by pat

We need sales leads now it’s a common lament. What you do about it can make all the difference.

Maybe it’s the seasonal slump; maybe the market has slowed down. Whatever the reason, suddenly you aren’t closing enough business and the forecast looks bleak. Worse yet, if things don’t pick up and fast you’ll have to lay-off half of manufacturing.

Here are seven lead generation tips that I have found invaluable for creating a short term pop in leads and sales:

Online Press/New Product Releases – Periodic releases sent to a service on a monthly basis are great, but what I’m talking about here is a short term burst of activity that gets people to contact you now.

To be effective, pick one product to promote at a time. Create a product update announcement and press release about it.

Make sure you optimize the releases for keywords and links back to a dedicated landing page on your site. Submit both releases to one paid release service (I like send2press) and as many of the free services as possible.

For best results on the free side, focus on online trade journals for product news and press releases. These tend to be highly relevant to your market and often will show up well in the search engine results.

To find relevant online journals, try a Google search: inurl:submit-news yourkeyphrase Make sure the yourkeyphrase is general enough to give you some results.

Web Site Tweaks – Are you getting traffic, but not converting visits into leads? Try these tips:

  • Avoid indirection; put the form right on the page and keep it short.
  • Try a small registration form with an offer of something free like a newsletter or white paper.
  • Try a so called name squeeze page. Create a page with compelling copy that is focused on one goal: getting the visitor’s name and contact information.

Are you showing up high in Google search results pages for most key search terms? If not, spend some time optimizing your site, I have seen cases where small changes can make a big difference in both traffic and leads.

Online Events – Hosting a webinar can be a quick way to boost sales, but the key is promotion. A good rule of thumb is to start promoting an event about six weeks ahead of the target date.

  • Do an email blast to all your existing contacts. You may also want to consider renting a list from a relevant source.
  • Be sure to clearly display the registration information on your web site. Also, use the popular online web-based event listing services as well as online industry trades and press to get the word out.
  • If you really want to pump up the visitors, try working with a large industry partner to cooperatively promote the event.

PPC Campaigns – Google adwords is kind of like Texas Hold’em poker, it takes minutes to learn and a lifetime to master. Adwords can be expensive if you are not facile with it, but it can bring results fast. Keep these pointers in mind when working with Adwords:

  • Avoid getting into bidding wars for top positions when lower positions can draw almost as well for a lot less money.
  • Be sure to judiciously use quotes around your key phrases to avoid paying for wildly unrelated phrases. (This is one of the most often overlooked aspects of adwords.)
  • Focus on so-called long tail keyphrases. These phrases are very specific (often less competitive) phrases in your niche. An example would be Sales Training for Engineers as opposed to the more generic and competitive term: Sales Training.

e-mail campaigns to your existing list – email campaigns can be effective if they are not construed as spam by the recipient. You can rent lists or directories, but the best approach is to use a list of contacts that has had contact with you in the past. (This also helps you to not run afoul of the spam laws.) Existing contacts are usually comprised of some the following groups:

  • Existing customers

  • Past prospects that did not buy

  • People that have contacted you about your products or services in the past

  • Newsletter subscribers

  • Past event attendees

If you have a large number of contacts, you may want to segment them into manageable chunks. Mailing to fewer accounts affords you the time to do proper follow up on the program. As we will discuss in the next section, targeted follow up calls and direct mail can greatly increase the response to your campaign.

You can also segment by business potential. For example, you may have a handful of contacts from accounts that have the potential to be large customers for you. You should cull these from the list and give them special attention. A prospect specific letter and a little research can go a long way here.

The types of campaigns that bring the best results typically include some kind of special offer of something of value to the recipient. Examples of special offers include: free white papers, ebooks and webinars as well as tip sheets, free software and resource directories.

Calls to existing lists – Cold calls are often less effective than they could be because the contact does not have any idea who you are. By calling to your existing list you can reference the previous contact on the call or in a voice mail message and establish some credibility with the target.

Multiple touch lead generation (using multiple communication methods in a sequence) is the key to success here. You should have a systematic program (using email, direct mail, calls, etc) that keeps you in the prospects mind.

Have you ever had the experience of hearing about something say a new type of car and then find that you see them everywhere? This is the power of multiple touch with your prospects, if they see your name enough, it will sink in.

Before you pick up the phone to call, take the time to do a bit of research on the prospect. You will really stand out from the heard if you go to their website and study their business a bit. What are the latest press and news stories about them? Have they recently had a re-org, been through a merger? Have they just received a new chunk of funding, announced a new product? What was the previous contact with them all about? Were they interested but had no budget, did they choose a competitor? Anything you can find will help you to be more relevant to their needs.

Call your partners – Partners can be a great source of short term sales opportunities. Work directly with the sales reps at your key partners. Before you consider working with a partner, be sure you are comfortable with their approach to selling and their reputation on the street. Once initial trust is established, the formula is simple give a lead to get a lead.

Start with an overview conference call or meeting to determine overall fit. Do they call on the same types of accounts and functional areas as you? Are they active enough to be able to provide you with enough leads to make spending time worth while? Once you have determined that there is a fit, take some time and do a lead swap with them. Be prepared to give them a few currently active projects or at least some valuable contacts in organizations they may want to penetrate. Expect to get roughly the same type and quantity of leads in return.

Attend Lead Generation Training – Shameless plug alert! This article gave an overview of some of the short term lead generation activities available. If you interested in learning about the latest lead generation strategies and techniques in more detail, we offer fast, effective customized lead generation training and consulting.
Technology Sales Help can help you generate more leads, grow sales and avoid costly mistakes. Please call Pat Shaughnessy (978-808-0626) for a no-cost lead generation or sales process consultation. If you prefer, you can use our online form to ask questions or arrange a discussion.

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