2 SECRET FREE Ways to Generate Leads and Beat Your Competitors!
Generating warm in-bound B2B sales leads for your business is vital if you’re to outperform your competitors and grow your business exponentially.
However, lead generation is also one of the most time consuming and costly marketing activity your business will encounter. 85% of B2B marketers consider lead generation their biggest challenge.
The quality of your leads is also of the utmost importance. Increasing the volume but not the quality of your sales leads actually hinders your growth by costing your sales team time speaking with unqualified prospects who will never close, or paying for PPC leads that never convert.
In this article we’ll show you two secret lead generation strategies that your competitors probably aren’t even aware of (we developed one of these from scratch), and we’ll help you replicate the lead generation tactics that enable the most successful companies to outperform their competitors without spending a single penny to acquire more leads.
Simply put, if you’re looking for the most effective and quickest way to get a consistent stream of inbound, qualified leads for your company for free, then read on and we’ll show you how.
Common Lead Generation Strategies (Pros & Cons)
Before we get to the juicy stuff below, let’s first take a look at some of the most common lead generation strategies (pros and cons) that companies use to generate leads:
Cold Calling / Emailing
Ah spam, you’ve gotta love it. There’s nothing quite like opening your emails first thing in the morning and sifting through a bunch of unwelcome cold emails for products or services you don’t want or need. Then once you’ve finally cleared out your inbox, the phone goes and it’s more of the same.
Cold calling and email marketing are some of the most commonly used lead generation tactics that can work to some extent, but potentially at the detriment to your business and brand. Annoy someone one too may times and not only will it hurt your brand’s reputation, but it also costs both parties in lost time and money.
It’s unfortunate that companies without the budget to spend on generating leads feel that unsolicited cold outreach is the only way. If that applies to you, don’t worry we’ll fix that for you later on.
Pros of lead generation cold calling / emailing:
- Cold calling and emailing can lead to business eventually
- You can reach a large number of people fairly quickly
- Not sustainable as a singular means of prospecting
Cons of lead generation cold calling /emailing:
- Costs significant time researching and reaching out to people
- Can damage your company’s reputation
- Prospects are not qualified
Paid Advertising / Pay Per Click (PPC)
Generating leads via pay per click advertising is another very popular lead generation strategy employed by companies and sales teams.
Pay per click marketing campaign improves upon a cold lead generation process as you’re able to target more qualified sales leads who you want your ad to be shown to.
This means that someone clicking through have made the decision to learn more about your company and turns a cold lead into a warm in-bound lead.
While a great strategy, it’s still difficult to fully qualify leads before spending on that click. Think about all the times you’ve clicked on an advert and never made a purchase.
The downside of Pay Per Click lead generation is that it gets expensive, especially when targeting highly competitive keywords. According to WordStream, the current average CPA in AdWords across all industries is $48.96 for search and $75.51 for display, with the cost of digital advertising only increasing.
Finally there’s also the issue of being clicked by competitors who want to hurt your budget and make way for their ads.
Pros of lead generation by PPC:
- More targeted than cold calling or emailing
- Immediate visibility to your target audience
- Ability to control your advertising spend
- Being able to track results
Cons of lead generation by PPC:
- Needing to ensure your sales funnel converts when leads click
- Risk of competitors clicking your ads
- Can be expensive to acquire customers if you’re in a competitive industry
- Consumers are growing more weary of paid advertising and trust top organic results more
Public relations (PR) is a vital part of any lead generation strategy. PR can be used to generate leads by getting your company’s name and message in front of the right audience, at the right time, through a variety of channels.
However, many companies don’t utilize PR as part of their lead generation strategy because they don’t know how to get started or have an understanding about what public relations entails.
A PR campaign is a series of related communications activities that create publicity with the goal of drawing the attention of your target audience to an individual, organization, product or service. If done correctly it should generate inbound leads and inquiries for your business.
These may include:
- Building relationships with contacts from relevant media (bloggers, journalists, YouTubers and Podcasters)
- Writing and distributing press releases to relevant media outlets
- Creating a press kit that includes all relevant information about your company
- Joining relevant industry associations to network with other companies and individuals in the same field or niche
- Public speaking at events, conferences or seminars
- Starting your own podcast and inviting guest speakers who will share your content with their networks
Be both proactive; reaching out to the media, and reactive; being ready to respond if / when the media contacts you. Media Outreach is when press contacts (journalists) become aware of something new happening from their own research, rather than through any direct contact by a marketing person’s request for coverage. You’ll find great public relations examples here
Pros of Public Relations lead generation:
- Coverage is free when picked up by the Media
- Your message can be far reaching when distributed across media networks
- More credibility when your company is published by a credible news source
- Your content will have lasting value when published online
- You can use the clout of media coverage to help convert new prospects for years to come
Cons of Publish Relations lead generation:
- It can be a time consuming and thankless task if your news isn’t picked up or used
- You may have to hire a pr agency or employ an in-house (or freelance) PR specialist to help
- It takes time and persistence when building relationships with Media contacts
- Competition for coverage is incredibly high as journalists are bombarded with requests daily
- Finding a truly newsworthy angle to attract media coverage can be very hard
Content Creation + Lead Magnets
Content creation is one of the most important lead generation tools you can use to generate leads online. The goal is to drive targeted traffic to your website via the creation of blog content that your prospective customers will find informative and useful, ultimately leading to more sales down the line.
When content is created properly, it also has a positive impact on SEO rankings, meaning more targeted visitors and ultimately sales leads to your company website.
As such, publishing content consistently should be an integral part of any digital marketing strategy that businesses employ in order to capture high quality leads and convert into more sales.
Lead Magnets are banner type images that sit within your articles and are designed to capture the eye and contact information of new leads. These lead generation campaigns can be simple adverts, contact forms or hyperlinked images to drive traffic to a special landing page designed to capture their details for follow up.
You’ll find great examples of lead magnets here
10 Ways to Capture Leads Using Content Marketing
- Create content based on what your audience is interested in. This means spending time researching keywords and topics that people are searching for online, then creating content around these words and phrases to attract the interest of your target audience.
- Use relevant images or videos along with text content to make it more appealing visually as well as more search engine-friendly.
- Utilize content distribution channels like social media, guest posting (on high quality, relevant sites or email marketing to make your content more widely available and reach more sales leads.
- Include CTAs within the content that will help you generate leads for your business, such as a form where people can sign up for an ebook offer in exchange for their email address.
- Create content that is longer than other content you’ve created and make it available in a PDF or ebook format for download, so prospects can consume the content on different devices with ease - this will also help your SEO rankings. Make sure to also capture the prospective leads email to send their download to.
- Include social media sharing buttons at the end of content posts to encourage readers who enjoyed content to share it with their friends.
- Experiment with video content, which is engaging and visual - this will help your content get more views on YouTube or other sites that allow hosting of videos.
- Utilize tools like Canva, Pablo by Buffer and Gif Brewery for easy ways to create content that is engaging and visually appealing.
- Create content for your blog or website, as well as content on external sites like LinkedIn Pulse to make it easier for people to find what you’re saying without having search through everything you’ve ever written online.
- Think about the types of questions your current customers ask during the sales process and write around those topics. Always make your articles relevant to your industry in order to ensure that you’re creating high quality content that will be well received by your audience.
Pros of Content Marketing lead generation:
- Well researched and written content puts your company in a position of authority and trust with your potential customers
- Once published, your content is online forever and will drive a constant stream of targeted business leads to your corporate website for years to come
- Your content can be used over and over again in your marketing campaigns
- Online content is easily shared and can be picked up and by other relevant sources leading to more qualified leads
Cons of Content Marketing lead generation:
- Content creation isn’t free. It takes time and to create truly great content and you may need to employ a marketing person to help
- Unlike PPC advertising, results are not instant. Your content may take time to rank across the search engines
- There’s no guarantee that your content will appear close to the top of the organic search engine results. You may have spent a week researching and writing a piece of content that will never drive traffic to your website. When was the last time you clicked on a search result on page 2 of Google?
Referral lead generation - 5 best sales people blog post the referral testimonial guy (word of mouth cc inroads - agents know
Generating warm leads is probably most powerful when a referral is made by someone you already know, like and trust.
Have you ever needed something (be it a child minder, new vacuum cleaner or any other product or service, posted a question on Facebook and one of your close friends replies and makes a personal recommendation?
According to a study, you’re 78% more likely to follow up on that referral than go back to carrying on your search alone.
John H Patterson, the founder of the National Cash Register Company, was the first to use testimonials as part of the sales and marketing process in the 1800’s.
He infused the testimonials of satisfied customers into the direct mail he would send out to future customers, ultimately transforming his business and generating immediate interest that would see him becoming one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the period.
People Buy From People
We’ve all heard the expression that people buy from people. It was true back then and it’s more true than ever today. Quality leads are driven by people you already know.
As you’ll discover below, this is why partnering with B2B independent sales representatives is quickly becoming the most lucrative sales referral strategy for the top companies globally.
2 Secret Strategies to Generate FREE Sales Leads
Now let’s get to the juicy stuff! The stuff that your competitors probably aren’t doing. Here’s how to generate inbound leads for free and enjoy a super fast route to market for your company’s products or services.
1. Build a B2B Commission-Only Sales Rep Team to Generate Sales Leads
Our first secret method to generate sales leads for your business is to start building a B2B commission-only sales rep team.
Now, just to clarify, we’re not talking about unemployed sales people who are desperate for work, we’re talking about highly experienced entrepreneurial sales professionals who decide to leave their 9-5 and set up in business for themselves.
These entrepreneurial sales experts are able to take companies to the next level with their lead generation efforts.
Tip: If you’re interested in a deeper dive into understanding the world of B2B independent sales reps, we suggest checking out: CommissionCrowd’s blog and this article - 10 Things To Understand When Working With Independent Sales Reps.
We’re not going to get into the intricacies of the commission-only sales industry in this article as we’ve written extensively on the topic in previous blog posts. However, we will give you the reasons why you should consider this route as part of your company’s expansion plan.
How Independent Sales Reps Generate More Sales Leads for Your Business
There are a huge number of ways in which an independent sales team are able to generate more leads for your company. Here are just a few of the benefits of working with these sales professionals and the methods they use to generate leads.
They Build Diverse Sales Portfolios and Have Existing Networks
Independent sales agents generally represent more than one company at any given time. They opt to create diverse yet complimentary portfolios consisting of multiple products and (or) services that can be sold into their networks and their existing customers.
One major advantage of using independent agents over employing internal sales staff comes down to having instant exposure to their established networks and increased exposure to your target markets.
This means your company’s products and services are constantly being promoted to their personal network during every client interaction and greatly reduces the buying cycle.
They Only Get Paid After Closing New Leads
A fairly obvious benefit of partnering with B2B independent sales reps is the fact that they are only paid after potential leads turn into paying customers. This greatly cuts down on the upfront overheads traditionally associated with hiring in-house sales employees.
They Offer a Fast And Cost Effective Method of Business Expansion
Entering new markets or territories is a notoriously difficult thing to do. The powerful thing about working with independent sales reps is that you can build a national or international sales network that provides total coverage without having the expense of physically opening new premises or hiring local sales staff.
A great example of this was when Intel bought Digital Equipment Corp’s semiconductor business, they used independent sales reps to sell three lines of products into markets where its in-house sales force had no prior experience or contacts.
Self-employed sales agents come from experience in the industry. They break away from the constraints of employment to seek greater financial returns as entrepreneurs.
They have existing networks, clients and contacts that have built over many years and can be used as a referral network for the new companies they represent.
They also usually opt to work with companies whose products / services they already have leads for or know they can get them fairly easily.
Checkout our Podcast: How To Build A 100% Commission-Only Sales Reps Team
2. Get Top Industry Influencers to Promote Your Business for Free
Influencer content marketing - when done right - is one of the most powerful free lead gen strategies your company can employ.
Simply put, it’s a social and viral marketing strategy that involves getting highly influential people to contribute to your content and then actively sharing across their social networks, giving your company instant exposure to thousands, if not millions of followers.
What or Who are Influencers?
An influencer is someone who is at the top of their field, respected and followed by thousands, if not millions of people for their industry insights. They are called influencers quite simply because their ideas and views influence the action of others.
There are two reasons being promoted by influencers in your industry is one of the most powerful lead gen strategies:
- You have instant exposure to thousands, if not millions of targeted people when influencers tell their followers about your business. This bypasses waiting for people to find your website organically via search engines.
- Your company gains instant credibility when it’s being promoted by influencial people in your industry.
Imagine being able to think of a piece of content you want written about and published on your blog then an army of top influential people drop what they are doing to contribute then share it with their followers.
It’s so powerful that when done right, will generate more leads than all other Marketing strategies combined. In fact, it’s the one marketing activity that transformed CommissionCrowd from small startup to a leader in our space practically overnight. Influencer marketing generates over $6M in warm inbound leads for our company every year.
But it’s hard!
Think about it; why would a busy influential public figure drop what they are doing to help promote your company for free?
The simple answer is they won’t and we found this out the hard way. That’s why we dedicated 12 months to developing a strategy that eventually worked.
Eventually through much trial and error we literally had influencers dropping what they were doing to work with us on content creation then sharing with their networks.
What would you do with 100-200X the number of qualified inbound leads for your business every month without having to spend a single penny on paid Advertising or Marketing or EVER having to make a single cold call? Would it be a game changer for your business?
Tip: You can learn about the Influencer lead generation strategy we developed here: Inbound Lead Generation - The $6M strategy
Useful Lead Gen Resources
If you are looking for useful resources to help generate more leads, we’ve compiled a list for you below.
Whether it is inbound or outbound marketing that interests you most, these links should help get your business back on track with generating new customers using the two strategies we’ve mentioned above. We hope they provide value for you!
- Connect with B2B commission-only sales experts to grow your business on CommissionCrowd
- Learn the $6M influencer marketing strategy that took us from startup to industry leader in less than 12 months
- How to find manufacturer’s reps and what to expect working with them
- How remote working B2B sales reps helped companies during the pandemic