Great question! And one of those questions that will plague sales people old and new forever.
There is no one easy answer to finding high quality sales leads for your business, but one thing is for sure – if you really want to grow you need to be building out your pipeline quick and fast.
The great thing about the internet is that there are lots of great services designed to automate your lead generation process, ie. finding the contact details of potential B2B customers. We will take a look at a few of these services, and also some of the more manual (although highly effective) methods of obtaining B2B leads.
Firstly, let’s define what a good ‘lead’ is. Let’s say a lead is a business contact in your industry, who will have an active interest in the problems you are solving, will have the decision making ability (or at least be closely related with the decision making unit (DMU)) to give you an indication if you could collaborate with their business, and finally have the budget to employ your services or product.
Now we have a rough idea of the kind of person we are looking for, let’s look at how to find them:
Lead Generation Software – There are a number of great lead gen services available, namely FindThatLead, Salestools or Hunter.io. These tools allow you to select pre-defined demographics of your ideal customer, like company size, employee number, funding series, location or many other options. They will then either scrape the internet or reach into their pre-compiled databases and retrieve relevant lead information that matches your criteria, and offer you to either download those contacts or directly email them through the software. This is a great way to automate lead gen and cold emailing, although be careful you are complying with GDPR and relevant anti-spam laws in your country/region as misuse can get you in hot water!
LinkedIn – A great source for lead generation is the world’s largest B2B social networking site. Rife with top leaders at some of the world’s biggest companies, LinkedIn will let you directly reach out to C level executives of your ideal customer businesses through instant messaging. Be warned though, many of these execs and even smaller startups likely receive a lot of sales pitches on a daily basis, so we’d recommend the personal touch and working on getting a call or meeting as oppose to just sending over a sales pitch which will be ignored.
Directories Or Google – If you are a freelancer or smaller agency in the creative or marketing space, a simple Google search or querying local business directories is a fantastic way of finding relevant business owners that may want to buy from you. Some directories will allow you to filter on industries or other variables, so you can really hone in on your ideal customer and target market, which saves you a lot of time as they usually return a large amount of data you can start reaching out to. Again, be warned that you must comply with anti-spam or other legal issues around unsolicited marketing that might be present in your region.
I hope this helps you understand a few different tools and resources to reach out. Lead gen is very time consuming and returns can be low on that initial investment, but any serious business owner needs to master both sales and the lead gen that comes before that.