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How to Generate Better Leads for Your Sales Team in 2021

February 15, 2021

Creating content that generates quality leads is the number one priority for marketers today.

Of course, growing traffic, resonating with your audience, and improving your site’s SEO are all important, too. But if you’re not filling the funnel with leads, you’re not having the biggest possible impact.

Without a sufficient volume of leads, your business will never hit its sales goals, which means your growth will be constrained. You won’t be able to grow your team, invest in new technology, or effectively promote new products.

With that in mind, here are six steps to generating better leads for your sales team.

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1. Prioritize Thought Leadership Content

There’s no big secret to effective lead generation. If you give people the type of content they actually want to read, and promote it effectively, they’ll happily hand over their details and enter your sales funnel.

Thought leadership content is one of the strongest tools that marketers have at their disposal for bringing in leads. Why? Because B2B buyers love it. Year on year, decision makers are spending more of their time reading thought leadership content, with most doing so for at least one hour a week.

Yet we often fail to give thought leadership the credit it deserves. Indeed, compared to feedback from buyers, the impact of thought leadership on demand generation and sales efforts is significantly underestimated by both B2B marketers and salespeople.

The lesson here is clear – by focusing on thought leadership content (you can even create webinars using webinar software), you stand the best chance of persuading decision-makers to give you their contact details. If it’s not already part of your content strategy, it absolutely should be.

2. Start Ranking for the Right Keywords

If you’ve ever spoken to your business development representatives, you’ll know that sales prospecting can be difficult. In fact, two-thirds of salespeople say it’s the hardest part of the sales process.

As a marketer, you can make their lives a lot easier by improving your organic rankings for intent-driven keywords; those that indicate the searcher is already close to making a purchase. Rank strongly for these terms and your sales team can spend less time prospecting, and more time speaking to inbound leads.

But how do you separate the high-intent keywords from the also rans?

Well, there are three basic search query types:

  • Informational: Designed to answer a specific question or locate a piece of information
  • Navigational: Aimed at finding a specific website
  • Transactional: Performed by people who are trying to buy something

Intent-driven keywords fall into that final category. They typically include phrases like:

  • Buy
  • Discount
  • Deal
  • Best
  • Comparison
  • [Specific product or brand names]

These terms generally have lower search volumes than the other two, but on the flip side, they boast much higher conversion rates.

3. Engage Potential Prospects On Social

Content creation is one of the most effective ways marketers can generate leads, but it’s not the only way.

A different approach is to dedicate a chunk of time to getting involved in discussions on social media, like Facebook, that are relevant to your product or solution.

The good news is that it’s easy to find and join in with these conversations, because there are tons of communities dedicated to solving business challenges. You can find them on:

  • Facebook Groups
  • LinkedIn Groups
  • Twitter chats

Once you find communities that are relevant to your brand or product, don’t dive straight in and start talking about yourself. Strike up a conversation and offer useful advice. For instance:

  • LinkedIn Group member: “My sales reps waste a lot of time on menial tasks. Does anyone have any advice on running a more efficient sales team?”
  • Marketer: “I’ve spoken to lots of people with this same issue. Here’s a great blog post on sales automation; it could help you run things much more efficiently.”

Make connections like this with prospects, then pass those prospects onto your sales team once you’ve built up some initial rapport.

4. Offer Real Value to Your Audience

Not everyone who visits your website will be ready to buy – or start a buying conversation – there and then. However, they might be soon, so you don’t want to omit them from your sales plan altogether.

Instead, you want to gather their contact details, so you can nurture them until they’re in a position to purchase.

But how do you persuade someone to hand over their name, email, and phone number if they’re not in the market for your product?

It’s simple: you just need to offer them something of genuine value. That could be a:

  • Free tool
  • Process template
  • Guide to a common problem

It doesn’t need to be a highly complex piece of content that takes you weeks to create; it just needs to speak to your audience and help them out with a challenge they’re facing.

This approach has two big benefits:

  • Once you’ve captured a prospect’s details, you can pass them onto your sales team to nurture through additional content.
  • Every time the prospect uses the tool, guide, or template you created, they’ll think of you – which means you’ll be front of mind when they’re ready to buy.

5. Ask Your Existing Customers for Reviews

Word-of-mouth marketing means that your existing client base can become one of your biggest sales assets.

More than nine in ten B2B buyers say they’re more likely to buy a product or service if they were able to read a trusted review about it first, so it’s in your interest to generate as many customer reviews as possible.

However, it’s important to remember that leaving a review takes time, and people are busy. There have likely been plenty of times when you’ve had an amazing meal at a restaurant and planned to write a Google or TripAdvisor review, but just never got around to it.

Make it as simple as possible for your clients to review you. Ask them for a review, then send them a link to the relevant platform, like Capterra or G2. 

You might even want to include a template – just don’t send the same template to everyone, because you’ll end up with a lot of identikit reviews.

Still struggling to get reviews? Jack Wilson, Head of Sales at Right Inbox recommends offering an incentive, like a one-month discount on their subscription, or free access to a premium product feature.

6. Add a Chatbot to Your Site

However much FAQ and resource content you have on your site, and however detailed your landing pages, sometimes prospects simply won’t be able to find the answer they’re looking for.

That’s a problem, because if they can’t find the answer, there’s a good chance they’ll look elsewhere. Just like that, you’ve lost a potentially valuable lead.

Chatbots can change that. By guiding prospects towards the information they need, or putting them in direct contact with your SaaS sales reps for more complex queries, they reduce the risk of visitors bouncing straight off your site in frustration.

Implemented intelligently, chatbots can make a huge difference to your lead generation efforts. One company even tripled its historic conversion rate by inadvertently building a chatbot that took over its entire homepage, forcing visitors to strike up a conversation because there was nowhere else to navigate!

Sujan Patel
Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures & co-founder of Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.
Sujan Patel
Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures & co-founder of Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies.