This blog is written based on 15 years experience in leads generation and sales with various IT services and product companies. As digital world is evolving and more and more lead generation new channels are coming day by day. It is a very becoming really difficult to quickly respond to such a dynamic and competitive environment and generate leads for your business.
In my past experience, I helped setup and manage a high performing team to generate 40+ leads/meetings/demos a month and close business of USD 1000k in a year for a small IT services company and help them grow from 30 people organisation to 300 people organisation in 6 years.
“This blog is for businesses to know what is working in today’s lead generation space for IT services and product companies”
If you are have reached on this blog, then either you are business owner, marketers or sales professional and may be struggling to get leads for your business or just curious to know what works best to generate more leads. In this blog, I am going to detailed out ways to generate leads for your business.
But before I explain, each approach requires focus on projecting your company services/products with consistent messaging related to your brand promise. Each brand who wants to attract good quality leads and win business of clients, should offer unique brand promises which attract their target customer base and go extra mile to make their customer successful in their venture.
“Do you know and clearly tell what does your brand promise to your customers?”
Happy customers will become your evangelists and spread word around for your services/products and viral look of trust will start building.
As more and more companies are using one or more lead generation approaches, each approach has its own set of rules to get success out of them. This is a continuous process to analyse and monitor what works for you and what not. Then stop what is not working and start focusing on what is working for you.
Below are some of the proven ways which worked for me in my journey.
Targeted and Personalised Email Marketing
Traditionally, email marketing is easy process to generate leads for any business provided you have right verified contact database with you. As this is easy approach, most of the businesses take this approach and execute it. In my experience, most of the businesses do not do this correctly and generate more problems for their brands like domain blacklisting, marked as spam, making prospects angry etc.
These are serious problems and should be tackled with right strategy to target prospects, who may want to do business, with personalised messaging. If executed well and nurtured well, email marketing will offer 1000% ROI on your investments in quick time. It can be a real winner.
Business Website and Social Profiles
In my experience and research, I have found that many companies do not pay much attention to their website and social profiles. This sounds like a too much effort, but this should be treated as long term strategy to build your brand and start getting business in long term. This is Ultimate lead generation machine in long term. Following are some common problems I found:-
- Website does not give clear messaging and have complex way to find relevant information for a prospect.
- Social profiles and website messaging are not in sync.
- Wrong promises are made on website which does not resonate well with prospects.
- No unique value proposition is used
- Showing no customer/Fake customer testimonials
- Not having blogs or blogs are just general articles.
- No clear flow or website and no/unclear call to action (CTAs)
Whatever approach you are using to generate leads, nowadays prospects research about vendors online and on digital properties. If messaging is not correct and consistent, then it will not leave good impression to prospects and they will not respond to you.
Social Media Outreach
Social media is good to know prospective companies and people responsible for various initiatives in those companies. It provides very good insights about a person and company. It is very easy to connect with those prospective person, collaborate with them, engage with them and do business with them on sites like Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook etc.
Each social network offers different free and paid ways to connect with right prospects and service them. Before you take this approach, you need to have consistent and clear messaging for your business. You should have clear brand promise and how can a prospect get benefit from your product or services?
“This is not a platform to send sales messages to prospects rather engage them in meaningful conversations which results in long term business relationships.”
Freelancer Portals Lead Generation
Based on my research, many small and medium IT services business rely on freelance portals (like Upwork, AppFutura, Guru, GoLance etc) for their lead generation. These platforms provide targeted leads for your business but these platforms are hyper competitive and you may need to sell your services at less prices.
Because of hyper-competitiveness, these platforms requires lots of effort to create, manage and build reputation on these platforms. Many businesses just spend more and more effort on these platforms to get business but ROI of such investments are questionable.
“Every business should have a unique strategy to execute lead generation efforts from Freelance portals and monitor ROIs of such investments.”
Tele-Prospecting – Inside Sales – Sales Dev Reps (SDR)
This is a most challenging and people dependent lead generation approach. This approach requires lots of focus, good people, good training and continuous monitoring and improvement to generate results. If executed well, this approach can be a game changer for your business. It can give you targeted clients who can stay with you for long term. Deal size for these clients would be bigger and you can command premium price if you can provide them solution they are looking.
I have build a team of 5 rockstars in my past company which generated USD 500k YoY consistently. If there is demand in market, one should deploy more inside sales team to tap that demand till it vanishes or become expansive to acquire new business.
Partnerships & Partner Portals
As world is getting digital day by day and freelance portals are having 100k+ vendors providing services. It is getting really difficult for businesses to find right vendor for their needs. Hence last 2-3 years, there are mediator companies are coming with services to find, evaluate, screen and shortlist vendors on behalf of prospects and connect them. Companies like ContractIQ, Clutch, GoodFirms etc.
As few people know about them, it is right time to find and connect with those companies and be on their panel. These partnerships may not result any immediate business but continuous nurturing with them will result a long term sustainable business. In my experience, companies generate 5-10 qualified opportunities/month on such platforms.
Google is pioneer when it comes to digital advertisements to drive leads to your business. 95% of prospects use search engines to find and evaluate vendors for their needs. Having on top of search results with appealing messaging will attract good quality leads for your business.
These digital advertisements can be very costly if not executed well. This requires complete understanding of digital advertisements on a specific platform to improve your ROI. Following are some points you should keep in mind when using digital advertisements.
- Identify transactional services/products which you want to sell. This works best on digital advertisements.
- Identify your target prospect, their age, gender, geography, interest, behaviours. More you narrow, more specific you will get but make sure you have sizeable number to target.
- Identify key pains/problems their target prospect face and research your keywords. Look at specifically how many searches happened for each keyword. This is really very important.
- Design your ad copy with clear messaging and target pain point or benefit.
- Have a well designed responsive landing pages to land these prospects. Landing pages should offer brand promise with clear offering (transactional) and form or call to action to take next step.
- Monitor performance and conversions for each ad-copy and landing pages and improve further.
An IT services can become partner with product companies they use to develop software solutions for their needs. These product companies have different partnership programs based on individual business needs. These partnerships will help you position your company’s product and services in front of your prospects. And they will feel confident about your expertise.
Some product companies also refer clients to you in your geography reason whom you can connect to train them, integrate product with other systems and customise it based on their requirements. These kind of partnerships requires focused effort to build relationships with product company’s representatives to get good ROI.
Awards, Brand endorsements & Join Local Communities
During your journey, it is good to collect as many strategic awards, affiliations and brand endorsements from 3rd party research companies, media platforms, and industry bodies. This helps you in building trust among your target prospects.
You may also want to network and join local or niche communities to meet fellow vendors, prospects and businesses. Such networking will help in spreading the word around and help you get more exposure and hence business. ROI of such investments/time is difficult to track but it will certainly help in building a solid brand for your business.