Three months ago, at the start of the new decade, marketers worldwide were readying themselves for a year of live events. Research had shown that events were pivotal in forming in-person connections with a digitally conscious world. Consequently, over 80% of lead generation businesses were expected to augment their event budgets in 2020.
A report compiled by Bizzabo Event Marketing, whose respondents span high-level marketers from firms such as Amazon, Porsche, DigiDay, and KPMG, shows just how high expectations were. Businesses would spend more on event technology and appraise their ROI and execution with crystal clear precision. More aggression, out of the box thinking, and investments were anticipated in the field as businesses doubled down on live events.
The Effects of COVID-19 Epidemic On Lead Gen Activities
Then the Coronavirus pandemic struck, and the ground began to shift. Marketing plans have been disrupted. The live events sector slated to grow by 39% this year was amongst the first to crumble. The virus declared an epidemic by the World Health Organization on March 11 has spread in most countries around the globe.
Economies are crashing, and the unkempt state of many health care systems has become all the more apparent. People are now segregated from their workplaces and modern living as the world knew it has radically transformed. It is transparent that the pandemic and its effects will be imprinted in the psyche of humanity for decades to come, just as events such as the 9/11 attacks or World War II are.
The virus is not only testing the resilience of the best equipped and modern health systems in the world, but it is also testing the adaptability of marketers. Many of them are currently feeling left out in the cold as public health organizations brand their services as non-essential.
Marketers Need to Adapt Fast!
And while it is true that this stage is set for health care workers, scientists, and to a great extent, toilet paper makers, it is not the time for marketers to hang up their boots. While the people in these careers should be appreciated, cheered, and applauded for their work at the front line, businesses cannot survive this onslaught without continuous lead generation.
Some companies that are quick to adapt say that new lead generation business conversations are happening every other day, despite the social distancing and self-isolation measures in place. More businesses, in conjunction with their lead gen services partners, are strengthening their focus on fresh lead generation ideas.
Below are a few ways that lead generation partners can help marketers put a finger on growth opportunities despite the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic on various lead generation activities.
Use Your Lead Generation Partner’s Database for Prospecting
A lead generation database is the most precious and most obsessed over asset in marketing. Marketers are constantly stretching for diverse methods of filling their databases with fresh contacts. The coronavirus pandemic is keeping lead generation strategies such as live events and product trials out of reach.
Marketers using ads ad re targeting, email, social media, and blogs cannot approach their targeted leads with indifference. The psyche of the buyer has changed, and the strategies that worked last year have to evolve to match up to the current buyer sentiment.
It will not be as easy to expand your reach and add qualified leads into your database. Fortunately, you can forge strategic partnerships with lead gen vendors that unlock doors to new customers, markets, and audiences. This move will heighten your competitive positioning, and take your lead generation approach further than you could take it by your efforts.
This top-notch growth strategy will save you money also since you will be cost-sharing the co-marketing initiative. Growth-oriented businesses pre the epidemic were reaping close to 30% to 50% of their annual revenue from such partnerships.
By leveraging a partner’s database, you can prospect for new clients at lesser risk. To tap into the power of strategic partnerships for lead generation, first, define and assess your partnerships. Gauge their ability to contribute to lead generation basing your decisions on factors such as their database size, social following, promotion, marketing prowess, and ROI potential.
By leveraging your partner’s database, you can, for instance, conduct joint webinars or whitepaper publications. You can also use their database as a funnel for fresh qualified leads.
Use Their Intent Data to Know The Behaviors of Their Prospects In Current Situations.
Businesses leveraging the power of strategic partnerships can also use collective databases to mine for customer intent data. This type of customer data combine’s known factors about their online activities. The data could be topic in kind, highlighting factors such as websites that they visit when online.
Topic-based intent data can be first-party sourced. Such intent data includes both anonymous and behavioral customer information. IP address-based, pinpointing locations of the customers visiting web platforms is a form of anonymous intent data. Behavioral first-party intent data can include data points sourced from filled forms on marketing automation software.
Intent data can also be anonymous or known behavioral third party data. Third-party behavioral data is collected from diverse websites and availed to marketers by vendors. Additionally, intent data can be contextual, giving a deeper meaning to the customer in question.
Use your partner’s intent data to save costs and time by ensuring that you only connect with leads that have the right buy signals. Lead intent data is perfect for lead nurturing and nascent personalization. The best partnership databases should offer lead intent data with deep context. The data offered should additionally deliver quick wins and allow scaling to more sophisticated data use cases in the future.
Align Your Inside Sales Team With Outbound SDR For Lead Nurturing
Some businesses have marketing strategies that silo sales development teams into outbound only reps and inbound only reps. The work done by inbound and outbound sales development reps (SDRs) is quite distinct. The inbound SDR will only pursue warm leads after lead generation strategies have borne fruit.
Various strategies such as contact form or landing page submissions and contact information gained from outward marketing are good sources of warm leads. Warm leads have some interest or knowledge in a brand, a factor that can also manifest via hand-raising customer gestures such as content downloads.
These leads are generally more interested in your product than cold leads are. The outbound SDR or outsource SDR teams chases down cold leads by making the first contact. Your partner’s database can, for instance, generate many cold leads with specific buyer personas.
Generating interest in cold leads is never an easy task. The probability of cold calls turning into an appointment is as low as 2%. Fortunately, outward SDRs deal with hundreds if not thousands of prospects. A 2% response can produce high-value deals.
Outbound SDR runs inbound marketing bringing more leads to your sales funnel. The ongoing pandemic has made the challenging outbound marketing more difficult for an outbound SDR. In isolation, both teams are bound to feel as if they are chasing disparate goals.
Truth is both inbound, and the outbound SDR has the same goal. You should ditch the siloed structure for an all bound or hybrid team. This will ensure long term scalability, better relationships with leads, plus precise performance tracking.
An acute lack of hybrid SDR team collaboration is starting to show as customer personas evolve under the effects of the pandemic. Buyer motivations are changing due to intensified uncertainty and fear. Simple A/B tests will not counter validity threats that undermine the quality of the information now channeled to customers.
The outlook that customers had in January, for instance, has changed, meaning that the same offers will not bring in the same results. All bound teams need to collaborate and build new customer journeys and landing pages that respond to the ongoing crisis in the buyers’ psyche. An all bound team will measure, scale, and share their expertise better aligning your lead generation engine.
Go Digital With The Help Of Your Partner Ad Programs
The savvy marketer has now noticed that most customers have a new set of challenges and questions. As an illustration, they want to understand how the pandemic affects the delivery of products. Others want to understand first if the service or product offered can be utilized remotely.
These issues need to be addressed by the evolving customer journey. Changes are happening as more professionals take up remote work setups, and social media use skyrockets. Studies by Vodafone show that internet use has risen by over 50% across Europe.
Video content providers like Netflix and YouTube have pledged to halt the streaming of HD content to unburden the internet. Lead gen services partner Ad programs can bring unique benefits such as expanded exposure bounced off by the partner’s recognizability.
Your business will also gain more trust and reliability and enjoy a cost-effective ad solution as more businesses scale back their advertising budgets.
The marketing scene has changed, and personalization of lead generation strategies is now more important than ever. To help you cut through the noise, ally with lead gen vendors to access data that will yield more insight into your prospects. Data is the key that will grant you passage to what makes the client tick in the age of the COVID-19 epidemic.