Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Cold calling is joining the ranks of 8-track tape players and Palm Pilots: It’s clunky, it’s outdated, and it’s ready to be put out to pasture. Ten years ago, reaching a prospect was possible after 3.68 cold calls.
Now? That number of attempts has jumped up to eight. Is it any surprise that 44 percent of salespeople surveyed admit to calling it quits after the first unsuccessful follow-up call?
Prospects in 2017 are used to self-service options and finding business partners via thought leadership or email campaigns, not unsolicited phone calls. In fact, these calls may actually hurt your chances as much as help them. Even cold calling’s champions report a conversion rate that hovers around 2 percent.
But cold calling’s fall from grace doesn’t mean your sales team is done for. There are far better ways to generate qualified leads and grow your business. Here are five of them:
  1. Develop a well-crafted, personalized email campaign.
Your emails need to speak the language of their recipients, whether that means lacing your content with academic prose or writing in an informal style that features slang, emojis, and GIFs. The core information of your email doesn’t have to change; it’s the delivery mechanism — based on the readers’ personalities — that makes the difference.
Sapper Consulting, for example, is a lead generation company that specializes in crafting personalized emails that build relationships and, ultimately, create qualified leads. Sapper’s senior director of content, Ryan Myers, says, “Our firm sends thousands of emails per week on behalf of clients. It would be easy for them to sound and feel automated, but they don’t. Segmenting recipients by industry and title helps us speak to readers’ individual concerns and challenges.”
  1. Implement an effective content strategy.
Outbound marketing tactics (like cold calling) are vestiges of a different era; now inbound marketing reigns supreme. And any good inbound marketing strategy relies, above all, on compelling content. This content can take a variety of forms: guest articles, blog content, informative whitepapers — the list goes on.
Inbound strategies are also cost-effective. Search Engine Journal found that inbound leads are 60 percent less expensive than outbound leads. Content series that draw your company’s target audiences in and keep them coming back to learn more are great conversion tools, especially when they involve strategic calls to action and landing pages to entice your readers to stay in touch and learn even more.
  1. Optimize your web presence.
It’s not enough to simply have a website anymore. Every business has a website and (most likely) at least three social media accounts. What matters is that the online experience your business delivers be memorable, intuitive, and consistent across channels. Your site should make it easy for visitors to access the array of content your team is developing.
Prioritize your homepage, in particular. Cisco subsidiary TANDBERG, a teleconferencing company, added a subtle call to action to its homepage and saw a 50 percent boost in lead generation. Visitors finding your page via social media, search engines, or other sites will first interact with your homepage, so make sure the style and messaging are appealing.
  1. Boost your search rankings.
An SEO strategy is shifting from a nice-to-have to a must-have. This long-term tactic is one of the best ways to ensure that your company is consistently found by the right audience. Whether you hire an in-house team to focus on boosting search rankings or outsource this effort, identify the keywords that make your business stand out.
Keywords aren’t the only way to implement SEO practices. You should also ensure that your URLs are formatted properly, your content has unique titles (featuring your long-tail keyword phrases), and your images load quickly.
  1. Make a social media splash.
Social media channels are a useful way to interact with prospects and customers regardless of industry, but different channels are more effective for different demographics. For companies seeking Millennial customers, Snapchat and Instagram campaigns are likely to catch prospects’ eyes. Snapchat’s use in marketing efforts has grown by leaps and bounds (for both B2B and B2C companies) since 2014, so if you’re seeking younger customers, link your Snapchat account to your other social media platforms.
Other platforms may not offer as much flair as Snapchat, but they can still help you grow your audience. One such platform is LinkedIn, which is a great place to gain qualified leads. B2B marketers are especially likely to see success on this channel, as it has a higher concentration of business users than other social media sites. In fact, 80 percent of social media-based B2B leads come from LinkedIn.
As technology evolves and customer preferences change, sales and marketing teams are having to follow suit to keep up. While previously favored techniques like cold calling are dying out, these five lead generation tactics are just getting started.

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