B2B entrepreneurs, lead generation is not enough
- by: Vladimir Blagojevic
If you’re a niche B2B entrepreneur, you already know: you need to continuously build and nurture your network and generate leads, to regularly win high-value projects. The problem is, the way lead generation is done today is fundamentally broken.
PART I: LEAD GENERATION IS AN INCOMPLETE PROCESS
Because we live in the midst of another gold rush.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, gold was discovered in California. Masses of would be miners rushed to the unspoiled lands, lured by the promise of getting rich quickly. And while many did find gold, many more have died in the process, including 80% of native American population wiped out over the next twenty years.
The Gold Rush also had a severe environmental impact. Rivers became clogged with sediment; forests were ravaged to produce timber; biodiversity was compromised and soil was polluted with chemicals from the mining process.
But not all leads are created equal
Most of the people I spoke to were seasoned entrepreneurs with products or services that create high value for their customers.
Despite 7000+ startups promising to automate your sales and marketing and double or triple your results...
Despite the seemingly endless ‘lead generation systems’ sold to you from your Facebook feed using false scarcity and other high-pressure, manipulative techniques...
Despite a seemingly endless stream of books with similar promises...
Despite all the advertising agencies and all the lead-gen companies ready to jump on your email or LinkedIn account and start the numbers game...
Despite it all, our experienced B2B entrepreneurs remain frustrated with the results of their lead generation efforts
Not targeted, wrong contacts
“we end up with wrong contacts, without budget nor authority to decide”
“we generated almost 2000 leads via our blog, but most were not the decision-makers in the companies we target”
“Many are curious, but it’s a struggle to bring them from being interested to really buy”
“It’s so hard to get someone to sign up for a demo, and then most sign-ups don’t show up”
“Once meeting is done, we follow up, but they never get back”
The way lead generation is being done is fundamentally broken
The worst part?
If you are delivering a high value service to your clients and doing your best to create value every step of the way, why would you treat your prospects differently?
Any of those contacts could potentially spend hundreds of thousands with you, refer you five new valuable clients and help you learn and develop your services.
It’s hard enough as it is to earn your future client’s respect and trust. Why do things that erode trust from the very first contact?
This is especially problematic for niche B2B services and software companies
Because many niche B2B service and software businesses fall into a category of the so-called credence goods:
In the middle of the nineteenth century, gold was discovered
A credence good is a type of good with qualities that cannot be observed by the consumer before purchase, making it difficult to assess its utility.
They need to trust that you will be able to help them achieve the desired results, but also that you are honest and have their interest at heart.
That’s why lead generation is failing you: generic mass outreach, salesy messages, manipulative tactics, asking for the sale (or a call) before you have identified the client has a need, and before you have shown your value or built up any rapport... these all serve to erode trust.
So the question becomes: What should B2B entrepreneurs do instead?
WINNING CLIENT’S TRUST IS NOT A “NUMBERS GAME”.
IT’S ABOUT PEOPLE.
IT’S ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS.
In order to regularly generate quality sales opportunities, win more deals and work with better clients who value your expertise, you need to shift your focus away from ineffective lead generation.
You need to stop thinking about it as a numbers game.
You need to focus on building trust with your current and your future clients.
But what does that mean concretely?
The four R’s of client trust
In their book ‘How clients buy’, Tom McMakin and Doug Fletcher claim that trust can only be transferred to clients through referrals, reputation and relationships.I would add one more: retention.
Doing your best work to create exceptional results and happy clients, who then come back for more, should be the foundation and your ongoing focus.
Creating happy clients is at the basis of another trust transferring activity: client referrals.
Referrals are the best, warmest prospective clients you can hope for. Spontaneous referrals are usually the most genuine, but that doesn’t mean you cannot do anything to stimulate them.
Unfortunately, referrals and retention are not always sufficient. You need to get known beyond that warm network.
Luckily, you still have the two other levers you can pull on:
Reputation — establishing yourself as a trustworthy authority in your niche
Relationships — building relationships with your past, current and future ideal clients. Relationships that add value and build trust, every step of the way
In the next part of this report, I’ll show you my three-part framework that you can use to “pull” on these strategic, trust-building levers.
PART II: HOW CAN B2B ENTREPRENEURS BUILD TRUSTING RELATIONSHIPS — AND TURN THEM INTO HIGH-VALUE CLIENTS?
Table of contents
1.1 Unique Positioning: how does it look like in practice?1.2 What is Unique Positioning?1.3 What does Unique Positioning consist of?1.4 Your Ideal Client Profile1.5 Your Category1.6 Your Positioning Story
STEP #2: BUILD RELATIONSHIPS THAT BRING YOU CLOSER TO YOUR IDEAL CLIENTS
2.1 Align your communication with the way buyers find, evaluate and buy niche products and services2.2 Start relationships on your clients’ terms2.3 Translate your unique insights into authority content
STEP #3: NURTURE WARM RELATIONSHIPS INTO QUALIFIED CONVERSATIONS
3.1 Qualify conversation-ready leads3.2 Start conversations with conversation-ready leads3.3. Nurture the leads not ready for conversations
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It contains a 3-step framework that B2B entrepreneurs can use in 2020 to build trusting client relationships at scale.
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