After graduation, I’m interested in using my degree in computer science to become part of a tech startup that develops software for other businesses. I know that the software-as-a-service model is what I’m interested in implementing, since it will provide the company with recurring income. But I’m a little unsure how to find the right customer base. How do businesses find sales leads when they’re trying to market to other companies, not consumers?
Building a business and finding sales leads can be tricky enough when dealing with consumers. However, B2B leads are a whole different ballgame entirely. If you’re looking to capture more leads, we’ll go into some specific methods you should consider.
Create an e-newsletter: One of the most tried-and-true ways to generate more leads is through e-newsletters. Emailing out content to an ever-growing subscription base of people who opt in to your emails is a great way to ensure that your products are being seen. Plus, this audience is explicitly interested in learning more about your company, since they signed up.
In the words of Ramsay Leimenstoll, “A small list that wants exactly what you’re offering is better than a bigger list that isn’t committed." There are a wide range of options to help you do this, and some of them are free. Popular email marketing platforms including MailChimp, WordFly, and Constant Contact.
Use a database: Databases are another great way to get a new sales lead, with many databases including both consumer databases as well as business databases. Many services offer robust lists of millions of leads, and offer tools to help sort and categorize new leads based on aspects of either geography or specific demographics. This allows you to connect with businesses that are more likely to be interested in your company’s offerings, ultimately saving you valuable time and money.
Capture leads on your website: You can capture new leads on your website through contact forms that allow users to request more information. Depending on what services your business specializes in, it may also be useful to offer a unique eBook or other digital product that can only be obtained after entering a valid email address, thus allowing you to collect the contact information of interested parties.
Head to trade shows: Going to trade shows related to the industry your business serves can help you meet new leads. If you’re just planning on attending, make sure to head to the show with your business cards so that you can effectively network with others at the event.
It never hurts to have a brochure or two in your bag about your company, too, in case you really connect with someone at the event. Your business could also consider tabling at a trade show to have a more full-featured demonstration of your company’s product or services.
Use social media activations: If you do opt to table at a trade show, it never hurts to have some sort of social media activation in order to help market your company to others. There are plenty of different ways to harness social media to get people talking about your brand, and if your website is optimized to gather leads, these kinds of campaigns will be a tremendous asset to your business. Many social media platforms, like Facebook, even offer powerful lead gathering tools as part of their ad management suites.
Particularly for smaller and mid-sized businesses, finding the right leads can be the difference between sustaining your business or calling it quits. By following the above tips and methodologies, you can begin to generate and harness new leads and use them to help grow your business.