It’s a sales rep’s dream. You send out a cold email and within minutes, you get a response, securing an appointment for the very next morning. 

If only lead generation was that easy.

In real life, we struggle with making that first contact, keeping in touch, and setting an appointment with potential customers. Not to mention that it can take months to nurture and convert your leads. 

Add the downturn many companies have experienced during the summer months of 2023, which resulted in reduced marketing budgets and limited scaling, and it’s only becoming more difficult.

5 Tips to Improve Lead Generation in Sales

  1. Go omnichannel to get seen.
  2. Work with review platforms.
  3. Unleash the power of ads.
  4. Send targeted cold emails.
  5. Launch client referral programs.

From my own experience, fighting those challenges isn’t impossible, though. I’ll cover some tried and tested strategies to ensure your sales pipeline remains robust and consistently leads to closed deals. 

Consider them generic? Think again: In times of market uncertainty they sparkled with new shades of effectiveness for my agency. So bear with me while I’ll share these seemingly obvious tips.

 

1. Go Omnichannel to Get Seen

The more channels you handle, the more chances you have to grab your leads’ attention. 

The future of B2B sales and marketing lies in adopting a comprehensive omnichannel approach. The trend began gaining traction a while ago, but it really took off after Covid. In fact, McKinsey found that two-thirds of B2B buyers now prefer remote human interactions or even digital self-service.

While establishing a truly omnichannel environment may be hard, you can start small. At Belkins, we used a simple formula:

  • Create dedicated SEO landings for each of our services.
  • Retarget our website visitors, tailoring our messaging based on the page they visited.
  • Launch social media ad campaigns, addressing potential client’s pain points.

We also collected leads’ emails through other channels like blog posts, downloadable content, and podcasts and then included them in our email nurturing lists.

Following those steps helped us stay on the radar of the potential leads who have shown interest in our services and can help your team do the same.

More on SalesWhy Sales Onboarding and Upskilling Are Key to Closing More Deals

 

2. Work with Review Platforms

Trusted reviews are still alive and well, and will be for the foreseeable future.

What’s more, 94 percent of B2B buyers still rely on them to make a purchase decision, according to a report from Clutch. And around 47 percent of buyers read at least six testimonials while considering different service providers. 

Given that, you can’t afford to ignore the importance of social proof to gain credibility and support your expertise.

It’s important to collect testimonials on external review platforms that are relevant to your field. If you are a product company, use Capterra. As a service provider, we focused on gathering testimonials on review platforms Clutch, G2, and GoodFirms, among others.

We put a lot of effort into collecting positive reviews and boosting our average score on each of those sites to improve our rankings and rise to the top. This wasn’t easy, as you can’t buy the ranking, only earn it. But it’s worth the time investment.

When we created our profiles there, we realized they might bring leads, too. Over time, this hypothesis justified itself. From Clutch alone, we received:

  • 2,171 of total contacts acquired.
  • 561 marketing-qualified contacts from those total contacts.
  • 375 deals scored.
  • 85 closed-won deals.

To get the most out of this channel, we developed a separate landing page for those coming to us from review platforms. This helped us grow conversions almost twice: From 1-to-2 percent to 4 percent. 

Here’s what the leads’ inflow from Clutch looked like for us in the past 15 months:

Belkins leads generated from Clutch. | Image: Belkins
Belkins data on new leads generated from Clutch review platform. | Image: Belkins

Thus, it’s important to use independent review platforms not just as a way to build trust, but as an additional source of leads.

 

3. Unleash the Power of Ads

Google and LinkedIn ads can be another powerful tool for lead generation. But only if done right. 

You might think you need to focus on getting more visitors through these channels through ad campaigns. That was our initial approach, but thousands of visitors yielded just 30-to-40 prospects monthly. 

Instead, prioritizing quality and narrowing down the targeting can give you much more significant results. This approach resulted in over 100 sales-qualified leads per month for us.

But we faced yet another challenge: We couldn’t measure the efficiency precisely because of the long sales cycle.

To gain more visibility into ad performance, we introduced a dedicated leads qualification and scoring system for leads coming from ads. Now, we promptly see what campaigns bring us contacts matching our ideal customer profile, right after our business development reps review them. Additionally, we refined the messaging on our website to make it more resonating.

Creating a lead qualification and scoring system for your ads can help you more accurately measure and tweak their effectiveness.

Doing so helped us reduce ad costs by 38 percent and increased conversions up to 16 percent, which is five times better than the industry average.

Another eye-opening tip is that after the 25th of each month, cost-per-click (CPC) cuts in half, as most brands drain their budgets. To capitalize on that, we doubled our pay-per-click (PPC) marketing efforts from the 25th on and saw an additional 50 deals come almost for nothing.

So, go for quality over quantity and be open to experimenting with approaches and processes to find your sweet spot.

 

4. Send Targeted Cold Emails

I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of personalization and other best practices for cold email templates. And what about current outreach trends and manual lead research?

Let me give you a fresh perspective on those basic tips.

 

Watch Out For the Current Market State

You might think you know everything about outbound. But for some reason, around 56 percent of all emails go to spam and the U.S. leads the party with over 8 billion junk emails sent daily, according to recent reports.

To save your mass mailings, follow these principles:

  • Never settle for the comfort zone and assume, “I’ve got enough experience with this.” 
  • Keep an eye on what is going on in the market. 
  • Back up your outreach strategy with data-driven industry insights. 

Such research helps you calibrate the length and frequency of your sequences, sending times, and even the content of your emails.

 

Choose Your Leads Thoroughly

Using databases like Apollo, ZoomInfo, or web scrapers for creating your lead lists is no evil on its own. Until you start sending emails to the prospects from those lists.

Most salespeople complain about outdated information in those databases, as people tend to change positions and companies. Setting aside wasted time, reaching out to non-existing email addresses undermines your sender reputation. Which, in turn, makes all your future emails end up in junk folders. I assume that’s not what you’re striving for, right?

On the contrary, custom lead lists increase the chances of meaningful interactions and result in higher conversion rates. Manual lead research and verification helped us get open rates as high as 80 percent and convert more than 15 percent of leads into deals.

So, yes, not everything can be automated.

A tutorial on how to improve your B2B appointment setting. | Video: Belkins

More on Sales5 Reasons Every Sales Email You Send Should Be Mobile Friendly

 

5. Launch Client Referral Program

The last tip is to generate leads from your loyal customers.

In front of a possible recession, many brands rethought their retention strategy, investing more in existing clients. Why not ask them to refer your company to other businesses they’re in touch with? You can often pair this with a few customer perks to sweeten the deal like a free month of access to your platform or free brand promotions.

Doing so keeps your clients happier with your services and helps you get new sales-qualified leads for a low cost. I’d even say almost free.

Though our referral program was live just for a few months, it has already brought in four high-quality opportunities.

These tips aren’t a panacea and should be tailored to align with your current business needs and resources. However, combining the right mix of channels and strategies can boost your growth and keep your pipeline up and running.

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