Selling to Other Businesses? You Should Include Organic Lead Gen 

June-Blog-Selling-to-Other-Businesses

Organic lead generation, as opposed to advertising-based lead generation, is an important digital marketing tactic for any B2B sales environment. Very closely aligned with account-based marketing, long the staple of selling to other businesses, organic lead generation precisely targets the individuals that sales know are key to the prospect’s purchasing environment and decision-making process. Organic lead gen is well suited to the longer, more complex sales cycles found in business-to-business transactions. 

Contrasting Advertising-Based Lead Gen with Organic 

Advertising-based lead gen on digital media involves targeting purchasing decision-makers based on their characteristics, such as title, tenure, behavior, and habits, without knowing exactly who they are. Classic examples are advertising on industry websites frequented by targets or using a look-alike audience to identify social platform members and placing content in front of them on the platform. 

One of the benefits is reach – an advertising effort will place messaging and content in front of prospects that may have been completely unknown to a company. This tactic can be useful for bridge-heading into a new territory or segment where a company may not have an established presence. 

There are three potential drawbacks – cost, lead quality, and “source”. The first two factors are intertwined. Advertising-based programs tend to be more expensive in terms of initial dollar outlay, and because there are usually more and different types of visitors to a placement website, or due to the imprecision of the look-alike audience, lower or zero-quality “leads” will enter the sales pipeline. The look-alike process ultimately means the placement selection is being made by an algorithm; the marketer doesn’t have final control over who receives the content. Qualification of those leads takes time (and money); a company does not want to consume limited sales and marketing resources weeding out leads that shouldn’t have been added in the first place.  

The third drawback is source, or where does the communication appear to come from. On LinkedIn, advertising comes from the company page while organic outreach comes from a person’s profile. The difference is significant – beginning a business relationship person-to-person is much more powerful than being contacted by a company. 

How Organic Lead Generation Programs Work 

Organic lead gen programs begin with the same premise: precisely targeting the individuals in the prospect’s purchasing and decision-making process. Except with organic lead gen, there is reliance upon a preestablished list or database of those individuals. This can be in the form of an industry or association list or database, or as is more common, it is the LinkedIn database. LinkedIn’s database is filled with first-party, up-to-date career, and responsibility information for the prospects. 

LinkedIn’s free, base offering features a robust search capability, for even more precise filtering, targeting, and functionality, a LinkedIn Sales Navigator account can be utilized. 

No matter how those targets are sourced, LinkedIn remains key for the next steps. The goal is to connect with the target individuals on LinkedIn and nurture them with content via the LinkedIn news feed. Let’s talk about connecting and nurturing in turn. 

Connecting is accomplished by inviting a target to join a LinkedIn network, often by a business development or senior sales principal in smaller firms. The invitations are generally scripted, as are the acknowledgment and subsequent direct messages to the new connection. But it is important to note since this is a one-to-one communication (as opposed to a one-to-many advertising campaign), the composition of the invitations and follow-up messages can be customized. The invitation and subsequent messages initiate the prospect to the value of being connected and serves as the first opportunity for the prospect to self-qualify as a lead. 

Nurturing is accomplished by regularly publishing marketing content to the LinkedIn news feed. This nurturing content serves to educate and inform readers about a company’s offerings. In funnel terms, it primarily serves the Awareness stage and the beginning of the Interest stage. 

The Value of an Organic Lead 

Organically generated leads are generally higher quality leads, simply by virtue of the initial, more thorough targeting process and the person-to-person connection. While the initial organic lead gen efforts might uncover a prospect (bluebird) that quickly becomes a customer, more typically, as mentioned above, they are generally early-stage funnel entrants. The expected-by-both-sides, stand-off nature of the interactions via LinkedIn with an early-stage prospect means the qualification process becomes one of self-selection by the prospect. As they are educated by the publishing of marketing material over time, their awareness and interest can wane or grow over time as well until they either become more responsive to the content’s call-to-action or they reach out directly. 

Understanding the Funnel Position of an Organic Lead 

At the point an Organic Lead Gen prospect takes action, they typically have a specific need and are coming into the funnel at the interest/desire stage, worthy of interaction with direct sales. While there is still plenty of qualification work for sales to accomplish, that work is more focused on a specific project or opportunity and not as much whether the lead or account themselves are qualified.  

Much of that time-consuming and otherwise very expensive work has already been accomplished through the lead generation and nurturing content publishing programs. Contrast the efficiency of this approach with the need to weed through large numbers of unqualified web leads. 

Want an Organic Lead Gen Program of Your Own? 

We don’t blame you. They’re pretty powerful, in fact, we use this process ourselves and we’re pretty happy with it. We’ve been doing this for clients for over 10 years and we have a very good handle on what works and what doesn’t.  If you’re ready to self-select into discussing an organic lead gen program, contact us at 203-571-8067 or susan@jqlacorte.com.  

info@jqlacorte.com

203-571-8067

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