Lead Generation Strategies for Technology Companies
A plug-and-play B2B lead generation strategy is kind of like Sasquatch…
Some people have claimed to have seen it. Some say, “Look, I have a picture of it!” But it’s just a blurred out mess that you can’t quite make out. And others believe that it’s out there, but have given up any hope of finding it.
The reality is a B2B lead generation strategy that works for any organization doesn’t exist. It’s why B2B lead generation plagues the minds of marketers with 85% saying it is their number one goal.
For technology-based companies, there are even greater challenges than simply developing a lead generation strategy that converts. So we put together this guide to explain the top 9 B2B lead generation strategies that will lead to more opportunities and higher conversion rates.
B2B Lead Generation Sales Cycle
There is one constant, B2B lead generation for technology companies involves the same funnel-like sales cycle as everyone else, though the strategies will be different.
You will have top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU), and bottom of the funnel (BOFU) leads to cultivate and nurture through the buyer’s journey. Each stage will require different content and tactics that will assist in the lead qualification process and push preferred prospects further down the funnel, but we’ll discuss that later.
For now, your sales cycle will look something like this:
- Make contact
- Make an offer
- Handle objections
- Close the deal
Yes, B2B Lead Generation is Harder for Technology Companies
It’s not just you! Tech-based companies worldwide struggle to find the right B2B prospects to fill their pipelines. But why is it so hard?
We are in the midst of a technological revolution where adoption is key to growth. However, with this fast-paced digital transformation comes a steep learning curve. For some, this causes fervent resistance that only rivals that of a cat trying to avoid a bath it knows is imminent.
So what can you do to get your prospects to dip their toe in the water without being scratched up with scathing rejection in the process?
It’s all in how you present yourself. There are 3 basic steps you can take to pave the path of least resistance and ultimately land more opportunities.
1. Communicate Clearly
These days the tech jargon most companies use to explain their features and benefits would be enough to make even the great Nikola Tesla look upon us with bewilderment.
Whatever you have to say about your products and services, say it plainly. I’m not saying be boring, but be relatable. Use common terms and phrases that you would use when explaining what you do to your mother or your even your children.
Though many of your preferred clients probably have an undergraduate degree or above, they want to understand your offer within seconds. If precious time is wasted trying to decipher your content, then prospects will be reaching for the back button before they understand your value.
2. Personalize Solutions
Once you have crafted a clear message, you have to tell your brand story.
Your brand story isn’t about you though. It’s about your customers and how your tech products and services help them win in life and in business. But you can’t develop a story without understanding your customers’ goals, villainizing their problems, and guiding them to success.
This is why your marketing department is harping on you to build buyer personas, conducting surveys, and collecting valuable data from every possible source. All of this information is the fuel that ignites your brand story and makes it come to life for your prospects, driving them to inevitably sign up for your solution.
3. Continually Educate
Just assume that your ideal clients know nothing about what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. Assume that it is your duty to educate your prospects on every piece of the process and take that duty seriously.
Each person that you hope to obtain through B2B lead generation strategies will have a different skill set and knowledge base. It is unfair to expect that every prospect will automatically understand your tech solution and how it will impact their work environment.
Some of your best clients might not even know they have a problem, so don’t just focus on the brand-building content for the bottom of the funnel. Provide educational content for every stage of the buyer’s journey including:
- Awareness – TOFU
- Consideration – MOFU
- Decision – BOFU
The Foundation for Outbound and Inbound B2B Lead Generation
Before we get into some of the most successful B2B lead generation strategies for technology companies you need a solid foundation to build on. So whenever you start to develop a strategy keep these principles in mind:
1. Be creative with your campaigns
You don’t have to start from scratch to come up with a recipe for success, but you do need to add some bold ingredients if you want to stand out.
Following trends like webinars and ebooks in traditional fashion will get you mild success by satisfying the palettes of some eager-to-learn prospects, but more seasoned professionals will ignore you, much like they would a day-old donut in the breakroom.
Our advice is to analyze what your competitors are doing and make it uniquely you. It’s easy to get stuck in the drab and boring rhythm of explainer videos and infographics that discuss the statistical possibilities of this or that. But ignore these urges and embrace a more emotional approach like nostalgic marketing. Or try to get a laugh through satirical humor. Whatever you do, don’t follow the status quo.
You’re competing against a lot of noise. If you don’t try to stand out, then you’ll never get the attention your company deserves.
2. Meet your audience where they are
Yes, social media is prevalent in all of our lives, but we use each platform for different reasons. And despite what some may claim, we pick favorites. Preferences are highly dependent on age, location, and even career choices. Because of this, you have to be mindful of where you start your B2B lead generation strategies.
Meeting your audience where they are is not just about the platform, but the devices as well. With 50% of B2B related searches being conducted on mobile devices, according to Google, ignoring a responsive design during your B2B campaign launch will only end in disaster.
Take some time to get to know your audience and what influences their surfing habits. Mimic their behavior. Follow the influencers they follow and click on the ads you think they would click on. You’ll be surprised how much knowledge you gain in terms of the way your ideal clients see the world and how they prefer to communicate.
3. Be direct with your CTA
Too many shy away from a direct call-to-action for fear of sounding “salesy.” It’s true that no one wants to be sold to, but the key to being direct without being pushy is tone.
You can do this without sounding desperate. Matching the stage of the buyer’s journey is a good place to start. Think of it as a relationship. You wouldn’t ask someone on a first date to marry you unless you want that person block you from every form of communication. So don’t expect someone in the awareness stage to jump headfirst into commitment.
Instead, invite your prospects to get to know you better by offering valuable content, webinars, interactive tools, etc. Those that enjoy your company will gladly take you up on a second date.
4. Use an omnichannel approach
You’ve probably heard that it takes at least 7 touchpoints to finally engage a prospect. To maximize the effectiveness of your outreach you need to be consistent in order to gain trust in the fragile beginning stages of relationship building. This is where an omnichannel approach becomes invaluable.
Omnichannel lead generation means that you are using all available channels to create a unified experience for those you engage with through outbound and inbound lead generation. An omnichannel approach should be built into every B2B lead generation strategy. As we go over the different lead generation tactics, think about how you can combine different strategies to make a cohesive outreach process that keeps your ideal clients coming back for more.
Outbound B2B Lead Generation For Technology Companies
Outbound B2B lead generation means that you are actively seeking out opportunities to engage with your ideal clients via email, phone calls, and direct messaging through social media.
Outbound marketing is one of the fastest ways to start generating B2B leads and is especially powerful for tech companies that are ready to scale at an accelerated pace.
We’ve been helping tech companies generate B2B leads for over 10 years through outbound strategies. Here are some of the top tactics we use to bring in qualified prospects.
1. Email Marketing
Before you discount mass email outreach as an outdated strategy with low open rates and even lower responses, I would like to remind you that even today, email marketing has an ROI of as high as 4200%. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of any other lead generation strategy with a higher return.
When you’re building an email marketing campaign, focus on the B2B lead generation foundational principles discussed earlier. Be creative, especially with your subject line. Be as personalized as you can with your messaging, making clever use of custom fields that generally accompany most email drip campaign platforms.
Cold email marketing is going to take time and testing, but the payoff is exponential. Feel free to find inspiration in your inbox, using whatever catches your eye. But, please, whatever you do, don’t use the old, “Did you get eaten by an alligator,” bit.
2. LinkedIn Message Campaigns
Few have fully grasped the power of LinkedIn lead generation; however, “LinkedIn is 277% more effective than Facebook and Twitter,” according to a study by Hubspot.
To create a powerful LinkedIn campaign, we recommend becoming an expert in Sales Navigator and choosing a SaaS platform that allows for conditional logic drip campaigns triggered by specific actions taken by the prospects.
Just like email marketing, achieving continuous conversions through LinkedIn will require split testing through trial and error, some sleepless nights trying to figure out why no one wants to connect with you, and a lot of coffee.
The key is to get the right message to the right people at the right time and make it personal. It’s not easy, but nothing good ever is. Expect response rates to be heart-wrenchingly low for the first few months, as you play with the limited 300 characters available in connection request messages. But if you keep at it, eventually, you will start to see improvement, then mild success, then an, “oh no! I have to hire more sales reps,” epiphany that will make you wonder why you didn’t start marketing on LinkedIn a long time ago.
3. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
Do you have any specific companies in mind that would greatly benefit from your tech solutions if you could just get in the door?
Account-Based Marketing is a hyper-focused strategy in which you target the decision-makers of high-value accounts with marketing strategies tailored to the organization’s objectives and goals.
This will require research … a lot of research.
Your more generic buyer personas are now actually people with actual names and problems and opinions so treat each message with the same care you would trying to reconnect with a long-lost friend.
ABM is not a quick and easy win, but you can expect revenue growth potential that far exceeds your short-term customer relationships.
4. Phone Calls
I know, right!? No salesperson wants to make cold calls and no one wants to hear their incoherent grumbles as they curse their manager under their breath. But we live in a world where technology has developed a sensory overload that interrupts our every attempt to communicate. So yes, cold calling is a necessary evil.
But luckily, technology can also be a saving grace as advancements in marketing have made it possible to track opened emails, clicks, and downloads. Instead of wasting time dialing every number on the list, you could take an omnichannel approach and only call those that have interacted with your efforts so far. This method gives your team an opening line in the conversation that is more like a warm introduction and less like a hostage negotiation.
5. Outsource Outbound Lead Generation
Why outsource your B2B lead generation if you have an in-house sales and marketing team?
As you can tell, B2B lead generation takes a significant amount of time and resources. On your own, it can take months or even years to finally develop a strategy that works for your company.
B2B lead generation agencies shorten sales cycles and accelerate growth. In just a week or two of studying your tech solutions, an experienced outsourced sales team can develop a lead generation strategy that will start delivering qualified prospects to your calendar within days of launching a new campaign. Your in-house team then has more time to focus on building relationships with potential clients as well as cross-selling and upselling other products and services to your current customers.
Inbound B2B Lead Generation For Technology Companies
Inbound B2B lead generation is the process of creating “opt-in” opportunities for prospects that allow them to receive regular communications, promotional content, or more information about your products or services. While inbound marketing is less expensive upfront, it takes a great deal of time and experience to produce quality content that drives traffic.
Here are some of the strategies that are most likely to generate leads.
1. Valuable Content
While SEO optimization is still important, it’s no longer the only focus of content marketing. Valuable content will keep visitors on your website longer and hopefully result in social media shares that go viral.
Valuable content has evolved from blog-style posts to include ebooks, checklists, templates, guides, swipe files, and even surveys. If the content is really good, then you have earned the right to reciprocity which generally takes the form of an email exchange, but for extremely good content you may be able to gain other helpful data that your marketing team will thank you for later.
Whatever the case, you can find comfort in the fact that you no longer have to blog daily to stay relevant. Taking time to produce valuable content is the best way to gain inbound leads organically.
2. Webinar Events
Not sure if webinars are a good fit?
91% of marketers that focus on webinars have reported successful outcomes, according to HubSpot.
The thing about a good webinar is you don’t actually have to teach anything, which is probably the hardest part for most marketers to grasp. The purpose of a lead generation webinar is to inspire prospects to discard old beliefs that are holding them back and replace them with a different set of beliefs that prove your products or services will help them obtain the lofty goals that seem impossible up to that point.
If you’re stuck on where to start, consider all the objections that your sales team hears every day, then start combating them with case studies based on your clients’ success. Before you know it, you’ll have a webinar ready to launch.
3. Social Media
Now, before you start scheduling a slew of self-serving social media posts, it’s important to note that social media marketing is much less about direct lead generation and more about building a following through thought leadership and community support.
Take the time to get to know each platform. Not just how to use it, but why it was created and who is it meant to serve. Study the content being posted carefully. Take notes about what grabs your attention, what’s trending, and what’s not. Then use that creativity of yours to take what’s working and make it better or make something completely different.
Social media will serve you well if you serve up what your audience craves.
Backlinks are very important as they can help build up authority and generate more traffic to your website. If you make good use of the inbound B2B social media strategies above, then you may get some well-deserved backlinks from sites with decent domain authorities. But, then again, you may not, and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean your content isn’t amazing, it just proves that the internet is cluttered, and sometimes it hard to find the beauty in the mess of it all.
There are so many tactics to get backlinks, but here are a few to get you started.
- Subscribe to alerts for sites such as HARO that connect knowledgeable bloggers with journalists to help write content for well-known media outlets such as The New York Times and ABC.
- Use SEO tools such as Moz to identify websites with broken links that could use your content to remedy the issue.
- Develop skyscraper or pillar pages purely designed to rival those ranking for a specific keyword you want to rank for, then label it as, “The Complete Guide to [insert long-tail keyword here].”
So you must be wondering, how do you know what to focus on first? Do I choose outbound or inbound B2B lead generation? What if I don’t have the resources to implement any of these strategies?
No need to worry.
We help tech companies like yours determine the best possible B2B lead generation strategies, identify ideal client profiles and accounts through intent data, and open opportunities to sell more deals, more often.
Schedule a chat with Martal Group’s CEO, Vito, to learn more about how we can help.