5 ways to acquire new sales leads

What is the best, most effective way to generate new sales leads? I’ve spoken to a few people over the years that swear by social media, while others prefer more traditional methods.

One thing is for certain: like many other sales tactics, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to lead generation.

If I were to consolidate all of the responses that I get from people on what works best, these would be the top five (in no particular order).

Search marketing

generate new sales leads searchSearch engines, primarily Google, are often times the first places that people go when they are looking for information. Depending on where a person is in the sales cycle, they may be searching for general information about a product or service, or they may be searching for reviews and user feedback.

Are you showing up when people are searching for you? Search marketing is one of the most valuable digital marketing tactics out there, and can bring your business a whole lot of inbound leads.

Search marketing consists of search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). SEM is often used to describe paid search, and is used interchangeably with PPC (pay-per-click), but more on that in a second.

For those that may not know, SEO is more of a long-term strategy, as it takes time to establish your website as SEO-friendly. Don’t expect to change or add a few keywords to your website and see your site automatically start showing up on the first page of organic results.

That’s where SEM comes in—a great supplement to leverage as you work on your site’s SEO. SEM/PPC allows you to bid on keywords or phrases that are relevant to your business. If someone searches for a keyword that you want to bid on, your ad may show up (depending on a few factors) on the search engine results page (SERP), increasing the likelihood that your target audience finds your business.

Word of mouth

This remains one of the most effective strategies for lead generation and customer acquisition. Why? People trust their peers more than they trust an advertisement or other marketing materials developed by the company itself. It’s that simple. And now, with social media, it’s easier than ever to have your customers spread the word about how awesome your product is. How do you increase customer referrals?

  • Offer great support
  • Treat them well and engage often on social channels
  • Provide them with the information they want, not the information you want to provide
  • Develop a formal referral program

Content marketing

generate new sales leads content marketingI don’t mean developing a bunch of sales-y collateral that pushes people to purchase your product, regardless of where they are in the funnel. I mean developing content that is genuine and helpful.

You might be thinking, “but I’m not in the business of offering valuable information for free.” Maybe not, but in today’s world, earning the trust of consumers is an extremely powerful thing that pays dividends.

According to Google and IDG, B2B buyers consume anywhere from 10-14 pieces of content, on average, before making a purchase decision. Developing the right kind of content that can help guide the buyer towards an educated purchase can be the difference between landing a sale, or losing that opportunity to someone else.

You might be thinking, “but I’m not in the business of offering valuable information for free.” Maybe not, but in today’s world, earning the trust of consumers is an extremely powerful thing that pays dividends.

Some great types of content that help inform purchase decisions include:

  • Whitepapers
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • Blogs
  • Webinars
  • How-to videos
  • Product demos

Event networking

Attending industry events, conferences and trade shows are all great ways to network and generate leads. Even better than just simply attending is to actually speak at said events. Many events have “calls for speakers” where you can nominate someone, including yourself, to speak on a topic of interest to the conference attendees. This is an excellent way to build thought leadership, as well as gain great visibility for your company.

Social media

And finally, social media. Just remember, not every channel is right for every business. If you’re a local restaurant looking to attract new patrons, you might find more success leveraging a channel like Facebook versus LinkedIn. However, if you’re in B2B sales or marketing, LinkedIn might prove to be a valuable medium to get in front of a relevant audience. Here are some tips to help you expand your reach on LinkedIn:

  • generate new sales leads linkedin groupsPublish content! LinkedIn now allows its users to publish original content, such as blog posts. Your network will be able to read your posts, and as your post gains traction among your network, you may even be lucky enough to have your post featured on LinkedIn, earning you even more visibility.
  • Engage with people on LinkedIn groups. If I’m being completely honest, I’ve found that LinkedIn groups are often filled with marketers doing nothing but promoting their products or services. BUT, there are most certainly very real discussions taking place, and offering your perspective or input can help you make a name for yourself and your company. It all comes back to being genuine and helpful.

Of course this isn’t an all-inclusive list. Some other tactics include:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Reseller programs
  • Guest blogging
  • PR/media relations

We’ll go into more detail on some of the other tactics in a future blog post. Stay tuned!

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