Many businesses are hesitant to cold call. We get it—it can be super intimidating for many business owners, and it’s not for every company, their target market, or buyer personas.
While we’re firm believers that cold calling can be incredibly impactful for business growth, we understand that there are other effective ways to generate leads and accelerate business growth.
A few of the most common B2B alternatives to cold calling include:
Implementing a B2B Email Marketing Strategy
If you want to practice outbound lead generation and appointment setting without picking up the phone, implementing a B2B email marketing strategy would be your next best approach to engaging with prospects and pitching your company’s product or service.
Similar to cold calling, there must also be a process in place when it comes to list building and email sequence distribution. After gathering your list of prospects, divide them into different sequences based on their industry, region served, buyer persona, etc. Not every prospect in your sales pipeline is the same, so you should segment each prospect to make sure they get the best sales emails for their potential wants, needs, and interests.
While you may want to jump right into the email sales pitch and highlight all the great features of your company’s product or service, put the prospect at the forefront of the conversation first. Rather than diving into the pitch immediately, start your email sequence with common prospect pain points and encourage them to think about their current situation.
Want more insight into how to write effective sales emails? Check out our blog here.
Connecting With Prospects Through LinkedIn
One big way growing businesses can prospect without cold calling is by taking advantage of professional networking platforms like LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great outlet for connecting with prospects and sending them personal sales and marketing materials that align with what they may be looking for in a product or service provider.
LinkedIn prides itself on being a social media platform that encourages conversations between like-minded professionals, making it an excellent approach to lead generation. Depending on the industry you serve and the different buyer personas of decision-makers in your target market, this outbound sales development method can be incredibly impactful. It gives you an additional channel to introduce your business and nurture relationships with potential sales opportunities.
Monitoring User Behavior on Your Website
If outbound lead generation and appointment setting hasn’t worked for your business in the past, don’t worry—you still have options. Sales and marketing teams can follow various inbound lead generation and digital marketing approaches to build sales pipelines.
One of the main ways sales development and marketing teams can engage prospects and generate inbound leads is by monitoring user behavior on your company website. Company websites are vital for driving users to your business. They’re informative, help build brand awareness, and they’re also great lead generators!
If you want to see how your website is performing and how users are engaging with your digital content, take advantage of all the marketing tools you have available, like Google Analytics. With Google Analytics, you can see where most users enter your website and where they might fall off to navigate elsewhere. Using tools like Google Analytics empowers your marketing team to explore what can be added or taken off different pages to increase the time spent on your website or boost conversion rates.
Let’s say you have a web page or blog post with high traffic, significant keyword rankings, and long session periods … but that’s where users stop, and no conversions are made. Marketing specialists can look at the page to see where content and direction are lacking. This is often because call to actions (CTAs) are unclear or nonexistent for the user. Therefore, the marketing team can go into the site, adjust CTAs, and see how that impacts conversions on that high-performing page.
While having CTAs throughout your web pages are important, it’s also vital to consider how many you insert and what the overall goal is of the page. For example, if you have a wide range of different CTAs, there can be a variety of journeys users take that could extend the amount of time they spend navigating your website. However, if you implement a single-minded CTA based on the intent and buyer persona of the user, you have the ability to increase conversions.
Using Social Media to Interact With Buyers
While LinkedIn is an excellent platform for outbound lead generation and prospecting, other social media platforms can also be used to build top-of-mind awareness, generate inbound leads, and retain positive relationships with current customers.
Think of some of the ways you use social media for your personal life. If you’re like many of us, you probably use it to keep in touch with people you don’t connect with on an ongoing basis. Additionally, it may be a great way to discover new information to help you maximize and get the most out of your everyday life.
This alternative method to cold calling can help you do both—but through the perspective of B2B relationships. Most business partnerships don’t engage with one another consistently, making social media a valuable tool for building and maintaining positive relationships with loyal customers. Through social media, you can engage with current clients by sharing their successes and commenting and interacting with their posts. If a prospective business sees your company comment or engage with a customer’s post, they could click on your profile and explore what your company has to offer them. If they see value in what you have to provide, they can submit their information, making your current client become a referral for your business.
Additionally, if a current customer has a comment, question, or concern with the products or services they get from your business, your marketing or customer service team can respond to their inquiry to continue cultivating that relationship.
When decision-makers look for a solution to their current problem, who are they likely to go to for answers? More often than not, they’ll reach out to someone in a similar position or within their network for their insight. If your company has been able to retain positive relationships with customers, they’ll more than likely refer to your business as a trusted partner. From here, they’ll direct their network to your social media profiles or company website, so the potential buyer can learn more about your business, your brand, and what you have to offer companies and decision-makers like them.
Engaging With Decision-Makers on Relevant Forums
Like social media, engaging on online forums with decision-makers is a great way to interact with potential customers and provide them with valuable insight into different ways to resolve their pain points.
Online forums like Reddit and Quora are great places for growing businesses to answer questions decision-makers may have about a product, service, industry, or concept. While a company may want to avoid coming right off the bat with salesy content marketing materials, sales and marketing teams can still respond to inquiries and give potential buyers insight into different solutions to their problems.
When responding to questions, the person responding to the forum must give the reader some insight into what makes them a reliable source for information because this can help provide value to the business and show that they’re experts in the subject matter.
Let’s say that a company’s facility manager wants to know how much other small to medium-sized businesses spend on their HVAC maintenance. If you’re an HVAC company responding to this inquiry, you must include a value proposition about your company that shows that you know what you’re talking about. This could involve sharing easy-to-read reports of how much your HVAC clients spend a year on average on routine maintenance versus a break-fix approach. Sharing these materials shows your research and expertise towards similar businesses and how your company’s HVAC services help other businesses save money from repairing faulty equipment.
Asking for Client Referrals
No matter how many alternatives you have to cold calling, word-of-mouth remains the superior way to generate new sales leads. However, many account executives are hesitant to ask for client referrals because they’re afraid of being told no to being a referral.
Asking for client referrals should be a big part of the client retention and sales process because it’s a significant way for sales teams to generate leads without cold calling. If clients are happy with your company’s products and services, they’re more likely to become positive referrals for your business. To increase their chances of saying yes to being a referral, it’s important that your company offers them an incentive. This could include reducing the price of your offering or implementing an add-on to their program for low to no cost.
It’s important to remember that client referrals are more than asking clients to spread the good news about your business. This can also include being a testimonial or case study to share on your company website, social media profiles, or through a sales pitch. If a business in a similar industry or market sees the positive impact you’ve made for similar companies, they’re more than likely to trust what you have to offer them rather than coming in cold turkey.
Another way that B2B businesses can indirectly ask for client referrals is through being a part of the local chamber of commerce branch. Being a part of this organization is beneficial because it involves a group of small to medium-sized local businesses collaborating to spread awareness of their businesses and they can connect the right decision-makers with the right businesses through word-of-mouth.
Attending Local Networking Events
And last but not least, the final common way you can generate sales leads without cold calling is by attending local networking events. While this approach to lead generation may be time-consuming and take a lot of prep work, it’s a great way to get face-to-face with potential buyers and explore what they may be looking for in a B2B product or service provider.
As your sales and marketing teams attend networking events, it’s crucial that they use this time to learn about their target market rather than securing a sale or meeting. During this time, your sales and marketing experts can ask open-ended questions regarding what a potential buyer may be looking for when it comes to a potential B2B partnership.
If a decision-maker sees the value in what your company has to provide, they can put their contact information on an email list to gain additional sales and marketing materials, implement them into the sales funnel and guide them to the end of the sales cycle.
Cold calling may be an incredibly effective approach to lead generation, but it’s not for every business in every industry. Depending on the region you serve and the buyer personas of decision-makers in your target market, there may be some other lead generation methods you can use to consistently engage your audience and generate more revenue for your business.
At Abstrakt Marketing Group, we help B2B companies across the nation implement outbound and inbound lead generation solutions that help build their sales pipelines and generate more sales opportunities. If you need a hand creating and maintaining a business growth solution that yields results, contact the sales and marketing experts at Abstrakt!
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