Lead generation is a fairly new term but has become critical in the world of online marketing. In order to generate cost-effective, qualified leads for your leadership development firm, you need to offer something of value in exchange for contact information.
Generate Qualified Leads
- You identify your target audience.
- You name the primary problem you solve for them.
- You invite them to connect with you through a discovery call.
- If they aren’t ready to make that call yet, you offer an alternative to setting up the call. You offer something of value in exchange for an email address. This is called a lead generator. So that this lead generator actually gets used, you need to offer something that solves their problem – at least part way.
- Once the prospect enters their email address, the lead generator is delivered to their email inbox, ideally followed by an email nurture sequence that helps to “sell” them on your services.
Why Lead Generation Campaigns are Important
As a leadership development firm, you need to be cultivating new business all the time. In the past, firms like yours have relied almost exclusively on referrals and traditional outbound sales to build your business.
Now, as the world has shifted to online business development, you need to build a body of work online that showcases the type of work you do, the coaches and consultants that work in your firm and thought leadership that adds to the value you offer through your services.
In addition to attracting clients outside of your natural referral network, a lead generation strategy will help you attract high-quality leads and, ultimately, more sales.
An Online Sales Pipeline to Generate Leads
Before we get into b2b lead generation, let’s create a baseline understanding of what moving through an online sales process – with the purpose of generating more qualified leads – looks like.
Occasionally, your online prospects will come to you as a result of a referral. In the example below, we are assuming they are not a referral and need to be nurtured as a lead who has not heard of you before.
Outside of the Funnel
These are companies and individuals that have never heard of you. In the case of these people, your goal is to make them aware of your company.
Marketing Tactics to move them to the top of the funnel:
• Organic promotion of content, including a lead gen. NOTE: creating content that has built-in search engine optimization is a key to this.
• Paid promotion of content, including a lead gen.
• Create sharable content that is used by another reputable source and links to your website.
Top of the Funnel
Once a company, team, or individual knows about you, they have entered into the sales funnel. At this point, they know about you but you don’t know about them.
This is where the fun begins. Once a qualified lead knows you exist, you can start to offer content that appeals to them and meets their needs.
Marketing Tactics to move them to the top middle of the funnel:
• LEAD GENERATION!
Top Middle of the Funnel
Lead generators allow you to generate interest and collect lead information so that you can start a relationship with your leads. This is critical to a higher quality sale.
Without website visitors’ contact information, you can’t follow up, ask questions, offer value, and focus your marketing on the leads’ specific needs.
Marketing Tactics to move them to the bottom middle of the funnel:
• Nurture your leads through email marketing – likely once per week. Be sure to always offer additional value and ask for the call in each email. This will keep the lead opening the emails and, eventually, get them to set up the call.
• Get the lead talking – on a call or through email. You want to know what their primary challenge is so that you can use account-based marketing tactics to speak directly to their needs.
• Find mutual connections and ask them to reach out on your behalf or make an introduction to the lead.
Bottom Middle of the Funnel
At this stage in the sales process, you are making the sale.
This is the relationship building, proposal, and negotiation phase. Because this is a big deal for you, you need to continue to nurture these leads with powerful online content marketing and continuous value-adds.
Marketing Tactics to move them to the bottom of the funnel:
• Targeted email marketing that speaks directly to small businesses’ specific challenges and/or their challenges. You’ll need to do good research to make sure you identify the most pressing problems.
• Testimonials from happy clients.
• Help them see how your service will help them make more revenue.
Bottom of the Funnel
SALE! SALE! SALE! Your sales team can celebrate the win.
Tools You Need
Executing a lead generation campaign requires some specific tools. You could actually do it without, but it would be a giant pain and require a ton of staff time. Generating leads is a huge strategy-based business and it’s best if you find a saas company that offers software to meet your needs.
Lead generation software that also serve as full Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool:
Lead generation software that creates landing pages, automates deliver and follow-up email marketing
• Active Campaign
• Mail Chimp
• Constant Contact
• Vertical Response
There are countless other options out there. Need help choosing – set up a call and we will walk you through the options.
Your Lead Generation Campaign
In order to generate more leads that align with your business offerings, you need to offer a powerful tool, sometimes called a lead magnet, that will meet your leads’ needs.
White paper, e-book, report or guide
This collection of tools works best when it is industry-specific. If you can commission or curate research that is unique to your prospects, your content will be more highly valued. Stick with the main categories of information that speak to them directly.
NOTE: white papers are a dime a dozen these days. If you are going to do this, do it well! Invest the time and money to make it unique and helpful to the new leads you wish to serve.
You know the type, right? The ‘top 10 tips’ or ‘7 pitfalls to avoid.’ Yep – it’s click-bait. But, it works. These are also called ‘value lists.’ The trick here is creating content that is valuable for your clients.
If you are working to attract c-suite executives, perhaps a “10 questions to ask when interviewing your next world-class assistant.”
Worksheets and workbooks are simple tools that help a lead solve a problem. Leadership development firms often have a ton of content that would fall into this category. Turning those tools into lead generators can be a cost-effective way to offer value quickly.
Don’t underestimate the power of simple and fast. Not everyone has the time or mental energy to read and understand your full white paper, but if you can give them a tool that helps them quickly improve a situation, you just might be their next call when they need the services that you offer.
Checklists are also an easy tool to create that can add quick value for leads. Consider what your leadership development firm specializes in. An example — Is it conflict resolution?
How about a checklist for mediating a conversation between employees in conflict.
Mini-courses can be a great way for firms that offer online courses to tease their content. Plus, if you can get a lead to access your course software, you’ve removed a barrier to them making the full sale.
Access to insider information
Quick hint – don’t call your insider information a ‘newsletter.’ NOBODY wants to sign up for another newsletter. Booooring! Instead, offer a daily/weekly/monthly email that gives them insider information – on their area of interest, your business, services that would help them grow, or a strategy that will benefit their companies.
Access to a community
Beware – if you are going to do this, make sure the community you are building is robust and aligns with your business values. If you aren’t able to add regular value, moderate conversations, and show up consistently for the community, don’t do it.
As you look to make sure you have sales-qualified leads, a chatbox conversation can help you ask the right questions early on. Of course, make sure to ask for an email from all potential customers at the beginning of the conversation. Simply say, “May I get your email address so that I can reach out after our conversation?”
Invitation to an event or early access to a new service
If you aren’t sure whether you have critical mass to make a webinar or special event worth doing, create an online waitlist. In addition to lead generation, you’ll create demand for thought leadership. When you have the critical mass you need, you can open up the registration and set a date!
Coupon or discount (not likely for leadership development industries)
This is a great tool for retail products and introductory level services. If you are only interested in lead generation with high-value potential, stay away from discount offerings. Your lead quality will be lower than you want.
Webinar or roundtable discussion
We LOVE webinars and roundtable discussions. You generate leads, share your content marketing body of work, have an opportunity to create relationships with participants, and increase sales! The only problem is that potential customers are a bit webinar-ed-out.
The pandemic has made us all wary of this type of gathering. It is still a strategy worth trying – if you can get even a dozen leads to sign up, you win!
An interview with an expert
Choose someone they are interested in hearing from. This might not be someone that you would choose, but it is someone that they want to learn and grow with. Better yet – make it a live interview, rather than a replay, and ask them to submit questions ahead of time.
An idea — if you are working to attract a specific industry, check out who the keynote speakers at their associate conference were. That’s a good starting point!
Creating High Quality Lead Generation Content
Don’t skimp! Lead generation strategy is an area that is worth investing in. Lead generation marketing adds enormous value to your business. When your potential customers see that you are creating content specifically for them and their team, they are more likely to reach out to start a conversation.
This type of lead generation is GOLD to your company. The market for leadership development is growing, but so are the number of firms that offer assessments, workshops, coaching, and comprehensive programs. You need to stand out with amazing content that is specific to your customers and their industries.
In addition to the amazing content you provide to potential clients, make sure these documents are well designed and easy to read. Don’t underestimate the authority it builds when the content you provide is polished and attractive.
It’s true – the most human company wins. Be sure you are creating content that speaks to the heart of the problems your potential clients are facing. When you focus your website content on this, you will attract more leads in your target market, it also sets you up to be the authority and builds trust with your audience.
Marketing your Lead Generation Campaigns
You want to generate leads! Don’t be shy about marketing your lead magnets to potential customers. Increased website traffic will help you generate qualified leads and grow your business. More quality leads & prospects = more clients = more sales!
Be sure to create beautiful graphics to promote your lead generation assets.