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Generating High Quality Leads For B2B Sales Acceleration

As outlined in our previous post on B2B sales acceleration, the starting point for accelerating sales is to increase the number of high quality leads that a business generates.
Inbound selling has proven to be the most effective method in increasing the number of high-quality leads. Inbound selling, if done well, has the power to attract the ideal lead i.e. an organization with a problem that your product solves and who is ready to buy right away. Also it can achieve this at scale.

As outlined in our previous post on B2B sales acceleration, the starting point for accelerating sales is to increase the number of high quality leads that a business generates.

Top-marketing-business-challenges-for B2b Sales for high quality leads

Inbound selling has proven to be the most effective method in increasing the number of high-quality leads. Inbound selling, if done well, has the power to attract the ideal lead i.e. an organization with a problem that your product solves and who is ready to buy right away. Also it can achieve this at scale.

There are tons of resources on inbound selling on the internet. In this post we have curated the latest and greatest (according to us) resources on inbound selling so that you have everything at one place.

We have divided this post into four parts:

1. Getting content marketing right: 

This section outlines the basics of content marketing. If you need to increase the number of leads, make sure you go back to the basics and ensure you’ve done them right.

2. Emerging trends in content marketing:

Content marketing is a very dynamic field, and new trends are emerging very fast. This section looks at videos, podcasting, and conversational marketing for lead generation.

3. Nurturing leads:

Not all leads you generate will be at just the right point of the buying cycle. You will need to do a lot of work to move them along in their journey.

4. Case studies:

We have identified a list of interesting case studies which demonstrate how companies have deployed some of the strategies and techniques we have spoken about.

There are a lot of good resources on inbound selling on the internet. We have curated resources we have found most helpful in our own business.

So, here goes.

1. Getting content marketing right

a. Content marketing strategy:

The starting point for content marketing is to have a well thought out content marketing strategy. The components of this strategy will include defining your objectives, identifying the target audience – the buyer personas, their buying cycle, the media they use; defining what value your content will provide and what will differentiate your content, how you will distribute the content and how you will measure your efforts.

Here’s a set of resources that may help you.

Developing a content marketing strategy

This post from the Content Marketing Institute delves into a lot of detail on how to develop a content marketing strategy and provides a bunch of tools and templates to aid this process.

A complete guide to target audience analysis for content marketers

This is a very in-depth guide from Point Visible to identify your target audience, which in our opinion is really the key to building the strategy.

b. Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

As Moz defines it, SEO is the practice of increasing the quantity, and the quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. With Google’s constantly changing algorithm, it becomes imperative to pay close attention to this on an ongoing basis.

What is SEO?

This article from Moz, explains everything about SEO. It goes into several important topics of building an SEO friendly site, link building, content and related markup and optimization.

On page ranking factors

This article, again from Moz, outlines how to write SEO friendly content, which will have a big impact on search engine ranking

Keyword Research

This article, again from Moz, goes into the details of how to choose the right keywords for your business. The key takeaway for us was how to choose keywords where we had a chance to win.

19 actionable SEO tips to increase organic traffic

This is an excellent article by Matthew Barby if you are looking for tactics that will increase the effectiveness of your SEO efforts and result in higher organic traffic.

As a content marketer, it becomes imperative to pay close attention to Google’s constantly changing algorithm on an ongoing basis.

c. Content Production

Content production is a big part of the execution of your content marketing strategy. In our view, effective content production means producing great content that solves a problem for your audience, strictly adheres to the keyword strategy, and is produced on a consistent basis.

Content marketing editorial calendar templates: The ultimate list.

A content marketing calendar is very essential in the smooth execution of your content production efforts. This compilation of content marketing calendar templates from Curata will cater to most requirements.

Free stock photos for your website or blog

When you create content, you will need a lot of pictures. If you have the budgets, then subscribing to an image banks like Shutterstock is a good idea. But if you are on a tight budget, then you should look at sites that provide free images. This tweet from Larry Kim has a list of the most popular ones.

14 tools for marketers to quickly make engaging videos for social media

With video becoming as a very important tool, marketers need tools that make video production quick, easy and engaging. Here is a very good list, by Steven Kryger, for you to consider.

d. Content Distribution

Content creation is just one part of the content marketing game. Content distribution is the other part. It is an activity of promoting your content to the online audience in multiple media formats through various channels.

Here are a few resources we found very helpful while thinking about our content distribution:

16 ways to skyrocket your blog traffic through content distribution:

In this blog post, Neil Patel talks of the ways you can distribute your content to the widest possible audience.

5 low budget ways to distribute your blog content:

If you are on a very tight budget, then there are some tips from the Wordstream blog on how you could distribute your content.

Content distribution, promotion and you: A marketers guide

This is a comprehensive article from the Curata blog on how to promote your content both through paid and unpaid methods.

e. Measurement:

What differentiates digital as a medium from the rest is that we can measure every interaction and every transaction. You need to measure your content marketing efforts right from the start so that you can understand what is working and what is not and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Content Marketing Framework: Measurement

Here is a very comprehensive compilation of articles on the topic of measurement from the content marketing institute.

10 best tools for measuring content marketing ROI

This article from Hubstaff lists out the best analytics tools in the market that will help in measuring content marketing ROI.

Generating-B2B-sales-analysing-data for high quality leads

2. Emerging trends in content marketing

Content marketing is a very dynamic field that is evolving rapidly. There are new trends that are emerging that one has to take cognizance of and include them into the marketing mix.

Here are some major emerging trends.

a. Videos

Videos have emerged as a dominant content format in recent times. They rule the engagement chart when compared to other content types, especially the shorter ones. Videos are predicted to be the future of content marketing.

Here are some resources to help you with getting kick-started with videos as a lead generation tool.

4 ways to start using video content in your marketing strategy

Forbes, in its article, emphasizes on careful preparation before going big on videos for maximum impact.

Video marketing: The ultimate guide

The ultimate guide This is a very comprehensive guide from Hubspot for anyone who is embarking on the video marketing journey.

10 Awesome video marketing tools

This is a very good compilation by Search Engine Journal, of the 10 best video creation & editing tools in the market. You will need these tools if you want to produce videos at scale.

b. Podcasting

Podcasting has become very popular among marketers and listeners alike. A podcast helps demonstrate expertise, build an audience and connect with industry leaders, partners or potential clients.

Here are some articles that will help you get off the ground.

7 reasons to add podcasts to your content marketing strategy

In this article from the Entrepreneur.com, Tyler Basu highlights why adding podcasts to your content marketing strategy is a good idea.

How to start your own Podcast

This is a really good post on how to start your podcast. The article goes into the nitty gritties, which makes it immensely valuable.

5 metrics to measure the success of your podcast

In this excellent article from James Carbary of Sweetfish Media, the author touches upon a very critical aspect of any podcasting initiative – measuring success.

A podcast helps demonstrate expertise, build an audience and connect with industry leaders, partners or potential clients.

c. Conversational marketing

This is an emerging but a very promising trend. It capitalizes on the fact that people increasingly do not prefer to fill forms on a website. They’d rather have a chat with someone. With the maturing of AI based chatbots, this is now possible to do this at scale. Chatbots can help you qualify buyers, send appropriate materials to them and book meetings, thereby accelerating the rate at which relevant leads are generated.

Here are some resources for you to get started on conversational marketing:

What Is Conversational Marketing? Definition, Examples and Best Practices Behind a Conversational Marketing Strategy

This is a very comprehensive article from Drift.com, a leader in this area. It will answer everything you need to know about conversational marketing.

The ulitmate guide to chatbots for lead generation

A very interesting perspective by Fran Conejos, on how to use chatbots for lead generation in a variety of platforms.

Conversational marketing is a very promising trend. It capitalizes on the fact that people increasingly do not prefer to fill in forms on a website. They’d rather have a chat with someone.

3. Nurturing leads

B2B sales leads that one generates are not all at the stage where they are about to buy. More of them are probably at earlier stages of the buying cycle and marketers have to guide them along the buying cycle till they become paying customers. The effectiveness of this process, as measured by the conversion rates or the velocity of this funnel, is very critical to achieving sales acceleration.

Here are some key strategies that drive successful lead nurturing.

a. Audience profiling

‘Different strokes for different folks’. This is the mantra for lead nurturing because the leads you generate are a heterogeneous bunch with different needs and in different stages of the buying cycle. But before you can do that, you need to first profile your audience and divide them into segments.

How to Better Understand the Size and Composition of Your B2B Audience

Here is a fantastic article from the Content Marketing Institute on how you can understand your B2B audience better.

b. Multiple Channels

Lead nurturing should utilize multiple channels instead of using just emails. Here are some very interesting articles that proves the point and how you can go about using a multi-channel approach.

Conversational marketing is a very promising trend. It capitalizes on the fact that people increasingly do not prefer to fill forms on a website. They’d rather have a chat with someone.

Online Omnipresence: why you need multi-channel lead nurturing.

Sarah Klongerbo in her article provides a convincing take on why nurturing of a lead needs to a take a multichannel approach.

How to expand your lead nurturing strategy beyond just email.

Hubspot impresses how lead-nurturing is a major job in B2B sales arena and what is the right approach to multi-channel techniques.

c. Multiple Content Types

New content types (mentioned in point 2 above) which have higher engagement rates can be effective in nurturing B2B sales leads and help buyers move along the buying cycle. One should explore how these different content types can be strategically deployed.

Are you using the most effective content types for nurturing B2B leads?

Here is a comprehensive take on content types and B2B lead nurturing from Brand Quarterly.

d. Dynamic Segmentation

Constantly measuring engagement with the CTAs on every communication, realigning customer segments dynamically based on this measurement and then targeting communication accordingly can be a game changer for lead nurturing.

Dynamic segmentation for marketing automation

Here is an interesting article on how dynamic segmentation and automation can be a boost for B2B lead generation and nurturing.

The 7 best marketing automation tools and platforms in 2018

To achieve much of the above, you need a powerful marketing automation platform. This article provides an interesting perspective on the best tools available today.

Generating high quality leads-B2B-sales -Handshake

4. Case Studies

Here are some interesting case studies of how different companies have used these content marketing strategies to increase website traffic, lead generation and drive B2B sales growth.

How we scaled up from 0 organic traffic to 100K visitors / Mo (in about a year)

This is a content marketing case study from Optimist of their start up journey and how they were able to scale website traffic. Key takeaway is how they used data in their content.

Behind the scenes: How we’ve built a $5M/Year business in 3 years with content marketing

This is an excellent case study of how Groove, a company providing a Saas customer support product, used content marketing to grow their business.

How Grammarly quietly grew its way to 6.9 million daily users in 9 years

This article by Hiten Shah looks in-depth into how Grammarly achieved success in driving such a high volume of daily users.

1200 leads in 4 weeks: A lead nurturing success story

This is a case study of how Hubspot nurtured dead and cold leads and converted them.

How LeadPages used Drift to increase their conversion rate by 36%

This is a very good case study of how a business used conversational marketing to increase conversion rates.

As we have seen in our own journey, generating high-quality leads is not easy. But it can be done if time and effort are put in to do it right. We have put together this list of resources based on what we found useful for our own business. We hope you found it useful too.

If you have come across any other resource or if we have overlooked anything, please do let us know in the comments.

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