Whether you’re specializing in inside sales or are a field sales pro, you’ve likely drawn in a lead or two at a trade show or event at some point in your career.
Trade shows can be a helpful place to connect and meet with qualified potential buyers; however, there are alternatives to discovering these high-quality leads when attending live events isn’t in the cards.
An event draws a specific crowd, but online you can extend your content and message to anyone. You have to make sure you’re attracting the right potential buyers, not just anyone with access to an internet connection.
Here are a few ways to generate qualified leads in place of trade shows and live events:
1. Host online workshops and webinars.
I’m sure that you or an employee at your company have expertise or knowledge on a topic of interest to your ideal customer. Collect that information to create online workshops or webinars, share the information digitally, and build relationships with new leads.
According to Xant, 73% of sales and marketing leaders identify webinars as a method to generate high-quality leads. What makes webinar attendees high-quality leads?
When a participant registers for an online workshop or webinar, they’re sharing valuable information. Numerous webinar hosts ask for information such as industry, company, organization size, and current software tools and systems before an individual can sign up for the event. Your sales team can design a custom outreach plan to keep these leads engaged during the sales process with this information.
2. Attend virtual conferences.
Virtual conferences are increasing in popularity due to being more cost-effective to host and attend and very convenient for participants globally, especially if materials are available for attendees after the fact. By participating in virtual conferences, you can obtain valued connections that can lead to working with qualified leads. At virtual meetings, you may often interact with other attendees in chat areas and digital classrooms to ask questions and discuss and review the content you’re consuming.
Also, speakers at virtual discussions can make excellent connections. If you learn something valuable from a speaker at an online conference or discuss a topic, you’d like to learn more about, attending the event gives you a high connection point.
You could then follow up on the online speaker’s discussion with a message on LinkedIn, thanking them for their presentation and requesting to connect.
3. Concentrate on email campaigns.
Do you remember the last time your email messaging got a minor tune-up? While not attending live events, working on your email campaigns can be a worthwhile activity.
Use the time to dive into your email campaign metrics to understand what messages have synced with your audience. Viewing open rates, click-through rates, and other parameters linked to the campaign’s specific goals gives valuable insight that can drive your future email strategy.
Begin stepping your email game up by setting goals for your upcoming campaigns and sequences. What does success look like? What do you wish for the recipient of your email to do? Here are some ideas:
- Promote the sale of a specific service or product (number of units sold from an email)
- Transform current email subscribers to paying customers (amount of revenue generated from an email)
- Collect registrations for an upcoming online event (number of registrations from an email)
Determine how the correct potential leads will see your content and choose to opt-in once you have defined the goal of your email campaign. Here are some essential questions to reflect on:
- How did the reader obtain this email campaign? Did they opt-in on a particular section of content? If so, what was it?
- What difficulties is the reader of this email facing? What are the ways you can help them overcome this obstacle?
- What would cause them to lose interest in receiving emails from you?
- What following steps do you want the reader to take after viewing your email?
Following this step, you can generate relevant messaging that drives the reader closer to taking action with each email. Discover the content elements and frequency that will be most suitable for your reader. Also, you can set up an automation strategy to streamline your email messaging without losing the personal touch your contacts are searching for.
4. Leverage paid social media.
If working in sales, you may not be the person in command of your company’s paid social media ad spend (usually falls under the marketing category). However, you may want to check up with your marketing team to guarantee their paid ads are reeling in the right leads.
Since you hold valuable information on your ideal customer, you can present this data to your marketing team to ensure your target audience is involved in your company’s paid advertising.
Smart, targeted content can help get your service or product to face the right people. Your job as a salesperson is much easier when your company’s content targets the right leads.
5. Freshen up your website’s home page.
Do you remember the last time your company’s website got an update? Again, although this responsibility often falls under marketing, as a sales professional, you should have some direction into the messaging and user experience your potential customers have when visiting your website.
Go to your company’s website, trying to look from the customer’s perspective. When landing on the home page, is it easy to understand what your company offers? Is your site easy to use and navigate? If a potential buyer visits your website and is prepared to talk to the sales team, can they quickly figure out how to contact you?
If your answer is no to any of these questions, you are likely leaving quality leads on the table. You may attract more website visitors who are ready to invest in your product after you work with your marketing team to make these updates.
6. Personally, share your premium content with interested contacts.
Building your online presence as a sales professional is a value-added activity. By keeping your social media accounts up-to-date and sharing valuable free content frequently, you can establish trust with your audience that can point to potential sales down the road.
After building a trusted online presence, you can also be a trusted resource when you share freemium pieces of content with engaged contacts.
For example, let’s say you regularly post content on your LinkedIn and have a connection that fits your ideal customer profile who comments daily and thanks to you for what you share. Sending this person a message, thanking them for engaging with your posts, and sharing a freemium with them personally is a great way to increase the trust you’ve already built with them. It can set the stage for a professional relationship where they can learn about your services and products.
7. Lean into relationships with existing customers.
It’s no mystery; we recommend using a flywheel over a sales funnel. By executing a sales funnel strategy, you have to draw many leads to (hopefully) transform a small percentage of them to customers. When using a flywheel approach, your customer is at the core of the sales process, and your customers’ positive experiences are what launch a new business.
Effective ways to leverage current customer relationships to meet more leads consist of:
- adding positive customer use cases in your sales messaging
- offering referral incentives to your existing customers,
- and asking existing customers if they have any connections driving the same problem you helped them solve.
Connecting with leads face-to-face is a beneficial tactic, but it’s not the only way to get in front of new contacts. For more advice on helping you find leads online, check out these social selling best practices.