B2B lead generation is made up of groups of activities that are challenging to quantify. Sales and marketing are sectors of your business reliant on quantifiable information, but the ambiguous nature of lead generation is a deterrent for many marketers. In this article, we’ve broken down the top online practices for B2B lead generation.

How much is a lead worth to my business?

Is every lead really worth the same amount?

How can I drive more leads if my product is expensive?

If you’re a B2B business owner, you’ve probably asked yourself these questions more times than you can count. Fortunately for you, we have the answers! In this article, we’ll show you how to break down your user funnel to attract new customers all while providing them value along every step of the way.

 

Funnel Lead Generation Tactics:

 

Value Ladder:

A value ladder is a way to structure your sales efforts to appeal to your target audience at different phases in their purchase lifecycle. It gives you a competitive edge because it offers customers value at every tier or rung of the ladder.

As your lead ascends your value ladder, they’re offered more value, either in products or services offered, or another value-added concept. These are usually broken down into tiers, with the top tier being the most profitable end goal for your business.

Tiers:

Initial Offer

  • The initial product or service you offer that ideally cover the cost of advertising, or freebies, such as lead magnets. The goal is to qualify prospects and find people interested in your products.

 

1st Tier

  • The mid-range products and services you offer generate profit while simultaneously building trust. An e-book or other paid professional guide is a great 1st tier offering.

 

2nd Tier

  • The high-to-mid range products and services you offer generate profit. By this stage, customers have purchased from your brand and are ready to move to higher tier items. Membership and continuity programs are a perfect fit for this tier. The user gains values from continual content and profit is maximized with recurring revenue

 

Top Tier

  • The most extensive product or service offering your business provides. Although only a small percentage of customers will ever get here, they will become your brand advocates and generate considerable revenue. Use this customer to create whitepapers and testimonials to show to potential customers lower in the value ladder.

 

Lead Magnets

Lead Magnets are the freebies you give away to grow your list and get people in the door. The perfect Lead Magnet will offer value within five minutes of the offer being accepted. The goal is to qualify and capture leads, who can then be entered into an automation that guides your prospect along your sales funnel.  

 

Lead Nurturing

Taking care of your leads is akin to guiding them through a system of education, value-addition, and customer service that you have designed specifically for your business. Once you generate a lead, you have to take care of it, and guide it along its life cycle path.

A cornerstone of lead generation is lead nurturing. The process is customer-centric, anticipating what customers would want before they even know they want or need it. The process is as follows (with a few deviations depending on your product or service offering):

 

1) Identify the problem your prospect needs to address

2) Highlight a couple of ways the prospect might start to think about that problem

3) Suggest one specific way to solve that problem

4) Ultimately, demonstrate why you are the right one to help fix that problem

 

Social Relationship Building

In the B2B business sector, there’s rarely a ton of buzz surrounding your product or service. A healthy social media following is an imperative duty for nearly all businesses, however, getting too caught up in the number of followers, likes, and other measures of the sort can be misleading.

Social media as a lead generation tool is a simple and powerful way to build and nurture relationships. The key for B2B businesses is to use social media as a way to influence and add value for your prospects. Rather than shooting 100 arrows and hoping something lands amongst your target, shoot 5 arrows at a specific target with such detailed precision that there is virtually no chance of missing.

The key word is engagement. Quality most definitely trumps quantity when it comes to contemporary social media practices. Engage in groups, provide helpful and informative answers, and become a reliable resource of high-quality content tailored specifically to your industry, your client’s needs, and your brand.

Give a few of these processes a try: Lead generation takes time to become effective, so have patience and diligence.

Yes, B2B lead generation can be all-consuming: why not let us help you with the brunt of the work? Contact us to see how you can start generating leads, now! Visit www.ajaxunion.com.

 

HOW TO RETAIN YOUR AMAZING SALES TALENT:

Here’s the most important thing you’ll read all day: HIRE WELL. Follow our steps above to qualify your candidates thoroughly before onboarding them. After you’ve found The Next Larry, here’s how to get him to stay:

  • According to Entrepeneur.com:  A great way to keep your office “sticky” is to offer training. Ajax Union offers training across all areas of digital marketing. Why? If salespeople feel like they’re growing and gaining, they’ll stay far longer.
  • Pay employees well. Don’t be cheap. Pay grade should be based on skills, experience, industry demand for their position, and your geographical location (if you’re NYC based, you’re gonna have to help them make rent). Seniority should count as well.
  • Provide great benefits and incentives: insurance and bonuses are a must in today’s workplace.
  • Promote your open culture. A salesman should never be afraid to admit that they screwed up. It’s better to tackle problems before they become disasters…and employees feel safer.
  • Offer flexibility in working arrangements. Telecommuting options are almost ubiquitous.
  • Want to know how to kickstart your new retention strategy?  Call in each member of your team and simply ask, honestly, how you could be a better employer.  Let the fascinating conversation ensue.

 

OK, THIS NEW LARRY ISN’T DOING GREAT.  DO I FIRE HIM, OR GIVE HIM MORE TIME?

According to the Rainmaker Group, here are some warning signs that may indicate it’s time to kiss “New Larry” goodbye.

  • You think about their inadequate performance for more than 15 minutes a day.
  • You ‘ve mentioned this person’s issues to people in your personal life. Like, your wife knows about this guy’s signature whine.
  • You tried coaching this person and you’re getting nowhere.
  • You get the vibe that they don’t like you. = awkward.
  • They bash the company, you, or fellow employees behind their back. No no NO.
  • If you ask yourself: would I hire “____” again, and the answer is no.
  • But what if I really like New Larry as a person? I don’t want to hurt him! Look around the office… maybe there’s another seat they can fill? If not, you’re doing them a favor by setting them free from a position they can’t succeed in.

 

WHAT COMMON MISTAKES DO BUSINESSES MAKE WHEN RECRUITING?

  • Simply put,  your looking for the wrong things.  Listen, charisma is important, but it has to be backed by skill.
  • Another common mistake: businesses neglect their presence on Glassdoor, LinkedIn, Social Media comments, etc. People really do their research these days – can YOU afford to have a scathing review from an employee you burned on your Facebook page?
  • Another mistake:  the company interview process is weak. Are you looking out for the right things (see above!)?
  • A good rule of thumb:  would you want to grab a drink with this person? If not, then neither will your potential customers.

 

WHY IS SO HARD TO FIND TALENTED SALESPEOPLE?

Firstly, talented salespeople are not RARE, but definitely not easy to unearth on your first shot. Yes, a lot of superstars are swept up by major corporations who can afford to pay them the big bucks, but you have to look for the right sales qualities, not just the right sales resume. Someone who’s new to the game can have the fire to sell what others wouldn’t: as long as they’re a constantly growing, passionate, empowered team player.

 

CAN YOU RECOMMEND A SOME GREAT WEEKEND READING ON THIS TOPIC? SURE.

Great Salespeople Aren’t Born, They’re Hired: The Secrets To Hiring Top Sales Professionals by Joseph Miller

There’s an adage that we here at Ajax have coined after working with hundreds – if not thousands – of B2B enterprises whose sales teams keep them afloat: Always be recruiting. “But why?” You ask. I’ve got Brian, Chelsea, (insert your favorite sales guy’s name who hasn’t vacationed in 8 years, closes deals daily, and went prematurely grey…let’s call him Larry.) Larrys are great. We love Larrys. We’re going to tell you how to recruit, and more importantly, RETAIN more people like Larry. But wait, why should I be on the lookout for more Larrys (and more salaries to pay)?

Because three things are going to happen.

  1. Someone is going to be promoted. What if your CEO decides Larry should leave sales behind and become the CFO? It happens!
  2. Someone will resign/get fired. It may not even be Larry: if Larry’s best friend Cole leaves for your competitor, Larry might not be far behind.
  3. Someone may surprise you. If you meet some firecracker Millennial at a conference that fits the exact mold as Larry – and may even surpass him energy-wise – are you really going to turn him away because you’re “Not hiring?”

So you’re “sold”: you’re going to jump back on this recruitment train! Now, where do you begin? It’s time to take a deep look within your company’s soul. If you’re recruiting because Larry left, ask yourself: Why did he go? If you just fired your 5th salesman this year: what about your hiring process could be improved to ensure you don’t waste training dollar? Until you understand and concede to what you can be doing better, you’ll never get a great salesman to join your team – nevermind stay there.

 

WHERE TO FIND YOUR NEXT GREAT HIRE:

The same facts reign true across all areas of marketing, sales, HR, technology, etc.: nothing beats word of mouth. A good referral is worth hundreds of Craigslist applicants, so spread the word: you’re on the prowl for an awesome new Larry. Where else can you look? Recruiting agencies can be super-helpful…and super costly. Be sure you’re ready to make the investment.  Online directories like Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Upwork are great places to start, but the candidates will need way more investigating. And don’t underestimate job fairs: give those newbies a chance! They may surprise you.

 

HOW TO ATTRACT AMAZING SALESPEOPLE TO YOUR B2B BUSINESS:

Ajax Union is always talking about the importance of establishing a  UVP: Your organization’s Unique Value Proposition that sets your apart from the competition. But here’s what you might have forgotten: What is your Employment Value Proposition?  Establishing a strong “Employer Brand”, is a concept created by Richard Mosley. In a nutshell: what is your organization’s reputation as an employer, aside from your general brand reputation?  Here’s how to make it great again:

  • Treat people right. This topic is an article in and of itself, but common sense will take you far. Treat people as you would want to be treated – simple as that.
  • Make the benefits of working for your company known. This can mean a fun, exciting, culture-fueled Instagram, or a detailed “Why Work For Us” page on your site. Spread the word, and encourage your employees to do the same: this company is the place to be!
  • Show them sales are an important part of your culture. Everyone wants to feel that they’re going to be appreciated!

 

QUALITIES TO LOOK FOR IN A SALESPERSON:

According to Inc.com. There are a few qualities that indicate a successful salesman, though not all of them are conventionally positive.

  • A Hunter’s Mentality: Do they possess that hungry passion? Do they notice small details and only reveal their “key move” at the end?
  • Predisposition to ADD: That frenetic energy is an AMAZING benefit for salespeople. Just ask them. Most people with ADD/ADHD are proud to reveal they possess that unique quality.
  • The Discipline to Follow Up: Simply – did he email you after your first interview?
  • Charisma: Ah, that intangible “special something”. If they got it, they got it.
  • Resilience: Rejection is par for the course in this role. Can he/she handle it?  
  • Empathy: Salespeople sell to humans. Can they relate to people on a personal level?
  • A Touch of Arrogance: It takes confidence to the point of arrogance to walk into meetings and sell your heart out. How’s their swagger game?

 

How do you put this investigation into practice? Read the quote that completely speaks for itself:

“I test a salesperson in every way possible before I hire them: I miss our scheduled phone call to see what he does; I ask him to give a presentation and sell our product during our interview; I email him and use an incorrect name to see how he responds; I reject him to see how he responds to rejection. My goal is to find out if the salesperson is truly tenacious and willing to close the deal.” Jun Loayza, www.JunLoayza.com

 

RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN A POTENTIAL HIRE:

Forbes.com said it best (as they usually do): If they talk more than they listen, you can bet they’re not going to be “hearing out” your customer’s needs. Some more little notes to add to your “concerns” section of his review:

  • Did he/she look sloppy? No one’s going to be sold on a slob. Their confidence level is probably not that great either.
  • Did he/she dance around the hard questions? I.e. why do you want to be a salesman? Where did you learn your sales skills? Did you get along with everyone on your old team? Which brings us to…
  • Do they play well with others? This may not be easy to spot. Stay safe and call some references. Or better yet, call those who worked with them that aren’t on their resume, and ask for honest feedback.
  • Does he/she have the “Sales Passion”? If they’re just kind of ‘blah’, chances are they won’t perk up when they hit that boardroom.

Need help building your dream sales team? Ready to take the next step? Contact us at amazing@ajaxunion.com so we can create a strategy that will work for YOU and your business.