25+ Account-Based Marketing Tactics & Software Solutions

25+ Account-Based Marketing Tactics & Software Solutions

Not seeing the sort of close rates you want? If your primary marketing strategy has been to “cast a wide net”, consider only going after your white whales – your ideal accounts – instead. Known as account-based marketing (ABM), companies that treat individual prospects like an entire market can generate 208% more revenue than those who don’t according to MarketingProfs.

In this article, you’ll learn 20 of the best ABM techniques, from how to choose which accounts to focus on, to mapping out their personalized marketing experience. You’ll also discover 7 ABM software solutions; since there are more moving parts in an ABM strategy versus a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy, you’ll need the right tools to keep everything running smoothly.

What is Account-Based Marketing?

Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy of making marketing decisions based on the characteristics of target accounts and prospects. It involves creating a highly specific list of potential accounts, then creating personalized marketing experiences to engage those prospects.

This strategy requires that a business’s sales and marketing teams work more closely together. Sales reps in charge of those accounts can give crucial insight to their marketing peers, who can then develop custom content, targeted ads, and other unique methods of engaging with prospects.

Depending on the needs and resources of an organization, ABM can take either a one-to-one approach or a segmented approach, where a few or many accounts with common traits are targeted with similar content.

Account-Based Marketing Tactics & Techniques

Since ABM is a more holistic marketing strategy, plan to incorporate at least a few of these techniques into your final marketing plan.

1. Market to current customers

Before filling your target account list with companies you don’t yet work with, take a look at your list of current customers. Upselling to current customers is proven to have greater ROI than converting new customers; SaaS companies on average spend just $0.28 to earn a dollar of revenue from an existing customer, whereas they’ll spend $1.18 on a new customer.

To market to these existing customers, make content that will help them get more out of your product. Blog posts are just the beginning. Consider offering free training sessions or reports that analyze how effectively they’re using your product.

Another way to market to this group is to target them with ads for discounts or special offers on additional products that are relevant to them.

2. Define target accounts with look-alike modeling

You should also look at your current customers to see who is the most valuable, in other words, which existing accounts have the highest ROI or send the most referrals your way. Highlight what attributes these customers have in common, then use them to build a look-alike model to help you identify the best prospective accounts.

Once you have your look-alike model defined, search for companies with similar characteristics in places like LinkedIn. A data vendor like D&B Hoovers can also help you zero in on accounts that fit your look-alike model.

3. Identify accounts using intent data

These days, the average B2B buyer is 67% of the way through the buying journey before seeking out a salesperson. That’s a long time to wait before engaging with a prospect. Intent data can tell you who is researching topics that are relevant to your product before those accounts ever land on your website, helping you target them sooner.

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Vendors like Bombora and Aberdeen can identify companies who are expressing intent but haven’t yet interacted with your site. However, they can’t give you details about the individuals doing the research. A solution like LeadBoxer can provide the contact information of individuals who are engaging with your site but haven’t yet reached out to your sales team.

4. Build a list of role-based contacts

While building a list of target accounts, you’ll also want to build a list of contacts within those companies. Researching people based on their job title can be tricky, especially if they’re part of a small company and tend to wear many hats. Instead, focus on what roles people have within a company.

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This isn’t easy to do manually, but some vendors exist that can help compile lists for you, including ReachForce. ReachForce can enrich your contact data and validate it for you, so your CRM will never be clogged with defunct contacts.

5. Map an account’s decision-making structure

It’s imperative to know exactly who is responsible for making purchasing decisions, as well as how they work with or answer to other people within the organization. Says Scott Albro, founder and CEO of TOPO, a research and advisory firm:

“Detailed account profiles that focus on organizational structure can be effective tools….but the holy grail is understanding how things like power structures, personalities, and coalitions impact purchasing decisions.”

6. Engage with target accounts on social media

Once you have your list of target accounts, it’s time to engage with them. One of the most immediate (and free) ways you can do that is by following them on social media, then interacting with them. Here are a few tips for keeping engagement authentic and effective:

  • Comment on their content only when you have something of value to say
  • Reshare their content to your feed when it makes sense for your audience
  • Join groups they’re in and establish your expertise by answering questions or offering free resources

For more ways to generate leads through a channel like LinkedIn, check out this guide.

7. Pay attention to current events

What’s going on at a company can play a big role in the kind of messaging you incorporate into their marketing. Follow their Twitter or LinkedIn and keep an eye open for any press releases, announcements, or other news that they’re putting out.

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You can also set up a Google Alert, which will scan the web for certain content and inform you of any relevant article. If something significant changes with the company, you’ll be able to pivot your marketing strategy or rework the messaging.

8. Segment and personalize email campaigns

Evidence abounds to support the idea that one-size-fits-all email marketing is going the way of the dinosaur. According to Experian, personalized subject lines are to thank for a 26% increase in open rates, while DMA claims that marketers who use segmentation have seen a whopping 760% increase in revenue.

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If you’re not already taking advantage of this tactic, here are some tips to get started:

  • Segment email lists by job role and where prospects are in the buyer’s journey
  • Adjust messaging of emails to reflect segments
  • Personalize the subject line and content with dynamic tags, such as the ones above used in HubSpot’s platform

9. Create custom content for individual prospects

Though you might groan at the thought of creating even more content, this is a strategy that’s proven to get people’s attention. A survey from CEB shows that prospects who received content personalized to their specific needs were 40% more likely to buy from that supplier.

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Custom content also doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Take the video above. Kyle Jepsen, a HubSpot Academy Sales Professor, received this personalized video from Cole, a representative at Vidyard.

Cole doesn’t stick to a script but instead mentions Jepsen’s colleagues and the interactions he’s had with them. Not only is this guaranteed to grab someone’s attention, but it comes across as a more natural and genuine attempt at forging a connection. It also took Cole only a few seconds to make and is on-brand with Vidyard, a video making and hosting solution.

10. Mention target accounts in content

One way to get on an account’s radar is to feature them in your published content. By giving them free publicity, you’re benefiting the prospect as well as opening the door for further contact.

Featuring target accounts in content is just one of nine different ABM tactics employed by Thomson Reuters Legal Professionals, a company that  offers legal management solutions. Including the tactic in their holistic approach contributed to their astonishing 95% win rate.

11. Target individuals with custom ads

The ability to target particular demographics through PPC ads has never been more sophisticated. However, you can get even more specific by uploading a list of email addresses or phone numbers of individuals you want to target, then serving them a custom ad.

With Facebook, this works if the person has their Facebook account registered to that email address or phone number. This isn’t always going to be the case, especially if they’re meticulous about keeping their work life separate from their social life.

Google Ads offers a similar targeting option in the form of Customer Match.

12. Create custom ads for retargeting

Retargeting is placing an ad in front of someone who has already interacted with your website. This is crucial for nurturing leads over time and keeping your business top of mind.

Creating a custom retargeting ad is a good first step, but even better is having an ad that’s tailored to an account’s previous behavior on your site.

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Demandbase is one ABM solution that has made exciting innovations in ad retargeting. By placing carefully targeted and personalized ads on a network of properties, Demandbase can cut past the clutter and get clicks only from your key accounts.

13. Create personalized landing pages for ads

If you’re going to be investing the time, effort, and money into creating personalized PPC ads, then you’ll want the messaging of your landing page to match the messaging in the ad. This means building personalized landing pages tailored to different audiences.

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Luckily, there are plenty of solutions to make this a painless process. Instapage is a drag-and-drop style landing page builder that simplifies the personalization process. They also have a product called AdMap, which makes it easy to visualize the flow of ads to landing pages, then connect them.

14. Send a personalized gift

A sure way to grab someone’s attention is through a physical gift. This doesn’t mean you should send a box of branded thermoses or pens that will get shoved to the back of an office cupboard. The key is to send something fun, unique, and charming.

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Influitive, makers of advocacy and engagement software, experimented with three types of personalized gifts for their ABM campaign. The most notable were pinatas shipped directly to companies. The pinatas contained positive online reviews of the account, social proof about Influitive, and candy (of course). The pinatas received a 36% response rate and a 3.4% sales-qualified opportunity rate, making it their most successful gift-giving tactic.

15. Build one-on-one, c-level relationships

Some accounts will require multiple relationships across different levels of the organization. This ensures that all the decision-makers or people with influence over the buying process are on the same page.

Rather than have one sales agent connect with multiple contacts at the same company, pair employees from different hierarchy levels and divisions with their counterpart at the account. For example, pair a CMO at your organization with a CMO at the prospective company. The CMO should lead with an email or direct mail about the reasons for connecting, then follow up with a phone call and an invitation for a meeting.

16. Send direct mail to executives

Executives have plenty on their plate. They’re not known for promptly answering unsolicited emails or spending a lot of time engaging with other businesses on social media, and rightfully so. Initiating a meaningful connection may take old fashioned direct mail and a little creativity.

Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing relayed an anecdote about using this tactic to Craig Rosenberg at TOPO:

“We sent two-day packages to executives in advance of a big conference. The package was an empty iPad box. We wrote in the direct mail to come by our booth to pick up the iPad. Most executives came by just to compliment us. It worked.” (Source)

17. Look for an “in” elsewhere in the account

It’s not just your sales reps, marketing managers, or c-level executives that you should be tapping for connections. Reach out to the rest of your organization to see if there are employees in other, seemingly unrelated departments that might have a relationship with a contact at the target account.

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Still struggling to find a way in? The TeamLink function through LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a handy tool for unearthing unthought-of connections between organizations.

18. Offer a free, in-person evaluation

Despite the rise of digital communication, meeting in-person is still critical for business success. One study claims that face-to-face meetings are what it takes to convert 40% of prospects to customers.

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One way to tweak meetings to fit your ABM strategy is to offer free, in-person evaluations of a target account’s current situation. For example, if you’re an advertising agency, offer a session where you compare the account’s current advertising efforts to their competitors’.

Even if you have to travel to the prospect to hold the meeting, take heart: for every dollar spent on travel, businesses on average reap $12.50 in revenue.

19. Plan ahead for conferences

Conferences are jam-packed with opportunities to meet contacts face-to-face, and that level of familiarity is sometimes what’s needed to push an account over the finish line. Here are some tips to plan ahead and make the most of those few days:

  • Research sponsors and cross-check it with your list of target accounts
  • Monitor accounts’ social media activity for mentions about conference attendance
  • Reach out to known contacts and invite them to your booth
  • Set aside personalized gifts or swag for contacts that swing by

20. Host a local event for prospects

Whether you’re organizing a thought leadership session or something as simple as a mix and mingle during happy hour, in-person events are prime places to invite contacts from target accounts. This gets you valuable facetime while also offering the prospect a free resource or experience.

Inviting accounts to events is another one of the ABM tactics that Thomson Reuters used in their journey to achieving a 95% win rate.

Software Solutions for Account-Based Marketing

ABM can be more complex than traditional marketing strategies, but the right tools can help you find the data you need and use it to create customized marketing experiences from start to finish.

LeadBoxer

LeadBoxer is a lead generation solution that can assist your ABM strategy by identifying anonymous or partially identified visitors on your site and automatically populating the rest of their contact information.

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This helps you flesh out your list of target accounts. It also allows you to find and engage with qualified prospects on social media, send them custom content, target them with custom ads, send direct mail or gifts, or invite them to in-person events.

LeadBoxer also gives your prospects a leadscore, which tells you which accounts are most qualified and worth pursuing.

Marketo

Marketo is one of the heavy hitters of the ABM industry. Its products can help you identify ideal target accounts, discover contacts, and engage with accounts across channels with personalized content.

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While certainly a powerful product, Marketo’s solutions come in the hundreds of dollars per month to the thousands of dollars range, making it a serious (or unrealistic) investment for small businesses.

Terminus

Terminus is an ABM solution used by customers like Thomson Reuters, the case study from the previous section who used tactics such as inviting contacts to in-person events and creating content that featured accounts’ expertise.

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Terminus comes with features such as the account breakdown above, which shows how engaged accounts are and how much you’ve spent nurturing each one.

Aberdeen

Aberdeen is a vendor of intent data, so it can help you identify accounts that are expressing interest in topics relevant to your product. This can help you add target accounts to your list that you might not have thought of otherwise.

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Aberdeen integrates with Salesforce, so team members can immediately see which target accounts are expressing intent. Use this as a cue to start targeting those accounts with custom ads and content as soon as they’re ready for it.

ReachForce

Never worry about old or inaccurate contact data again. ReachForce can help you flesh out a list of contacts within an account, show you who is responsible for what, and continually validates and cleans old data.

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If you’re trying to keep track of and engage with multiple contacts within one account, ReachForce is an invaluable source of information and automation.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is the platform’s solution for helping businesses find, understand, and engage with accounts on the social media channel.

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Not only does Sales Navigator come with advanced search options for finding leads, but it also integrates with your CRM and can notify you of significant shifts within a company, such as job changes.

Instapage

Instapage takes the stress out of making personalized landing pages. Its big draw is a drag-and-drop landing page builder built for collaboration. If you’re a small business cranking out your own personalized advertising and web content, this tool is worth looking into.

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Instapage also has ad mapping solutions, so you’ll never lose track of which ads match which landing pages. Plus, Instapage’s affordable pricing tiers makes personalization accessible to any size business.

Take Advantage of Account-Based Marketing and Grow Your Business

Given the level of research and personalization of content involved, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by the idea of ABM. Supplementing your existing inbound marketing strategy with ABM is a process that can take years, but the payoff is well worth it. The first step is to gather together your teams and begin discussing which tactics and tools best suit your company’s needs.

LeadBoxer can help you zero in on the right target accounts, find their contact information, and show you what content they engage with most so you can create better marketing experiences. Start your free trial today.

Cross-Domain Tracking: A Guide to Tracking Visitors Across Multiple Websites

Cross-Domain Tracking: A Guide to Tracking Visitors Across Multiple Websites

If your business operates across multiple domains and you aren’t already taking advantage of cross-domain tracking, then you’re probably missing out on the sort of insights that could turbocharge your marketing and sales. Cross-domain tracking is a tool that’s all but essential for businesses with two or more sites, such as a main website, a cart checkout site, a knowledge base, or a marketing campaign site.

In this guide, you’ll learn what cross-domain tracking is, why it’s important, and what tools are available to help you access it. By the end, you’ll know if cross-domain tracking is right for your business and which tool is best for your needs. With cross-domain tracking in your tool belt, you’ll be able to market more effectively to individual users and earn more sales.

What is Cross-Domain Tracking?

Cross-domain tracking gathers data about two or more sites, in particular, the navigation path from one site to another during a single session.

One Domain Tracking

For businesses with one domain, such as www.example.com, Google Analytics has made it simple and free to install a tag so that you can monitor data like:

  • Pageviews
  • Unique visitors
  • Average session duration
  • Acquisition
  • The flow of traffic between pages

You can even see what specific businesses are viewing a site thanks to Google’s ISP identification.

If your business has a second domain, you can install a separate Analytics tag that will record data for that site. However, the reports for both sites are kept separate.

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Therefore, if a user begins a session on www.example.com and then navigates to www.mysite.com, the data report from www.mysite.com will treat it as a new session instead of a continuation of an activity that began on www.example.com.

Cross-Domain Tracking

If you want to treat a session that begins on www.example.com and ends on www.mysite.com as a single entity instead of two unique sessions, then you’ll want to use cross-domain tracking.

The data for both sites will then be presented as a single report, like so:

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It’s possible to use Google Analytics or other software to enable cross-domain tracking, as you’ll see in a later section. Depending on which tool you use, you’ll either get a bird’s eye view of how the average user engages with your sites, or you can follow the experiences of unique visitors and then get actionable insights that your sales and marketing teams can use.

Why is Cross-Domain Tracking Important?

Cross-domain tracking can have different benefits for multiple divisions in a business, chiefly marketing and sales.

For Marketing Teams

Marketing teams who are looking to improve the buyer’s journey across multiple sites likely need to use cross-domain tracking.

For example, if your business has some form of Lead Generation component or shopping cart checkout housed on a separate domain, cross-domain tracking allows marketing teams to analyze what’s working across multiple domains to help convert visitors to buyers and what needs more refinement.

Here’s an example of how this might look in Google Analytics:

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This User Flow report shows what pages visitors navigate to and from over the course of their sessions. You can see which paths are most common, as well as which pages users are more likely to bounce from. With cross-domain tracking, you can observe this flow across more than one site.

Cross-domain tracking can also make it possible to serve specific content to users across multiple domains based on their previous behavior, especially if you’re using a tool that’s designed to identify unique visitors and respond to their behavior. This kind of targeted marketing can increase conversion rates.

For Sales Teams

Sales teams who prioritize a user’s level of interest when qualifying leads will find cross-domain tracking useful. Cross-domain tracking  provides a more detailed picture of visitors’ engagement with one brand across multiple domains, giving sales teams a better frame of reference for how engaged, qualified and possibly interested a lead is.

Data about a user’s engagement is often used to calculate a lead score, or a number value that describes how promising the user is as a lead. The example below shows a site user with a lead score of 83.

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Tracking engagement across multiple domains is essential for qualification and accuracy. Without cross-domain tracking of user engagement, you might be missing out on leads who are more engaged on one site but not the other.

How Do You Install Cross-Domain Tracking?

There are a few different tools that can enable cross-domain tracking, including Google Analytics and LeadBoxer.

Google Analytics

Setting up a Google Analytics tag for one domain is pretty straightforward. Most people with basic web maintenance skills can figure it out on their own.

Things get more complicated when it comes to cross-domain tracking. If you decide to go with this method, it’s best to bring an experienced engineer into the picture who can install it correctly and maintain it as necessary.

Check out this guide for a complete rundown of how to install cross-domain tracking with Google Analytics. As you’ll see, it’s a fair bit trickier than installing single domain tracking.

Even with this method, you won’t be able to track individual users. Google Analytics can give you a sense of what businesses are using your site and how users on average are engaging with the site, but it’s not designed to get any more granular than that.

LeadBoxer

LeadBoxer is platform for identifying  and tracking individual users and their actions across one or more sites, where it is enriched, segmented and used  to calculate a lead score. This lead score helps sales teams know who they should invest their time and energy toward to nurture that lead into a customer.

Marketing teams can also benefit from LeadBoxer. They can get under the hood of individual users and see what content they’re engaging with across one or multiple sites, then target them with content that’s reflective of their previous behavior.

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In short, the big difference between Google Analytics and LeadBoxer is the ability to zoom in on a single user and take action based on their behavior. LeadBoxer also makes it possible to identify visitors who would otherwise remain completely anonymous, so you can reach out and make contact with these users in the event of B2B sales.

Cross-domain tracking is a standard feature included in LeadBoxer and can be enabled for you without doing any additional work.

To get started, schedule a call with LeadBoxer and ask for a trial with cross-domain tracking.

Installation is easy, simply install the same pixel in all your domains and we will take care of connecting the users/sessions without the use of 3rd party cookies!

All in all, LeadBoxer is a painless way to get cross-domain tracking at your fingertips. For more information about how to install cross-domain tracking with LeadBoxer, click here.

 

Opentracker

Opentracker offers a blend of Google Analytics and LeadBoxer features. Its primary purpose is to track unique visitors in realtime. Cross-domain tracking comes standard with this tool and is easy and intuitive to access.

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Unlike LeadBoxer, Opentracker doesn’t calculate a lead score or provide actionable insights about prospects to sales teams. It can identify a visitor’s company, but it doesn’t capture name and contact information the way LeadBoxer can.

Turn Visitors Into Buyers With Cross-Domain Tracking

If you have multiple related websites that users are likely navigating between during the same session, then cross-domain tracking is essential for capturing a complete picture of visitors’ online experiences. Cross-domain tracking is possible with Google Analytics but installation can be tedious and prone to mistakes. Analytics also doesn’t allow you to identify unique visitors.

If you want the ability to give visitors a face and a name, gauge their potential as a lead, and notify your sales team about when they should reach out and turn that lead into a customer, then LeadBoxer is a more appropriate tool. Best of all, installing cross-domain tracking with LeadBoxer is so easy that anyone with basic web maintenance experience can install it.

Sign up for a demo call of LeadBoxer today and try out cross-domain tracking in minutes.

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What is Intent Data & How Can You Use It?

What is Intent Data & How Can You Use It?

According to research, the average B2B buyer is already 67% of the way through the buying journey before having extended contact with a salesperson. By that time, they’ve likely formulated some ideas about possible solutions to their pain point and might even be leaning toward buying from your competitor. Intent data is the key to identifying those leads sooner, nurturing them earlier in their buying journey, and making more sales. This comprehensive guide will outline the fundamentals of intent data, including:

By the end, you should know exactly how intent data fits into your marketing and sales processes. You’ll also learn how to pick the right intent data supplier for your needs, so you don’t end up with the wrong strategy for your business.

What is Intent Data?

Intent data shows the likelihood that a person or company is in the market to purchase a solution for a pain point. It’s derived from information about the online research a contact or account is conducting about a particular topic, as well as context clues that might signal their purchasing intention. Topic and context data are the two main types of intent data. Both rely on tracking cookies and IP addresses to form a complete picture.

Topic Data

If a hiker needs to buy new hiking boots, she may scout online reviews of top brands before she ever goes to the store and tries on a pair. Anyone looking at her search history might assume she’s interested in the topic of “hiking boots”. The same is true of B2B leads and target accounts. Forrester claims that 68% of B2B buyers research by themselves, a significant increase from 53% in 2015. In addition, 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before connecting with someone in sales. Even before signing up for a free trial of the software that might solve their problem, your lead is probably researching their pain point and weighing multiple options. Topic data tells you what they’re researching. There are four types of topic data available.

Anonymous First-Party Behavioral

These are unknown visitors to your company’s site and the actions they take while there. They haven’t yet filled out a form or explicitly revealed information about themselves, but it’s possible to identify their company by tracking their IP address. unknown visitors A lead generation tool like LeadBoxer can help fill in the gaps and show more contact information about these otherwise anonymous visitors, giving a more complete picture of who they are and what they’re researching on your site.

Known First-Party Behavioral

These visitors to your company’s site have provided their contact information by filling out a form, therefore they are “known” individuals. Lead generation or marketing automation software can track what pages they visit and other ways they engage with the site.

Anonymous Third-Party Behavioral

These are unknown visitors to sites you don’t own but that might still be relevant to your business. You can track different topics over a network of sites and see what’s most popular. aberdeen intent data
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If you’re a supplier of project management solutions, and someone from a company that fits your ideal customer profile is reading articles about “project management” on Business Insider, you can access that information through intent data suppliers, a few of which we’ll review in a future section.

Known Third-Party Behavioral

These are visitors to sites you don’t own that have shared some of their contact information. Like with anonymous third-party behavioral, you can access their information and the topics they’re researching through the right supplier.

Context Data

Context data tells you whose intent data is valuable and who only has a passing interest in a topic. There are a few details that are especially useful for establishing context.

Job Title

If a sales professional is researching “sales pipeline management”, it’s possible they’re looking for a CRM tool that can help manage leads. If a marketing professional or content creator is researching the same topic, it may be more likely that they’re putting together a blog, video, or another piece of content on the subject.

Job Postings or Leadership Changes

Job postings and leadership changes can tell you whether or not to reach out to a lead. If you sell advertising services but the target account is in the process of looking for a new marketing director, now might not be the best time to approach them. If the account has announced the recent hire of a marketing director, it’s a better opportunity to pounce and offer a better option than what the predecessor left behind.

New Funding

A new round of funding is another indicator that a company could be open to new solutions, both because they have a bigger budget and because they may be growing their operation and need more sophisticated tools to manage their company.

New Legislation

Did new legislation just pass that requires an account to operate their company in a certain way, or opens them up to new business? If you have the solution they need in response to these changes, this context lets you know if you should act.

Press

Keep a close eye on accounts that make the news. Press about an expansion of operations or increase in earnings might indicate that they need new solutions, while bad press may mean that they need some space to do damage control before focusing on other things. However, not all bad press is a sign to stay away. If an account makes the news for poor customer service, maybe now is the time to reach out and offer information about your CRM software.

What to Use Intent Data For

There are several uses for intent data, but before diving into the specifics, know that if your competitor isn’t already using intent data, they might soon. Polls show that nearly a quarter of B2B companies are already using intent data, while another 35% plan to use it within the next 12 months. Using intent data in some capacity will become increasingly necessary to stay competitive. These are the main ways that it can benefit your business.

Reaching Leads Early

The most obvious use of intent data is to establish contact with leads earlier in the buying journey. Getting in touch with leads before other salespeople do is one of the biggest ways to get a leg up on the competition; research shows that in 70% of cases, the first salesperson to connect with a lead is ultimately who they give their business to.

Lead Prioritization

Context data can help make a distinction between who is actively researching a pain point and who is just reading about a certain topic without any intention of making a purchase. This information illuminates whether or not a lead fits your ideal customer profile. prioritize leads A tool like LeadBoxer quickly shows you the highest priority leads by allowing you to search by filters such as location, industry, and company size.

Automated Outreach

First-party leads that give off certain signals can trigger automatic marketing or sales processes, such as an email series, that can instantly start nurturing them when it matters most.

Account-Based Marketing

Hone in on what content works best at engaging first-party leads, and what needs more refining.

Personalization of Outreach

By knowing what topics and articles leads are researching, sales agents can personalize how they make contact and develop a relationship with them. They can mention specific topics and establish relevance quickly to capture and hold a lead’s attention.

Targeted Advertising

Get even more granular with your advertising strategy by honing in on leads who give off certain signals. That way, you’re not wasting any of your advertising dollars on people who only have a passing interest but have no intention of buying your product.

Targeted Account List

Develop a list of accounts who are engaging with third-party sites about relevant topics but aren’t yet engaging with your company. You’ll be able to connect with leads who your sales team might have otherwise never considered.

Analyze and Retain Customers

Intent data works with existing customers, too. Monitoring what current clients are researching so you know if they’re thinking about switching to a competitor or if there’s something you can upsell them on. With intent data in your toolbox, you can continue to anticipate and solve problems long after the initial purchase has been made.

How to Obtain Intent Data

There are several intent data vendors out there who can help you access intent data on your site or data available on third-party sites.

 

First-Party Intent Data Vendors

First-party intent data is nothing new. You may already have access to some thanks to free tools such as Google Analytics. Other vendors can provide you more details about who is visiting your site and turn anonymous visitors into known visitors.

 

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a free tool that monitors the activity on a site, such as page views and how visitors arrived at the site. While it can’t identify individuals, it can hone in on IP addresses and show you what accounts are active on the site. google site visitors
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In the example above, several businesses use branded aliases, making it possible to identify which accounts are visiting a site. However, Google Analytics can’t provide any further context than that. It also can’t go into detail about what the visitors’ unique actions were on the site.

 

LeadBoxer

LeadBoxer catalogs all known visitors to your website. If a visitor fills out a form, the information they provide automatically populates their profile within the software. LeadBoxer can then calculate a lead score for that person using other data points such as what pages they visited, what topics they seem most interested in, and how engaged they are with the site. leadboxer 360 view Source With this information, you’ll know exactly when to act on a lead. LeadBoxer takes it one step further and can help identify previously unknown visitors. For example, if the visitor didn’t fill out a form but arrived at the site via LinkedIn, LeadBoxer can trace back to that person’s LinkedIn profile and use the information to populate the visitor’s information within the software.

 

BounceX

Like LeadBoxer, BounceX can identify many website visitors (40-70%) who would otherwise remain anonymous. It then creates personalized marketing experiences – similar to account-based marketing – for these visitors based on their engagement. Screen Shot 2019 08 17 at 7.54.31 AM
Source

BounceX can automatically engage with visitors who have not yet filled out a form or appear that they’re about to leave the site. In a way, it identifies users who are displaying intent and then begins to nurture them before a sales agent ever steps in. While sophisticated, BounceX is said to have nearly a $4,000/month price tag, making it a serious investment for most businesses. It also doesn’t prioritize showing you accounts who express high intent but instead tries to let the AI nurture users through website personalization.

 

Third-Party Intent Data Vendors

If an account is researching topics around the web that are relevant to your product or service, these solutions will help you find them.

 

Bombora

Bombora can tell you what companies are expressing active intent to purchase your products or services long before someone from that company ever lands on your site. Bombora does this by monitoring 6,000 intent topics across 3,800+ publisher websites. bombora
Source

Bombora only tracks IP addresses, cookie IDs, and company domains provided by the publishers’ registration data. They can tell you what companies are expressing intent, but they can’t tell you exactly which employee is doing the research or who your sales team should engage with. In short, there’s no context data with this vendor.

 

Aberdeen

Aberdeen bought The Big Willow, and intent data supplier, back in 2018. They offer a lot of the same value that Bombora does but take it a step further by integrating their solutions into Salesforce. aberdeen intent for salesforce 1024x682
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Companies expressing active intent pop up in the Salesforce dashboard so sales teams know exactly which accounts to jump on. You can also see how those accounts will impact the pipeline. You can also choose to integrate Aberdeen Marketscape, a product that shows all the topic keywords researched by each account showing intent. This helps establish more context. If you’re not already using Salesforce, getting started with Aberdeen’s intent data (and then Marketscape) might be a little too complicated and cost-prohibitive.

 

How to Select an Intent Data Vendor

There are several different suppliers of intent data out there. It’s important to work with the one that best fits the needs and size of your company, or else you risk losing time and money. Here are a few considerations to keep at the top of mind when screening vendors.

 

How many sites are in the vendor’s network?

Ask this question if you’re considering third-party data vendors. The network refers to the websites they monitor, which tend to be publisher sites like Forbes. The larger the network, the better, as this gives them a bigger pool of data to draw from.

 

How many topics does the vendor monitor?

Third-party data vendors monitor a finite amount of topics. At the time of this writing, Bombora claims to have nearly 6,000 topics in their system, while Aberdeen claims to have hundreds of thousands of keywords at their disposal.

 

Can the vendor give context?

On its own, a list of names and topics they’re researching isn’t very useful. You need context to know if their company fits your ideal customer profile, as well as what their job title is and if they have any purchasing authority. Third-party data vendors can’t give much context at this time, but some solutions for first-party intent data can.

How to Use Intent Data

Trying to make use of intent data in its raw form is inefficient. Intent data works best when used to calculate a lead score. A lead score is a concise, visual way to describe how promising the lead is and therefore how much it’s worth pursuing them. Some solutions, like LeadBoxer, will not only capture intent data but will automatically input it into a lead score. You can adjust what data points to use for calculating a lead score based on the needs of your company. set lead score 900 Source Here are three of the most important factors to keep in mind when adjusting what data points to use for a lead score.

 

Fit

This is as simple as asking the question: does this lead fit our ideal customer profile? Are they the right size company, in a certain location, etc.? If an account showing active intent doesn’t fit the mold of your ideal customer, then their lead score will go down.

 

Intent

Take into consideration not only the topics researched by that account but the frequency and recency of the research.

 

Engagement

Has this account not only engaged with relevant third-party pages, but with your site or social media profiles? A solid first-party data vendor will be able to track and show you individual actions. Use that information to increase their lead score. track actions The more specific the data points used to calculate a lead score, the more accurate and useful the lead score will be. This will help weed out accounts that aren’t the right fit or are researching topics without having any intent to buy a product or service.

bombora surge report
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While it’s certainly useful to know which accounts have an interest, you’re still limited by not knowing who to reach out to.

 

When Used At the Expense of a Sustainable Sales Pipeline

Relying on intent data is no reason not to have robust marketing strategies that help draw new leads into your sales pipeline. Like most sales tactics, it’s best used in tandem with other processes.

 

Get an Edge Over the Competition With Intent Data

Intent data is a hot technology that more and more businesses are using to gain an edge over their competitors. By seeing what topics leads are researching, you can reach out to them sooner and have a better chance at closing the deal. While it’s not the end-all, be-all way to keep your sales pipeline full, it is a valuable tool to have at hand. Third-party intent data still isn’t as precise as some would hope it to be. Vendors can only provide accounts, not individual contacts, and don’t offer much in the way of context data. Third-party data also decays more quickly than first-party data. Some first-party data is free and already at your fingertips via Google Analytics. A tool like LeadBoxer can keep you apprised of who exactly is visiting your site whether or not they’ve filled out a form. It’s also easy to get context data and use each data point to calculate a lead score, showing you exactly which leads to act upon at that moment. If you haven’t already started taking advantage of the intent data laying untapped on your site, now is a great time to start. Try a free trial of LeadBoxer today.

 

 

When Intent Data Isn’t Enough

Intent data isn’t a magic bullet for identifying leads earlier. There are limitations to this technology that will hopefully improve as time goes on. Be aware of the following when incorporating intent data into your marketing and sales processes.

 

When a Visitor is Registered Under the Wrong IP Address

If an unknown visitor to your site or a third-party site is registered under the wrong IP address, you won’t be able to tell what company they work for. This often happens by accident but nevertheless makes it impossible to identify the correct account.

 

When a Buyer is Conducting Research Out-of-Network

Third-party intent data vendors like Bombora and Aberdeen don’t aggregate data from every corner of the internet. They only draw information from sites within their networks. If a buyer is researching on sites not covered by that network, then you’ll never know.

 

Decay Rate of Third-Party Data

Given the amount of content people consume regularly, you shouldn’t expect sales agents to always be able to reach out to a lead and reference content they read a week or two earlier.

 

Third-Party Data Lists Account But No Contacts

Bombora and Aberdeen only list the account, not the contact information of the individual who was searching. bombora surge report
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While it’s certainly useful to know which accounts have an interest, you’re still limited by not knowing who to reach out to.

 

When Used At the Expense of a Sustainable Sales Pipeline

Relying on intent data is no reason not to have robust marketing strategies that help draw new leads into your sales pipeline. Like most sales tactics, it’s best used in tandem with other processes.

 

Get an Edge Over the Competition With Intent Data

Intent data is a hot technology that more and more businesses are using to gain an edge over their competitors. By seeing what topics leads are researching, you can reach out to them sooner and have a better chance at closing the deal. While it’s not the end-all, be-all way to keep your sales pipeline full, it is a valuable tool to have at hand. Third-party intent data still isn’t as precise as some would hope it to be. Vendors can only provide accounts, not individual contacts, and don’t offer much in the way of context data. Third-party data also decays more quickly than first-party data. Some first-party data is free and already at your fingertips via Google Analytics. A tool like LeadBoxer can keep you apprised of who exactly is visiting your site whether or not they’ve filled out a form. It’s also easy to get context data and use each data point to calculate a lead score, showing you exactly which leads to act upon at that moment. If you haven’t already started taking advantage of the intent data laying untapped on your site, now is a great time to start. Try a free trial of LeadBoxer today.

Looking for more qualified leads?

We offer Website Lead Identification or Lead Generation through emails & newsletters

10 Buying Signals You Should Look For

10 Buying Signals You Should Look For

Imagine if some magic words or signs indicated how likely a prospective customer is to buy. Your sales and marketing teams would know exactly who to focus their efforts on. As it happens, there are such signs. They’re called buying signals, and taking note of them is key to giving prospects a better buying experience and increasing the efficiency of your sales process.

This guide will review ten of the most common buying signals to look for and how to look for them. It will also go over how to capture, analyze, and act upon those signals. With this information in hand, your team will be well on its way to gaining and retaining plenty of satisfied customers.

What are buying signals?

Buying signals are the actions prospective buyers take that may indicate they’re close to making a purchasing decision. For B2B sales and marketing teams, buying signals are especially important because they can help you hone in on the most promising leads, saving time and closing more deals.

Buying signals can occur at several different steps of the buyer’s journey. Some signals occur when a prospect visits a company’s website. Lead generation software such as LeadBoxer can capture this data and consolidate it into a lead score. A lead score is a way to easily visualize buying signals.

Lead Score

Other buying signals occur during conversations between the prospect and a sales agent. These are usually phrases or behavioral cues that show how interested the prospect is. Recognizing these signals requires training and keen attention to detail.

The following ten signals occur during both digital and physical encounters between a company and prospective clients.

1. The prospect signed up for a free trial

Signing up for a free trial or other complementary offering is a clear indication that a prospect has some interest in the product.

buying signals signup

Lead generation software can capture this action and use it as part of the data that generates a lead score.

Even if the prospect doesn’t immediately take advantage of the trial, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re no longer interested. It may show that they’re simply unsure how to use it. To mitigate that risk, consider enrolling anyone who signs up for a trial into an automatic email series that provides tutorials or tips.

You can also offer free one-on-one meetings or phone calls with a customer service representative who can walk them through the trial. A more personalized experience can help move some prospects further along on the buyer’s journey.

2. They filled out a form

If someone filled out any form, whether it was to sign up for an e-newsletter or a request for more information, it’s a sign that they want to know more about the company.

form leads

LeadBoxer captures that data and uses it to populate a prospect’s profile. The software will then log future actions the prospect takes on the site and use it to adjust their lead score.

Even if a prospect doesn’t fill out a form, LeadBoxer can track and identify previously unknown website visitors.

3. They’re engaging with your brand on social media

Following your company’s social media profile and engaging with the content you publish strongly suggests that the prospect is interested in your product.

To identify who is engaging with the brand most often, encourage marketing team members to monitor mentions of the brand or associated hashtags.

buying signals twitter

Regular check-ins between the marketing and sales team are important for identifying the prospects who are active on social media. With that information, sales agents can know who might be most worth reaching out to or nurturing.

Another option is to integrate your lead generation software with social media sites like LinkedIn so you can capture a prospect’s actions on the platform. LinkedIn is an especially fruitful platform for identifying and cultivating B2B leads.

4. They’re interested in one product

Interest in a single product or solution shows that prospective clients are clear about what they want. They’ve done their research and are taking steps toward making a purchasing decision.

This signal might appear during a consultation between a sales agent and a prospect, but it could also occur on your brand’s website. Multiple visits to a product page, especially over a short timespan, indicate growing interest.

leadboxer tracking

Calibrate your lead generation software to look for these actions and use the data when calculating a lead score.

5. They’re interested in the price

If a prospect asks about pricing during a sales call, it’s generally a sign that they’re at least thinking about buying.

Some sales agents might misconstrue questions about money as a pricing objection, or that the prospect finds the cost prohibitive. Instead, think of it as they’re trying to understand how this solution fits into their budget. Use their question as an opportunity to talk about why your company is the right fit for them with respect to the price.

buying signals pricing

Another way to know if a prospect is interested in the price is to check if or how often they’ve visited the pricing page. This information should be available within the lead generation software in the log of actions they’ve taken on the site.

6. They’re interested in case studies

Pay attention to prospects who are looking at case studies on your site or are asking about other customers’ success stories. These potential clients are trying to imagine how they fit into your business and if you have a track record of solving problems that are similar to theirs.

buying signals use cases

To keep the conversation moving, sales agents could follow up with other case studies that are similar to the prospect’s experience or ask if they have any questions or concerns about the company’s previous work.

7. They ask for advice from their peers

Sometimes you’ll notice that more than one person from a company is visiting the site. This might be an indication that someone with purchasing authority has asked his or her peers for their input about the product.

This might also be true when someone copies their colleagues during email correspondences with a sales agent. If they’re cluing other people into the conversation, it’s a good sign that they’re discussing amongst themselves how the product fits with their needs.

In any case, if the main contact is seeking the opinions of people they work with, it’s likely that they’re weighing the pros and cons and are close to making a final decision.

8. They ask about terms and conditions

When a prospect starts asking about warranty details or money-back guarantee policies, they’re likely feeling out whether or not they can trust you to deliver excellent customer service.

Look for this signal during meetings or calls with sales agents. If there is a warranty page on your company’s website, check to see if the prospect has visited it. If they have, it’s a prime opportunity for an agent to reach out to them and see if they have any questions about moving forward.

9. They ask about contract specifics

This buying signal will likely happen during an in-person meeting or phone call. Prospects who are asking sales agents about what needs to happen to move on to the next step are almost ready to pull the trigger on the purchase.

For example, they might want to know when the service or use of the product can begin. Show that your company can adjust to their expectations by asking how soon they need it by.

This is also a great time to ask if they have any other questions or considerations about moving forward. Any opportunity you can take to demonstrate outstanding customer service is another reason why the prospect should go with your company.

10. They ask about methods of payment

Sales agents should be attuned to questions about when or how payment can be made. Prospects who ask about this topic are close to making a purchasing decision but need to make sure that payment options align with their company’s needs.

In this case, the more convenient options you can provide, the better. Automatic payments, payment plans, and accepting credit cards are just a few of the possibilities to make customers’ lives a little easier. The more convenience you can provide, the more likely that they’ll keep buying from you.

Pay attention to buying signals and close more deals

Knowing when a prospect is ready to buy doesn’t take a crystal ball or a sixth sense. The clues are all there in the buying signals they give off. Good old fashioned attention to detail as well as a mix of data gathered and interpreted by lead generation software makes it possible to take note of and act upon these signals.

LeadBoxer is a lead generation software that makes much of this process easy and automated. It can also deliver alerts that let you know when it’s time to take action and make a pitch to a prospect. Get started with a free trial today.

Looking for more qualified leads?

We offer Website Lead Identification or Lead Generation through emails & newsletters

The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Lead Generation for B2B companies

The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Lead Generation for B2B companies

If you were to focus on only one channel for your company’s lead generation, it should be LinkedIn.

The numbers show that the platform isn’t just a good choice for B2B marketers – it’s the best. The conversion rates are higher and the cost per lead is lower compared to other advertising networks. Plus, there are plenty of ways to find leads for free, and a couple of tools that make the process easy.

This guide will dig into the benefits, the paid and free strategies, and the tools that help streamline lead generation on LinkedIn. By the end, you’ll have a method for generating more leads for less on the platform.

Use the links below to navigate to each section:

 

The Benefits of Using LinkedIn for Lead Generation

Why bother with LinkedIn? Why not focus on generating leads with search engine advertising, display networks, or more high-traffic social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter?

Simply put, LinkedIn is where professionals go to level up in business. The average user might log on to stay informed about what’s happening in their industry, look for new employees to add to their team, or seek out tools that can optimize their team’s workflows.

If your business offers a solution to their needs, LinkedIn is the best environment for attracting their attention.

There are a few other reasons why LinkedIn is the best place to generate leads for B2B companies:

It’s made up of professionals with purchasing power

Over 20% of LinkedIn users can make buying decisions for their companies. That’s at least 61 million senior-level influencers and 40 million decision makers that your business could be connecting with. It’s also the most-used social media platform amongst Fortune 500 companies, so there’s a good chance your target audience is already on the site.

Its users are extremely active

LinkedIn has over 500 million total users, and over half of them (260 million, to be exact) actively use the platform every month. Of those 260 million users, 44% log on daily. That means a lot of potential leads to engage with on a regular basis.

It generates the most leads

Those 100+ million decision making users are proven to take action. The site’s own content marketing blog ran the numbers and found that 80% of B2B leads generated through social media come from LinkedIn.

There are plenty of case studies to back up the claim, too. Simplus, a Salesforce partner, says that 70% of their website form fills have come directly from LinkedIn. NetBrain Technologies Inc. doubled their click-through-rate with LinkedIn ads and saw 94% of leads generated accepted by sales.

It can convert more leads for less

There are ways to generate leads on LinkedIn for free, but even if you go with a paid strategy, you could save big compared to running a similar ad campaign on a search engine or another social media platform.

HubSpot aggregated all of their customer’s results with LinkedIn Sponsored Content and found that while the ads have a higher cost-per-click than Google Ads, they also have double the conversion rate.

With a $1,000 ad budget, you could generate 11 conversions for only $90 each on LinkedIn, while the same budget with Google Ads would generate 8 conversions for $125 each.

Its targeting audiences are tailor-made for B2B lead generation

LinkedIn Ads allow marketers to get extremely granular about the audiences they want to target. These are just a few of the many targeting options:

  • Company industry
  • Company size
  • Company name
  • Job title
  • Job function
  • Job seniority

While competitors like Facebook Ads also allow marketers to target users by employer and job title, workplace networking is not the primary purpose of the platform. It’s possible that some users may not be listing their employment info at all, making this a less than ideal channel for reaching target audiences.

It’s the go-to choice for B2B marketers

According to the Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn, 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content. This means that either a lot of B2B marketers are wrong, or a lot of people are on to something.

In either case, you’d be remiss to pass up on what 94% of your competitors are already taking advantage of.

 

 

Free Strategies for Finding Leads on LinkedIn

Many of the actions you already do on a daily basis in LinkedIn can help you find leads. You might only need to think a little more strategically in order to get the most out of your time on the platform.

Here are a few examples:

Publish articles

Articles are the best way to demonstrate to ideal clients that you’re an expert in your industry. You can use them to anticipate and answer prospects’ questions, which can instill confidence that you’re the right choice when it comes to solving their problem.

Publishing articles on LinkedIn comes with benefits you can’t get from blogging on your site alone:

  • Your content gets shared with your connections and followers in their news feeds and sometimes in their notifications.
  • Users that aren’t already in your network can follow you from your article, so the next piece you publish will automatically appear in their feed.
  • If your profile is visible, your article is searchable both on and off the platform.

This is a great, free option for establishing your authority without having to convince users to navigate away from the site.

Post daily updates

Posting daily updates to your LinkedIn Page or Showcase Page is a great way to stay top-of-mind with your connections. Your updates will appear on their home feed, so it works as free, organic advertising.

Note that this doesn’t mean you need to publish a unique piece of content every day. Here are a few suggestions for how to keep this step quick and easy:

  • Repurpose content shared to your other social media accounts
  • Link to existing blog posts or resources on your site
  • Direct users to your most recent newsletter
  • Share your take on news from your industry

The name of the game is to make use of the content you already have and updating your page as often as possible.

Join groups

LinkedIn Groups are where people from the same industry can discuss interests, share insights, and ask questions.

Source

They’re great places for networking with potential leads, and you can establish your expertise by answering questions or offering resources that are relevant to the conversation.

However, it’s important not to join a group and then immediately begin pushing your product or service. This comes off as disingenuous and can repel leads instead of attracting them. Build up a relationship with them first before making any sort of offer or pitch.  

Engage with a targeted list of users

Your business should already have a set of criteria for what constitutes your ideal client. Use this criterion to search for users that fit the bill, then create a curated list of leads to begin engaging with.

With LinkedIn, it’s far more common for people to accept requests for connections from people they already know or have had some interaction with.

Before you click the “connect” button, see if you can’t interact with leads in another way. The most obvious choice is to like or comment on an article they’ve written or shared.

Once your connection has been accepted, continue to engage with them on a regular basis. This could include endorsing them for skills or congratulating them when they announce news about their business.

This level of engagement will gradually warm you up to your lead. They’ll remember who you are the next time they see your articles or updates in their feed, and they also may be more likely to answer a personalized message about your product or service once you finally send it their way.

Engage with current clients

Referrals from current clients are a strong way to find new leads. If you already have a solid relationship with your client, asking for a referral might be as simple as firing off a quick email.

 

If you’re not as familiar with them, you can grease the wheels by leaving a recommendation for them on their LinkedIn Page, or endorsing them for skills and expertise. This will keep you top-of-mind and they’ll also be more likely to return the favor.

 

 

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There are a few possible formats, including single image ads, video ads, and carousel image ads.

Use Direct Sponsored Content if you want to share content in the LinkedIn feed to specific audiences without having to publish the content on your LinkedIn Page or Showcase Page. This is especially useful if you want to run slight variations of a campaign geared toward different target audiences.

Sponsored InMail

Sponsored InMail reaches your target audience directly by delivering personalized messages through LinkedIn messenger.

Source

With Sponsored InMail, you can send personalized invites to webinars or events, promote a product or service, or encourage downloads of white papers, eBooks, and other resources.

Sponsored InMail messages are only delivered when a user is active, and delivery frequency caps ensure that your message gets noticed when it matters most.

VistaVu Solutions is a business management software company for the oilfield and energy industries. They used Sponsored InMail as part of their strategy and were able to achieve a 23.8% conversion rate.

Lead Gen Forms

Lead Gen Forms can be added to your Sponsored Content or Sponsored InMail to help collect leads from within the platform without asking visitors to go off-site. Use them to offer resources in exchange for their information.

Source

LinkedIn automatically populates the form with the user’s data so they can sign up with the click of a button. This decreases the chance that a user will lose interest and navigate away.

IR, a performance management software company from Australia, used Lead Gen Forms with Sponsored Content to reach their target audience. With this strategy, IR was able to achieve a 2x increase in conversion rates and reduced their cost per lead by 44%.

Dynamic Ads

Dynamic Ads appear in the sidebar on LinkedIn and work in a few different ways.

Source

There are Follower Ads (pictured here) which encourage the targeted audience to follow your LinkedIn Page or Showcase Page.

Spotlight Ads look similar to Follower Ads but drive users to your site or landing page with a clear call-to-action.

Content Ads allow users to download content, such as a white paper, then stores lead info directly in your LinkedIn Campaign Manager.

Display Ads

Display Ads are images that run in the right column and above the fold. According to the company, users are 3x as likely to engage with content when exposed to both Sponsored Content and Display Ads.

Source

Even when used on their own, case studies show that Display Ads are an effective form of advertising for B2B companies. Analytics software SAS used Display Ads to drive downloads for their whitepapers. The result was that their cost per lead was 10% the cost of the most expensive competing publisher.

 

Tools that Help with Lead Generation on LinkedIn

From browser extensions to full-on software, there are several tools out there that will help you get more leads out of LinkedIn. Each has very different functions.

Some, like Skrapp.io, will only help you find email addresses, while a tool like LeadBoxer can automatically find leads (and their contact information) that are already interested in your business.

LeadBoxer

It’s one thing to generate leads through LinkedIn. It’s another to actually turn them into customers. LeadBoxer helps you identify visitors to your website, calculate their value as a lead, then retarget them with paid advertising on LinkedIn until they become clients.

For example, say you’ve published several articles on LinkedIn. Those articles then attracted visitors to your website. With the LeadBoxer Lead Pixel installed, you’ll be able to identify those individuals down to the company they work for, their specialties, and even their work email:

LeadBoxer also calculates a leadscore for visitors who engage with your website. This score gives you an idea of how likely that prospect is to convert, so you know whether or not they’re worth pursuing.

You can then use that information to create a highly targeted ad campaign on LinkedIn. Recall that LinkedIn allows you to target people by company name and job title, so theoretically, you could run one campaign aimed at a single individual with a high leadscore.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is LinkedIn’s own solution for prospecting and finding leads. It enhances the platform’s existing features to give you a more premium experience.

The most obvious example is its Advanced Lead Search function. With Advanced Lead Search, you can enter the characteristics of your ideal client in order to find the most relevant prospects.

Source

Sales Navigator can also make recommendations about who is most likely your best point of contact at a target company. It’ll tell you if something big happens, like a potential lead who has a job change.

While Sales Navigator can give you an extended look at who has visited your LinkedIn profile within the last 90 days, it can’t identify who has visited your site or indicate how interested they are in your company.

Skrapp

Skrapp.io is a Chrome extension that helps you extract email addresses from profiles on LinkedIn. It also integrates with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, so you can use both at once.

 

Source

Skrapp.io has a few other capabilities that help round it out. There’s a company search feature that allows you to find the email address of anyone working in any organization, regardless of whether or not they’re on LinkedIn. There’s also a cloud dashboard that helps store and segment all your lead emails.

All in all, it’s a nice, lightweight tool for small or single-member businesses on a budget.

Crystal

Say your lead has made it to the next step of the pipeline and it’s time to make a pitch. That’s where Crystal comes in.

With Crystal, you can get a feel for things such as how prospects prefer to communicate and what pitching strategies they respond best to. Crystal extracts data about your lead from LinkedIn and other places around the web in order to offer insights about their personality and suggestions about how to talk to them.

Source

This provides a much-needed edge the next time the two of you talk. No more “winging it” in calls or meetings.

Crystal also helps you write better emails and faster, so it doubles as a productivity booster.

LeadFuze

LeadFuze works like a souped-up version of LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Like Sales Navigator, it can search LinkedIn for leads in specific roles and industries, but LeadFuze takes it a step further by looking at what a lead’s ad budget is, what software they already use, and whether or not they’re hiring.

Source

LeadFuze comes with an AI-powered personal assistant that can automatically generate leads for you. Fuzebot, as it’s known, crawls the web looking for new leads that match your established criteria, then automatically updates your records for you.

Fuzebot even verifies email addresses before adding them to your list of leads, that way you’ll never have an email bounced back to you.

Discoverly

Discoverly is a Chrome browser extension that claims to make social networks work better together. In short, it cross-checks various social networks to show you if you have any more mutual connections in common.

Here’s an example of how it might look on LinkedIn:

Source

Assuming that the person in this example matched your criteria for an ideal lead, you could then leverage your mutual Facebook connections (made visible thanks to Discoverly) to introduce yourself and strike up a conversation.

In short, Discoverly helps you warm up leads before making contact with them.

Dux-Soup

Many of the free LinkedIn lead generation strategies covered in the previous section are time-consuming. Dux-Soup is a Chrome extension that puts those tasks on autopilot so you can go back to focusing on closing deals.

Source

Basically, Dux-Soup builds relationships on your behalf by sending automated messages, automatically endorsing connections, and even auto-following new profiles.

You can then organize leads by tagging profiles and taking notes on them. This data can also be exported as a CSV file to upload into whatever CRM you’re using.

 

Start Generating More Leads for Less with LinkedIn

If you’re a B2B company, then statistically you’re more likely to find your next lead on LinkedIn. There are several paid and free strategies that will help you find them, but some of these strategies can be tedious and time-consuming. For the best results, you’ll need a tool or two to help you make sense of things.

The best strategy is to publish some content (whether it’s an article or an ad) on the platform that attracts users to your site. You can then use a tool like LeadBoxer to identify those visitors, rank them by likeliness to convert, then retarget them with a highly focused LinkedIn ad.

This strategy takes all the guesswork out of who is a promising prospect, so you can contact them with confidence that they’re ready to hear from you.

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B2B Lead Generation 101: Strategies, Best Practices, and Software

B2B Lead Generation 101: Strategies, Best Practices, and Software

You know that a full sales pipeline is imperative for business growth. Without an airtight system for B2B lead generation in place, you’re sure to slow down your already hard-working sales team.

At first, B2B lead generation might seem like a complex process, but don’t let that discourage you. In this article, you’ll learn the three essential components you must have for an effective system of B2B lead generation:

  • Strategy – the digital channels you use to attract your clients
  • Best practices – the details you must include to make sure those channels work well
  • Tools – the software that will ensure your system is optimized and automated

With these components in mind, you’ll be able to craft a system that appeals to your ideal buyers and starts generating leads quickly and with less effort.

What is B2B lead generation?

B2B lead generation is the process of identifying new prospects for your sales team to pursue. It includes three main stages:

  1. Gaining prospects’ attention and guiding them to your site, often through content marketing or traditional advertising
  2. Capturing their information with a lead magnet, form, or by identifying anonymous website visitors on your site
  3. Assessing that information to determine which are the highest quality leads

An optimized lead generation strategy can deliver increased ROI for your marketing budget by filling a sales pipeline on autopilot. It saves your sales team the frustration of cold calling or cold emailing, helping keep productivity and morale high.

The Top Strategies for B2B Lead Generation

There are several different strategies for gaining prospects’ attention. Which of the following or combination of the following you should use will depend upon the online behavior of your ideal buyer.

Social Media

Facebook has several different ad formats, but Facebook Lead Ads are specifically designed for lead generation. They appear in a user’s Facebook feed whether they’re on desktop or mobile:

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If the user is interested in learning more about the product or service, they click the ad and a form appears. Facebook pre-populates the form with their information so there are only a few taps between you and a newly qualified lead.

Secret Entourage, a mentorship service for entrepreneurs, reportedly restructured and streamlined their ad strategy by focusing on Lead Ads. Compared to their original campaign, the new one led to 40% more purchases with 88% fewer ad sets. They were also able to lower their cost per purchase by 10%.

While this case study shows promise, the average click-through rate (CTR) of Facebook ads for B2B companies is 0.78%, while the average CTR across all industries is 0.9%.

A more effective platform for social media ads may be LinkedIn. LinkedIn Sponsored Content are native ads that run in a user’s LinkedIn feed across desktop and mobile:

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Although similar in form and function to Facebook image ads, LinkedIn ads are proven to generate more leads for B2B companies. According to the company’s content marketing blog, 80% of B2B leads generated through social media come from LinkedIn.

It makes sense why. A sizable chunk of LinkedIn users are in the position to make purchasing decisions for their companies. Of its 500 million members, 61 million are senior-level influencers and 40 million are decision makers.

Several case studies back up the claim that LinkedIn is the king of B2B marketing on social media. Simplus, a Salesforce partner, saw 70% of their website form fills come directly from LinkedIn. As a result, they’re shifting most of their ad spend to the platform.

HubSpot took a look at their customer’s results with LinkedIn Sponsored Content and found similarly promising results:

While LinkedIn has a higher cost per click (CPC) than Google Ads, the conversion rate is twice as high. This leads to a lower cost per lead overall.

PPC Ads

Don’t write off Google Ads or other pay-per-click (PPC) ads just yet. These are some of the most popular channels for lead generation, and there are benefits to having them as a part of your lead generation strategy.

Data for 2018 indicates that the average CTR for B2B companies is 2.41% within the search network and 0.46% within the display network.

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The average conversion rate for B2B industries is 3.04% in the search network and 0.8% in the display network.

While both the CTR and conversion rate for B2B ads is lower than most other industry averages, there are countless case studies out there that demonstrate the effectiveness of PPC ads for B2B businesses.

Digital marketing agency SevenAtoms executed a campaign that included Google Ads for Imperva Incapsula, a cyber security SaaS company. The results speak for themselves:

In this case, it definitely paid for Imperva Incapsula to have an experienced agency on their team to get the most out of their PPC ad budget.

If you’re interested in other PPC ad options, consider review directories such as FinancesOnline, G2, or Capterra. These platforms can have lead conversion rates as high as 24%, making them solid alternatives for companies who are more concerned about their budget.

Capterra is a review directory dedicated to software, making it the perfect choice for SaaS companies. In Capterra, companies can pay to be a sponsored post so they rank at the top of a search:

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The “Visit Website” button in this example takes visitors to a landing page tailor-made for that ad. Leads acquired through this channel are clearly searching for a software solution, making them highly qualified.

Blogging

Blogging is a popular method of content marketing for B2B companies, and for good reason. Blogging gives businesses a chance to:

  • Answer prospects’ questions
  • Demonstrate their expertise
  • Show what makes them unique in a sea of competitors
  • Provide excellent service before any money has ever changed hands

 

To a potential customer, all these qualities can help increase their trust in your business. Provided you give them an opportunity to fill out a form for more information somewhere within the blog post or on the page, blogging can be an effective way of collecting leads.

Oren Smith from Precision Marketing Group shared one case study where his team was able to increase leads by +250% for their brand by blogging three times a week.

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They were also able to increase organic traffic by 182%, ensuring that their visibility on search engines would continue to grow.

HubSpot also knows that blogging is a major asset for their business. 90% of their leads each month come from posts on HubSpot that were published months or years ago.

Email

No matter the changing trends in social media or content marketing, email continues to be a valuable form of lead generation and nurturing. For every dollar spent on email marketing, businesses can earn $43.

In order to stand out, it pays to be thoughtful about the quality of emails you’re sending. There’s no sense in flooding a subscriber’s already crowded inbox.

Hammock, a B2B content marketing agency, thought creatively about its newsletter. It came up with the !dea Email, or one “bright idea” in a single email. Each email includes a single landscape image accompanied by about 350 words of copy.

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By focusing on a simple, interesting concept sent every two weeks, Hammock was able to boost their open rates by 48%. They cut through the clutter of subscribers’ inboxes by adhering to the principle of more is less.

The 8 Best Practices for B2B Lead Generation

Now that you know the strategies of lead generation, it’s time to hone in on the details. These best practices will make sure your system for lead generation is airtight.

Tailor Marketing to Different Buyer Personas

Your business should have at least one buyer persona so that you know exactly how to structure your marketing and lead generation efforts. Knowing your ideal buyer will help you know where you should direct your ad spend and what kind of content you should be creating to attract them.

Not all prospects with decision-making or purchasing power will have the same online behaviors. For example, Pew research found that Twitter usage among U.S. adults drops as age increases. On the other hand, 61% of LinkedIn users are in the 30 to 64-year-old age range. You may be able to reach some mid-level decision makers on Twitter, as well as some senior-level influencers on LinkedIn.

Be Mobile-Friendly

If there’s only one best practice to follow, let it be this one.

In 2018, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was generated by mobile users. That means there’s a good possibility that over half of the visitors to your site could be viewing it on their phone.

If your site isn’t built to be mobile-friendly, then chances are you’re losing a devastating amount of leads – and sales.

Optimize Your Website

Even if your site has a professional design and is mobile-friendly, you still might be losing visitors before they have a chance to become viable leads. Use Google Analytics to view an overview of behavior flow so you can see exactly where and how much traffic is dropping off.

This will help you hone in on what pages are attracting and retaining visitors, and what pages still need some work. You can then use tools like Hotjar (discussed in a later section) to get even more specific and discover exactly what elements on a page are working well and what needs to be updated.

Use Video Content

There are a few powerful statistics that suggest that video content can drive significant traffic for your website. A white paper from Cisco states that internet video traffic made up 69% of all global consumer internet traffic in 2017.

Meanwhile, a report from HubSpot showed that when given the choice to skim or consume thoroughly, 55% of users will pay close attention to video – more than any other type of content analyzed.

Create Long-Form Blog Content Consistently

Just because video is a powerful content marketing tool doesn’t mean that you should ignore blogging. Long-form content is still king when it comes to generating traffic from search engine results. In fact, posts with at least 2,000 words are more likely to rise to the top of search engines than any other article length.

Keywords alone won’t ensure the top spot on search engines. To increase your ranking, create high-quality articles and guides on a regular basis so that Google knows your site is relevant and engaging. This also increases your brand awareness and credibility with leads.

Capture Leads on Every Site Page

Your blog and video content gives visitors a reason to come to your site, so be sure to give them an opportunity to stay. At least one newsletter sign-up form, comment form, trial sign-up button, or other lead capturing form should be available on each page of your site.

To make capturing leads through forms even more effective, structure your content so that it naturally segues into the sign-up form. Be sure to test and analyze how well each page or post is at capturing leads, then adjust accordingly.

Use Lead Magnets

Lead magnets are offers such as white papers, ebooks, or other free resources that are used to entice visitors into giving you their information. These resources also help you qualify leads, as they can help indicate the lead’s needs and pain points.

To create an irresistible lead magnet, follow these examples and come up with a resource that solves a problem, is specific, easy to digest, and has high actual and perceived value.

Score Captured Leads

Not all leads are created equal. Lead scoring is the process of generating a number, typically between one and 100, that shows just how qualified that lead is. The process can be done manually with a formula, although this is time-consuming and has a lot of variables.

Luckily, there are some options for automating the lead scoring process, as you’ll see in the next section.  

The 8 Best Tools for Optimizing B2B Lead Generation

All these strategies and best practices might seem overwhelming, but there are several tools to help you automate, execute, and optimize your lead generation strategy. Best of all, many of these tools are free or free to get started.

Best Lead Scorer: LeadBoxer

B2B lead generation

LeadBoxer doesn’t just score leads captured through forms or lead magnets on your site. It’s able to identify 50% of site visitors who would otherwise remain anonymous. Not only that, it can populate data such as contact information, the prospect’s industry, and their specialty.

LeadBoxer also tracks visitors’ online behavior while they engage with your brand (website visits, social media engagement, email opens, ad clicks, etc.) It uses this information to automatically calculate a lead score, which tells your sales team who is most likely to convert.a

This saves your team time, increases sales, boosts morale, and ultimately saves you money.

 

Best Landing Page Creator: Instapage

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Price: Professional Plan – $11.25/month, Turbo Plan – $41.25/month

Free trial: Yes + limited free forever plan

What it’s all about:

LimeLeads is a great tool for sales prospecting as it doesn’t cooperate with fake data.

The tool was built by a bunch of B2B marketing veterans that were sick of a lack of credible data being available. Its main goal is getting you prospect lists that are accurate.

The tool integrates with CRMs and will enable sales teams to put together a list of prospects in 30 seconds or less.

 

Salespanel.io

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Thanks to an intuitive interface and a slew of features, Instapage is the perfect tool for building landing pages that integrate seamlessly with your PPC advertising campaign.

You can easily optimize pages for lead generation by using features like heatmaps, A/B testing, mobile-responsive pages, and drop-in pixel tracking for easy remarketing. Best of all, Instapage’s drag-and-drop interface is user-friendly, negating the need for a web designer to get your campaign started.

With Instapage, you can create several landing pages that are individually tailored to target unique buyer personas, all with a few clicks of the mouse.

 

Best Site Optimizer: Hotjar

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While Instapage has several features that help you create optimized landing pages, you need to make sure the rest of your website is working just as hard for your business. A well-optimized website is an essential part of the user experience and can generate more leads, regardless of whether or not they discovered your brand through a landing page.

Hotjar tracks users’ journeys through your site and shows you exactly where they’re dropping off and why. Powerful tools like heatmaps, visitor recordings, form analysis, and feedback polls eliminate all the guesswork about why certain visitor behavior is happening and what can be done to improve their journey.

 

Best Social Media Automation: Buffer

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A robust social media presence helps your business establish credibility and trust. Luckily, you don’t need an overly complex strategy or need to devote a lot of time and manpower to sustaining your social presence.

A tool like Buffer keeps all your posts organized and automated. Use it to schedule posts in advance, then review the analytics to see how well posts are performing.

Buffer also collects conversations from your followers in one inbox, making it easy to respond to questions or comments about your business.

 

Best Content Planner: Google Analytics and Keyword Planner

Creating high-quality blog content that visitors will find extremely useful and interesting is one of the best ways to attract new leads. Free tools like Google Analytics and Keyword Planner can help you pick article topics that are sure to perform well.

Keyword Planner is actually a function of Google Ads, but it can help you pick blog topics, too. Use it to check out average monthly searches and competition for a potential keyword and its variations. You can quickly see if there’s an interested audience, room to rise to the top of the search page, or a keyword variation where your future content might perform better.

With Google Analytics, you can observe user behavior on your site and see what content you’ve previously published is performing the best. With this insight, you can plan follow-up content to build on the success you’ve already had.

 

Best Email Drip: Mailchimp

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One of the best ways to nurture leads and keep your brand top-of-mind is through email campaigns.

Mailchimp makes it easy to visualize, create, and test welcome email sequences designed with conversions in mind. It also collects and analyzes information about how subscribers are interacting with your emails, helping you optimize and create more effective campaigns.

Mailchimp integrates with most of the tools in the average B2B marketing stack. For example, data about your subscribers’ email behavior can automatically sync with lead scoring software like LeadBoxer, giving you even more insights about leads.

 

Best CRM: HubSpot

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A customer relationship management (CRM) tool is necessary for tracking potential prospects and keeping a record of all their details.

HubSpot’s sales software is an extremely powerful tool that starts at $0/month. It’s able to track lead behavior on your website, then send personalized email sequences based on their actions.

HubSpot also tracks where leads are in their buyer journey, helping you visualize your pipeline at a glance. Integrate HubSpot with some of your other tools, such as LeadBoxer, to get an even better idea of who’s ready to convert and who needs a little more nurturing.

 

Best Pitch Assistant: Crystal

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It’s time to turn your leads into clients. Take all the guesswork out of how to pitch to them by using a tool like Crystal.

Crystal analyzes a prospect’s LinkedIn profile, then provides actionable insights about their personality based on what kinds of posts they’re writing and engaging with. It also collects the feedback of people who have previously interacted with that person, increasing the accuracy of the assessment.

Use Crystal to decide the best ways for communicating with a prospect, that way you’re never flying blind when entering a sales meeting.

Grow Your Sales with Strategic B2B Lead Generation

Automatically generating leads is the key to closing more deals and growing your business. There are several different strategies you can take, but the ones you choose will ultimately hinge upon the online behavior of your ideal buyers.

By following the best practices and using some of the tools outlined in this article, you’ll soon have an optimized, automatic system for generating and scoring leads that keeps working even when you’re not.

The next time you log back on, there’ll already be several prospects with high lead scores ready for you to reach out to.