From Neanderthals to Homo sapiens, bullock carts to electric vehicles, door-to-door marketing to digital marketing, evolution is inevitable. With the advent of machine learning, AI, and advanced data analytical tools, traditional lead generation for IT companies as we know it is dead. Modern marketing budgets are significantly increasing as enterprises realize the correlation between increased spends and ROI. Enterprises in the B2B space are exploring the broad spectrum of possibilities with multi-channel marketing. When it comes to lead generation for IT companies, it is no different. Technology and software companies need to evolve their approach towards lead generation and they must leverage newer tactics to be able to produce results. Some of the challenges faced by IT companies in their lead generation efforts include:
• Significantly increased competition.
• Reaching decision-makers and not just general audience.
• Not having enough trust and brand value to appeal to a significant audience.
• Not having an organized multi-channel approach strategy.
• Managing Lead sources.
With the constant disruption in the field of information technology, new businesses must be dynamic in their lead generation strategies. New business models and operational strategies are letting small technology firms compete with their international rivals – but to do so effectively, each brand needs to stake out an approach to marketing that emphasizes its unique value. Only focusing on the marketing through your website catalog of products and services is not enough. A prospect community must be built from the ground up, having foundations through various media channels. It can be tough to know where to start on this huge process.
Here are a few ways which marketers for B2B IT firms can revamp their marketing approach:
Automation and AI is currently the most powerful way to build your lead generation strategy. Marketing Automation tools will grow to reach $25.1 billion annually by 2023 from $11.4 billion in 2017! This advanced system will allow you to connect with potential clients 24/7 as well provides visibility for you to see how visitors are engaging with your website. Marketing automation uses a funnel to design customer journeys which start with a trigger, like filling a form, downloading a whitepaper, signing up for a newsletter, making a purchase, or sharing an email. These journeys are designed to be more relevant to the recipient than just a mass email campaign. 80% of marketers using automation software generate more leads.
A great way to generate quality leads is to offer premium content regarding your IT niche to visitors who are willing to provide their contact information. Examples include blogs, whitepapers, e-books, and even video tutorials. Rather than just asking for the visitor's details, you can innovate in different ways to gate your content; this may include taking a survey regarding the industry followed by sharing a poll showing what other visitors think about the same or even include a small pop quiz to engage your audience. Keeping things interactive with your audience will surely not only reduce bounce rates but also makes your visitors more inclined to sign up for your product. Offering free limited trials in exchange for information is also another excellent lead generation strategy for IT startups. This allows users to preview your product before purchase while also allowing you to collect feedback. In 2016, SAP was able to effectively reduce their cost per lead by 88.5% as a result of offering their customers 30 days of free trial. Netflix is another great example where they were able to use free trials to achieve an astounding conversion rate of 93% percent according to Merriman Capital stock analyst Eric Wold.
DON’T NEGLECT WEBINARS AND PODCASTS
Webinars and podcasts are here to stay. They are proving to be extremely effective tools for B2B lead generation, especially for IT companies. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 60% of marketers are now using webinars as part of their inbound marketing campaign. Webinars are incredibly effective as a form of lead generation. Podcasts are getting extremely popular too. A recent survey found out that 165 million people in the US have listened to a podcast, while 32% of Americans are monthly podcast listeners.
• Webinars and podcasts are effective because they have the ability to hold your audiences like no other forms of media.
• They allow you to educate your audience by answering questions, sharing experiences and case studies.
• Allows you to cater to your niche, industry-specific audience with incredibly relevant content.
USE INFLUENCERS FOR OUTREACH
Whether it is a small IT startup or any other niche industry enterprise, consumers trust one another more than they trust messages from less familiar brands. This is where partnering up with the right influencers can be an absolute game-changer. PPC and other paid advertising is getting incredibly expensive, congested and in many cases just not effective. Dell and LinkedIn have all indulged in influencer marketing programs for the past 5 years and according to a report by Linqia, 85% of marketers already use influencer marketing. SAP is a large company which works with enterprises in a wide range of niches; different marketing teams identify relevant influencers for each line of business. During their user conference in Orlando in 2016, they worked with 11 influencers who live-streamed to about 80,000 people who could not attend the event. This just goes to show the right people can have a significant impact on lead generation and sales.
Strategies that work for one business might fall completely on its face for another. That’s why it is always important to keep testing and experimenting. It all comes down to knowing your audience and how they interact with your business. Old strategies can still work—but make sure to update them with a new twist. Do you have any other B2B lead generation strategies that work well for you? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.