Where Do B2B Leads For Tech Companies Come From? – In Discussion
In conversation with Nick Horton and Jeremy Balius, discussing the value of contact databases for B2B tech companies.
Topics covered include:
- What are some examples of B2B lead sources?
- How to discuss investing now vs investing for future
- Working out where to drive efficiencies
- How to get started with lead acquisition channel focus
- Your website is the most important marketing asset
- The importance of live events and webinars
- The process of lead source measurement
- Partner generated lead sources
- The need for experimenting with lead sources
- Vendor directories as lead source
- And so much more!
Click play to watch the discussion or read the transcript below.
Transcript of Nick & Jeremy's discussion on "Where do B2B leads for tech companies come from?"
Jeremy: Hey Nick. We hear from a lot of business leaders that when they’re ready to start generating demand or pursued lead generation, that leads just need to start flowing. But the reality is that there’s only a few specific sources that leads can come from. Let’s unpack what those sources are.
What are some of the most common lead sources in B2B tech space that you see?
Nick: Yeah. Great. Thanks, Jeremy. This is such an interesting topic because as you say quite often the message from sales or leadership to marketing is, Hey, just get us some leads. And there’s no magic to it.
It’s a science. And there’s only a certain number of ways that we can actually find those leads. Some of the top ones that we typically see from your own database. It’s usually a great source of leads or a great source of prospects that you can turn into leads. Then we’ve got your website.
Your website should be attracting visitors from a whole range of areas. We can get into that. And then you can. I’ve turned them into a lead by getting them to fill in a form or doing some other action on your site. So your website’s also a great form of leads. Then moving out from there we can be spending some money.
We can be looking at, do we want to be attending events? Do we wanna be sponsoring events, getting a booth that gives us the opportunity to talk one-on-one with leads in person. Do we wanna spend money on advertising? Is that Display advertising, digital advertising via LinkedIn or Google or even Bing nowadays or more traditional advertising through tv, through billboards, et cetera, et cetera.
So they’re the main areas that we see. And then there’s the sort of the human generated activities. So your salespeople networking, talking to Finding linkages, getting introduced into prospects that they’d like to speak with. And then also the digital networking that you can do through a platform like LinkedIn.
So there’s, there’s only a set number of sources that leads can come from. And I think the interesting part about this, and what I’d love to understand more from you, Jeremy, is you know, now that we. Have identified what those lead sources are. How do we build plans to make sure that we’re getting value from all of those sources?
Jeremy: Yeah. It’s so interesting to unpack this because there’s only specific ways that prospects can find you or for your teams to go and source prospects and leads, and yet there just seems to be this disparity within companies that they are doing everything possible. You just need to go.
Get us leads, go find us leads. And there isn’t really a thought process that connects that need with where they specifically can come from. Yeah. In addition to all those sources that you said, there’s there’s also partner referrals, there’s ecosystem referrals, there’s vendor referrals.
Ideally that’s what every partner wishes they could get more of. Yeah. But. For some reason there’s this, Hey, just go get us leads mentality. Yeah. Yeah. And and so I love this conversation around There are only specific sources that they can come from and how are we going to invest our time and budget into any one of those.
Nick: And I think that, when there’s that, hey, just go and get leads. There’s also a parallel track there that it’s actually like a free activity. It shouldn’t really cost too much because obviously, you can spend time studying on LinkedIn. Find people on LinkedIn, send them a message or an email or connection request, or you can register to go to trade shows or you can be asked to be introduced to people.
So there is always an aspect of free leads, although is your people’s time free? Probably not. But I think the what would some, sometimes the struggle. Not the struggle, but the harder conversations that you have to have are we’ve got a limited budget and we’ve only got a set number of lead sources, so what do we invest where?
And we also know that some leads take longer than others, or some activities take longer than others to start generating leads. How do you have that conversation about balancing that invest for now, invest for later? How do you get that balance?
Jeremy: Yeah, that’s so good because the, where do we start question is so common particularly when lead sources predominantly tend to be some form of outbound.
There’s cold calling happening on the SDR side. Yeah. Perhaps there’s cold outreach happening from a email marketer or from an agency that’s brought in. But that tends to be the total amount of sources and everything else doesn’t really have the attribution within a company.
Or they don’t have the capability or the the knowledge to understand how to structure attributing where these are all coming from. Yeah. So the question where do we start is really challenging because all of the sources are great. Lead sources, but what do we invest in? And as you rightfully pointed out, each of those takes time.
So if we’re gonna invest in the website to garner more organic inbound prospects over time, that’s not gonna unlock leads by tomorrow. No. Whereas other activities do. So that becomes a negotiation structure around how are they going to invest now for the future versus what activities can take place that will have a time to impact, to start delivering results in a more shorter term.
Nick: Yeah. And you have to do I was gonna say both, but you have to do more than one, don’t you? Because ultimately you want to be working out what’s going to be the best lead source in terms of an ROI or the salespeople’s ability to turn that into a prospect and then turn that into a sale and.
You need to be therefore pulling multiple levers to be able to work. To be able to have a comparison is a organic lead. Delivering a greater ROI than a paid lead is a event lead converting more quickly than inbound website visitor. So you need to be doing more than one activity to start to get some comparisons and work out where you can drive your efficiencies.
Should you always be able to attribute a lead to a lead source?
Jeremy: That is such a good question because it is…
Nick: That’s why I asked it of you rather than trying to answer it myself.
Jeremy: Yes and no. On the one hand we. We definitely see an obsession of wanting to be so granular on every prospect and lead in the first instance, because it might be the first time an organization’s investing demonstrably into their marketing or their demand gen, and so they’re going to keep that budget accountable to a degree that is beyond anything else that’s managed in the business.
Yeah. And it’s. And there’s a desire to have a direct correlation between any dollar that’s spent and the return that’s that’s coming back into the business without any consideration around longer term impact without any consideration on investment in brand and and expansion of awareness and overall reach and how that takes a much longer time to come back into the business.
But includes a return of shorter sales cycles. Yeah. Or a trust. A trust is elicited much quicker as a result of there already being knowledge around the solutions and the pain points. Having already completed research online. On your offer upfront. But at the same time, there are ways to get some attribution in in some sources.
But as we’re starting to get a better understanding of the way that B2B buyers are researching the attribution links break because people are converting on an ad, on a LinkedIn ad on their phone, but they’re actually then signing up on their desktop. Yeah. And immediately the app attribution breaks.
They might be listening to your podcast or watching an on demand webinar. That’s ungated. This trust and all this engagement with your content is happening over time by the time they reach out. They’re ready to buy, they’re ready to have a conversation. But you can’t link that back to all those investments.
So yeah, it’s a hard conversation in 2023.
Nick: I guess you ultimately, you just have to look at the top line, don’t you? How many. How many leads did we get? How well did we convert them? What was the ROI on the total activity? And and focus on that. Although of course there is some activities like a ad campaign that you can probably more directly attribute value to.
But yeah, as you say, someone watches an on-demand webinar because they saw an ad that you ran on LinkedIn that they didn’t click on. And someone mentioned, or shared a video clip with them or whatever it may be. It’s really hard to do that. Is that where dark social comes in?
How does that work?
Jeremy: Yeah. Dark social is the term that encapsulate or now encapsulates prospects or individuals understanding or coming to find your brand and engaging with your content in ways that just can’t be linked anymore. It’s, yeah. It’s much broader than what some people are calling digital.
Word of mouth. Yeah. It’s bigger, it, there’s more more content that is accessible. I think dark social is a buzz phrase right now, but it, I think it it’s aptly used in the context of demand generation as, as organizations are getting a better understanding of how how well demand gen contributes to their sales cycles.
Nick: Yeah, and I guess it’s, and I dunno whether this is where the term came from, but it’s in Planetary physics, they talk about dark matter. There’s something that that cause of the impact that it’s having on other bodies or other matter, they can, they know, that there’s something there but you can’t see it.
You can’t measure it. But it seems like there is something there. And I guess dark socials the same. We are getting positive results from our activity whatever it may be. We feel that there’s something that’s driving that, but we can’t exactly measure what it is. It’s something dark.
It’s something that isn’t a form fill. Download a white paper, attend a webinar sale type process.
Jeremy: Totally. Yeah. And it’s a journey to get to that point. Definitely not something that we would want to introduce or even talk about with organizations that are still trying to get a structured go to market in place and Yeah.
Are communicating in a in a rhythmic way to their chosen audiences. So yeah, dark social is something that we would want to introduce at a much later time. And so
Nick: I guess, and just unpacking that, I guess what you’re saying is there’s, depending on the, I don’t know whether we wanna say maturity, but let’s say the marketing stance or posture of of the company, it that will then depend on where they make their investments.
Won’t it. If you’re getting started, you’re probably wanting to be focusing on activities that are going to. Give you some results, but also start giving you some data. Whereas as you become more experienced and run more campaigns, you’re going to want to understand the full range of levers to pull.
Getting started, okay, let’s run some digital ads. Let’s see what happens when those v when those the people that interact with the ad hit our website or interact with some of our content. What happens next? And keep it quite simple, gather some data. Okay? Then maybe let’s try a different digital ad channel so that we can compare.
Whereas more mature organizations are really gonna be wanting to, okay, we’re gonna invest longer term in organic traffic. We’re gonna make sure that we are optimizing journeys on our website. We’re gonna be we’re gonna use digital advertising, but just for when we can see, Troughs, let’s say in our in our pipeline coming through.
And so you get that kind of balance. And I guess that’s the stage where you really start thinking about, okay, let’s start doing activities that we know are not gonna drive a specific lead outcome, but are going to create that dark impact that’s gonna contribute to the success of all of our programs.
Jeremy: Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. It’s so important though within all of this to recognize that the most critical investment out of all is your own website. And the website needs to be the core hub that all of these fringe activities to go out and reach and find prospects and to bring them back somewhere.
Yeah. The website is the most critical hub to bring them back to because it’s a year owned. Platform. It’s where you are able to attract and convert. Yeah. It’s where you are in control of your value proposition and all of your differentiation messaging. It’s where you are displaying your content and are able to track activities in a way that you.
Oftentimes can’t elsewhere. So that unfortunately unpacks a whole range of other issues because then you’re getting into technical components. Yeah. You’re getting into seo, you’re getting into other advertisings sources and channels to bring people to your site. But you’re often telling me in the campaigns that you’re leading with partner marketing programs that live activities tend to produce incredible lead results.
Tell me a little bit more about that.
Nick: Yeah, I think, and when you say live activities, I presume you’re talking about events and in person webinars Yeah. And webinars. Yeah. It’s really interesting. I think. It’s, you need to be careful about thinking about what phase of the, the demand generation process we’re focusing on.
And to me, a webinar or a face-to-face meeting should be at the lower point in the funnel. Obviously people can come straight in. But we definitely find, especially if someone has has got a good database that they’ve been. Managing and maintaining or regularly communicating with, then you are gonna get great conversions off a webinar.
It gives you the ability to for you to put a face to your business. It gives you the ability to put some really targeted messaging around your capability to deliver A reliable solution that solves the business challenge that the that the prospect has. So we find that webinar leads convert really well, but I think it would, I think you wouldn’t want to be having your demand generation just dependent on webinars.
They definitely have a role. But, they’re definitely for, to me for bottom of the funnel. It depends. Oh, sorry. I was gonna say it, depends on the instance as well. One of the I mean there’s, I think over the past sort of three or four years, everyone’s got webinar fatigue a little bit.
So there’s some things you can do, like shorter webinars, which can be more digestible and therefore can be higher up the funnel. I think which won’t convert as well as that live in person event where, people can interact through q and As and things like that. But we’ve also seen turning webinars evergreen.
Taking a recording of them and then just having them as part of your demand generation funnels is really effective as well. It does, there is, there’s something about just being able to sit down with some headphones in giving the screen some attention. That automatically I think, puts the participants in a space where they’re.
They’ve made the commitment to attend and so they’re really gonna be much more receptive to the information as opposed to seeing a, a glimpsed article on your website or scrolled through a, an ad or some other communication on LinkedIn. You just have to, that has to be operating at a much greater scale.
And yeah. And then obviously The other part of live is actually in person, whether that be through events or seminars or, lunch and learns and that sort of interaction. They are great. They’re a great source of leads. Again, I. You’ll tend to find, I think that even if you haven’t been nurturing the lead, if you’re gonna get some details through one of those interactions, they’re probably gonna be on their own buyer’s journey.
Fairly well progressed. But I think it’s really important that with those leads that you generate through the in-person events, you don’t just grab a business card and put it in the back pocket. Ideally be communicating with them straight away, have your have an email set up that just says, Hey, it was great to meet with you today.
Just to confirm, here are my contact details. Really love to book on that coffee. That can be direct from the salesperson or the person. At the event. Or it can be something you can automate through like a HubSpot Sales Pro license to build a sequence around it, for instance.
Those events those lead sources are great as well, but you need to be jumping on them straight away. And they are, they’re ready to go ready for a conversation. So you need to make it easy for that to happen as soon as possible. Anyway, sorry. I’ve been going on a bit much about that.
The other thing that I wanted to ask about is, and we touched on it before, is how do you advise clients to balance their marketing investment over the different lead sources?
Jeremy: That is a great question and it’s down to process. First off, it’s about understanding what’s been happening before.
Yeah. The usual request is bring us net new leads. That’s all we want. Yeah. Yeah. As we unpack lead sources in the context of a marketing and sales process within a business, something we often find is that there’s untapped lead sources already in the business. Something that I think is incorrectly attributed is that marketing’s entire focus is on net new.
Yeah. And what. Is often missed within organizations is that the process of engaging lead sources already in the business either hasn’t been done in a a constructed way that is repeatable or sustainable. Often it’s been a one-off type communications or it’s been various individuals salespeople or SDRs in the business, just going into a database and cherry picking and hunting.
Yeah. But there hasn’t been this sustained process of ongoing engagement and therefore the the prospects within a database might be just as cold as strangers out there in the ether. Yeah. And understanding what’s been happening in the first instance and then looking to build out if the database is a actionable, valuable tool for leads.
We need to invest in a better way to engage. Them. Yeah. And to understand where they might potentially be in understanding of their own pain points and understanding of solutions in the market that are available to them. Understanding whether they’re already doing research about solving those pain points and Yeah.
And because they’ve already had some form of awareness and they must have come from somewhere to enter the database. The then that the the action then would be looking to implement a way to engage them again or in a m in a more structured way to nurture them. So even with what you were just talking about, what I really picked up.
That I thought was so valuable is how critical the database is Yeah. In those scenarios of webinars or live events and how impactful it can be. Yeah. To encourage the the attendance to these events. And that tends to be under-resourced or undervalued in businesses and, yeah. We recently spoke about the value of databases, and we’ll link to that video in the description to this video.
But We find that in building process there are untapped opportunities within database where there just wasn’t awareness. And because of the lack of awareness, it’s just seen as the the priorities seen as we need to go out and and find net new prospects.
Nick: Yeah. Yeah. And I think it.
Quite often when I get introduced to new clients, I’ll ask about Do they have a database? Yeah, we’ve got a great database. Yeah. Yeah. We’ve definitely got a database. So I was like, last, when was the last time you communicated with them? We used to run a newsletter, keeping the database fresh is definitely a key part of it.
The other thing that, that I find is that the database just , tends to be seen as this big amorphous mass of undiscovered value, if you like. And it’s actually. I think a lot of the value really just comes from classifying the database, how did people get into your database in the first place?
Did you meet in an event did they subscribe to did they fill out a form on your website? Did they consume some content for, from that you published? Did they fill in a form on LinkedIn, for instance, if you’re running a campaign like that did they come in for a referral, whatever it may be?
Even the sources of leads should have different journeys and we’ll probably be looking for different communications from you. And so actually being able to do some classification on your database is a great way to start to unlock some value. The other thing and I just mentioned it there, which we haven’t talked about so far, is referrals.
That can be an amazing source of leads. It can also be a. A source that gets invested in a lot but doesn’t actually deliver the results all the time. I know that you’ve had some experience of actually helping to set up referral programs. What are some, I don’t know, best practices or great ways to make sure that they are delivering good quality leads?
Jeremy: Referral programs can be the best source of leads depends on the type of referral program. The partner programs that we work in that are either in a channel or in an ecosystem. There’s this There’s this belief that by being a participant in the channel or by aligning oneself with a vendor or within other partner ecosystems, that the leads will just flow and there’s dismay when they don’t, and.
And then also for businesses that are looking to build referral programs with like-minded business leaders who are non-competitive, but who might be in a tech stack and you might co-deliver or co-sell, you’re looking for opportunities to, to co-market or or get referrals. The most common scenario is let’s invest all this time to agree on the relationship that we’re going to refer.
Yeah. And then that’s it. Yeah. Yeah. And it, that doesn’t work. Yeah. And it’s pretty widely known that it doesn’t, and yet it continues to occur. So the partners who want leads from their vendors will never get them. Yeah. And the partners in a more informal sense, who might be in an ecosystem or because they’ve got an integration or something like that, they’re not getting referrals either because it’s in no one’s interest to refer onwards.
And we see businesses or partner teams look to structure some type of commission structure or some kind of referral agreement. Even that tends to not. Deliver or have the cogency to get them to act on it because they’re on the other side controlled by their own KPIs and their own pressures.
And the why would you refer onwards unless you’re in a structure where you’re just advising and you’re Part of a technology consulting firm or something like that. Yeah. That would make total sense. Or
Nick: I was gonna say, or I guess where you are completely partner focused that your sales only come through the partners.
Otherwise and we see this a lot with some of the vendors that we work with. They’re in this coating position where they’re like hey, we wanna create an ecosystem where you’re gonna be successful. But we are still gonna sell directly to your prospects. Balancing that out is really tough.
I think it’s also interesting to think about for referrals that they shouldn’t. I don’t think they should necessarily be an enduring part of a channel just talking about channel relationship, about a channel relationship for, let’s call it aligned industries or markets. Yet then they can definitely be a longer term part of it, but for a vendor that wants to maybe go into a new market or is launching a new product or service.
Then for them to be able to do the demand generation on the behalf of partners, I think it’s really important because it means that then the partners are gonna be focusing on implementation. They’re gonna be focusing on understanding why the product is gonna be successful, getting their confidence up with the ability of that product to be part of their portfolio and not really worry about.
Demand generation or the more top of the funnel messaging. I think that’s really important for that kind of new entry situation. But actually as you mature, you really want the partners themselves to be picking up that responsibility to be doing that heavy lifting themselves. Yes. That’s when you should transfer your investment as a vendor from.
To my generation to providing marketing development funds or market development funds. Whether that be, for whatever activities the partner wants to run. But I think it’s important to think about referrals in terms of that, just that market context. What are you trying to achieve in the market?
Are you trying to, prime the pump or. Is the market is the channel partnership operating well? Partners understand your product, then they’re really ready to take on that lead responsibility themselves because ultimately it’s a relationship that they will want to nurture with the prospect and with the customer.
Jeremy: That relationship is. Hard work. Yeah. And that is not often invested in. I love how you positioned the concept of vendors needing initially as part of a market entry or an expansion to be the provider of leads into the partner base. And Yeah, that’s really powerful. There’s nothing more powerful than having business come to you.
Yeah. From your vendor partner. With leads that are already qualified. Yeah. Already ready to buy. They just need the integrator, the partner to To make it live for them. Yeah. To integrate to build
Nick: process, offer the service and support and have the right pricing
Jeremy: structure, the networking and everything else.
That’s really powerful. And I love also the transition of as you are expanding within a market to then shift focus to the MDF investment. Yeah. And it would be, Even more powerful if that MDF investment came with delivery of all the doing as well. Yeah. Yeah. And rather than just handing over funds and letting them figure out how are they now going to be resourceful and self-sufficient and action, but have those funds come with the ability to, we are going to co-market, we are going to do X, y, Z over the coming quarter, couple of quarters.
Full financial year. This is how we’re going to grow together and ultimately be better together. Yeah. That then sets the scenario of, okay, we are going to shift more across to you as the partner gets better and more self-sufficient over time. Yeah. It’s pretty rare for that to
Nick: be the case. I agree. I agree.
And not to chi the vendors too much, but often there’s just a real lack of communication around. The, that there is gonna be, that transition, why that transition should take place and how the, how that support’s gonna happen. So I’ve heard a couple of times working with partners that they, they’re complaining about a vendor saying they used to provide us with leads and now we have to do it on ourselves.
And I’m like I’m sympathetic to that because obviously if someone’s giving me leads and I just need to get on the phone and book an appointment for my salesperson, that is an ideal situation. But at the same time as a as a channel partner, you, you are not just dependent on that one vendor.
You want to be providing a range of solutions to your customers. And in order to provide, in order to successfully get your customers to consume a range of solutions, you need to have the relationship with them. You don’t want the. Customer or client thinking I know I’ve got the relationship with the vendor and you just send me the bill.
You want to own that relationship. And it’s really by developing the demand yourself, by controlling those conversations, by leading the interaction with the prospects as they convert into customers. And then they consume more from you, that you’re actually gonna be really driving value out of that out of that activity.
Anyway. That’s a, that’s an interesting one. I think for channel partners to think about and for vendors to think about just how they structure that interaction and be consistent in their communication about what it means to do business with you. And that that there will be transitions, that depending on your maturity, things will change.
Jeremy: I wanna take us back to the topic that we were discussing previously around the lead sources in the context of B2B sales cycles being really long in the technology ecosystems that we’re in. Yeah. How important is the original lead source? The original source of where that prospect entered your sphere of knowledge, whether it’s your database or otherwise.
How critical actually is that when ultimately the buying cycle, sales cycles going to be 18, 24 months? And there’s gonna be multiple. Points of impact across that and ultimately once they’ve signed, there should be a defined process thereafter of the ongoing cross-sell upsell. Does the original lead source matter as much as people think it does?
Nick: I think, the answer to that is there’s no answer to that. It depends on your situation, and that’s why you need to. Experiment with lots of different lead source channels and get the data and be able to make the make the judgements based on, the information that you can derive from that.
But I think intuitively when we should be thinking about the concept of agency, if I’m. If I’m a business person and I have a a, a problem that I want to solve, or I’ve got a business challenge, or I’ve got a new target or a new customer group that I want to reach, and I need to get a solution to help do that, then I want to be in control of understanding.
The options. I want to be in control of assessing the criteria that are important for me and my business to be able to choose a solution provider. And so this idea of agency, of taking control of the buying journey yourself as a buyer, I think is important. And so to me, Leads that you get through organic are gonna be more are more valuable in that instance because they’re representative of someone doing research effectively.
Someone has gone to a search engine to ask a question whether that might be, what are the players in this market, or how do I do this? Or who are the competitors to this firm, whatever that might be going to a search engine. Asking a question, doing some research to me says that as a buyer, you are, you’ve got agency.
You’re not reacting to an ad or a direct communication. They’re important as well, but you are you are in control of that journey. And just instinctively and this is not based on science. As I say, everyone’s situation’s different, but I think instinctively it’s really worth thinking about keeping the buyer.
Feeling like they’re in control of that of that interaction of that relationship. Ultimately, they’re the ones that are gonna be opening their wallet and paying for the service. And so they want to, you want to. Let them feel like they’re, that they’re in charge. And that’s why I think organic leads are best.
But look, this is just that’s very much my opinion. That’s not based on science. I don’t know what do you think, Jeremy?
Jeremy: I love organic leads because my favorite message to get from clients is when. Demos just appeared in sales teams’ calendars, and they had no awareness of these companies whatsoever.
And knowing what would’ve taken place prior to that in terms of the amount of content that was engaged with the amount of trust that it was already built and elicited over time for them to just organically book a demo Yeah. Is so powerful because it required no physical resource other than the smarts of developing the content in a way that was structured.
Yeah. For it to do this. But from the sales side, they’re showing up to present a demo. They’ve got data on. The prospect already via their marketing automation system or their crm. They’re ready to talk. They’re ready to go straight into value proposition and differentiation points without the whole introductory, without the whole positioning.
It shortens that cycle so radically. And that’s why I love organic too.
Nick: Yeah. And I think, it’s really important as well, like if. If you are, if you’re searching for, A product or a solution through a search engine, by its very nature, you are gonna be com you are gonna be presented with competitor offerings and you’ve probably included going to the competitor websites or reading an article about them as part of the process that you’re going through.
So if you are coming to my website and then as you say, converting into a demo or registering for a webinar, whatever it may be That is the pro, that is the end result of a process that’s probably involved a bit of time and it could be a lot of time actually understanding the dynamics of the market that you are operating in and the other options that are available in the market.
The leads that come through that source are qualifying themselves in a way.
Jeremy: Yeah. As well as being qualified by a structured demand gen process of content delivery. Yeah. It’s a beautiful thing when it works well.
Nick: Yeah. No, ab absolutely. Just thinking about thinking about websites obviously organic is the.
The, a great type of lead that you can get through your website. You can also have inbound leads that, come from content that you’re publishing and other activities. Or you can be bringing leads to your website. Do you think there should be different journeys on your website depending on the lead source?
Jeremy: Yes, there should. And your website needs to cater for the type of journey that they are likely to have been on prior to coming to your website. Yeah. It tends to be an over investment into your service or product pages. And those are critically important, but they aren’t always the first introduction into a site.
No. Same goes for the homepage. Homepage tends to be powerful because it’s the first instance that people might see if they’re coming from a social media company page or if they are clicking on a link from a press release that’s in a in a a publication or a trade media. But if they’re searching already, they’re generally.
Finding your site through other avenues. Yeah. And depending on the type of service or products that you’re selling you will be looking to add value to their journeys in different ways. Whether it’s by way of value adding contents that’s answering questions or you are delivering content based on search intents that prospects are already utilizing to find information and search engines and then having them arrive to the side either by way of pro Blog posts or by way of competitor comparison pages or other seo pillar pages or different types of content clusters that’s developed authority over time in search engines.
They need to be taken on a journey that’s eliciting trust, that’s answering questions. But yeah, ideally over time, getting some form of registration of interest or intent from them and recognizing that doesn’t happen immediately. Yeah. Someone might need to interact with your content.
Eight. 10, 12 times before they’re ready to even download something. And that download might not even mean that they’re a lead either. It’s just a informational report or or some form of middle funnel template or calculator or something like that you’ve provided. This con, this constant rush to just book meetings straight away, I think needs to dissipate.
Yeah. And allow them to come on a journey. Recognizing that where they came from means that they’re on different types of journeys. Yeah,
Nick: and I think that one of the things that I often see overlooked at, thinking about journeys on the website is if you’re getting referrals from vendor or from somewhere else, you almost want to have a a joined up journey that.
Yeah. And the classic example is all the vendors that we work with have on their website. Here are all the partners in your region or that support this solution from us or whatever it may be. And they’ll typically have a link to the website. To me, that is such a wasted opportunity because usually the link is just to the homepage.
Now, the homepage is meant to be for everybody for every site visit. You’re gonna be wanting to use the homepage to talk about who you are and. How you operate and what your values are and how you’re different. But, and there will be a journey aspect of the homepage, but if I’m coming from a vendor site, I’m looking I’ve visited the vendor site because I want to, purchase a solution that they sell and then they say you need to work with a partner, and here are the list of partners.
So go and find a partner. Having that landing page that’s specific to each vendor. I think is such a missed opportunity because it gives you the a great opportunity to say, you trust this vendor cause we know cuz you came from their website and we’ve won these awards from this vendor, or we’ve got these certifications from this vendor, or we’ve done this amount of training with this vendor, or we’ve, there’s a case study of a client that’s using this vendor’s software to to be more successful or to be more efficient, whatever it may be.
And see the landing page gives you a great opportunity to take a lot of value from all of the vendors brand investments and actually bring that benefit to yourself rather than going to the homepage, which is just all about you straightaway. And to me that’s a huge missed opportunity and it makes me wonder whether like you should have a landing page for every type of lead source should you be taking that mentality of how do we.
Bring people into our environment, into our website, through specific landing pages. Should you have a landing page every time you run a an email campaign that’s going out. Should you bring people into a landing page every time you run a digital ad campaign? Should that traffic be coming to a landing page rather than, oh, here’s our solution page, or here’s our homepage.
Jeremy: This is so awesome because what you’re really getting at here is looking to understand how do we go further in personalizing our content for the audience, and in what ways are we communicating our differentiation and value that we can offer as a result of having. Partnered with a particular vendor or, yeah.
As a result of specializing in a particular niche industry or vertical. The savvy marketers are already attaching a UTM code to fire an event in Google Analytics, so they’re understanding how many clicks that, or how many visitors to their website they’re getting from those sources. Yep. And I guess, From a lead source perspective, we would consider the vendor directory, the partner directory of the lead source at that point, even though technically speaking, the lead source would be some other type of search intent online and that they’re looking for a particular partner, but you’re totally right when the prospect has decided to out of all of the options in the directory to.
Visit your website, sending them to a page that is dedicated to specifically what makes your partnership with that vendor so valuable and powerful, that they cannot select anyone but you is a missed opportunity every time.
Nick: Yeah. So it’s, one of my p peeves, even a lot of partners that we see that have vendor pages, it’s just information about the vendor.
Yes. Now, someone’s already found out about the vendor by visiting the vendor’s website. When they’re coming to your website and looking at the vendor page, they wanna know about your relationship with the vendor. What are the products and services of theirs that you support, and why do you do it better than.
Anyone else in the partner directory. So yeah, that’s definitely a pet peeve of mine, that people think they’re doing the right thing, but they’re only going. So far, they’re not really going far enough to be able to really make the that opportunity more impactful or more successful as a lead source.
Jeremy: think it’s a lack of awareness? What do you think the lack of thought process around even having those dedicated pages, why is this missed so often?
Nick: I don’t know. I get the sense that sometimes the vendor will fund a page or even provide, effectively here’s HTML file, you can publish it on your website.
And vendors love talking about themselves and love talking about their products. And so that will typically be the content that they’ll provide for the page. And so I, I don’t, E everyone’s different, but sometimes it seems oh Cisco and VMware have provided us with content for partner pages from them, so we should probably do that with all of our vendors or the classic, Hey, we’ve got all of these rows of logos on our website.
What would happen if someone clicked on the logo? What should they do next? Should they just go straight to the vendor’s website? Maybe we don’t want. So lose that traffic. We don’t want them to leave our website yet, so let’s just put a page there so they can find out more about the vendor.
And so yeah, that’s I don’t know, again, not wanting to be critical. This is part of marketers evolution, I think as they think about the possibilities. But yeah, there’s a couple of sort of traps I think that people can fall into. They think they’re doing the right thing and they are to an extent.
The more content you publish, I think the more valuable your site will be. But just really thinking about the purpose of each. Page or bit of content that you publish is really important. The other thing is, I think sometimes there’s a perception that publishing landing pages is difficult, but certainly in our experience obviously you could do it in WordPress, but using a tool like a HubSpot or an active campaign which have great resources, as part of their as part of their solution to host landing pages to be able to.
Build journeys or automations around the traffic that you get from those landing pages means that it’s actually pretty straightforward. As you go through the setup of those tools to set in place a templates it can be a matter of 10 minutes to publish a landing page. It doesn’t need to be a long involved process.
I think that’s the other thing, tangential to this is if you choose the right tools, then you can actually make that activity. Pretty straightforward in terms of having it as part of something that a marketing manager or a digital marketing manager can easily manage
B2B lead sources, there’s no magical source out there. There’s specific channels that prospects and leads can come to you, but recommending the best to invest is dependent on where business leaders are at. Where the focus has been, what can they track and what have they been doing so far, would you say?
Nick: Yeah, look, I think that if we’re gonna talk in terms of magic, then organic leads to me are magical. The no one knows how it happens. Ultimately, the goo Google’s algorithm or Bing’s algorithm or whoever is proprietary to them. There is a bit of magic and mystery about it.
But essentially they are such powerful leads for the reasons that we’ve talked about. They’re intent driven. Someone has a problem and they’ve gone to a search engine to try and find an answer to that problem. And they’re doing research, they’re finding out about competitors or other options that are out there.
And to me, organic leads are magical leads. But, a, anything that you do to, to garner leads the, there’s no magic in that. They’re just gonna appear. You need to be thoughtful. You need to make some investments. You need to be prepared to run some experiments and try different things out.
And then hopefully that’s when the magic will happen and you’ll look at your, Google analytics or look a studio report and go, wow, look at all those leads that are starting to come in. I wonder how that happened.
Jeremy: This is such a good conversation.
I think B2B lead sources is so important to openly talk about because it’s not happening, it’s not prevalent, and yet we’re having these conversations privately with sales directors and CEOs all the time. Talking about them openly is awesome.
Nick: Great conversation. Thanks very much.
Jeremy: Okay. Thanks Nick. See ya. Cheers.