Sales leads are potential future customers often referred to as customer prospects. B2B sales leads enter at the start of the sales process and are crucial to maintaining a healthy sales pipeline. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ways to generate sales leads for your small business.
1. Purchase Business Contact Lists
Prospective business contact lists are a key tool for kick-starting the process of generating new business-to-business (B2B) sales leads, especially for cold emailing and cold calling. It’s important to know that the contact data on your list is not only clean and up to date, but also filtered by the right attributes to ensure it is a close match for your target market customers.
When deciding where to purchase your business list, pay close attention to the attributes that more closely match your target customer profile. For instance, you’ll want to consider company size, industry, job title, and geographic location.
Read our article on the best places to buy business lists to learn more about what to consider and where to buy your lists.
2. Use LinkedIn & LinkedIn Sales Navigator
A basic LinkedIn account is free and allows you to connect with all of your business contacts and explore their connections as well. The more people you know increases your potential to be introduced to the people you want to know. This is because people using LinkedIn typically have at least 200 to 300 connections.
LinkedIn also has a separate tool specifically for sales lead intelligence and acquisition purposes called Sales Navigator. It allows you to easily find new sales leads and gain useful insight into decision-makers so that you can personalize your cold email (or InMail) communication to create more sales opportunities.
Did you know? According to Dynamic Yield, 42% of sales leads are inspired by the right email to purchase, typically make a buying decision in the evening. Fifty percent buy on a desktop computer and 31% buy on a mobile phone. Only 12% of decision-makers buy in the morning, and 22% do so during working hours.
For $80 per user, per month, the Sales Navigator Professional package gives you all the key features you need to generate quality leads. You can search for and filter individual sales lead searches via a wide range of different attributes, such as “Leads with recent job changes” and companies via varying attributes such as “Company headcount growth.” Visit their website to start a free individual trial or sign up for a demo.
3. Engage Leads With Cold Emails
Cold emails can range from being rigid templates that just change the salutation to “Dear John” at the start to completely personalized emails for each person you communicate with. I recommend creating cold emails that are more highly personalized. The more personal the email is, the more likely you’ll receive a response.
Sure, it takes more time to research your prospect and create a customized email, but you’re much more likely to get a response. Read our comprehensive article on how to engage prospects with cold emails to learn more.
As you generate sales leads, you need a way to store them effectively and manage your communications with them using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. For example, Pipedrive helps you track conversations, sales leads behaviors, and collaborate among your team in a highly visual pipeline. Sign up for a free trial today to get started.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of Cold Calls
Cold calling refers to a phone call made to a prospective customer with whom you’ve had no previous contact. Though not always the most popular strategy, cold calling can be an extremely fast and efficient way to connect with new prospects.
Working from a good quality business contact list or using a sales intelligence tool such as Sales Navigator will provide a good starting point from which to complete your research to gain insight into your customer before calling.
Cold calling gives you immediate feedback from customers and prospects as no other strategy can. This is why many seasoned sales professionals don’t just tolerate cold calling, but actually prefer it and enjoy it.
To learn more about how to create effective cold calling scripts with free templates, visit our article, “Cold Calling Scripts and How to Write Them.”
5. Adopt a Low Price Starting Point & Upsell
If your business model is geared more toward making profits from repeat business than initial sales, then you need to make it easy for customers to hop on. For example, in the case of a stationery supplier, you can often afford to provide a discounted or even free service to the decision-maker.
This makes it a no-brainer for sales leads to try out your product or service. While your first sale may be at break-even or even a small loss, you will benefit from all their repeat business if you provide a great customer experience.
6. Leverage Customer Referrals
A referral happens when one customer has a positive experience that so delights them that they feel compelled to recommend your business to their friends and colleagues, who turn into sales leads and customers.
Numerous studies have proven that customer referrals are far more likely to result in new leads than any other lead generation strategy. After all, few things are more reassuring than a positive recommendation from someone you know and trust. Learn more about how to gain customer referrals in our comprehensive guide.
7. Don’t Forget to Engage in Networking
Most people you meet have hundreds of contacts, which means that virtually anyone you might want to contact or meet is only four to five people away from you. This is why effective networking is a great source of new B2B sales leads.
Most people invest time in business networking with a goal in mind, whether this is to generate leads or referrals. You should also have a genuine interest in meeting other people and learning how you can help them as well. Make it your goal to be open, friendly, and honest to see how you can help other people first—you’ll be amazed by how generously most people respond to this and will be willing to help you in return.
8. Use Social Media to Reach Leads
Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is an excellent way to generate leads. Use it to reach out to influencers in your industry and engage in conversations with them. Their followers, who are likely some of your potential customers, will see your interactions and follow you or visit your site. You can also follow trending subjects relating to your business by using the # symbol.
9. Enhance Your Website
One of the simplest ways to get more B2B sales leads is to create an engaging website and optimize your search engine (SEO) so you appear on the first page of Google Search page results for keywords that describe your business product or service. This will help drive traffic to your website and increase your inbound sales leads if you make sure to set up a landing page with a lead capture mechanism, such as a landing page with a call to action.
Your landing page helps to ensure that your sales leads receive the specific information that they were looking for. To make this effective as a lead generation strategy, your landing page will also need a call to action. Ask leads for their name, email address, and phone number and provide free content such as an e-book to incentivize visitors.
10. Use Google AdWords
Google advertising is an efficient and effective lead generation strategy for many small businesses. You can display a business ad to prospects who are searching for your products or services by identifying the keywords that they use to search and then bid to advertise on these pages. You can also identify your key competitors and place a Google AdWord on their search return pages. This is often called “piggyback” advertising.
11. Use Promotions in Your Email Signature
This is an easy strategy to forget—and it’s free. Make your email signature more effective by embedding a promotional link to relevant content, such as your new e-book. With the help of link integration, you will increase the flow of potential new sales leads to your web landing page and call-to-action buttons. Learn more about how to create effective email signatures generators in our complete guide.
12. Create E-books
E-books are an excellent way to provide your sales leads and existing customers with useful and relevant content that will help them to appreciate your expertise and improve your reputation. They also potentially bring them closer to purchasing your products or services.
For instance, download our comprehensive sales management e-book to view a great example of an engaging e-book you can engage leads and customers with.
13. Become a Recognized Expert
You can take a number of simple steps to rapidly establish yourself as a reputable expert in your industry. These can include:
- Guest blogging
- Writing blog articles
- Speaking at and attending events
- Setting up your own LinkedIn Group in your area of expertise
14. Get Your Business Reviewed
Getting your business reviewed on third-party review sites is a great way to spread the word about how well your business compares with the other competitive options available. Of course, you have to be confident your business will review well, since any good review site will review your business objectively without any outside influence to maintain credibility with their readers.
15. Participate in Online Forums
Online forums are a great place to meet sales leads and to get to know existing customers more intimately. For instance, if you are a website developer, attending forums to help answer questions relating to the problems people are having with their website is a great way to meet sales leads.
Be active on forums, share your views with the other members, and answer their questions comprehensively to demonstrate your expertise and help to build trust. For instance, you can join groups on LinkedIn, or even start your own LinkedIn Group.
16. Write a Newsletter & Establish a Blog
If you want to be taken seriously as an expert in your field, creating a blog is one of the best methods you can start with. It’s also a great way to connect with sales leads and to stay in touch with existing customers too.
Make sure that your blog is about the topical issues and problems that are top of mind for your existing and prospective customers. Be sure to optimize your blog to generate sales leads by having a sign-up section for your newsletter or e-book and by using the margins to promote your products and services. Learn how to create a blog website using WordPress or Weebly.
Another great way to connect with experts in your field, decision-makers, and influencers is to reach out to them to interview them for your blog or write a guest post. Keep the interview as simple as possible by asking sharp questions and allowing them to share their expertise.
17. Host Webinars
Webinars are an inexpensive way to get your message to hundreds of potential sales leads. The same research and content that you use to develop an e-book can be used to create your webinar in a presentation format using a tool such as Slidebean.
There are many services that allow you to broadcast a webinar quickly and easily. One I recommend for small business is Zoom, which is easy to set up and use and allows you to host a webinar for up to 100 video participants starting at $149 per year. At the end of the webinar, be sure to ask the attendees to sign up to download your e-book or whitepaper, and thereby convert them into sales leads.
Generating more B2B sales leads is crucial for your small business. Without new leads, your ability to close sales becomes limited because leads keep your pipeline full with plenty of opportunities to create customers. However, there is no shortage of ways to generate new leads. Gradually start incorporating these B2B sales lead methods into your overall sales strategy.