Content marketing and inbound marketing are proving increasingly popular in generating leads and customers that help salespeople hit their quota. However, these techniques aren’t the be-all and end-all of sales prospecting and acquiring new customers.
Without pouring cold water on the importance of marketing, we took a look at how the modern salesperson can still add value by generating leads themselves. These tips are largely aimed towards businesses that don’t have a marketing department churning out vital content, but they will also be valuable to salespeople looking to get that extra edge and generate their own leads.
So, how can salespeople generate leads without marketing?
1. Use social media
‘But social media is a form of marketing,’ I hear you cry. In some senses yes, of course, it is, but salespeople can also use social media to generate their own leads. Social channels like LinkedIn can help you discover prospects that potentially require your product or solution, discover networking events, research potential new prospective customers, and revisit previously closed or lost opportunities.
Many salespeople are on LinkedIn but don’t struggle to use it in a manner that is conducive to accumulating sales leads. This is a great channel for nurturing high-value, low-effort sales leads – which is every salesperson’s dream scenario.
You should also consider using LinkedIn for blogging purposes, to raise your professional profile and increase the potential of new leads coming to you. Beyond that, try to connect with as many relevant people as you can, as the more connections you have, the wider your potential reach will be.
2. Post a consultation offer
This takes the point above and tweaks and expands it a little. Blogging is often overlooked and deemed irrelevant by many salespeople, but it’s actually a vital tool in helping people not only discover you and your business but helping them find a solution to their specific business requirement or need.
In its purest sense, blogging should be a conversation that outlines a common issue and, to some extent, offers the reader a solution. Post a blog that outlines a common issue, then sign off by offering a 15-minute consultation and, hopefully, watch the sales leads flood in.
3. Seek customer referrals
Despite recognising that referrals are effective in generating and converting sales leads, many find it difficult to implement as a lead generation tactic.
To get the ball rolling, pick up the phone to a happy customer, thank them for their business and assure them that you value it. Then, explain that you’re always keen to make their relationship even more valuable. Ask if them they have any contacts, or if there any companies they know of that could benefit from the same service they receive, and make a note of who they are and why they’d be a good fit. Then, see if they can set up an introduction and reward them for their time with a special offer, small discount or gift.
4. Go networking
But it’s 2019 – you expect us to converse face-to-face? Believe it or not, this tried and tested technique is still alive and well. So, just for one night, put the smartphone away and get out there and network your way to new leads.
Networking doesn’t have to mean going along to an awkward business version of speed dating either. In the busy modern world the people you meet at your yoga class, neighbourhood BBQ or on the school run could all be potentially valuable new prospects.
The key is to simply let potentially useful acquaintances know what you do, the type of business you’re looking for or specialise in, and that you’re open to doing new business – just make sure that you’re at the point in the relationship where it’s acceptable to talk business. Mixing personal and professional isn’t always easy but, done well, it’s a great source of lead generation.
5. Use the power of the bot
Chatbots are all the rage these days, so use them to the advantage of your sales team. Chatbots are easy to build and implement and there are a wide range of chatbot builders out there to choose from, which will give you the tools and context required to have personalised conversations at scale.
Your chatbot will enable your business to qualify leads, book meetings, easily answer the common questions that prospective customers have about your offering and much more. You can then get back to visitors to your website through email, Slack or any other communications tool you’re utilising. It’s a great way of bringing in leads without having to waste resources on back-and-forth emails with a new customer.
Target new leads
It’s vital for the modern salesperson to not only be good at selling but also be seen as an expert in their field and be active in promoting not only their skills but the services of their business. Social media, blogging, networking and online tools are crucial to helping your business generate leads – and can be done with or without the assistance of a marketing team.