In the past, leads were guarded contacts hoarded by sales managers while everyone else on the team had to resort to making cold calls to rustle up new business. Now, thanks to sales automation technology and the ability to qualify leads, sales teams hardly ever have to engage with any company that hasn’t already shown interest in a product.
Lead generation — the process of finding new potential buyers — is key to maintaining a steady flow of new customers and increasing revenue. Keeping the sales pipeline flowing is a complex challenge, even with all of the advancements in sales technology. Let’s look at the basics of lead generation and how software can help manufacturers succeed in the B2B marketplace.
While the days of B2B cold calling are long gone, that doesn’t mean manufacturing sales should be waiting around for buyers to stumble across their websites. Lead generation is still an active process, even if it’s less cumbersome than during the pre-internet era. So, how do you generate leads today? Here are a few ways to do it:
Update your website. In our digital economy, the vast majority of B2B leads come from the internet, so it’s critical to make a solid first impression online. Even leads that come from traditional advertising will research your company online before making contact. Your website should be attractive and informative, conveying the value you bring to the table. If you manufacture customized products, make sure to include a visual configurator so customers can preview the products they’re ordering.
Garner attention through social media. A strong presence on social media is critical to making an online impression. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are effective for engaging with existing and potential customers, and serve as channels to distribute any type of marketing and sales content you can imagine. Videos have emerged as one of the best ways to drive engagement while showing what your products do, how they’re made, and why they can help your customers. Make sure to create videos that are educational, and be sure to include links and contact information at the end of each clip so leads can reach out.
Network at trade shows. Digital lead generation is more convenient and scalable, but nothing beats live events for building a buzz. Trade shows remain one of the most effective ways to network with potential buyers, while providing real-time demonstrations of products and their benefits. Marry the physical and digital experience by live streaming the event so sales can interact with potential buyers in person, and all over the world.
Qualifying leads — or determining which customers are most likely to make a purchase — is a crucial time-saving step for every sales team. Without qualifying leads, you risk chasing after the wrong leads, while ignoring prospects who are ready to buy. Here are the three types of leads:
It’s important for a business to reach potential customers through social media, their websites, and trade shows in order to maintain a consistent stream of new leads. Customers aren’t going to fall into your lap — especially since so many other manufacturers are trying to win their business.
Once you’ve generated those leads, you have to have the right tools in place to effectively close deals. Configure One Cloud from Revalize is a leading sales solution that helps manufacturers optimize their websites, create visual configurators, and accelerate the quoting process for even the most complex, customizable products.