Business growth is of paramount importance but it’s one of the most difficult parts of running a company of any size. Whether you’re a small agency or a national business with offices across the country, you always need to be looking for opportunities to grow your client base – and that’s why you have a new business or business development team, right?
Their role is to search for exciting new opportunities to turn prospects into clients, using all of their experience and expertise to get to know the prospects inside out in order to move into the perfect position to pitch. However, it’s a long game. It’s not the kind of job that enables you to speak to a prospect one day, pull a pitch together over the next few days and get the contracts signed before you go home for the weekend.
Lead generation by its very nature can be tough, and a long, drawn out process which can be so rewarding when the contracts are finally signed and the client is onboarded. But it can also be a process that takes up a lot of time and effort, and often extends way beyond the business development team – especially when the leads start to dry up. At certain points in the year, like in all industries, you tend to experience a lull; often when budgets for the year have been exhausted and companies are tightening their belts waiting for the new financial year before they start looking to work with new partners.
So, as someone working in business development within a company, or if you’ve been tasked with bringing in new customers or clients, how do you generate more leads? Here are four tried and trusted approaches that we highly recommend to help you increase your pipeline.
Develop a strategy for each phase in the funnel
It’s very easy to head straight out in search of leads, taking them however and wherever they come – it’s all business at the end of the day, right? By developing a lead generation strategy that targets prospects at each phase in the funnel you can deliver the very best services for those prospects that meet their brief down to the letter.
You might go out cold-calling your prospects, speaking to people who might admit that they need a service in passing without advertising or actively searching for it; or you might have a prospect who hears about your brand or service and thinks that it might work for them.
At the very top of the funnel, the awareness phase, these prospects might just be looking to find out a bit more about who you are and what you do, so you need a strategy that introduces them to your brand and what it is that you can offer them. At this stage you might not actively ‘sell’ your company or services at all, but by increasing awareness of who you are and what you do you’ll be in the prospect’s mind when they decide that they need you.
For those at the next stage, the consideration phase, these prospects are already aware of who you are and what you do and are now at the stage where they are weighing up whether or not it’s a wise investment for them. Questions may arise along the lines of whether or not they can afford the investment, whether it’s the right service for them or whether someone else can offer something better. Here you need to adapt your prospecting strategy so that you don’t come across as though you’re portraying the lead as a complete novice and someone who doesn’t understand what you do, but ultimately they still need to have their questions answered. Be ready to answer common queries, and be open to interrogation from your prospects. This will enable you to generate new leads and a visible presence – on and/or offline – that helps those looking for your brand or service to find you on social media or via organic or paid search.
Finally, you have the purchase phase of the journey. Here your prospects are ready to invest and need to overcome that one final hurdle – the ultimate decision on who to buy from or invest in. Generating user-friendly checkout pages on your site that enables your leads to register or sign up in a matter of moments can be highly beneficial and increases your chance of conversion, rather than putting them through a long, drawn out process that dissuades them and forces them down the route of investing in a competitor or alternative service.
Create great content
The content on your website might not sound like it’s the kind of thing that can generate new leads, but it’s that content that acts as your virtual shop window.
Think of your website like a store on the high street – your homepage is your storefront where you have your attractive offers and showcase who you are and what you do with your brand name and messaging. Your other pages are then the products inside the shop, the things people come to buy. The copy you produce is what persuades people that you know what you’re doing, that you’re the best in the business and the right fit for them.
Great content doesn’t just engage people, and doesn’t just help to boost your social media following, it helps to convince people that you’re the experts and that the service you provide is going to benefit them in the short, medium and long term.
Whether it’s highly engaging blog posts, interactive guides or fairly straightforward landing pages, treat every single page of your site with the respect it deserves as it might be this page where your prospect discovers you – and first impressions count!
Attend conferences and events (virtually for the time being)
Up until the outbreak of Coronavirus in 2020 conferences and events where the best places to drum up business. Industry shows represent great opportunities to promote your business and services, handing out business cards and offering out information relating to who you are and what you do that might benefit an already-engaged audience.
Now many of these conferences and events have been cancelled, but that doesn’t mean they’ve gone away as some have simply moved online for the time being. If you can find and get involved in virtual events, as speakers or even sponsors, then it’s a great opportunity for you to get your name out there and increase awareness.
Offer an incentive and promote it through social media
Social media can be a great place to promote yourselves, provided that you go about it with a solid strategy. Some companies look to get involved in industry-related discussions through hashtags and responses, while others look to paid social media campaigns to ensure that they target the exact people that would benefit from their services.
Paid social strategies represent exceptional returns on investment if you can find the ideal target audience and deliver the right content to them, and quite often a simple incentive can have the best impact.
One such example that we have used here at Meet Hugo is to offer to pay for a project for a business – and all they had to do was fill in a form! We asked companies to get in touch with a project they wanted to complete whether it was a simple bit of accounting, a new website build or video production, anything they wanted, and we’d match them to a company who would do the work for them and we’d foot the bill.
This was a project that we put out on social media and have had a great response, raising awareness and driving additional traffic to our website and social media channels.
Sign up to Meet Hugo
Of course, another way of increasing leads is to sign up to Meet Hugo. Our sales intelligence platform delivers an average of six to ten leads for our clients every week, along with vital information about projects and prospects including contact details and budgets, and each lead that we deliver is tailored to the needs of our clients.
When you sign up to Meet Hugo on a quarterly or annual package we ask for you to fill out a brief that explains who you are, what you do and the types of businesses you want to work with and then our in-house research team pulls out all the stops to deliver tailored, qualified leads to your account so you can focus on building relationships with your leads and, ultimately, growing your business.