learning new marketing the way we see it ... it’s a 1-day event. There’s no fluff. It’s packed with info. We can hang out."
My highlight of the week is the Hang Out part. That's all the discussion, debate, learning and putting faces to all the "social" B2B marketing community faces I've met online -- as well as meeting new ones.
Some recommendations to those of you attending, and even to those that aren't, on how to get the most out of a live event:
Live tweet or live blog from the event and include the Hashtag in all posts. Share your take-aways.
Mingle, mix, get to know some new tweeps. Don't spend the breaks in the lobby on your cell phone.
Collect business cards. If you get one without a Twitter address on it, ask for it and write it down. When you get home, or during quiet time at the event, send LinkedIn invites.
Don't cluster. You already know the people you know. Unless you are using the connection to get an introduction to someone new, move on. Meet new people.
Be there virtually. If you aren't at the event, follow it on Twitter and the live blogs (links will be on Twitter). Follow the hashtag. Or better yet, make a last minute decision and REGISTER HERE with a 50% Discount Code GREEN50.
@damphoux: So a shout out to all the attendees next week -- find my icon in the crowd and come say "hello".
Speakers List on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#/list/damphoux/ims-speakers
We've recently started working closely with NetProspex as a list provider to augment the work we do. Once we started working together, the folks there realized that I always have an opinion, especially as it pertains to Demand Gen. Most of my recent discussion has been about Unified Demand Gen(sm) -- the philosophy of blending inbound marketing and outbound marketing to maximize your lead generation activity.
If someone has already written about this, forgive me. But twice in the past few weeks the discussion of real time search came up and how it might touch b2b demand gen. Today, unless someone is searching in multiple places -- Google, Twitter Search, Facebook Search and others -- they will never find the trending topics that people are talking about. When someone goes to Google and types "appointment setting," don't you want your organic results on the left and your real time social media posts on the right? I do.
Please blend Organic Search and Real Time Search on one page. Better, create algorithms that will show real time results from people "like me," not just from topics that sound or look like I'd like them. Personally, I'll love it. Professionally, I can see demand gen goodness for inbound marketing all over it. It will allow my prospects to find me in multiple different ways, and allow my real time content to be as valuable as my static content -- even if those searching aren't into Twitter or Facebook.
Whenever I get a new lead from a prospective company, I always check its web site to see if it looks like a good fit. A good deal of the time I'm unimpressed with what I see. The home pages are cluttered, not structured for a quick read, and no actions are suggested.
Isn't a home page the ultimate landing page? Granted, you don't want the home page hiding all the navigation and consisting of a form, but take landing page best practices and use what makes sense. Make the goal of your own Home Page "Landing Page" to convert the single-page visit to a multiple-page visit.
We all put a great deal of effort into landing pages. Studies show how people read a web page and what triggers response. Last week at the MarketingSherpa summit in Boston, for example, we heard that "people read a landing page like the letter "F:" Top scan, down the main body, scan right, take action (if triggered).
Here are two great examples. The first is Salesforce, which I've always criticized because of the big, animated ad in the middle, but then I changed my mind. The ad gives you a quick message -- six messages in fact. Then it's surrounded by calls to action and the flow leads you to a next step.
But the animation is not SEO-friendly, you ask? No it isn't, but does Salesforce need its home page SEO optimized? Most likely they rank OK as it is.
The second is Hubspot, the inbound marketing gurus. The home page reads just like a landing page with call to actions and a next-step arrow to learn more (upper right).
Both are easy on the eyes. The design is clean and uncluttered, with a clear call to action on the righthand side.
Home Page as the Ultimate Landing Page considerations:
keep it above the fold (little to no scrolling)
keep it clean, uncluttered -- whitespace is good
the headlines should make the statements, not the text
the text should be simple and not get in the way of the next steps
calls to action should be clear, mostly to the right
the goal of the page is to convert a single-page visit to a multiple-page visit
A while back, I read an article by Chris Brogan that discussed 19 chores we could each do daily to help us maintain an online presence. I was already doing a majority of the list, but then it got me thinking. What if I had my browser setup so when I wake up in the AM all my daily tasks for maintaining my social media prowess were just lined up waiting for me to get my coffee? Here's my Lead Generation Tip for today.
I've never been one to clutter up toolbars in a browser, but this seemed like a great reason to do it. So I bookmarked the following links and turned on the bookmarks toolbar. This allows me to wake up, sip my Greenest Bean coffee (organic, locally roasted), and make my presence known. I come back to it during the day when I need a break and hit them again.
HootSuite - been using this since I uninstalled tweetdeck for locking up my system every day. I've got it all decked out with columns, tabs, subjects, friends, you name it
Google Reader - still the easiest RSS reader going. Read up, schedule the best for tweets on HootSuite with Send Later. Comment on a few relevant articles
Hubspot Dashboard - finds daily chores for me to do around blogging, keywords, search rankings, etc.
LinkedIn Q&A - to maintain my top Lead Gen Expert status and to accept invites and other LinkedIn goodness
Personal Facebook - post some drivel
Company Facebook Fan Page - post some value
Fast Company Blog - share an article
Smashmouth Marketing Blog - write an article
FriendFeed - check out friends thoughts
SocialOomph - vet my new twitter followers
During the process, I usually digg or stumble a few articles as well.
ps. Look at the other top experts in the Lead Generation section of LinkedIn. I'm in good company!
What other daily tasks do you do to keep yourself in the frontlines? Leave a comment
Yesterday was the start of my evaluation of Hubspot. There will be a Smashmouth Product Review coming shortly, but I just had to comment on how it got started. After a one hour detailed demo from Bonnie and Chris, and an interrogation by me, Linda and I got to join the Hubspot team and local twitterati for the 1 year anniversary of Hubspot TV. It doesn't impact the review, but it definitely impacts my impression of the company and people. They were all energetic, fun, welcoming, marketing-savants -- great to be around.
We loved every minute of it. Thanks to Dan Tyre and Mike Volpe for hosting us.
As far as the review... I've spent about 3 hours with the product (not counting the time Bonnie and Chris put in), and I've been able to use most of the basic functions without a hitch. I was trying to upload a video and couldn't quite figure out how to upload/host it. For now I had to opt for a slideshare version of our video What Does Sales Want? I'm sure I can get a few pointers from support and put a checkmark next to that issue.
My highest level of excitement though is the fact that SEO and Inbound Marketing written all over it. I can hear "you've got mail" already.
Last week we conducted a poll on LinkedIn where we asked: Inbound Marketing & Outbound Marketing - what is your mix for lead gen?
The complete results were published today on the DemandGen Reports site. The short version excerpted from the article:
The experts balance Inbound Marketing with Outbound Marketing. So the random sales and marketing execs may want to pay attention to a few points:
• Most companies rely on a mix of Inbound and Outbound Marketing • Outbound Marketing seems to have a larger portion of the marketing mix in general • Demand Gen specialists balance their mix of Inbound and Outbound 30% more than generalists • The mania of Inbound Marketing taking over the marketing mix is either just that, mania, or it is still in its infancy. Don't get caught up in the hype just yet. • A balanced approach seems to be the mix of choice with a slight favor to Outbound activities
As a side note, a regular feature of my blog, which is focused on BtoB marketing and demand gen, are product reviews. So below is a mini product review of LinkedIn Polls:
The application is extremely easy to use, and the ability to promote it free to your network or paid through LinkedIn's systems provides incredible flexibility. We highly recommend using the paid LinkedIn poll feature for two reasons. First, it can be targeted to specific demographics. Second, it randomizes responses in a manner different than if you were to share the poll with your network. One feature missing though, is the ability to embed the poll on other pages (such as a blog, or corporate site). Having this widget capability would be huge.