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Building Awareness: Your First Step Towards Demand Generation Part 1

Building Awareness: Your First Step Towards Demand GenerationIn order to create demand, you must first create awareness. There are two primary ways to go about this – inbound or outbound marketing.

Inbound marketing uses online content to draw visitors to you by providing something of value not attached to a specific offer. It is an indirect method of creating awareness; prospects respond because of their interest in material relevant to your business, not because they are actively interested in your company or its products.

Search Engine Optimization

In order to attract prospects that are actively seeking information that is relevant to your business –  “kicking the tires” if you will – optimizing your company website and other web presences is essential. According to a 2012 report by the Kitterman Marketing Group, approximately 92% of B2B buyers use online resources to evaluate purchases. Using relevant keywords and phrases within your online content helps boost your presence in search engine rankings.

Viral Marketing

Although there is no formula for creating online content that is so interesting that its popularity explodes on the net, using remarkable video clips, images or other creatives can be effective in building awareness. The goal is to reach individuals with high social networking potential that will send your creative to other influencers until its exposure reaches a mass audience. Once there, your message can be used in other marketing activities.

Social Media Marketing

Leveraging the influence of social media is almost necessary in today’s marketplace. The strength of SMM lies in its ability to use influencers to share your content. Your creatives should be interesting, timely and relevant in order to gain traction among social media users. Getting the attention of industry leaders in your markets is important to using social media effectively.

Email

Creating awareness by contact through email messages can be tricky yet productive. It’s critical to gain approval from your prospects; this can often be accomplished by offering valuable information through other channels in exchange for an email address. Once you’ve gained that approval, an email drip campaign can be effective in nurturing leads towards a sales engagement.

Lead Generators

Lead GeneratorsAre you looking for ways to generate leads? I bet you were probably hunting for a telemarketing agency. In fact, when you search for lead generators in Google you’ll mainly get links for telemarketers in the results. If you landed here, that’s great news! It’s time you took a fresh look at how you’re managing your leads and consider using technology to bolster your strategy.

Dialing for dollars sometimes works; however, often times it’s inefficient and yields a low ROI relative to using software stacks that can bridge gaps in your sales and marketing and lead management processes.  If you’re like most organizations they have mixed feelings about hiring third parties to generate leads. These are usually on/off programs for most companies. Technology though, is here to stay.  You might hate it, but you can’t ignore it. If businesses ignore it then they’ll fall behind their competitors.

Lead Liaison uses innovative software technology that ignites your lead management process. We get you more leads into the top of the funnel, accelerate leads through the funnel and make sure leads don’t leak out of the funnel by helping you recycle them.

Most lead generators these days are technology-driven. For example, take a look at Lead Liaison’s revenue generation software. Instead of using telemarketers, our lead generators come from our Software as a Service (SaaS). We provide proven technology to help businesses with six cornerstones of any lead management lifecycle: sales prospecting, lead tracking, lead capture, lead conversion, lead distribution and lead nurturing.

Sales prospecting helps sales people find companies and people – getting more prospects into the funnel. Lead tracking helps companies track who’s visiting their site and what their interest is. Anonymous visitors (new source of leads) and known visitors (name and/or email identified) are tracked along with their online behavior to build rich prospect profiles for sales. Lead capture and lead conversion tools help build landing pages, web forms, engaging email campaigns and more to get prospects to fill out forms and interact with your company’s brand. Lead distribution intelligently distributes leads based on sales team/individual performance or any number of lead criteria (company size, location, etc.). Finally, lead nurturing automates the ability to stay in touch with prospects over time by sending relevant and timely email communications from sales.

Without the help of technology and a lack of emphasis on lead generator software, companies set themselves up for failure. In most cases, configuring technology like Lead Liaison’s to complement existing lead management practices takes less than an hour. My guess is you’d probably spend more than that on the phone with a telemarketer telling them what you need.

In just a few small steps your lead generator machine will be in full force. Make sure to select the right lead generators for your business – choose technology first over telemarketers.

Online Lead Generation Services

Lead Generation ServicesWith the influx of social media tools – Google+ being the latest, greater online marketing demands and a changing B2B buying process lead management has become difficult and complex. Without a lead management framework, companies are like a ship without a sail – going nowhere. Lead generation services have sprung up to try to mitigate process complexity. For example, there are many companies offering lead generation services to handle lead qualification, appointment setting, event promotion, email marketing, content delivery, inbound call handling and more. What companies don’t know is that many of these lead generation services can be accomplished using cost effective technology. In many cases, less than the cost of a trade show.

Lead Liaison’s lead generation services are packaged into web-based software, which ultimately is a service – or Software as a Service (SaaS) as the industry calls it. Although SaaS-based technology cannot deliver the human element, such as inbound call handling, it can deliver a multitude of lead generation services online. Lead Liaison’s online lead generation services enable companies to:

  • Automate marketing and sales processes such as lead qualification and outbound marketing
  • Prospect for new leads
  • Synchronize activities with CRMs such as Salesforce.com and cleanup database records
  • Nurture leads with intelligent and intuitive campaigns
  • Capture leads with easy to create landing pages and smart forms
  • Target prospects with professional-grade email marketing

Hopefully this post leaves you with some food for thought. Should you reach out in desperation to traditional lead generation services agencies or embrace technology to mitigate the complexity of the lead management process?

Let us show you why you should choose the latter.

To learn more about how Lead Liaison’s online lead generation services can jump start your lead generation activities and simplify the lead management process let us know. We’re more than happy to explore how we can help you solve your problems in a complex sales and marketing environment.

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Assessing Lead Generation Techniques

Assessing Lead Generation TechniquesWe recently provided consulting to a small business who struggles getting opportunities into their sales pipeline. Our consultation was focused around assessing lead generation techniques. For the purpose of confidentiality, we’ll keep the company name anonymous. We removed personal references to our suggestions and left in general suggestions broadly applicable and advantageous to many businesses. We hope at least one of these ideas is relevant to your business. For a list of more lead generation techniques check out 101 of them in the following article: 101 Business to Business Lead Generation Ideas and Tips.

After assessing lead generation techniques for this particular B2B company we came up with the following recommendations:

1. Produce a business plan around your top verticals (based on historical revenue share and growth). Keep it simple with 3. Step 1, define the verticals. Step 2, map out the ecosystem (product collateral). Step 3, map out the top 50 (major) players in each category of the ecosystem. Step 4, execute the following tactics:

• Hold monthly webinars.

• Have quarterly executive speaking events.

• Issue monthly press releases (which also help SEO).

• Create a library of video (and transcripts) testimonials from wins in each space.

• Hire a major account manager or carve out responsibility for aforementioned strategic accounts. Similar to a Major Account Manager-type role.

• Partner with industry consultants for lead referral. Enhance channel strategy – particularly in ASIA.

2. Increase sales development resources. At a minimum:

• Add EMEA Sales Development Representative for localized support.

• Add additional US Sales Development Representative (3rd party team or 3rd team member).

3. Create a Service Level Agreement between sales, marketing and executive teams.

4. Send executives and/or business development contacts to tradeshows vs sales people. Idea is they are unbiased and have global awareness of your business.

5. Expand marketing’s social footprint:

• Develop a squidoo lens.

• Create a YouTube channel.

• Produce an industry leading eBook.

• Create a contest.

6. Create free tools that help people. These could be templates, spreadsheets, anything. The idea is to share these publicly on your website and in the social domain to increase lead generation. Focus on helping, not closing, prospects.

7. Create an incentive program with some of your partners. For example, $1,000 to each sales rep that passes over a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). Must define what a SQL is.

8. Enhance SEO strategy:

• Move your blog to your own domain for enhanced SEO. It’s on blogger.com which does nothing for SEO.

• Hire a SEO specialist to optimize your external web pages to increase organic SEO leads.

9. Establish better sales pipeline stages in Salesforce.com to facilitate the creation of Sales Qualified Leads.

10. Develop a lead nurturing process. It appears your business has a legacy of “one-and-done” touches on your database. You must “recycle” your leads and constantly build relationships with them in an automated way. Database segmentation and drip nurturing processes will help. We suggest procuring revenue generation software such as that from Lead Liaison.

11. Hold more folks, not just sales, responsible for getting opportunities in the pipeline. This means developing the right metrics and MBOs.

12. Have sales and marketing team members start every day with two cold calls. Track it.

13. Create innovative marketing content with more landing pages and social media strategies around each piece. Ideal to categorize these based on our 3 key verticals.

• Analyst reports

• Gartner magic quadrant notes

• Blog postings

• Press releases to share

• Podcast

• Invitation to join LinkedIn group discussion

• Run a survey

• Video testimonial

• eBook on security

• New research

• Interviews with industry executives

Start assessing lead generation techniques for your business by documenting the problems and challenges. Get team leads together for a brainstorm session which identifies relevant issues. Once you know your companies problems you can work on a solution.

For a free consultation and assessment of your lead generation techniques contact Lead Liaison.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How are you assessing lead generation techniques? What have your assessments shown which you’d like to share with others?

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Track your Website

Track your WebsiteDid you know you can track your website to better understand results of your sales and marketing efforts and uncover new opportunities? This article discusses why you should track your website using lead tracking technology. Additionally, we’ll compare tracking technology to perceived alternatives, such as Google Analytics.

Why track your website?

Many B2B companies track their website for two reasons; to measure return on sales and marketing investments and to generate new leads. Marketing and sales teams invest a lot of time and effort into evangelizing their companies’ solutions. For example, marketing sends out email campaigns, publishes posts on social media, creates valuable content, landing pages, a website, and web forms. On the other hand, sales is calling new prospects, following up with interested prospects, and holding meetings with new leads. How do we know sales and marketing’s efforts are not wasted? What insight do we have to measure the effectiveness of these efforts after a campaign is finished? Industry experts estimate 96% of all website visitors go unnoticed. By not implementing lead tracking, there’s a good chance the results of your investment will fall into a black hole.

If you track your website, you’ll realize the fruits of your labor. Let’s examine return for a marketer sending out an email campaign. Most email campaigns include a call to action that directs the email recipient to visit your website. Marketers do this by embedding links to their website in an email message. Once a link is clicked, lead tracking technology identifies the individual, company, revenue, company description, pages viewed, search terms used, source of the lead and more in real-time. When marketing pulls a report of all website visits generated from specific email campaigns they can determine the effectiveness of the program and decide which programs to invest in or pull out of.

Sales will also benefit in a few ways if you track your website. Let’s say a sales person spends 1.5 hours on the phone with a new marketing qualified prospect. If a sales person is able to see if a prospect visited his/her company’s website the sales person is able to get a better feeling for the prospects interest level. By tracking each page viewed by the visitor a “digital footprint” is created. Did the prospect do more research on a specific solution? Did they check out pricing? Are they looking at another solution? If you track your website you’ll have this information.

Lead Liaison vs. analytics packages

Some businesses feel they already have a way to track their website with analytics packages such as Google Analytics. Analytics packages do allow tracking; however, they are very different from Lead Liaison’s lead tracking technology. For example, Google Analytics is cumbersome to manage and complex to navigate. The goal for Google Analytics is to get you to spend more money on search word advertising, not to help you generate leads from your existing assets (website, marketing collateral, web forms). If you track your website using Lead Liaison’s lead tracking you’ll obtain the following advantages over analytics tools similar to Google Analytics:

Comparing lead tracking to web analytics. Lead tracking provides…

1. More leads. Lead Liaison includes a workflow process around your website leads by allowing marketers to nurture leads after their visit. Analytics packages provide pure static reporting.

2. More lead intelligence. Lead Liaison includes business intelligence information such as company name, description, revenue, news, competitors and more. Analytics packages typically provide only an IP address for your website visitor.

3. More qualified leads. Lead Liaison automatically qualifies your website visitors using lead scoring. Analytics packages do not provide this.

4. Better clarity on your revenue cycle. Lead Liaison provides analytics to help marketers’ measure results of their campaigns deep into the sales pipeline. Analytics packages provide analytics to help marketers optimize their website for paid advertising by reporting metrics such as visitor volume, top pages viewed, and top performing keywords.

5. Better measure of return on marketing assets. Markers need to know how their landing pages, web forms, and email campaigns perform. Lead Liaison provides A/B testing and ROI analytics on marketing assets to determine where to invest and where not to invest. Analytics packages provide investment insight on keywords.

If you would like to track your website and generate more leads, higher quality leads, more lead intelligence and better clarity on your revenue cycle contact Lead Liaison here for more information.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. Why do you think it’s good to track your website? To be alerted of future posts, please click on the RSS button.

Tracking Website Visitors

Tracking Website VisitorsLead Liaison gets lots of leads daily by tracking website visitors that interact with our marketing assets. In this article, we’ll discuss the opportunity created by website visitor tracking, explain how technology enables tracking, and summarize our website visitor tracking solution so you can begin finding new leads for your company today.

Benefit of tracking website visitors

Businesses miss an opportunity to collect a wealth of information on potential leads by not tracking website visitors. Brian Carroll, a lead generation analyst, estimates lead conversion rates are less than 4%. A lead conversion rate is the number of website visitors divided by web form submissions. For example, if there were 100 visitors on a given day then, on average, a maximum of 4 of those 100 visitors would complete and submit a web form. Web forms come in many flavors such as a request for product information, demo or contact us form. Turning this data on its head, it means 96% of website visitors are unknown, fly under the radar, never “raise their hand” or go unnoticed by a sales person. What if you could turn those hidden visitors into leads and prioritize the most interested prospects? This is the opportunity available to companies by tracking website visitors.

Website Visitor Tracking

How website visitor tracking works

Fortunately, we get to drink our own champagne here at Lead Liaison – we use our own technology to create leads for our company. We get a lot of questions about our website visitor tracking technology and what value this adds. Let’s first talk about what tracking doesn’t tell us. People sometimes think tracking website visitors will reveal an email address, name and phone number for each visitor. It’s possible to do so only if the visitor “opts-in” (more on this later); however, no trustworthy software can identify first-time website visitors with this information unless the visitor is running software on their local machine that gathers information and reports it back to you. Software such as this is known as spyware or malware.

The legitimate way of tracking website visitors is done with cookies and an IP address. Cookies are harmless, legal, and used every day as a standard component by all browsers (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome and others). Cookies do not discover new information or collect information from other cookies, they only store known information collected from your website visitors by your website. To further dispel this myth, it’s not even technologically possible for a cookie to discover new information – browsers don’t allow it. The only cookies that can be used are those set by and rendered from your website. In summary, the cookie and IP address form the core of any website visitor tracking system. As validation, Lead Liaison uses cookies, IP address, and a proprietary user identification method for tracking website visitors.

The process of tracking website visitors

Lead Liaison categorizes website visitors into two buckets; known leads and unknown leads. Known leads are tracked website visitors who we have information on, such as a name or email. Unknown leads are tracked website visitors we know nothing about. Lead Liaison’s technology turns unknown leads into known leads by allowing unknown leads to opt-in. Unknown leads opt-in to the revenue generation cycle (sales cycle) through one of four ways:

  • web form submission
  • email campaign
  • outlook email message
  • manual sync by a user of our software

Once the lead opts-in, we establish a connection between the cookie and the users profile allowing us to identify past and future website visits. Visits as well as other activities created by our software, email opens and form submissions, are aggregated and displayed in our web application or CRM like Salesforce.com. By tracking website visitors a prospect profile is created. The prospect profile includes pages viewed (click pattern), time on site, search phrases used by the website visitor to find your website, lead qualification score via lead scoring and more. Additionally, business intelligence information is appended to the lead using proprietary technology to deliver an even more comprehensive lead profile.

If the website visitor’s online behavior, or “digital body language”, is indicative of any sort of interest then they’re deemed “sales-ready” and passed to our sales team, in real-time, for follow up. Alternatively, add the lead to a lead nurturing cycle for automated and personalized follow up and/or send them relevant content over time to further develop the lead. Here’s a summary of the value in tracking website visitors:

  • Provides sales with a new source of leads
  • Prepares sales with a profile of prospect’s interest
  • Notifies sales when there’s a hot lead
  • Identifies, in real-time, when a prospect is thinking about your solutions
  • Validates prospecting efforts or meetings that generate actual interest

How to enable tracking website visitors

Enabling website visitor tracking is simple. A company adds a few lines of code (tracking code) to each page they need tracked. Every new visitor gets a cookie dropped on their machine. Combined with the IP address, this information can be used to track interaction with your website and append business intelligence information such as company name, revenue, location and more. As a rule of thumb, it’s easier to track a corporate IP address vs. a residential IP address. For example, if you’re a B2B solutions provider and your website visitor is accessing your website from their corporate office, Lead Liaison can identify their company name from the IP address. If the visitor is accessing your website from home, tracking shows the ISP, such as Road Runner or Comcast, as the company name, which isn’t very useful. Fortunately, advanced lead tracking systems such as Lead Liaison’s allow you to turn on/off tracking of residential IP addresses to filter B2B leads only.

Start tracking your website visitors today using Lead Liaison; see the “lead tracking” feature available in our platform editions, click here.

We welcome your feedback, comments and suggestions. How else could lead tracking help you?

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