Local lead generation for B2B
In this blog Datarob wants to share some secrets of business development transformation in the context of a new reality. I’m talking about the digital economy, distributed work, Red Ocean competition, and the need for distinguishing between the roles in the sales process.
This article touches upon the specifics of lead generation, including ways you can launch it for your local business or run business globally while maintaining a semblance of a highly localized product or service.
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Local Lead Generation
Not so long ago, a generalized image of a sales rep (or someone of a smooth operator type) was something like this: a book distributor in an expensive suit at your doorstep. Or a smug car dealer, brown eyes, gold watch. The epitome of that era is Alec Baldwin’s character, a sales shark with his iconic “Always be closing.”
Most of the time, it was someone from your neighborhood. Someone who knew exactly what you needed and could sell it to you. Yes, for hell’s sake, either he was a lot like you or vice versa, you wanted to be like him. His kids gave you the time of day, but you weren’t close enough to rebuke whenever you caught them smoking around the block.
The portrait of a salesperson has changed over time. It was affected by the appearance of ecommerce, online retail services (Amazon, AliExpress) and pricing aggregators, as well as by a variety of novel digital services and a remote work and lifestyle. On a side note, the portrait of an ideal client has also undergone changes. Read more on this topic here.
Invisible from the outside, these changes happened gradually. In classic B2B sales we still follow the white collar standards, hiring proactive salespeople. But today’s typical digital marketing, SEO, and especially lead generation roles are represented by a young Filipino woman or an IT geek from Ukraine. Most of the time, those experts work part time or on a freelance basis for companies that practice engaging dozens of external experts for highly specialized tasks. Have you noticed that in “Glengarry Glen Ross” nobody mentions the source of the leads? Obviously, it has something to do with outsourcing.
What Is Lead Generation in 2020
So why did it happen? Is it really so that sales and lead generation are no longer the “neighborhood business?”
Well, the main reason is that the sales process has become more complex. Several specializations have appeared, dividing this role into separate skills. Think division of labor, a key enabler of technological revolution. A similar transformation occurred in digital marketing and lead generation. A roaster of careers appeared: content writers, PPC and SEO specialists, data research and lead generation agency experts. This means that there are 5 to 10 marketing specialists per one good salesperson. At the same time, a mediocre specialist has to step in as a marketing specialist, lead generation and email expert. And on top of that, he or she spends 5-6 hours doing routine tasks like LinkedIn outreach.
Then came the era of distributed work. The Internet becomes ubiquitous; the culture of outsourcing becomes the norm. Tech advancements and specialization division together brought us an opportunity to outsource anything without compromising quality.
How Did it Affect Local Sales?
As opposed to traditional lead generation, local lead generation is a set of tools and strategies that help to generate more leads inside of a specific geo region. For obvious reasons, it’s easier to get a better response and achieve faster sales transactions when targeting nearby customers.
The process of lead generation involves attracting people who are interested in your service or product and it employs diverse tactics to beat the competition locally. The idea is that we know our neighbours’ habits better. And people usually buy from those they know and trust. It could be someone whose kids go to the same school. Or someone they can occasionally meet in the supermarket parking lot.
As I have mentioned before, sales has become a complex process. For example, in a typical IT service company, an average deal (around 5,000 USD ) involves up to 10 in-house employees and several freelancers. With expenses that high, the company is unable to afford to run a brick and mortar office in SF or London, let alone Phoenix, Alabama, or any small town where your key clients may reside.
The problem is that if you disband your team, your competitors will eventually beat you in terms of staff and service quality.
Presales, information collection, marketing strategy, mapping out your target audience, A/B testing, cold calls, email strategy, social media advertising – all of these functions can be taken to cheaper job markets or outsourced to specialists who know the ins and outs of digital lead generation.
You are probably going to say “I don’t buy stocks over the phone”
Well, the answer is given in “Boiler Room” and it goes “Everyone buys stocks over the phone today.”
You should understand that while your cost per lead is around $380, your competitors get them at $2 per handpicked contact from companies like Datarob. That makes the cost for a qualified lead $120–$150. To beat them you will have to work nights and weekends.
Do you agree that your strategy needs some rethinking? Now let’s point out key factors that influence local lead generation.
The most important part is to develop your own personal approach to clients. Things to take into account – geo location, sales channels, and the probably the hardest part – putting together a single working mechanism.
Let's have a look at each part in more detail. Here's a Local Lead Generation Approach Diagram.
Maintaining a Personal Approach for Successful Lead Generation
A personal approach is crucial when it comes to mitigating the negative impression of spam and getting a maximum number of conversions. The first step in personalization is creating Ideal Customer Profile. To do that answer the following questions:
Who is your client?
What does he/she do for a living?
What is their way of spending free time?
Where do they shop?
What’s their age?
What are their priorities?
Which channel of communication will be the most comfortable?
Answer all of these questions before you launch your lead generation campaign. Hopefully, you won’t go as far as asking yourself in desperation: “How to start a local lead generation business?”
In many cases, it makes a lot of sense to outsource everything you can outsource.
This way you’ll save yourself months (or even years) building the team that would be able to work from the start. We cannot keep up with everything since technologies come and go. That’s why it’s better (and much easier, too) to engage a highly specialized professional for each kind of task. There are also agencies that will unite all of these talents into a single company. If you have in-house staff, it’s important to transition to cheaper more cost-effective locations.
When you feel you already know your customer well, try to become a guy next door for them. Talk about a town they live in: a web studio in SF, PPC experts from Santa Barbara, or virtual Alaska tour services from Florida. Offer something tailored to the interests and priorities of each particular client.
Local Lead Generation: Channels sources
Everything prior to this point only makes up half of the local lead generation puzzle. If you really want to succeed in your efforts to generate local leads, you’re going to want to drive as much traffic as you can to the lead generation pages you’ve prepared. Let’s explore a couple ways you can start driving potential leads to your lead generation station
Paid ads follow us everywhere. If you are fine with cost of acquisition via this channel, don’t hesitate to go with it and let your clients buy your product in their region.
You can adjust the traffic by involving the exact number of leads (and eventually – clients) that you need at a certain period of time.
Ideally, do not use one-off landing pages. Create a quality website for every campaign. This way your users will see exactly what they came for.
Facebook advertising is similar to Google’s in many ways. Particularly, consider the option of expanding your audience. Many people deliberately block ads or do not click on them on principle. Because ads are integrated into the Facebook platform, they cannot go unnoticed.
Facebook advertising is proven to be more successful for certain niches and offers. That’s why go ahead and experiment with different audiences and settings.
Linkedin Ads for Lead Generation
LinkedIn advertising has a lot in common with Google’s and Facebook’s, except for this network is employment-oriented. Although LinkedIn is careening fast towards becoming a spam dump, it is currently the best network for B2B lead generation.
Social media are a powerful channel for customer acquisition. It certainly deserves a special part in this blog. By the way, feel free to like this article in the upper corner if you found it useful.
Groups in Messengers
There are lots of interest-based groups in messengers like Whatsapp or Telegram. Chances are high your target audience hangs around in those groups. The only obstacle is that those groups are hard to find.
Housemates and entrepreneurs are usually parts of relevant groups. Groups are also created for conferences and specialized events. You could collect information from such groups and post advertisement materials with the permission of a group owner.
Local Directories and Geo Location
It is easier to win clients on one geographical area competing with local businesses than to target worldwide. In order to rank your Google My Business page higher, you can create local listings that are linked to your website.
You can set up a company’s profile at local directories: also in Yelp, Bing Places or local webpages. It is very important to link your website to each of your local profiles. We’d recommend to check tools like Moz local or Yext to automatically manage online listings and profiles across many different online services.
Geo-targeting techniques and user tracking helps to organize the outreach targeting clients that are located in one region. You can use online tools to identify visitor's geographical location by IP and then divide potential customers in groups according to the geo location.
Community Outreach for Local Lead Generation
If you’re focusing on local lead generation, you have the awesome advantage of being able to take some of your marketing offline.
Look for community events and other opportunities that will allow your business to connect with potential leads and customers. Hire local contractors to visit such events and share information about your service and then re-push clients from digital.
Remarketing for Lead Generation
Remarketing is a kind of paid advertising that targets users who have previously visited your website. Remarketing is an essential tool in the toolbox of a digital marketing specialist. Because people are tired of the informational glut we are living in, you need to touch users up to 8 times before some of them convert.
Here’s a common example of how remarketing works. Your researchers glean the contact information of Rob, CEO of a small company located just outside of Paris. They send Rob a tailored marketing message. He goes to your website or socials to read more about your company and then...gets back to his errands. If it wasn’t for remarketing, you could have lost Rob at this point. With remarketing in place, Rob will occasionally bump into your ads over the next 3-5 week. Since your company name already rings a bell with him, your offer seems to stand out among thousands of similar ones. So, in a month or so, Rob revisits your website, fills out the form and soon becomes a paying customer. It takes a minimum of 1 month, 10 touches, 2 calls, 1 meeting and 1 hour spent on your website overall.
Dynamic Content for Local Lead Generation
Dynamic content is the next step after your website is localized. Create a landing page where the users will get information relevant to their location. For example, stocks in Vancouver, PPC agency in Santa Clara, and the like. Most times we can order a service in our region. But acquiring a client requires resembling a brand with regional presence, at least at early stages.
Outbound Sales Outreach
This one is the most powerful tactic used right now. Develop an elaborate your Ideal Customer Profile. Then, combining hiring data researchers and smart tools, identify hundreds of potential Clients from a location or certain companies, industries, etc. Create targeted campaigns to touch Clients via email, LinkedIn, socials or phone. Still not ready to do outbound lead generation?
Local Lead Generation: Tying It Together
Combining all existing channels you will have an ideal sales strategy, one that is versatile, adaptable and cost-effective.
Local Lead Generation for B2B: Avoid 7 Common Mistakes
- Hiring junior staff to handle routine prospecting might be wise if the company plans to retain, train and promote juniors to Sales managers and Account executives further on down the line. But it does not usually work ideally for remote teams. Lead generation is a very monotonous and time-consuming process and it can be done from anywhere in the world. Hire experienced lead generation experts or outsource to the top lead generation companies. Sales and lead gen have different personality profiles and different ranges of salary as well.
- It’s best to avoid setting stringent KPIs for your sales and lead generation teams. For example, you can easily fire 50 “let’s connect on LinkedIn” messages in one sitting. For you, it would take like 90 seconds or less, given that you have an expert hand and all the necessary filters. Yet many companies demand the same result from a lead gen SDR in an entire workday. So be sure to focus on the quality and measurable things such as the number of MQL added to your CRM over a month. The number of sent messages is a weak KPI.
- Don't save money on lead gen tools. You can outsource and hire cheap resources from India or Ukraine, but you cannot achieve the best result without the best marketing tools. For example at Datarob we are spending thousands of dollars monthly.
- Never outsource your core business. Always close deals with your own team. Invest in your own money and educate them all time. You cannot obtain market leadership if you don't understand your business, and your team is not excellent. Save money on quantity, not quality.
- Be careful with local lead generation. In a perfect scenario, users should not suspect that you are using dynamic content. But if they do, it must look like you are doing it for their convenience, not to fool them. Also, your email and LinkedIn outreach needs to be very smart if you stick to the “neighborly” style.
- Study the laws, regulations, and traditions of your target countries. The more you understand the people of a region, the better it is for your business. Hire local consultants, the insiders who will check your content for misalignments.