B2B Lead Generation
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/79136832@N06/8371468784/

Lead generation is very obviously an important facet of B2B companies.  It is the lifeblood of everything that we do.  It is the secret to increased sales and revenue which is the source of growth.  In fact it is fair to say that if your business is not generating new leads on a consistent basis, this might be an early warning sign that you are in some trouble.  There are two main types of lead generation sources being outbound and inbound leads, with the former having excessive attention paid to it.  This is where many businesses fall down and the aim of this article is to examine both sources and to offer some tips on how more focus can be placed on getting incoming leads and creating a more balanced scorecard.

Outgoing Leads

This has been the focus of many traditional marketers.  Techniques include cold calling, direct mail, Google Adwords campaigns and trade shows just to name a few.  The emphasis here is push marketing, forcibly putting your business out there in the hope of finding new prospects who might be interested in your product or service.  Now, don’t get me wrong these activities are essential to your success and should not be stopped.  Perhaps there is even an argument that this should be you primary strategy for lead generation, after all it has worked for businesses since day dot.  I am not going to go into detail about this method as most of us will be familiar with this material, but instead I would rather focus on the neglected side of searching for incoming leads.

Incoming Leads

Incoming leads are created when a prospect actively seeks out your company to deliver a product or service.  Even by this basic definition it is apparent that this type of lead is 1) cheaper than an outgoing  2) Is qualified.  So, ideally in our businesses these are the types of leads that we would like to generate to supplement out outgoing efforts, how do we go about it?  I offer two tips to help you get started:

1)   Ask For Referrals – Some of us may be doing this already with our current customers and this is a great place to start.  However any person that we come into contact with can be used as a possible referral source.  One that is often forgotten about is to ask for a referral from a prospect that says no to you.  Often when a person says no, they feel guilty about it and by asking for a referral from them you are simply giving them an opportunity to repay you for your efforts in bidding for their business and most are only too happy to help out.

2)   Establish Yourself As An Authority In Your Industry – This can be done in a number of ways such as building an authority website, by publishing whitepapers, by composing a valuable newsletter letting people know about trends in your industry.  The key ingredient to success here is to be open and transparent.  Let as many people know what you know and don’t hold anything back.  By doing this you will establish yourself as a though leader in your industry and your prospects will begin to seek you out instead of the other way around.

Does your business have a balanced strategy when it comes to lead generation? 

The New Rules of Lead Generation: Proven Strategies to Maximize Marketing ROI
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