Technology is Transforming Business Development – Don’t Fall Behind
Many businesses find it challenging to keep their sales pipelines full. Business development teams routinely complain of low-quality leads and inaccurate information. Consistently generating B2B sales leads requires time, intuition, and reliable data. That last point – the importance of accurate data – is the focus of many marketing technology platforms and websites. Savvy sales professionals have employed technology to build better leads lists, research businesses, and turn more prospects into paying customers.
Building Better Sales Lists in a Digital World
Traditional networking isn’t going anywhere. However, attending conferences or business lunches is time consuming and doesn’t always bear fruit. Sales teams are increasingly turning to online lead generation and business information tools to help them quickly identify leads. The quality of those business contacts often depends upon the tools used to uncover them. Here are several ways sales reps are leaning on technology to generate leads:
Business Information Databases
The best business information providers collect and validate contact information, executive rosters, financial data, and other relevant insights. Sales acceleration solutions such as D&B Hoovers assemble this information from various sources, then run it through a quality-assurance process to make sure the data is accurate and useful.
Intuitive search functions help sales reps find leads more quickly. This can save significant time – and get a quicker response from the prospect – than simply cold-calling the company’s front desk. You may be able to search by position, company name, annual earnings, and other relevant metrics to identify leads worth pursuing.
Many business information applications allow subscribers to export their sales leads lists to popular customer relationship management (CRM) tools so that outreach efforts can be tracked.
The breadth of business data available on platforms like D&B Hoovers isn’t just useful for lead generation – it can also help nurture prospects. You may be able to better understand a business’s financial performance, corporate family tree, or the competitive pressures they’re facing. Other methods of lead generation, including buying sales leads lists, don’t come with this level of insight.
Searching Professional Social Networks
Another common resource used to uncover sales leads are professional social networks. LinkedIn is the undisputed leader in this arena, but there are other websites that cater to certain industries or locations. The main advantage of a network like LinkedIn is the ability to quickly filter your searches to find procurement professionals at your target company.
One downside of using online social media networks for lead generation is that profiles are usually maintained by the individual, and are sometimes neglected. That means they may not always be a source of up-to-date contact information. However, people who join these networks are often open to discussing business opportunities.
Online Registration Forms
Many companies use their own websites to try and capture sales leads. This can be done by investing in search engine optimization, buying online ads, or a combination of the two. The end-goal is to get qualified prospects to your website. Once there, you can ask them to enter contact information to schedule a consultation, or to receive exclusive content, such as a whitepaper.
Relying solely on online forms for B2B lead generation can be problematic. While you may be able to collect information from qualified prospects, the overall number of leads might be disappointing. Your competitors are chasing the same traffic, and many people don’t like providing personal information to websites they haven’t visited before.
Choosing the Best Lead Generation Tool
Data quality is the key to B2B lead generation. Every inaccurate phone number or email address wastes time and money. That’s why having confidence in your data is so important. When evaluating sales lead generation tools, ask yourself these questions:
- How are leads sourced? Contact details and business information should be coming from reputable sources. These include government databases, public filings, or business credit bureaus.
- What is the data validation process? It’s not uncommon for two sources of business information to contain conflicting data. You want to be sure that the data you see has been validated and is correct.
- How often are sales leads and information updated? A leads list based on an outdated organizational chart will only slow you down.
Continually identifying and converting new customers is key to growing your business and achieving your revenue goals. Optimizing the lead generation process allows your sales staff to focus on contacting qualified prospects, increasing the likelihood that their outreach efforts will result in a sale.