Top Lead Gen Lessons Learned in 2018 and What We Expect to Happen in 2019

Posted by Pat Henseler in B2B Lead Generation & Sales Insights, LinkedIn Marketing Insights

Every year, while we continually stick to what we know works, we definitely see advances in technology, in marketing techniques, in business growth factors in general.

As we approach 2019, now is a good time to reflect on what we’ve learned this year, and based on those experiences and where we see the trends headed for next year. We have three predictions when it comes to lead generation for businesses in 2019.

LinkedIn Lead Gen

As experts in cutting-edge lead generation tactics, we continually look to refine our approach to LinkedIn when trying to generate high-ticket appointments for our clients.

Lesson Learned: Groups Are More Important Than Ever

Every day we use LinkedIn for outbound campaigns designed to build relationships with high-ticket prospects or paid ad campaigns (more on that below), and while we’re constantly learning how to improve our efforts, some of the biggest changes we’ve noticed this year revolve around one key idea: building authority.

Before I get into the why’s and how’s of this year’s changes or next years prediction, here is some context. A key step to any lead generation campaign worth its weight is to build authority and gain the trust of your potential clients. Without putting an emphasis on trust and authority, you’ll limit your results.

One of the main ways we build instant authority is through communities. If you start a relationship with your prospects coming from the position of a resource or a leader of a community that is exactly for people like them, you’ll immediately be positioned above all the other vendors in your prospect’s inbox each day.

Because you are the one managing a community for them and bringing others like them together.LinkedIn Groups are an excellent platform to build authority and while the tactics for how you manage the group may change based on changes the platform implements, which LinkedIn made changes to this year, (this applies even if you’re not using LinkedIn)…but the core of having authority is still necessary to long-term success.

This year's changes:

  1. Notifications for Group Conversations are coming back. This is a very helpful update because now you have the ability to respond faster to people in your group when you’re notified about responses to conversations. And your members will be reminded of ongoing conversations in your group. Don’t ask me why LinkedIn didn’t allow this for the past couple years…but the good news is that notifications are on their way back.

  2. Conversations from Groups are back in your newsfeed. Also very helpful, it’s just so much easier to see everything in one spot, so you don’t even have to leave the LinkedIn newsfeed in order to stay current in your group. And more importantly this means your prospects will see your content right on their newsfeed. Building more authority and familiarity by letting them stay up-to-date on everything going on.

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Predictions: LinkedIn Groups Continue to Make a Comeback

For these reasons, we believe that LinkedIn Groups will definitely make a comeback in their engagement in 2019.

  1. Due to those changes, LinkedIn has made it clear that group/community growth is a major focus for them. This is huge, with Microsoft’s backing, LinkedIn’s focus on groups is very telling as to what’s really important to businesses.

  2. More and more people are focused on building trust and relationships before going for the sale. In fact, UCLA professor Matthew Lieberman, one of the founders of social cognitive neuroscience has collected the research that shows that the need for connection (and inherently trust) is just as important as food and shelter to our survival.He also suggests that our institutions — schools, sports teams, the military, health care institutions, and of course businesses — would perform better if they were structured with an understanding of our social nature.This is why businesses who do NOT focus on TRUST and CONNECTION in their marketing are missing out on the key to long-term success. Groups are a great tool to help you do this.

  3. As a positioning tool, you need to position yourself the right way…that means focus on what your prospects care about…not just what you do. LinkedIn Groups not only provides you with an opportunity to do this but to also research and get feedback on what is really important to your prospects.

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Paid Traffic

The past couple of years have taught us a lot about what makes a successful ad campaign, how to target the right people (the high-quality targets that will really make a difference) and how to create high-ticket sales opportunities direct from ads.

Lesson Learned: Simplify and Squeeze Every Last Drop Out of Your Paid Traffic

  1. Simplify. This year we’ve really focused on cutting out any unnecessary complications within our funnels. We’ve streamlined our process and tried to cut out the things that take extra time, energy, money, and effort without a guarantee on performance. You might even say we’re “anti-funnel” because as we’ve seen first-hand this year, you need to focus on what drives your business forward. And that means focusing your paid traffic on how to quickly generate the appointment or meeting.If everything is focused on this goal – on what really matters – your marketing is more streamlined. You can implement better systems and you can have more time for other projects. When you apply this to your ads, we’ve found that this is THE best way to get sales appointments at scale without wasting money or time.

  2. If you are paying a premium to reach a premium/high-ticket audience – you should be sure to use everything in your arsenal to get them on the phone. In other words, use a multi-faceted approach, in combination with the ad campaigns including email follow-ups, phone calls, and more in order to get the appointment scheduled to discuss your services.

Predictions

As LinkedIn ads continue to evolve and mature, we expect to see better targeting and campaign management capabilities. We predict that social media ads will continue to be a great source of highly targeted leads for small businesses, yes even for B2B businesses and business selling high-priced offers via consultations, strategy sessions, and sales appointments.

You just need to constantly look for the most logical direct path to an appointment with your paid traffic.

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Email Marketing

Even though many people have seen declining open rates and get less response these days, email is still another excellent tool for lead generation.

Lesson Learned: Follow-Up

We’ve had agency clients sign up with us years after first coming across us. This is directly correlated with our ability to stay top of mind and provide consistently high-quality value. In your own marketing, if you can continue to stay persistent and provide value (this is key!) while building the relationship – you’ll win out in the long run.

Chet Holmes explains why follow-up is so important:

In his book, Ultimate Sales Machine he breaks down the Demand Gen Pyramid. His experience finds that only 3% of your market is in the “buying now” mode.

An additional 6-7% of prospects are “open to it.” We’re talking about 10% of your market –which are likely the prospects who said ‘Yes’ to your initial request for a phone call.

The Demand Gen Pyramid – Courtesy chetholmes.com

But, there's another 60% who are either “not thinking about it” or “don’t believe they are interested” (just don’t know it yet). These are the ones you want to think about after you’ve attempted to get them into a conversation.

These are the ones that, over time and through learning more, will eventually move into that top 10%. Your goal is to stay top-of-mind and be the “informer,” so that when they’re ready to buy, it’s you they think of.

This is why follow-up is essential and if you’re not doing this, you’ll miss out on clients next year.

Prediction

As the inbox gets more and more crowded, it becomes harder and harder to win attention through email. This is exactly why “warmer”, more personal email continues to win out. This means that as you focus on building relationships and trust, showing some humanity along the way (no one wants to hear from cold, corporate entities), your list will be more responsive. This is how you win the inbox and that’s why newsletters and “big box’ senders’ results continue to decline.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this year’s theme has been simplify, simplify, simplify. While we definitely use tools and even funnels (they do have their time and place) that is NOT our main focus anymore.

Our focus has been ONE thing: sales appointments. We do only what is absolutely necessary to get those sales appointments and we’ve seen the results. We use tools like LinkedIn Groups, social media ads (LinkedIn and Facebook) and email to build trust, earn the attention of our prospects by providing resources and value, and stay top of mind so that when our leads are ready to buy, they know who to go to.

And right now, before the new year hits, is the time to set the stage for your success next year. If you’d like to know exactly how our clients are getting high-quality leads all year long, and what our approach would look like for your business, schedule a free Rocket Launch Session.

This is a 30-45 minute call where we dive into your lead gen process, plug up holes in your pipeline, and show you the solutions we offer and discuss if it would be a good addition to your marketing arsenal.


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