All businesses rely on new leads. Of course, you need to keep existing customers loyal, but new business has to come from somewhere – and finding that business can be a time-consuming task. It’s also expensive – particularly if you’re doing all the work yourself. So, to save time and money, it might be worthwhile considering outsourcing some of the day-to-day jobs to a virtual assistant with lead generation experience.
And that experience is important. You want the first contact a potential customer has with your company to be a positive one. So you need to work with someone professional, efficient and effective. This will give you the confidence that your business is being properly represented, and that there’s a good chance of getting the results you want – new customers in the pipeline.
What is lead generation?
Lead generation is all about getting people interested in your business, and encouraging them to become customers. There are several steps to take before you attack lead generation seriously, such as making sure you understand your target audience, and you know what types of approach are most likely to result in action. You’ll need to put together a strategy that includes how and when you’re going to reach out to your audience, how you will follow up, and how you will convince them to take the next steps.
Once you have established your strategy, you need to be able to implement it, follow it up, and maintain a consistent presence. This is the bit that’s time-consuming, particularly if you are choosing to use a number of lead generation methods, such as inbound telemarketing, social media content, follow-up telemarketing to sales leads or website content creation.
Lead generation may be fundamental to your success but, as a small business owner, you won’t have the time to manage it effectively on your own. And, unless you have a strong sales background, you may also need support to design the right approaches, conversations and messaging.
That’s where it starts to become useful to consider whether to outsource lead generation activities. By working with a specialist, on an agreed budget and with clear processes and targets, you can create consistent, productive lead generation activity, including:
Here are just six of the ways that outsourcing your sales lead generation services could help your business:
1. Researching your prospects
The best way to get results from either outbound or inbound lead generation is to understand your prospect’s needs, requirements and decision journey. The more you know about your potential customers, the better placed you are to give them the messages and information they need. Whether this is via the content on your website, or the script of a telemarketing call, you will make more of an impact if you know for sure that you are talking to the right person and you understand what they want.
Good B2B lead generation services understand this and can either work with you to create a clear customer profile, or can work to your existing target audience. Based on this, they can then research the best people to contact in the companies you’re looking at and give you advice on the ways you can get in touch. It’s particularly important now, since the introduction of GDPR, that you work with a virtual assistant or outsourcing service that understands the new regulations and is able to work within them, helping to protect your company.
From making initial calls to setting appointments and following up, good telemarketing lead generation can really help to build a relationship with your prospects. And like all sales tasks, it’s a skill. Many people don’t like using the telephone, and so can often do more harm than good. So it makes sense to have someone who is experienced in both lead generation and appointment setting supporting your business.
Choose a service that spends time getting to understand what you want to achieve from the telemarketing campaign, and understands how to qualify and categorise leads so that you spend your time on the ones that are likely to be most positive.
3. Content management
Blogs, newsletters and social media are all great ways of engaging potential customers. Use an experienced virtual assistant for content writing, uploading and monitoring. Producing good quality, reliable and relatable content keeps you in front of your audience on a regular basis. This also includes managing your social media channels, so that you are keeping them up to date with relevant and useful content that adds value to people who might be interested in what you offer.
4. Email campaigns
Email is still a very popular way to reach potential customers. Again, if you’re planning to outsource this, look for business lead generation services providers who understand the constraints of GDPR and can either give you advice if you need it, or work within the parameters you have already set for your business.
A good email campaign requires thought and planning. You may also need to look for a service that can work with email marketing software like MailChimp or Constant Contact and that has an understanding of content and design so that your emails have real impact.
5. Website management and SEO
For many businesses a website is an essential lead generation tool. But to work at its best, your website needs to be up to date, contain useful content and be search engine friendly. For example, if your website is not mobile friendly, not only will your audience decide not to browse, but search engines like Google may penalise you for making it difficult for people to access your content. So having a good quality, technically up-to-date website can make a huge difference to your lead generation.
And that applies equally to search engine optimisation (SEO). This is where you research the keywords that your target audience are most likely to use when they are searching for the type of products or services you sell. If you use these keywords in your content – following the established rules – your website is more likely to come up in search engine results, putting you ahead of the competition. Be aware that this is an ongoing task, and SEO is an ever-changing discipline, so you need to keep on top of it.
6. Database management
One of the keys to good lead generation is the quality of your database. You may already have a starting point, or you may need to build something from scratch. Either way, working with a virtual assistant can help you to keep that database up-to-date, compliant and relevant to your business. You really can’t underestimate the value of a good quality database, so it makes sense to work with someone who can keep on top of managing the information you hold.
7. Following up
However your leads come into the business, you must always follow them up. You may have collected business cards at a trade show or networking event; or you may have conducted a specific campaign or you may have a good telemarketing lead. When someone expresses an interest in what you do, there should always be a plan for following up. This might be via social media, or by sending a pack of information, or just by sending a quick email to suggest they sign up to your mailing list.
A complete lead generation service will offer this option to you, giving you the confidence that new leads are being nurtured, monitored and taken through the buying journey.
8. Measurement and reporting
You should always measure the results of your lead generation activities. That’s how you’ll know what’s working, what needs adjustment and what you can stop doing. Have access to regular reports helps you to plan and budget better – putting your energies into the areas where you are likely to get most success.
If you’re currently doing any of these tasks, when you could be spending time closing deals or working on your business, then perhaps it’s time to outsource to a virtual assistant lead generation service. Working closely with you, they’ll do all the initial work you need, leaving you free to go to appointments and make your sales.
If you’re finding yourself short on time, why not call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.