Out of the following 8 options, which is the most effective to generate business leads?
What is the best method to generate more business leads?
- Attend Industry events
- Referrals from existing clients
- Industry Networking Websites
- Creating industry partnerships
- Cold Calling
- Online Marketing solutions
- Purchasing email marketing lists
1.) Reputable list management services don't sell their mailing lists, especially email. You only rent them, and then you will never see the names on the list since your email will have to be sent via the list owner's own service.
2.) Ultimately your company will have to do all — or most all — of the items in a coordinated campaign designed to achieve your business' goals.
3.) Traditionally, referrals from existing clients have more weight to them and a greater possibility of closing.
4.) You left out a very important element. Content marketing. Content along with a landing page, form and marketing automation with/ visitor identification and lead scoring will give you great insight on your prospective clients
However, follow-up timing is critical. You have a 7x better chance of closing business if you follow-up within an hour of 'prospective' downloading your content, but most companies don't even follow-up.
Great question. I often get that question from my coaching clients. The most effective way will be the one that you commit to long-term and commit to doing consistently. The method you enjoy the most you will most likely constantly improve your skills in and complete on a regular basis. Whatever you do constantly and well you will get the best results in.
My favorite method is getting referrals from existing clients by doing a "checking in" phone call. That is where the "low hanging fruit" is that most businesses overlook. The reason I like it best is because:
1. It shows your customers that you care about them when you call to check in on them and see how your product or service worked or is working for them.
2. if you are doing an outstanding job for them and ask them directly for referrals they will give them to you.
3. Referrals are more likely to trust you and your skills immediately when they know you provided outstanding service for someone they like and trust already. They are much easier to sell and connect to than cold leads.
Hope this helps. For more information and videos on how to most effectively generate business leads, check out my YouTube Channel under: Coach David Brownlee.
My recommendation is always:
First look for more work from existing customers. There can be a trend or knee jerk reaction to focus on getting new customers/leads when I find most businesses haven't fully serviced their existing customers or even asked what else they could help them with, what would it take to get more business, and did they know you offered XYZ?
Number 2 to turn to
Your existing customers business contacts, partners, friends. They often hear on the grapevine for example who else is experiencing a pain you can solve.
Number 3, after exhausting the above...All depends on so many other variables but I'm finding online marketing very effective for clients so I'm trending to always start with that as its very quick and affordable to setup. Next one on my list is partnerships. I love partnerships, ie tapping into another companies customer base.
Cold calling is hard work but I find it very valuable for collecting feedback on pain points and testing value propositions which can then be used to fine tune the wording and topics in online marketing campaigns and hard copy marketing collateral. Therefore I quite commonly call around 30-60 potential customers before designing other marketing strategies.
Hope this helps.
For me, as small business growth advisor:
1. Referrals from current or past clients
2. People find me online, through search or via one of my publications
3. My speaking gigs, where people see me in person
4. Forums like MosaicHub or linked in.
5. Local small business networking meetings.
This is skewed by me not being very good at generating online buzz, or using social media.
Each of the techniques you listed have some value, but to me, there is no better than the referral generated by a happy client; they know you, they like you, and most important, they pay you, and, mining your existing client list for additional opportunities should always be done as a process; "are there any other pain points we may help solve?". Ironically, most of my find asking for a referral from a happy client to be difficult, and it may very well be difficult, however, they have likely have a business and face the same issue. So, at the end of project, you simply say, "Susan, we enjoyed working with you on this engagement, and we make our living by pleasing our clients, and we would deeply appreciative if you know of others whom may benefit from our services, please send them to us". That's it; two ways to get more business in one conversation. The other methods listed require time and/ or money, but you will find the ideal mix that works for your business.
That's going to be different for lots of people and lots of markets. I'm a firm believer in getting out in front of people and actually creating a connection so I'm less inclined to go with Cold Calling, Online Marketing and E-mail Lists. That's not to say they can't work (and that also depends on what you're promoting) but the return is significantly less.
Networking events, referrals from current clients and partnerships are all excellent ways to actually connect with potential clients and make a real impression. It's easy to avoid an internet ad, it's tougher to avoid a Justin in the flesh.
If you're still stuck on which to go with then check in with which one you're most competent and confident at. If networking gives you heart palpitations then try creating partnerships. If you have clients already talking about you, see what you can do to get the word out for them or make it easier for them to get the word out for you.
Consider if we're looking for quantity or quality in your lead generation.
New businesses seem to be better off with referrals and using word of mouth to get in touch with fewer leads, with whom you can get feedback.
Established businesses need to create a substantial leads volume, that can be spread out across a timeline of closing deals.
Set your key metrics. (These are my four favorites):
1. Track your close rate; How many qualified leads are needed to close one deal?
2. Track your lead time: How long time to close a deal?
3. Figure out average deal size in dollars (also consider average customer life time value).
4. Customer acquisition cost. (How much does it cost you to get a customer).
When having a rough take on the key metrics, it's usually pretty easy to pick which one's of your 8 options will best enable you grow your business the fastest.
Honestly, they all work at different times for different reasons. It really depends on the type of business you're working for, but the simple truth is, some people are luckier than others when it comes to online or direct mail. That's really hit or miss. If you're great on the phone, cold calling works. If you're a good talker at functions and are the type where people just gravitate to you, then industry events work better. In general, industry referrals are the most consisent return on investment because the leads will keep coming as long as they like you, and as long as they're active in the industry. I've done all of the above at various stages of my career, and there's no magical formula. Try them all and see what works. Whichever option you pick, stick with it for several months or a couple years. Marketing seems to work in cycles, and each one takes time to cultivate. They'll work for a one cycle, then not work the next, then bounce back.
In your marketing efforts, you'll benefit tremendously from an integrated approach which takes into consideration using more than one method or channel to generate leads. All of the ones you listed are viable options, but if you haven't tried or tested any one of them, you will never know which one works best for you and your business needs.
Out of the methods listed, you can use each one to make the other methods more effective. For instance, you cited attending industry events which could lead to creating industry partnerships. After establishing solid partnerships, you in turn can improve your referrals from other professionals, and not just your existing clients.
Your online marketing efforts can continue with your social media networking activity such as MosaicHub and LinkedIn. There are many other professional networking websites worth looking into to continue to grow your online presence.
If you can grow your own email list, this will take you much further than purchasing a list, and you could begin building your own list through client referrals. Lead capture pages are growing in popularity for good reasons. They are easy to setup, and manage.
Their main purpose is to generate qualified leads from your marketing efforts, as well as any referrals that can be sent your way. Conversions are typically stronger than a basic website, or sending a cold email message to prospects.
Again, experimenting with several methods, and finding a way to measure or monitor their effectiveness, will definitely be the best first steps in finding the best lead generating options for you.
1. Referrals from existing clients
2. Referrals from colleagues
3. Referrals from personal network
(Yes, 4 & 5 are missing because there is SUCH a gap between Referrals of *any* kind and everything else ...).
6. Industry Partnerships AND Joint Ventures
7. Industry Events (with high visibility)
8: Online marketing efforts
10: purchasing marketing lists
Cold Calling? LAST!
All of the above are good ways but think in a different direction too. How are you marketing your company to attract buyers. If you are doing this then the leads will come to you. You have to develop a good marketing structure and digital marketing is key. That's what my company does every day. We research the industry and competitors and provide a blueprint for digital marketing that will increase any company's revenue and brand awareness.
I would the answer will vary slightly for each business/industry, however the first two
- Attend Industry events
- Referrals from existing clients
are the best ways to generate quality leads. When you attend industry events, you network with people who may not need your services immediately, but in future. You exchange your cards/emails and then keep in touch on regular basis, while not being pushy or sounding too salsey.
My favorite would be to ask existing clients for referrals. Your existing clients, will help you with the most qualified leads ever if they are already satisfied with your service/products.
There is no single correct answer. You should be incorporating as many of these as possible. There are many variables that help you determine what portfolio works best for you.including whether it is B2B or B2C,
industry(ies) you are selling, lead time to close, how technical the product or service are, cost of products (commodity or investment), one time or on going relationship.
Another important consideration is knowing your selling strengths and weaknesses and your style.. Each method will have different results depending on the answer above.
From a shear numbers point of view cold calling with a "quality" list should result in the largest number of leads. How many are qualified depends on your skill.
Not on your list is cold canvassing (knocking on doors without an appointment)
which works well in some industries.
Also not on you list is effectively using LinkedIn. The industries that you want to sell you product or service probably have a number of groups there. Join them and then post intelligent comments, industry specific articles etc.
This article from Jill Konrath maybe helpful.
Don't Send Prospecting Emails Like This – Please!
Before you talk about these Tactical marketing steps, you need to concentrate on the Strategic which is the most important.
Strategic marketing is the message and if you don't get that right, then all the tactical steps in the world won't help.
You need to craft your message using the conversion equation of Interrupt, Engage, Educate and Offer. If you want an explanation, you can go here : http://bpimarketingacademy.com/pretraining/
It is 74 minutes long, but I guarantee it won't be a waste of time.
The question is, what time frame are you looking to generate leads in? If you need them tomorrow, then Referrals from Existing clients, cold calls and events are the fastest way to get to prospects. If you have more time, leveraged efforts like the partnerships, websites and email marketing lists are good. You just have to be prepared to drive those solutions - follow-up, add value and stay in touch. Hope that helps
1. Disseminate information directly to your target market re your products and services - through EDMs, social media, industry group presentations- explaining USP of your offerings.
2. Follow through directly or through spheres of influence with what in your assessment are the most likely prospects.
3. Meet and make presentations.
4. If you are in the consumer or consumer durable product or service business then visibility is very important. This can be done with advertising your product in the print and electronic media, bill boards, etc. The ad campaign should be so designed so that when a person thinks of a product or service, your brand comes to mind immediately.
This summer i did empiracle research on just this topic to build a new sales organization. B2B and B2C answers differ dramatically. B2B leads with referrals' then cold calling and industry events in that that order. Social media plays a role but hasn't shown the return for investments made. Industry partnerships can be high on the list, but seems best used in formal reseller agreements.
B2C seems heavy on online marketing,one-to-one Marketing, referrals, social media in that order. Traditional marketing also applies but is very expensive compared to the other methods. If you want more detail on the research contact me.
In my experience, the most effective way to generate leads is networking with clients, contacts, friends, acquaintances, and people in your industry.
People buy products and services from people they know and like.
You can meet people through a variety of methods as you've listed above. But buyers are more saavy, and better educated, as a result of the Internet...and they use technology to hide (e.g., voicemail) so the concept of the "cold call" has changed. You can get name recognition online, and make initial contact in email. You can be well-educated about your client and his/her business by researching online. So when you do make contact, you are a RELEVANT contact...one who has something targeted and useful to offer.
One thing that does not work is passive advertising, and waiting for the phone to ring. No matter how good your website, Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, or other advert is...it isn't going to drive callers to you. You have to find them.
Hope this helps.
It depends on your industry and business model. All of these methods could be highly successful for specific segments. For my business in online advertising, we succeed with attending industry events. In prior roles, I succeed more with referrals (restaurant) and industry partnerships (publishing). There is no one size fits all, rather what works best for your segment and industry.
Others - Build your Own Email Database - according to past buyer persona.
We use LeadGrabber tool to get quality leads information - www.bit.ly/ldgtriallink
The tool lets you extract web leads and get you their email and phone for you to reach out. It's the best solution I can give it to you because of reasons:
1) You can generate customized leads - Your industry, Your title and Your location
2) You can get their E-mails and Phone automagically ( Valid ones - Mind it )
3) You can easily transfer these emails to your CRM / Plain Excel to start marketing campaign.
Check out the free trial of the tool - www.bit.ly/ldgtriallink