Nutshell’s BOUNDLESS 2020 virtual event was packed with valuable insights from top professionals in the fields of sales, marketing, customer support, and customer success.
One of those professionals was Sujan Patel, a well-known marketing guru and entrepreneur who has helped major corporations like LinkedIn, Expedia, and Salesforce better connect with their customers. He’s also co-founded successful business ventures like Mailshake, a simple-to-use cold email outreach tool.
Read on to learn Sujan’s best lead generation tips from his BOUNDLESS 2020 session, including how to decide which channels to invest in, how to get more out of your paid marketing efforts, and how to get sales and marketing teams to (finally!) work together.
We’ve broken our wide-ranging conversation with Sujan into multiple sections and shared his top tips from the interview in each one. Let’s dive in!
What Are the Most Common Lead Generation Mistakes?
Too Many Channels: “Even the biggest companies in the world have their core channels. It’s generally three or four channels. If you focus on seven channels, things will get sloppy, so stop focusing on so many things.”
The Wrong Channels: “People focus on too many insignificant channels—things that will never, ever move the needle for their business. If you’re in the B2B world and you’re trying to drive traffic with Instagram ads, or you’re spending energy thinking about Snapchat ads, you’re probably wasting your time.”
The Wrong Timing: “I also see people using specific channels at the wrong times. For example, SEO content is not going to do anything meaningful for your business early on. Paid will. Partnerships will. SEO won’t because it takes a long time.”
If you’re in the B2B world and you’re trying to drive traffic with Instagram ads, or you’re spending energy thinking about Snapchat ads, you’re probably wasting your time.”
How Do I Choose the Right Channels?
Test Everything: “Go with the tried and true channels first and then expand from there. So start with one channel and do the math. For example, if I spend X amount of dollars, I should get X amount of traffic. Do this for every one of your channels you can think of. Then put it through your funnel and see what you get.”
Influencer Marketing: “For new companies still trying to get their first 100 customers, it can help to work with influencers and get people with a personal brand to promote your stuff. But make sure your product is polished before you work with them.”
CPC Ads: “Any type of CPC advertising like Facebook and Google ads will work. But you need to be willing to spend money. Every company should be prepared to spend somewhere between $10,000 to $15,000 on advertising before they have 1,000 customers. Why? Because spending this amount of money will force you to optimize your funnel. It will force you as a founder, a salesperson, a marketing person to always think about your company’s funnel.”
Company Email List: “Ultimately, collecting emails is one of the most powerful and important things you can do. The reason for that is, it’s your email list, it’s your audience. It’s your people who’ve bought into the general concept of what you’re doing. Send them something of value on a regular basis. Stay in constant communication with them. If you don’t have time to create content, curate content. Because the person who gets the credit for the value is the person who shares the content, not necessarily its creator.”
Every company should be prepared to spend somewhere between $10,000 to $15,000 on advertising before they have 1,000 customers. Why? Because spending this amount of money will force you to optimize your funnel.”
Outbound Email Marketing: “Cold email and outbound sales is really effective because you’ll get rejected a lot. But it’s free and the process will help you figure out your pitch.”
Content Over Product: “If you’re in the B2B space, don’t push your product, push content because you can get a drastically better opt-in and click-through rate for whatever you’re measuring. This is because the friction is so low, and the value is so high. Take, for example, an e-book. It’s very high value and all a person has to do is enter their email and name, maybe a phone number too. This approach is five, 10 times more effective than trying to sell somebody a product on the first pass.”
How Do I Get More Out of My Paid Marketing Channels?
Two Different Channels: “Know the difference between brand affinity channels and acquisition channels. A brand affinity channel is a channel that’s great for building your brand, your reputation. An acquisition channel is a channel that will allow you to acquire new leads every day.”
Email Sponsorships: “Sponsoring email newsletters is a great tactic because it’s cheap. Go out and find niche newsletters in your space and see if you can sponsor them.”
If you don’t have time to create content, curate content. Because the person who gets the credit for the value is the person who shares the content, not necessarily its creator.”
Consider Scale: “Think about where the scale is for each channel you’re on. A lot of people pick too many small channels. For example, Facebook groups are great places to build a loyal audience. You can build a fan club. There’s lots of Facebook groups dedicated to all different kinds of topics. But how many of them are full of your customers? Facebook is a good beginning channel. But after two or three months, you’ll run out of prospects.”
Proper Targeting: “Make sure that whatever type of advertising you’re buying, it can be targeted to the exact people that you’re looking for. This means that you need to know who your target audience is.”
How Do I Maximize My Organic Lead Channels?
Word of Mouth: “Your product is the marketing. Create a good product with a strong value proposition. Generally, this will be the opposite of what other companies are doing. Go on Capterra or Trustpilot (for software companies) and look at your competitor’s pros and cons. Then make sure that whatever their cons are, those are your pros.”
Your True Fans: “Build an audience of one thousand true fans. Pat Flynn has a good book called Superfans, Read it. Google ‘1,000 True Fans,’ and you’ll find a great article on the topic. The point is, you really only need to build 1,000 true fans to start growing. And you build these fans through educational content.”
Focus on Growth Channels: “Concentrate on channels that are going to drive growth for your company. I would focus 75% to 80% of my time on those channels. Then focus on building your brand, your circle of influence/goodwill, across the board. The good news is, you can do it all with content. Great content will tackle both objectives.”
You really only need to build 1,000 true fans to start growing. And you build these fans through educational content.”
How Can I Get My Sales and Marketing Teams to Work Together?
Hold Weekly Meetings: “Have weekly meetings for your team leaders. Have them go to lunch or happy hour together. That’s the best way to go. Then communicate clearly. Salespeople need to tell marketing folks why their leads suck. When Marketing understands why, they can change their approach and get better leads.”
Have a System: “Your sales team has to have a system, and they need to be willing to work the exact same way on a bad batch of leads as they do on a good batch of leads. That’s the only way to find out if a specific channel is working or not.”
Check Egos at the Door: “Every team member needs to be willing to eat crow. Usually the problem between sales and marketing teams is that someone always has to be right and someone always has to be wrong. But most times, the truth is in the middle.”
Salespeople need to tell marketing folks why their leads suck. When Marketing understands why, they can change their approach and get better leads.”
Where Can I Learn More About Lead Generation?
Explore the Internet: “Go to your favorite blogs and start clicking on the links that you find interesting. You can learn a lot this way.”
Find Other Resources: “There’s an awesome Slack Group called Traffic Think Tank. You have to pay to become a member, but it’s a great resource. Also, subscribe to email newsletters like Product Habits and consume great content like videos and podcasts on lead generation topics.”
For more expert insights from BOUNDLESS 2020, watch the full replay right here.