In this mega guide, I’m going to break down 31 different lead generation techniques that you can use to overload your sales pipeline almost immediately for pipeline sales. Why am I sharing this? Because as a salesperson, an entrepreneur, I wear a lot of hats. The most important: sales and digital marketing.
As a result, I am the main generator, the Sales Representative, and the closest one. Although this may seem laborious, it gives me tremendous power over income. I am in control of every step of the sales process, from awareness to decision making.
If I had a sales function within another organization, I would probably create a similar system for myself. That way, I won’t wait for someone else to bring me prospects. I can go find them myself. Better yet, I can go straight to the tracks that are most likely to be converted. In this article, I’ll show you how to create a similar sales pipeline process.
14 categories to make your sales pipeline
You’ll learn 31 lead generation techniques in 14 categories to fill your own sales channels and build relationships that will change your career and last forever.
- Optimize your social presence.
- Build a personal brand hub.
- Create content on your blog.
- Create engaging video content.
- Build an email marketing system.
- “Shock and Awe” with direct mail.
- Connect to your network to get referrals.
- Take advantage of the participation of the communities.
- Build strategic partnerships where everyone wins.
- Capture new audiences with guest blogging.
- Use the involvement of influencers to amplify your message.
- Survey your prospects.
- Increase your LinkedIn audience.
- Organize meetings with the main decision-makers.
- Optimize your social presence
Good lead generation systems need a solid foundation. And that foundation is a credible personal brand for a sales pipeline.
If you haven’t optimized your LinkedIn profile to show your best qualities, now is the time. Social media is going to play a big role in your lead generation efforts. If potential customers are researching you, they will judge you on your LinkedIn profile. It’s sad, but it’s a fact of life for sales.
Follow this list and be sure to check all the boxes:
People are wired to digest images before words. Consider getting a profile on the main head of your person, smiling. This will attract the attention of many prospects.
Use it as a visual demonstration of your experience. Logos of the posts you’ve been featured in or a photo of yourself with an industry dominance can quickly increase credibility.
Show your mental leadership. Includes achievements, awards, and experience.
Once you’ve hooked them on using the “credibility boosters” above, they’ll read your bio. Use this section to describe the specific solution you solve and how you do it.
Ask your co-workers to write about the value you bring to their work and to the organization as a whole. To get things going, write one for them first.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any achievements or posts under your name. We’ll cover how to build credibility and authority in your industry shortly.
- Build a personal brand hub
Creating a website can seem like a chore for marketers. But from a personal branding perspective, having your own website can supercharge your long-term career goals.
It will act as your professional hub, it will be the platform for your own content, and it will help you establish credibility. There are many benefits to creating a website, including:
Creation of lists
Owning an audience will set you up for future career success, especially if you ever want to start working on side projects.
Websites are the perfect platform to demonstrate your expertise, credentials, and posts you’ve participated in or written for.
Cut out stacks of Word documents from CVs and LinkedIn profiles in half. The good news? Building one doesn’t have to be difficult and requires zero technical skills. Wix, for example, provides a drag-and-drop user interface, which allows you to build a website without having to learn code.
However, I would highly recommend hosting a WordPress site and using a visual drag-and-drop website builder similar to Wix, such as Thrive Architect, but provides more flexibility and ownership.
Take a look at my Free Infoempresario Pro Course, to learn how to create websites in a few hours.
So, what should your website include? To demonstrate credibility, you should have designed:
A landing page – to quickly demonstrate your expertise and include a call to action.
A blog – to create and display content that solves your prospect’s problems.
Do you remember the recommendations you collected when optimizing your profile on LinkedIn? Reuse them in testimonials (with permission, of course). The next step is to create “how-to” content that helps solve your prospect’s challenges.
- Create content on your blog.
Blogs are by far the fastest way to share experiences, build authority, and generate your own leads over time. Raise topics by focusing on your prospect’s challenges.
Discover topics with the help of your prospects and clients.
Start by interviewing your current clients. Find out the pains they are trying to overcome that relate to your value proposition.
For example, if I were doing this for my content marketing service, MAPSE, I would ask my clients questions like: What is your current PR system like? What are your biggest challenges for generating demand? What are your biggest obstacles when it comes to connecting with relevant influencers or partners?
By delving into these questions, I will know exactly what topics to write about. Let’s say a common challenge is “finding the right posts.” Your job would be to create content that helps prospects solve that problem. If you include the solution you are trying to sell, even better.
How to Create Actionable Content Your Audience Will Love
The B2B audience loves actionable insights and trending data. When creating content, focus on data-backed knowledge or practical information on how to do it.
For this example, a “how-to” guide would be most valuable. The next step is to create content that teaches prospects how to identify the right posts to target.
Start by creating a content framework. This is an outline that maps your content from Point A (the challenge) to Point B (solution).
In my example it might look like this:
Ask your audience
Then you have to wrap it with an attractive and eye-catching headline. For this example, some possible headlines include:
- How to find posts with an engaged audience.
- 3 Steps to Go to Posts Full of Your Prospects.
- The Ultimate Guide to Finding Guest Blogging Opportunities.
These focus on A (the task) and B (the result). The headline should tell readers what they will learn from the content and what results they can expect from following it.
- Create engaging video content
Video content is very popular with marketers and marketers alike, especially on LinkedIn:
- They generate large amounts of engagement.
- They are incredibly shareable.
- It allows you to show your personality.
Despite its simplicity, it works so well because very few people do it. Videos that offer practical insight reap the greatest rewards. So how can you do this?
Talk to clients with whom you have a strong relationship. Ask them if they would be willing to chat with you for a two-minute video. Prepare them on a specific question to add structure.
If you are with them in person, record directly to the camera. Otherwise, set up a Skype call and use screen capture software to record the conversation. Or use zoom to prepare your video content or interviews with your clients or guests.
- Build an email marketing system
While laying the groundwork for long-term play is important, you want to see results quickly, as was in the case of nova city.
Email outreach is still incredibly effective when done the right way. Fortunately, you’ve already established a solid foundation by uncovering your prospect’s challenges.
Here’s a quick three-step process for building your own email marketing system:
How to find the best outreach targets
Good news! Your marketing team has already profiled your ideal clients. They are called buyer persons. These documents summarize everything you need to know about your clients:
People who shop include background information about your career history, your goals, frustrations, and where you spend time online. Identify the channels where your prospects are active. Use LinkedIn to discover the destination accounts that match your criteria.
How to Write Compelling Outreach Emails
The philosophy of personalization has changed in recent years. The variable (name) is no longer sufficient. All of your email should show that you get your leads and understand their issues.
The easiest way to automate this is by targeting your reach list. To do this, it uses the buyer’s personal documents, that is, information about their pains, frustrations, and dreams. The positioning of your solution will be different for each person. For example, those with a more sophisticated content marketing system will understand more sophisticated buzzwords than those who haven’t even started blogging.
So, the introduction and the pain point I focus on will be different for both of them. Segment your message by organization and person of the buyer.
Testing unconventional approaches to optimize results
Many internet gurus will tell you some super trite advice that many times, they don’t even use it themselves. The best way to find out what works and what doesn’t in email marketing is by testing all the ideas you can come up with.
If they tell you, keep your emails short, try writing long emails to see if it works. If they tell you: “first add value”, offer your services to see if there is a favorable response to your services. “Write a daily email”, better find your own period of interaction with your prospects.
Keep your emails short, mine was a wall of text. “Add value”, I made it clear that I wanted to work with them. I tried long emails because I wanted to give my target audience as much information as they needed to make a decision.
If I don’t get a response, I follow up with what I call a “statement of empathy,” acknowledging the length of my previous email and providing a shorter version.
Using this approach, I generated my first three clients. You should constantly try new approaches, especially when using cluttered channels like cold email. Try things that no one else is doing. Measure your results and if you want to optimize or if things are no longer working, try to do the opposite.
- “Shock and Awe” with Direct Mail
No, you are not reading old school sales content. Direct mail is making a comeback, and for good reason. According to InsideSales, B2B direct mail generates a response rate of up to 65%. As everyone continues to bet on digital channels, this traditional medium has a great opportunity for attention.
The process is simple: send a handwritten note or card along with a gift. This “lumpy mail” technique bypasses the gatekeeper and gets right into the hands of the decision maker, eager to know what’s inside.
What kind of gifts should you include? According to InsideSales, gifts with a perceived value of less than $ 11.40 do not reflect response rates well. Additionally, useful gifts (for example, books) are 47.3% more likely to generate a response than edible gifts. There are three key elements to the success of direct mail:
Make it personalized
Personalize both the gift and the message for the recipient. Segment your target audience and use language relevant to each person or industry.
Make it valuable
Remember, cheap gifts don’t work. Make sure your gift has a high perceived value.
Make it useful
The gift must have some use. Bonus points if you help your prospect do their job better.
- Connect to your network for referrals
“Ask for referrals” is the equivalent of “email your list.” For sellers, it is obvious. And yet some of us still don’t do it enough. The first question is, when is the right time to ask for referrals?
For software vendors, the best time to ask is once your product has generated results, whether in the form of money earned or time saved.
At what point does your product make you a habit? Work with the marketing department to find out what behaviors they indicate, and then reach out when the iron is hot.
For professional services, there is a sweet spot. Too insistent and you will find yourself thirsty for money. But if you don’t, you will miss out on untapped growth. The best time here is after the first phase of your project.
When clients are happy with their work, that’s when you ask. Remember, don’t be pushy. Just ask them if they know of anyone else who may be looking for a service like yours. The second question is, how should you ask for references?
Here’s a five-point checklist to keep in mind when contacting customers:
Set the intention ahead of time
Prepare your clients for referrals by mentioning it before closing. This way, it is not a surprise, and you are much more likely to be referred.
Ask for qualified references
If you ask customers who they know, you will be referred to anyone. Ask for references from people who fit your pre-qualification criteria.
References are not cold calls
When you are referred, you must enter the conversation by playing on the relationship with your client. Use a friendly tone and act like you’re already part of their network.
Delight your customers
You will not be referred if you do not keep your promises. Of course, this depends on the delivery team for your product or project. But you can still go further to deliver value as the agro farm houses did.
Turn your referral process into a system
Set reminders “X days” after a potential customer becomes a customer. Also, find ways to add value by using content for the duration of your relationship with your organization. This is how long-term relationships are built.
- Take advantage of community participation
There is no point building your personal brand and creating content if no one is going to see it. During your customer development conversations, you should also find out where they get their new information from.
These channels should include publications, influencers, and communities.
Find out where your prospects are online. Communities are one of the most effective ways to get your content to a wider audience.
While the groups have become quiet and inactive, the news feed is where all the action is.
You will generate more engagement and traffic from your existing LinkedIn connections.
Groups generate a much higher engagement rate than Pages. That is why many business leaders have invested in building their own group.
Take advantage of these communities by adding value.
Do not spam links to your content. The principle here is simple: find out where your prospects are and add value to those communities.
That means creating organic content. Work in the context of how those communities and platforms work. Answer the questions, add value and share your experiences with other partners.
- Build strategic partnerships where everyone wins.
I believe that tapping into other people’s audiences is one of the fastest ways to grow your own. This is why strategic partnerships work so well in the long term. You are adding value to the brands and individuals who have access to your ideal customers.
If you are selling a marketing solution, it may not make sense to partner with a FinTech company. But if you’re both targeting the marketing managers of enterprise-level organizations, it makes perfect sense.
Partner with non-competing organizations that share your target market. Offer to send prospects or referrals your way, as long as they offer to do the same for you.
This approach is more of a business development than a sales game. But by partnering with other sales leaders at non-competing companies, you connect with a whole new audience.
Many SaaS platforms now have their own market. For example, if your target is ecommerce businesses, you might want to consider getting listed on the Shopify App store or in the expert directory:
Some partners may not see the value in a referral program. If this is the case, offer to create a long-term piece of content for your audience in exchange for a portion of the generated leads.
This is exactly what the PPC agency KlientBoost did. Early in your journey, they sacrificed their own content to create co-branded ebooks and webinars with companies that had access to their ideal customers.
This approach helped KlientBoost grow to $ 1 million in revenue in one year. All because they built a lead generator asset, which still works for them today.
- Capture new audiences with guest blogging
Another easy way to get your content and message in front of a larger audience is through guest blogging.
While some marketers find it a waste of time, it can still drive qualified leads. In fact, we used the approach you are about to learn to generate a nearly 6-figure deal. Here’s a three-step guide to get started:
Find the right posts
For this to work, you need to target posts that are authoritative in their market with an active and engaged audience. Therefore, you need to measure each target post.
Next, you need to find posts that accept contributions. In Google, search for phrases like:
Industria + «write for us».
Industry + «guest post».
Industry + «submit article on blog».
Industry + «submit content».
Industry + “guest column”.
Industry + «contribute to our blog».
Industry + “become a taxpayer”.
Industry + «guest author».
You can also use AllTop, a directory of blogs classified by topic and industry. And the like.
Extension and launch activities
At this stage, most professionals create content and “pitch” it to publishers. The content of the purchases you have already written is inefficient. For whatever reason, your content may not fit.
It means that you will have to go through the whole process again until someone accepts it. Instead, search and collaborate on the content first. Ask the editors if they are accepting contributions. Share your current work and see if you would like to hear his thoughts on the subject.
Once you’ve generated a response, focus on the topics that are in the sweet spot of these three areas: Your Value Proposition: It should be relevant to what you do and the challenge your solution solves. Publishing needs: What kind of content do they publish? Is it strategic or tactical? Driven by how or by opinion and discernment?
What the market is talking about: Check out posts like Forbes and other industry blogs to see the trends and topics your audience is already engaging with. As you discuss the topics, make it clear that you will offer practical and practical information. Publications are hungry for this type of content.
Guest blogging is already a form of marketing to other people’s audiences. Although most blogs share content with their email lists and social followers, you should give it an extra push.
Posting your name in an authorized post increases credibility. Amplify your content in the communities with which you are committed (see technique # 8). Emails with email marketing are also effective.
- Use the participation of influencers to amplify your message
Networking with influencers has many benefits: They can introduce you to potential customers and provide you with new sales opportunities. Your active audience may find your information valuable, which means more eyes on your content.
They can be fun and profitable business development opportunities. So how do you connect with them in the first place? When you connect with B2B authority, most advice looks like this:
Share your content
Comment your articles
Tweet @ them
The problem is that this does not provide a real value. Sure, everyone loves the extra social actions, but does it solve their biggest challenges?
One of the best ways to start a relationship with influencers is to involve them in the content creation process. Especially when that content is posted in front of a large audience. Guest blogging is a particularly effective medium for this approach.
Start by identifying the influencers who are relevant to your niche. Who are the thought leaders and decision makers with access to the best prospects? Create a list that includes contact information and metrics like the size of your social followers.
Next, find a topic that is relevant to these influencers, or at least a segment of them.
Once you have a theme that brings everyone together, reach out to them. I often find that Twitter or LinkedIn are the best platforms to start this relationship, but email works too.
So! You have created win-win, value-driven relationships with thought leaders.
- Survey your prospects
Most B2B professionals are eager to see what challenges they share with their peers. So instead of a traditional cold email, try surveying your prospects. To them, you will appear as someone who gathers data and ideas about the industry.
The secondary benefit to this is the insight you will generate in your buyer persona. You can segment each respondent based on their responses, showing them where your solution can best serve them.
To collect responses, use a tool like SurveyMonkey or Typeform.
Increase your response rates by using an incentive. I’m not talking about Amazon gift cards, but about giving them access to the ideas you generate before they go “public.” This will create an element of exclusivity while also providing you with new content for your audience.
- Increase your LinkedIn audience
In 2017, I saw LinkedIn evolve in a way that I have never seen before. Rather than a platform for recruiters to find candidates, it becomes a place for professionals to connect, share value, and truly generate new business opportunities.
Having a large and loyal follower on LinkedIn can open up many opportunities including, of course, generating leads through social selling. This is how you do it.
LinkedIn audience growth
By now, you should have optimized your LinkedIn profile. Now is the time to grow your audience. This is where having a LinkedIn Sales Navigator comes in handy. With it, you can see and connect with an unlimited number of people.
Having a large following expands your overall network on LinkedIn. You will end up with more eyes on your content. Don’t worry about irrelevant people connecting with you. If they follow you and engage with your content, then you end up increasing your reach.
Create organic content on LinkedIn
Once you build an audience, you need to engage with them. You have to give them an action to take. This does not mean sending them an Email to arrange a meeting. You need to nurture them with valuable and engaging content before starting the sales process. Right now, thought leaders see a lot of success with LinkedIn posts (in the news feed):
The best content on LinkedIn allows you to share stories, offer information, or provide basic information on how to do it. Here’s a framework you can follow when creating your own:
The first two sentences need to appeal to your audience. Start with a change (in your business or industry), show credibility, or describe a problem. End your message with something emotionally motivated or insightful. The goal is to inspire engagement by spreading the reach of your content. It’s the part where you conduct the “big” lesson you want to teach:
Lastly, you need content that holds your attention and adds value throughout the message. Do this with tangible examples (from your own experiences or those of others), third-party statistics to support your claims, and instructions on how to resolve a problem:
Turning connections into relationships
Over time, you will slowly build an audience of thousands of professionals and business leaders. Among these people are profitable sales opportunities.
There are a couple of ways to do this. The first is to manually identify them, generate information about their pain, and use Email or email to get your attention.
The second method is to get them to identify with a sales funnel. This is what it looks like:
- Export connection email addresses from LinkedIn.
- Use them to create a remarketing campaign on Facebook.
- Create a short video guide to help them solve a relevant challenge.
- Include a call to action to schedule some time with you.
To export email addresses from LinkedIn, click My Network. In the left pane, click the “View all” link: Under “Advanced Options”, click the “Export Contacts” link. The contact details of all your connections will be downloaded in a CSV file.
Now you can upload these emails to a Remarketing campaign on Facebook.
Organize meetings with the main decision-makers
The old-school method of prospecting at events went something like this: See the exhibitor list for interesting companies. Approach the vendors at the event in the hope that they will introduce you to the right person. This is a spray and pray tactic. Instead, book meetings well in advance of the event itself.
Start connecting with potential customers now. Research the accounts you want to commit to and find out who will go. Identify the most relevant person and connect with them on LinkedIn.
When you get closer, make A (your intention) and B (what’s in it for them) clear. What specific advice can you give us? This tip should be relevant to both your role and your organization.
Limit each meeting to 10 minutes. This way, even if you end up scheduling five to ten different appointments, you will have plenty of time to take advantage of other opportunities. It is also much easier for a prospect to say yes to a shorter commitment.
Events also provide an opportunity to re-engage with lost prospects. Reach out via email or social media and ask if they would be willing to meet. You may find that the person who made the decisions who was blocking progress last time has moved on.
Now is your turn…
Let’s go up a notch, how do you feel about looking for prospects? What lead generation techniques are you currently using to fill your own sales channels?