Better B2B Lead Gen in 2018: 3 Tips

Posted on by Tom Shapiro

Many approaches to B2B lead gen are well known and commonly used. If you truly want to transform your lead gen growth consider the power of lateral thinking. Instead of incrementally improving on what your organization is currently doing, consider flipping it on its head in order to unleash untapped growth opportunities.

Here are three ways to make use of lateral thinking in increasing your qualified leads.

Do The Opposite

Events can be highly effective in generating new B2B leads. According to Chief Marketer’s 2018 B2B Lead Gen Outlook report, live events tied with SEO as the second most effective channel for producing the highest ROI leads. So why would any marketer want to go from exhibiting at conferences with thousands of attendees to hosting events with merely one or two dozen attendees?

At a prior agency, I witnessed the power of large industry conferences. We had a large booth at many such events, and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars annually in the process.

Thinking laterally, however, a colleague and I questioned the value of spending so much money on events where dozens of our competitors were fighting for attention right next to us. Instead, we thought, what if we did the opposite? Instead of trying to get in front of as many prospects as possible, what if we just got in front of the right prospects, where we controlled the environment without any competitors in the room?

That was the genesis for hosting our first local happy hour event. The first event drew merely 10 attendees, yet one of them signed a seven-figure contract with us, and another a six-figure contract. At the next event, we landed another seven-figure client. From there, the events turned into a road show and became the number one leads driver for the agency. Whereas it had taken the company nine years to reach 85 employees, in my five years there we grew to more than 700. Sometimes, you just need to experiment with the exact opposite approach to what you’ve been doing in order to increase your most profitable leads.

10X What You’re Doing

Instead of doing the opposite, sometimes you can 10X what’s currently working to achieve strong B2B lead gen growth. For one business in the healthcare space, it took time for the team to be willing to launch the firm’s first set of Facebook ads, which was successful in generating leads. It then took another six months for them to have the conviction to go “all in” with a fully built-out, highly segmented Facebook campaign, but when they did, leads exploded. Whereas the business had been dipping its toes in the Facebook waters for months, it took a 10X effort to achieve 2,000 leads monthly through the social platform.

Another case of 10Xing what’s working involved a software company that had achieved success with educational webinars. In fact, they had identified webinars as their number one lead driver. Even so, the company held only a few webinars yearly. When questioned why they were not conducting them more frequently, they were not sure. They were doing what they had always done, and had apparently never questioned the timing or volume. However, they then launched monthly webinars and easily brought in leads at a far accelerated pace.

When something is working, don’t dabble. Don’t tinker around the edges. Instead,10X it to take your B2B lead gen to another level.

Fire Your Clients

Another way to increase leads is to narrow your focus. Sometimes, this counterintuitively means firing your existing clients.

Imprivata is a security software company that had originally targeted a range of industries, including banks, financial institutions, and healthcare facilities. Then, the company did the unthinkable. They fired 60% of their clients so that they could focus exclusively on healthcare organizations.

The extreme focus enabled Imprivata to channel all of their funds, resources, and energy towards becoming the best in their vertical. The more traction they gained, the more word spread among healthcare professionals, the more pronounced their differentiation grew, and the easier lead generation became.

Within three years, the business increased by 40%, reaching $50 million. Wtihin six years, Imprivata’s sales surpassed $119 million. The company, boasting more than 1,000 healthcare organizations as clients, was ultimately sold for a 33% premium over its stock price.

Sometimes, what you need is focus. Sometimes, thinking laterally and firing 60% of your existing clients is the best thing you can do to spur leads and revenue growth.

Tom Shapiro is CEO of the branding and marketing firm Stratabeat.

 

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