Generate Sales Leads: 7 Best Practices to Fill Up Your Pipeline in 2021
Every business understands that they need to continually generate sales leads and keep a steady stream of new customers entering their pipeline to be profitable.
However, when it comes to generating new leads, many salespeople and marketers leave a lot of room for improvement.
And many businesses follow the same stock advice; they try to identify their audience, run paid ads, build an email list…
All of these things work, but if you want to fill up your pipeline and leave your competitors behind, you need to nail down the most up-to-date best practices. Having an edge means reducing your cost of a marketing qualified and sales qualified lead.
In this article, we’re looking at seven best practices to generate sales leads that’ll fill up your sales pipeline and push your profits to the next level in 2021.
7 Ways to Generate Sales Leads In 2021
- Prospect Wisely
- Nail Your Follow-up Email
- Attract Top Of Funnel Leads
- Use the Power of LinkedIn
- Utilize Landing Pages
- Co-Market With Adjacent Companies
- Understand Your Lead & Customer Attribution
1. Prospect Wisely
Sales prospecting isn’t easy, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
That doesn’t mean you can’t set up streamlined prospecting processes and be successful, though. The key to prospecting is to be strategic and deliberate in your approach.
To prospect wisely and make the most of your efforts, you should familiarize yourself with 3 key elements to the process.
1. Researching and identifying your ideal targets: There are more than 32 million businesses in the US, but only a small amount of them are going to be a good fit for what you’re selling. The goal is to niche down so you’re only targeting prospects that can convert under the right circumstances. You can never go too niche. Moreover, you can always expand at a later point.
2. Prioritize and be efficient: There are no shortcuts when prospecting. With a list of targeted prospects, you also need to make sure you’re spending your time on the right leads. If you’re going to spend some money, pay an agency or individual to help you further research and enrich leads!
3. Connecting: The art of effective outreach is a chapter in itself. Spending time formulating a personable and effective outreach strategy will always pay you back several times over. Try the “problem, agitate, solve” approach to copywriting in your email outreach.
The better prepared you are, the more likely it is you’ll close the deal. It’s that simple.
2. Follow-up Email Is Becoming Even More Important
Email is an extremely effective way to generate sales leads. But open rates and click-through rates have peaked and are falling — that means you need to be aggressive when it comes to email prospecting in 2021.
Almost half of sales reps don’t follow up on the first email. When you think about it, that’s pretty crazy.
Just think of all the time and effort you put into that first email. A lot, right?
Most of the work is done. You’ve found a prospect, identified them as the right person to contact, and you crafted an email pitching yourself – all that’s left is to get a reply. So, if at first, you don’t succeed, why not try again?
We all know how easy it is to forget to reply to an email, setting a reminder to get back to someone and missing it, or simply miss an email.
80% of sales deals take five or more follow-ups to close, so you need to get into the mindset that you’re going to have to follow up at least once.
With prospecting and sales intelligence tools streamlining outreach processes, it looks like follow-up emails are only going to become even more critical in the future, too.
3. Attract Top Of Funnel Leads With Webinars and White Papers
Top of the funnel leads represents the lifeblood flowing into a business. These are the customers entering into your ecosystem at the start of the buyer’s journey, so you need to be strategic about targeting these leads.
Two of the most effective and underutilized marketing techniques to target top-of-the-funnel leads are webinars and white papers.
Webinars aren’t new, neither are white papers for that matter, but due to the pandemic changing how we market and consume information, webinars have exploded in the last year. Self-directed learning is huge.
If you aren’t currently using webinars as part of your marketing efforts, there has never been a better time.
Webinars enable you to connect with your customers on a more personal level than paid ads or cold outreach. You can explain your products or services in detail, give a live demonstration, and hold a live Q&A.
There are few other marketing techniques that enable you to do all of those things.
White papers are also a great way to reach top-of-the-funnel leads. They enable you to produce detailed informational documents answering all the questions new customers have without being too salesy.
You can even use white papers as a call to action. For instance, sending people to a landing page to register for a webinar and capturing them in your funnel.
Invest in a webinar software platform and engage your top-of-funnel traffic and sales prospects.
4. Use LinkedIn to Generate Sales Leads
It’s becoming truer by the day that LinkedIn is the de facto social network for business. That means it’s the ideal platform for selling yourself, your products, and your services.
With more than 740 million users spanning more than 200 countries, there is no doubt that your audience is on LinkedIn – it’s just a matter of knowing how to find them.
There are a few ways you can approach prospecting and selling on LinkedIn. However, if you want to make it easier on yourself, we recommend using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator and InMail tool.
Sales Navigator enables you to perform “advanced searches” and allows you to reach out to people without them in your network.
You can easily find the companies and important decision-makers you want to pitch to, saving what would otherwise take hours to do manually. You also get the head start reviewing their profiles to put together targeted, personalized outreach.
InMail is LinkedIn’s internal messaging system. This tool allows you to send emails to prospects within LinkedIn and has some helpful notification and native features to improve open rates.
Pro tip for 2021: look into software to automate LinkedIn connecting.
5. Better Performance Marketing With Landing Pages
Are you struggling with the price of Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Facebook Ads? Your landing pages may be holding you back.
If you’re selling a product, you want customers to land on a page showing your product in the best light and providing all the key selling points in an easy-to-read format.
Landing page builders are an essential part of any marketer’s toolkit. They enable you to quickly and easily create custom, professional landing pages.
The statistics back this up, too. Custom landing pages have a higher conversion rate – this means more money in your pocket.
There is only so much you can do with a CMS like WordPress when it comes to creating custom landing pages.
Landing page builders are typically one-click install plugins, use drag and drop elements, have large libraries of stock images, custom fonts, and other elements.
If you’re thinking to yourself that it sounds complicated, it’s not.
The best landing page building software and tools are designed for ease of use. The devs understand that the easier the software is to use, the more people will use it.
6. Co-Market With Adjacent Companies
Co-marketing with adjacent companies is another tried and true technique that’s proven to generate sales leads, yet few companies fully utilize it.
To recap, co-marketing is the process of building strategic relationships with other companies in your niche that aren’t direct competitors.
This enables you (and the other company) to effectively blend each other’s audiences and accelerate your growth and reach.
Large brands have been utilizing co-marketing for almost as long as marketing has existed. You don’t have to look far back to find examples of global brands like Pepsi, Cadburys, and Nike releasing limited edition products as a way of co-marketing.
It’s a win-win relationship for both companies when done right and has the potential to fill up your sales pipeline with new, highly targeted leads.
The best part is that co-marketing flows on nicely from some of the other best practices we’ve covered.
Joint webinars are among the best ways to combine audiences and cross-promote/market to each other’s audiences, as is using each other’s email lists.
7. Understand Your Lead and Customer Attribution
As a marketer, it’s essential that you’re able to attribute your leads across all marketing initiatives.
Attribution is a way of identifying and understanding exactly how a lead or customer entered your ecosystem.
In simple terms, this means understanding which marketing channels or campaigns were responsible for a lead entering your pipeline or finding a new customer.
It’s so important you understand your lead attribution because it enables you to optimize your marketing efforts, improve your return on ad spend (ROAS), and ultimately funnel more leads into your pipeline. The best companies today are precise about attribution – so they know whether marketing campaigns are profitable or not.
To optimize for attribution, use UTM codes in all of your campaigns.
This will ensure that tracking information makes its way from your marketing campaigns to Google Analytics or however else you attribute leads. I also like to occasionally survey my leads. It may seem old school, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, “how did you find out about my company?”
Attribution is all about seeing what’s sending leads into your pipeline and doubling down.
There are many ways you can capture a much wider audience of targeted leads and funnel them into your pipeline.
The key to generating more sales leads is to get started, don’t be afraid to experiment, and always look to identify what’s working so you can double down your efforts on those practices! Plus, make sure to use the best practices that work in 2021 and beyond.
Author: Mark Spera from Growth Marketing Pro.
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