By: Sam The phrase “lead generation” evokes images of stacks of business cards, shaken from the pockets of unsuspecting marketing teams at conferences. This process was once followed by endless cold-calling to try to reach the purchasing department to pitch your product. In B2B selling, this painstaking technique can be even worse when you consider the barriers that larger firms (sometimes conglomerates) put up to ward off the throngs of salespeople trying to pitch them. Hard-selling, cold-calling, and direct marketing may be the all-day, everyday specials at some companies, but a much more effective way to generate leads is with content that drives inbound marketing. In fact, while you aren't doing this, your competitors are, and they are reaping huge benefits. Content creates a sales environment that informs and vets potential customers so that the salesforce can focus on closing deals based on valuable leads, rather than on generating those leads in the first place. No matter the format of the content – white paper, survey results, infographics, presentations, blogs, vlogs, case studies– the main purpose must be to inform and educate your customer. Providing prospects with information that is relevant and detailed establishes trust and positions you as a credible provider of the product or service you are offering. Once you create these pieces of information, link to them on your website and blog. Additionally, consider offering your expertise to media outlets that accept contributed articles from guest authors. Metis Co-Founder Cathy Caldeira, in a recent MarketingProfs article, said, “Contributing content isn't about direct sales; it's about positioning yourself, your colleagues, and your business as industry thought leaders. The benefits of getting this high-value tactic right are many. You'll gain authority in your market, you'll improve your search engine optimization (SEO), and you'll spark conversations that can generate leads.” In this age when any piece of information is simply a click away, to sell your offering, you first need to sell yourself. Wouldn't you like to purchase things from people who know what they're talking about?
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