Rev Up Your Sales Engine With Leads, Leads, Leads

For most business-to-business (B2B) marketers, generating leads for the sales force is top priority. The best way to do this is to set up sales engines — lead-generating systems that consistently churn out high quality leads at the lowest possible cost in time and effort.

We asked two marketers how they generate repeatable sales lead sources.

Newsletters

eMag Solutions‘s newsletter is a major lead-generator for this innovative provider of data center solutions. The secret, according to Trey Wilkins, director of marketing, is keeping content 80 to 90 percent informative. Data center managers and personnel regard the newsletter as an indispensable resource. Frequently updated content gives the company good placement on the search engines as a bonus.

Typically, each newsletter generates a 60 percent CTR from eMag’s 3,700 U.S. and U.K. subscribers. Out of that universe, 5 percent become qualified leads.

In addition to containing product information, tips, and industry news, the newsletter tells eMag readers of upcoming trade shows where the company will exhibit and offers free exhibit passes that can be accessed online. By helping conference producers generate additional traffic, eMag usually enjoys an added benefit: better page placements in print conference programs.

Currently, the company is working to add blogs to which customers and developers can relate their own eMag product experiences. Another future enhancement is the addition of articles from outside experts, adding third-party perspectives while further increasing the credibility of information presented in the newsletter.

Wilkins advises businesses to always archive past newsletters on their Web site. He’s found he can trace many leads back to his own archive, which many potential clients regard as a research tool.

Preferred Customer Cards

Another way to generate leads and expand your database is to offer a preferred customer card. Cyber-NY developed such a program for a securities systems company, explains Account Manager Kevin Fitzpatrick. On- and offline promotions offered a limited-time, 5 percent discount to prospects who signed up for the card.

For this particular client, text works better than HTML email, according to Fitzpatrick. He feels when some prospects see HTML, the reaction is “it’s an ad” and they mentally click off.

Starbucks Gift Cards

One incentive we’ve used in our own business is offering free Starbucks gift cards to marketing professionals who pass our Successful Events newsletter along to colleagues. It’s an easy way to grow a database, both within client organizations and with new prospects. Expanding our subscriber base at client companies is good “attrition insurance.” When our day-to-day contacts move on to other positions, their replacements or colleagues hopefully have already gotten acquainted with us and will want to continue the relationship.

For the holidays, Starbucks offers its gift cards in winter-themed formats, which it’ll personalize. It’ll even address the envelope. For last-minute shoppers, it may not be too late to get on board.

On that happy note, we wish you all a happy holiday season. Since our column falls on New Year’s Day, we’ve got time off to celebrate. Look forward to the first column of 2003 on January 15!

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