Proven Channels for Your Best B2B Leads in 2018

Digital marketing is always a numbers game. Reach enough people, qualify enough leads, have enough meetings, and close the right number of deals to keep the lights on and the team growing.

We’ve got some good news for you and those numbers: a new study breaks down the most successful channels for B2B operators like you, helping you maximize investment of both time and money.

A report from DemandWave gives us a great look at the U.S., especially in the software and business service verticals — two of the biggest client segments we have here at 7 Figure Automation.

Channels Marketers Use Best

The number of channels marketers were using in 2017 was up compared to 2016, with more groups adopting video and direct messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram. Still, the most dominant channels people invested in where social media accounts, email, and organic search — 95%, 93%, and 91%, respectively.

Email was the clear winner when it came to generating leads, with organic hot on its tail. Social performed moderately, about as well as paid search, which may mean it’s time to narrow your focus on those efforts.

 

What we like most about this revelation is that it shows the power of email and hints at the reach of social. Those two methods cross when it comes to LinkedIn and, if you use a proven messaging tactic like we offer, you can put best practices for both to work for you to generate a considerable number of qualified leads.

The Best Content for Driving Leads

Like channels, top content types and efforts don’t always match with the most successful ones. White papers and webinars were the two types of leads that performed well for at least half of marketers, but blogs were the most used (published by 82% of marketers).

 

An important side note for this set is that items easy to promote as a benefit to the reader in a text-based environment are at the top. White papers tend to focus on best practices and establishing protocol, while webinars can be used to show lessons learned or what’s new. Both can be shared easily in email without needing images enabled on the customer’s side of things.

Why We’re Putting More Faith in LinkedIn

When it comes to social networks, the DemandWave research points to LinkedIn as the best option for generating B2B leads. It was the most used in general, reaching 89% of B2B marketers, while Twitter was a close second at 86%.

Now, look at the chart below to see the success rate of lead generation. The disparity between LinkedIn and Twitter is significant.

 

To us, this means that LinkedIn allows B2B marketers to make the best use of content and other lead practices for other channels. It’s the most like email and conversations that we know are at the heart of successful B2B marketing and customer acquisition.

Now, if you could combine that with the ability to see the LinkedIn company data of your  visitors, you’d have one of the smartest strategies for making the most of your leads across all efforts. There are more and more opportunities for us to collect and use data to reach the right people. We’ll keep sharing what we learn and invite you to let us know any tactics or tools that are working well for you.

Happy lead hunting.

Get Ready for LinkedIn Groups to Play a Larger Role in Your Leads

 

LinkedIn sent out a somewhat cryptic message earlier this month to the admins for groups on its platform, promising that the platform would finally integrate Groups “into the main LinkedIn experience.”

While there were no firm details about true integration, there are a couple big takeaways from the announcement and the focus that we think you should know for your leads and prospecting on the platform.

Were LinkedIn Groups Useful Before?

LinkedIn Groups are often pitched as an amazing place to meet and discuss and interact in an amazing set of ways. However, they often look like ghost towns with the same admins posting promotional items and not much discussion going on outside of that.

You can Google “are LinkedIn Groups dead?” and get results complaining of this starting back in the early 2010’s.

But that’s not the important part even if changes occur.

LinkedIn groups were amazing and still tend to be that way for prospecting. Why? Because the people who join them tend to be a little more active on the platform in general, in our experience. More use = being more responsive, and that means they likely have up-to-date profiles.

Lead targeting on the system needs people who have accurate information and are willing to interact with others. Groups point us in the right direction, so don’t discount them even as things change.

So, What Did LinkedIn Say?

The email we got from LinkedIn notes that “Groups is at the heart of what makes LinkedIn a trusted place for professionals” and that the company plans to make them more important and a bigger part of the normal interactions we have with the platform.

We expect the refocus to change the functionality of Groups, potentially make membership more useful for prospecting by allowing for greater interaction within Groups and between members.

Here are a few important details from LinkedIn:

  • Groups will be integrated into its main offerings, so they’ll have a more prominent place on the website and the apps.
  • The standalone app for Groups (which the company only mentions for iOS) is shutting down on February 15.
  • Existing memberships and Group contributions “will not be affected as part of that change.” This makes us think the move is going to shift some features to the broader LinkedIn experience and either make interactions more accessible or remove some the barriers that groups created to seeing and interacting with content.

From our perspective, everything bodes well for the future of Groups. They’ll play a bigger role in interactions and likely get more users to sign up for them. That means using Groups as your lead targeting pathway could become much more fruitful.

Changes Already Live

LinkedIn was a bit skimpy on the larger details, but it’s initial email was followed up quickly with another announcement that some features are ready and will be showing up in your feed anytime.

Now, you’ll start seeing notifications for social activities on your group posts, including likes, comments, and @mentions, and for membership activities, such as group invitations. Some real-time alerts will be available directly within the Notifications tab on the LinkedIn website and apps.

Those “@mentions” above include the ability to mention and tag someone by name in a variety of group activities, such as invites and posts or related comments. Again, this is to drive engagement and will ultimately make Groups a more valuable prospecting tool.

The next update we expect to go live will support more types of content in Groups, especially video posts, which are driving a ton of traffic to the site and interaction on it.

It’ll be a smart tactic if you pair prospecting with content marketing and thought leadership. Reach out to people based on group connections, and then tag those who either do or don’t accept. You’ve got a few different interactions that can get on their radar and lead to a more rewarding experience.

Cold Calling Is DEAD So Put Down The Phone And Do This Instead

 

Attention business owners and sales professionals, cold calling has moved from a “necessary evil” to just plain evil, and your business and reputation could be put at risk if you keep persisting on cold calls.

I’m sure that’s something you’ve heard before, so why should you pay attention now? Here are the important things to consider:

  • Cold call conversion rates average about 1% and only climb to about 2% for top brands.
  • More than 5 people are involved in today’s’ B2B purchase decision, so cold callers need to immediately understand who they’re speaking with, what part of the funnel they’re in, and overcome enough objections to get four more people involved in the process.
  • Large businesses and enterprises are now introducing gatekeepers so you can’t get to the right job title unless you’ve got their name (and typically an appointment).
  • More Americans are running their own businesses than ever before, which often means using their personal phones for business.
  • Some 200 million people have joined do-not-call lists, which means some businesses are on there too.

And all that is topped off by the fact that cold calls can be annoying.

Imagine your target is on a tight deadline to get some messages or sales calls out and their phone keeps ringing with people who aren’t on the call sheet. Every interruption is stressful and makes it harder to do their job, and now you’re the third call like that it a row.

You are instantly facing an uphill climb where all they want to do is get you off the phone, and what you need to do is stay on long enough to make your pitch.

Americans are busier than ever with more work and stress than they can handle, but all cold calling can do is add to this.

It’s time to end it.

It’s time to focus on leads and prospects that you can qualify (and learn the first name of); the ones who are going to be receptive to your call and not hate you for it. Here’s what I suggest you try instead to generate the leads your business needs.

1. Share Valuable Content

Introduce yourself and your brand by giving a potential lead a link that addresses their chief pain points. It positions you as a partner and has no ask, instead opts for building a relationship.

This creates an easy path to get to your services or products after a few interactions, giving you time to establish credibility and authority.

Focus on pain points you identify when building out a customer profile — and if you don’t have profiles or need help building them, reach out and I’ll share one of our tools.

2. Create Your Own Valuable Content

It’s good to give people something that helps; it’s even better to own the content that helps. Whether it’s an eBook, a blog, LinkedIn posts, or video tutorials, give your targets something they need with your logo splashed all over it.

Discuss pain points and offer resolutions while cementing yourself as an authority.

3. Expand With New Media

Blogs are an amazing tool, but they aren’t the only thing you should be considering. Today, the hottest growth area in B2B is turning out to be videos.

Videos that answer a question — especially if it discusses software — can rack up highly targeted views and create plenty of ways for people to learn about you and interact with your brand.

Common problems are high-value targets, and they give an easy connection option but letting viewers know you can create custom solutions too. If you offer a free consultation (more on that down below), then you’ve got a smart funnel designed specifically to provide aid.

4. Reach Out On LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and More

Social media is taking up more and more time in the B2B space because it’s how buyers conduct research and where professionals look for support in their positions, to find new research, or to read about latest best practices.

Target the networks that best fit your customer profile and look for relevant keywords, hashtags, groups, lists, and chats around the topic, industry, and specific customers.

5. Share Your Personal Knowledge

Don’t limit your prospecting to what you can do under just the company name. Engage your prospects personally in places like LinkedIn’s groups or during a Twitter chat to answer questions and provide support to targets. It creates a connection that makes it much easier to get your foot in the door when it comes to going for the sale.

6. Share On Your Personal Accounts

Building on our theme of attacking from all angles with all content, you can also share the same top quality content you’ve curated through your personal profile and feeds, plus in those LinkedIn groups you’ve joined.

Make it a mix of company-published materials with articles and infographics from other sources to maximize your chances of being seen as a leader instead of just a company suit.

7. Convert Content To Inbound Lead Emails

Use all the content you’re spending time gathering and creating in as many ways as possible. One avenue often overlooked is the ability to use content as part of an email campaign that provides information and support for inbound leads.

This way you can avoid jumping right into the sales process and give yourself more time to learn about your leads as they get insights into what your business can do for them. It’s a way for you to more actively participate in the research process that most B2B buyers perform — and it sets you up to have a conversation much sooner in that process than you otherwise would.

8. Capture Email Addresses With All Lead Tools

Long forms are a giant pain, especially when you want whatever content is on the other side. End that hassle.

This suggestion is a double-whammy because limiting what you capture to just a name and an email address gives you almost all the information you need anyway but also makes prospects visiting your site more likely to fill out the form and get your downloadable.

Bonus points if you have a CRM that can assist with collecting this information, tagging people who’ve downloaded your goods, and creating specific tasks or sending email reminders to help your sales team act on these new leads.

If you’re looking for a little help here, let me know. We specialize in creating this type of process for B2B brands.

9. Flesh Out Company Information

Whether through your CRM or some gumshoe work of your own, you can best understand site visitors and potential prospects when you know more about their company. Integrated platforms make it easy to generate this context, but you can also look it up yourself.

For manual work, don’t neglect looking at prospect social accounts on LinkedIn and Twitter.

10.Track Any Behavior You Can

If your website can track visitor behaviors, work hard to incorporate this with your CRM to determine the best channels to reach out, the right message to deliver, and the perfect time to send it.

Whenever possible track high-level and granular data, from company size and location to individual user visits, page views, and time spent on your site. Pairing this with company and individual data that you’ve already collected builds a more holistic view of the prospect and prevents any calls or emails from being cold.

11. Build Case Studies

If a prospect knows that you can solve the problems that they face, they’re more likely to engage with your client and staff, warming up your leads.

Case studies are an uncomplicated way to let companies know what you can do, plus similarities between your profiled client and the new lead will make it easier for them to know you’ve got the expertise they need.

Help your potential clients with their research and make their initial decisions that much easier by showcasing your big wins and highlighting how easy it is to work with you.

12. Ask For And Showcase Recommendations

These three R’s are you new best friends: Referrals, recommendations, and reviews.

Ask for each when you have a satisfied customer. The B2B space is a great place to seek referrals because most businesses work with a variety of similar service providers.

Consider if company A helps you solve the problem of its partner, company B, and you’re able to solve a problem for company B. You get credit for the resolution, and company B now knows that company A wants them as a partner instead of just a sale.

Referrals

This is a terrific way to build out a list of specific targets. It’s okay to ask your customers for a direct, narrow referral.

“Do you work with any SaaS providers that also struggle with getting Infusionsoft funnels off the ground?”

Recommendations

A recommendation is one step further than a referral because your client/contact is taking the step to introduce you and tell the prospect how great of a partner you’ve been. These are less common but have a high success rate, so it’s almost always worth asking your satisfied customers for referrals.

Reviews

The most trusted piece of online marketing or advertising is the customer review. In many cases, online reviews written by strangers are seen as at least as trustworthy as personal recommendations.

The caveat is that you need a depth of reviews and they need to look and feel real. Don’t pay some shady company to flood your site or industry review sites with fake content, or you risk losing any value from any honest glowing reviews you have.

13. Follow Up Every Time

No matter where a lead is at in your funnel, follow up after every touch point. Plus, follow up after you’ve made the sale too.

If you keep delivering relevant, useful content and showcase how your company adds value or makes their life easier, you keep increasing the likelihood of a sale and increasing the total customer lifetime value.

One thing to note is that you need properly segmented lists so you’re not hitting existing customers with new prospect language, even if you’re sharing the same content.

14. Give Your Time Freely

First mentioned way back up at the top, we always recommend providing leads with a free consultation. It allows you to make your case and discuss the needs of each person, without giving away the store.

Limiting it to about 30 minutes stays respectful of everyone’s time and means you can talk high-level concerns but not offer granular solutions.

Build trust and credibility, then follow-up with your pitch during the next conversation.

15. Blend Automation and Humanity

One overarching theme that needs to be present in all this work is that it must be personalize and feel like there’s a real human on the other end of each email, tweet, phone call, and interaction.

Automating the process is fine, but if rogue emails fly out addressing {First.Name} instead of their actual first name, the jig is up. They know that you’re just after a sale and that you’re not taking time to understand their business or problems.

Automating helpful messaging can make your life a lot easier, but never forget that you still need to do research and make an effort so every lead feels warm.

 

8 Smart Ways To Boost Your Brand On LinkedIn

Are you missing out on leads and business prospects because your LinkedIn branding is stale and uninspiring?

LinkedIn is used by more business professionals than almost any other network and has become a top channel for marketers to find new prospects, employees to find new jobs, and researchers to take the pulse of an industry.

At 470 million users, you’re facing an uphill battle when it comes to creating a profile that stands out so people are willing to connect with you and so you open new doors to grow your business.

But, that’s exactly why you’re here. We’ve dug through the research and practical work to figure out what works and share it with you.

So, here are 8 of the biggest things you can do to simply, easily, and effectively boost your LinkedIn brand for more successful connections.

Why LinkedIn Branding Matters

Before diving in, it’s important to take a moment and realize that your personal branding on LinkedIn has a lot to do with your reputation and how much you’re trusted.

In the old sales days, you built your reputation in your territory with face-to-face interactions, phone call follow-ups, and a note asking how the kids were doing or a card saying, “Happy Birthday!”

Today it takes different work to stand out, and most of are working on a nearly global market, so people tend to first meet you online. And, they often meet you before you ever interact.

So, your LinkedIn profile is a way you’re going to make a first impression — and we all know those count.

Even if you’re reaching out through InMail and messaging to cold and warm prospects, they’re more likely than not going to look at your profile before responding to your note. If your profile is flat, blank, or overly dull, that prospect’s door is never going to answer.

A smart LinkedIn profile is the best way to wedge your foot in the digital door and start up a conversation with your next lead.

Now, let’s get to improving that profile of yours.

1. Don’t Skimp On The Visuals

There are two main visuals on your LinkedIn page that will set it apart from others: your headshot and your profile’s backdrop.

Your headshot is present everywhere you go, from search results and posts to group lists and even how you appear on other people’s profiles. For marketers, remember this also shows up when you message someone.

LinkedIn says you’re 21-times more likely to be viewed if you have a LinkedIn photo. Here’s a quick little visual aid to understand why:

This is the “also viewed” list from my profile. Who would click on next?
Research says it likely won’t be Jennifer or Paul.

There are a few elements of the profile photo that seem intuitive — we all know a bad headshot when we see one.

Your goal is to come off as competent, likable, and influential. That tends to mean a bright photo where you’re the main focus and it is easy to see your face. Smiling is good, but not necessary, and you need your best duds.

If you’re stuck in this somewhat subjective process, it’s a worthwhile investment to hire a professional photographer to get a great shot.

Struggling to know which of your best shots to use? Try signing up for photofeeler, a community project where you vote on people’s LinkedIn photo options, and then they’ll vote on yours, helping you pick the one that’s best.

Your profile’s backdrop is less stringent and has fewer requirements to be successful. The best thing to do is to make sure it is a landscape photo so it isn’t resized oddly or made to look out of focus. Keep it relevant to your industry and company.

And, if you’ve got the space, it makes a perfect place to put a company logo, slogan, or your #1 promise.

2. Avoid Boring, Unimpressive Headlines

It’s great that you’re a project manager at BigNewThings Inc, but it shouldn’t be the focal point of your headline because it doesn’t mean much to a lead who has never heard of your company.

The headline is a place for you to immediately share what you can do for the prospect who is looking at your profile. (Hint: they can see your job title just by glancing down, so don’t waste the space by repeating information.)

Tell your prospect what you can do for them and why you’re different. You can also incorporate keywords in your headline.

There is some debate over keyword usage, so we actually recommend you include a description or keyword of your target market, as opposed to the best descriptor of your business.

One glance and any B2B manager, owner, or marketer knows that I specialize in making it easier for their company to perform and grow.

3. Show Us What You Can Do

It turns out those LinkedIn pop-ups about endorsing the skills of connections are a pretty big deal.

LinkedIn says that users who put at least 5 skills receive roughly 31 times more messages and are viewed 17 more times than people who don’t have such endorsements.

For your prospects, it is an easy way to signal to them that you understand their industry and their need. You have a quick, visual option to say: “I get your problems, I can solve them, and other people agree.”

And hey, look what pops up when you recommend someone — yeah, it’s that profile photo again, and it looks so much better to have a real photo than that default silhouette.

The latest LinkedIn update has made these even more important because it adds some qualifiers around the people who endorse you, including skill levels and connection.

 

Having others who are highly skilled endorse you makes the endorsements more believable and valuable.

4. Have Other People Tell Us What You Can Do

Building on the endorsements is another extremely valuable piece of real estate: The Recommendation.

This lets other people speak highly of you and gives the impression of an unbiased opinion because know we wouldn’t begrudgingly recommend someone we didn’t like to work with — there’s no upside to it.

Nearly 90% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends and family. You’ve done this when you check out the Amazon reviews before you try something new.

LinkedIn recommendations are essentially the Amazon reviews of your business acumen, so start asking for them right away.

Statistically, the best time to ask for a recommendation is about 6 to 10 business days after the completion of a project.

5. Turn Your Slide Deck Into A Visual Sales Journey

LinkedIn’s purchase of SlideShare means you now have a completely integrated platform to upload your best presentation deck to share with others.

As an added benefit, search engines like Google are pulling information from these decks and returning them often on the first page of results because they’re targeted, timely, and are seen as coming from an authority site.

Your existing work can become a smart tool that shows you know your stuff and are doing well enough to present on important topics, data, and more. This section won’t necessarily get a lot of clicks, but having it on your profile gives you an immediate credence and credibility boost when people see it.

6. Publish On LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s Publisher blog platform is open to just about anyone and it is the best place to showcase yourself and your company as a thought leader. Your posts are shown on your profile, and a quick scan also shows if people are engaging with them.

The more you post, the more likely you are to drive higher engagement and get people familiar with you and your network. It’s an important part of being active on the service and making it easy for others to engage with you.

This section creates a snapshot of who you are and what you do on LinkedIn, which often translates into how helpful you are.

Again, Google is grabbing these posts as well, so you’ve got a clever way to introduce yourself and your company to potential connections that wouldn’t normally see you.

So, if they find you via a Google search and then read your post, they’ll likely click to see your profile and all the other elements we’ve reviewed so far will boost your chances for having someone else initiate the connection process.

7. Don’t Forget Other Relevant Media

Does your profile tell us how great of a speaker you are or how you’ve mastered all the leading equipment in your field?

Words often don’t equal proof. Connections and prospects want to see it to believe it.

LinkedIn now supports a variety of other media, like photos and videos, that can give your connections the proof they want.

If your skill is easy to demonstrate, grab a few photos of you doing it or record a video and share — videos are especially powerful for skills like presentations and team leadership.

They’re simple to add and allow prospects to judge what you say you can do fairly.

8. Build Out Your Group

While we often get advice about being present in other groups, it can quickly add up to a big commitment that leads to burnout. Groups aren’t always useful, and you don’t want to give up because it feels like you’re shouting into the void.

So, what’s a brand to do?

Start your own group and provide fresh content regularly. We always recommend crafting a group that targets your best audience and just aims to provide information.

You want to be the person with the answers, not the person with the annoying sales pitch.

If you spend just a few minutes each morning or each week to create something useful, people will appreciate it.

You’re not going to create a 100% conversion rate of group participants to customers, but you’ll likely answer someone’s question today and be on the top of their mind when they’ve got a question tomorrow.

Bonus: Create A Call To Action

Think about what you someone to do after they look at your profile.

Now, take a look at your profile and see if you’ve asked them to do that anywhere.

To get messages, connections, calls, website visits, or whatever else you need, you must ask. LinkedIn profiles are a personal landing page. And we all know that the #1 rule of a good landing page is to have a clear, direct call-to-action.

If you don’t have a CTA, you’re missing opportunities at every view.

All of this and more is covered in our full marketing and management platform for businesses like yours. But, I don’t believe in starting off with a hard sell because businesses deserve a little help getting started.

Let me prove to you that the 7 Figure Automation service really works by starting you off with a 55-Point Marketing Audit and provide the insights you need to run your business more efficiently, effectively, and profitably. Get yours now.

3 Simple Tools To Find Anyone’s Email On LinkedIn

Nothing beats having a lead’s email for your sales team, which is probably why most people treat them as secrets that need more protection than gold.

And LinkedIn truly is the Fort Knox of that B2B contact information you want.

There are more than 467 million users on LinkedIn right now, ranging from top leaders in the c-suite and small business owners to procurement managers and entry-level developers.

It’s one of the best places for you to find the right lead on a platform where they engage and try to make themselves known — LinkedIn says that 40% of its users check in daily.

So, it makes perfect sense that your business (and ours) relies on LinkedIn for prospecting and generating qualified leads to keep the lights on.

The big downside here is that LinkedIn’s InMail isn’t always the best place to establish a connection or send a sales pitch.

Some people views this as more of a personal connection than a company one, so you can reach out but it needs to be a soft touch.

It’s the perfect place to identifying who would be receptive to a sales pitch at their work, but it’s often not easy to find their work email —directly asking for it can get a lot of doors closed in your face.

But don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of tools and techniques that can help you find the work email, phone, and other information on your top LinkedIn prospects, all with minimal fuss and effort.

Tool #1: Hunter Takes Aim and Mostly Hits Its Target

How It Runs

Few things are simpler and more effective than Hunter, a handy tool and Chrome extension that can help you find and verify email addresses from companies all around the web, with a special focus on LinkedIn.

By pairing an incredibly large database of company email domains and known addresses — from verified individual accounts to “info” and “help” addresses — Hunter applies pattern recognition to your lead’s information to build out the most likely email addresses and then verifies them for deliverability.

The best news of all is that you can start with a free account that lets you perform up to 150 free searches each month.

Using Hunter for LinkedIn Connections

So, to find your LinkedIn connections’ emails with Hunter you’ve got to take a few steps.

  1. Create an account and install the free Chrome extension.
  2. Navigate to the lead’s LinkedIn page.
  3. Click the bright orange “Hunter” button
  4. Review the results.
  5. With a paid account, you can also export your entire lead list through the “My leads” link.

You’ll get high confidence results but make sure you’re checking Hunter’s company selection.

And boom, you’re ready to contact your lead at an email address that tends to have a very high confidence rating.

The Hunter Caveat: Search Preferences

Hunter does show a preference for the companies you’ve already searched, so it’s an excellent idea to do a minute of research and find the domain of your prospect’s company. For example, when I searched myself, it initially provided my email address as [email protected][company1] because I had just used Hunter to find an email address of one of my prospects at [company1].

Now, I’m sure their Mark is a good guy — with a name like Mark you can’t go wrong — but he definitely isn’t me.

Hunter gives us a good teachable moment: always do your homework and take a second to double-check your answers.

Tool #2: Contactout Is Simple and Ever-present

How It Runs

Contactout is a simple and effective browser extension that tends to deliver multiple email addresses for contacts, providing a mix of professional and personal emails. You’ll be up and running in just a few moments, and there’s a painless way to save profiles and export them when you connect the service to your Google Sheets account.

The upside is that it is powerful and very successful in the tests we ran for this post. You also will get a large number of credits for free use when you first sign-up, so you may not need to make a purchase for your first round of prospecting.

The downside is that sometimes you get too much information for the purposes of prospecting. Bulk import functionality isn’t available, and the Google Sheets import includes a significant amount of profile data for your contacts, which can make it hard to dig through without additional work.

Understanding Connections with Contactout

So, to find your LinkedIn connections’ emails with Hunter you’ve got to take a few steps.

  1. Create an account and install the free Chrome extension.
  2. Navigate to the lead’s LinkedIn page.
  3. Click the white arrow on the black background that appears in the top-right corner of your browser.
  4. If the prospect already provides an email, it will appear. If not, click “Find emails.”
  5. Verify the contact’s name and the domain you want to search, then click “Find work email.”
  6. Review the results.
  7. Click “Save profile” to export this to a Google Sheets document.

Prospecting is simple and direct, though you’ll need to give Contactout a variety of permissions.

In just a few steps you’re ready to reach out to your prospect. Connecting your Google Drive account is definitely worth the effort because it makes building your prospect list that much quicker.

While the company’s slogan says you can find anyone’s email and phone number, it returns phone numbers for very few candidates.

The Contactout Caveat: Always On

One thing to note about Contactout is that it starts off as a Chrome extension, but then immediately switches to being a program that always runs in the background of your computer. Once added, you’ll see a notification that says the program initiates at startup and will continue to run in the background even when Chrome is closed.

The extension also asks for permission to read and change all data on the websites you visit. While the developer team is good about responding to bugs, they haven’t clarified what this means.

Nothing seems nefarious, but it may raise some privacy concerns for you or your IT team.

 

Tool #3: SellHack for Bigger Players

More Power, Fewer Freebies

Rounding out our list is SellHack, which makes the cut because of its ability to integrate with a variety of other systems. While we’re big fans of Infusionsoft, if you rely on Salesforce you can integrate your prospecting directly into your CRM to build a number of additional contact points and options.

SellHack offers a free trial that gives you up to 10 free emails each month using its Chrome plugin or the prospect list builder tool. If you want to jump up to 150 emails (roughly equivalent to the free Hunter level), it will run you $19 per month.

This doesn’t qualify for our caveat section, but it is worth noting right away if you’re going to be testing out multiple options to find what is best for your team.

Manual and Automatic Email Discovery with SellHack

Getting started with the free version of SellHack is easy, but there are more manual steps compared to the others on our list. However, paid accounts have a Prospecting Mode that automates a lot of the copying and pasting described below.

So, let’s dive in:

  1. Create an account and install the free Chrome extension (yes, there is quite a pattern here).
  2. Navigate to your lead’s LinkedIn page.
  3. Click the SellHack extension icon next to your navigation bar.
  4. Copy your lead’s name and paste it in the “Name” bar in the SellHack drop-down menu.
  5. Do the same thing for the company name and provide the company’s URL in the email domain you’re searching.
  6. Click “Run Search” and get your results.
  7. If you’re happy with what you see — and the company provides a confidence rating as well — you can choose among your prospect lists to add the information to with just one click.
  8. Lists can be managed within the service’s dashboard or through the other systems you have integrated with it.

 

The SellHack icon and the fields you must manually fill out in the free version.

Importing is direct and easy, allowing you to choose your lists right away, so there’s little editing as you go.

 

 

The SellHack Caveat: Scales Up Quickly

If you have a large team and a decent budget, SellHack can be a significantly strong tool. To make the most of it, you’ll probably want to move to a higher tier subscription so you can have the credits and prospect searches available when you need it.

As you spend more, you also gain more integration options and better plugins. The basic plugin is perfect if you want to add a single profile at a time, while the other options make it quicker to add a variety of targets and automatically add them to your lists.

You’ll get access to bulk email verification tools as well, which is good for those lead lists you’ve bought and are trying to verify. Email verification tools appear to perform well with incomplete data files, helping to fill in some gaps while also providing data accuracy and validation checks.

To make the most of it, you’ll need a decent sized team and need to be looking for a substantial number of prospects each day. If you’ve got a sales department with members who are solely devoted to finding prospects and passing along those they can qualify, you’ve found a good partner.

Ultimate Thoughts on Finding Who You Need with LinkedIn

Prospecting on LinkedIn is like working out at the gym. You’ll need to have the form down right and to do a lot of work yourself, but there are machines that can help based on your fitness level and what you’re trying to accomplish.

But, these machines won’t do you any good unless you’ve got a regimen you can stick to and are keeping up each day.

These are three of our favorite tools for getting the information you need to turn prospects into new deals and lucrative clients. They’re a top bet for figuring out how to reach people in a way they are receptive to — some research says you could see interaction rates of 40% to 60% higher compared to just reaching out via InMail.

So, make sure your daily workout plan is doable, grab the right equipment for your business fitness goals, and get to it!

10 New LinkedIn Changes & How To Leverage Their Marketing Potential

The screams of frustration you’ve been hearing around the office are LinkedIn marketers trying to figure out where all the tools they needed have gone in the new LinkedIn layout. There are a lot of changes impacting the mobile and desktop version, but the most important is the ability — or lack thereof — to tag and export connections plus manage your relationships.

In this post, we’ll look at the few quick steps it takes to export your connections, if your blog is better than a LinkedIn post, and some important new changes, plus discuss the one dreaded change that will make LinkedIn life more of a pain.

1. Exporting Your Connections in the New Layout

First and foremost, the easy option to export your LinkedIn Connections is gone in the new layout. That means you’ll have to request an archive of your data from LinkedIn to get your connections’ information.

Click on this link here to open up the request (under your privacy settings): https://www.linkedin.com/psettings/member-data

Fast File or Fast File Plus

Request the “Fast file plus other data” to make sure you’re getting all of the information about your account. The fast file will arrive in about 10 minutes and will have all of your basic account details as well as the information from your connections.

Within a day, you’ll get another set of documents that includes account activity and history, which can be helpful to see if you’re targeting people based on an existing relationship.

It isn’t immediate, which stinks, but it is fairly fast and shouldn’t harm your overall marketing efforts.

Because of this change, we recommend that you start getting the fast file once a week.

Immediate Action If You Have the OLD Layout

If you’re lucky enough to still have the old LinkedIn layout, here’s what you need to do right this minute.

Seriously, open up another tab and put it side-by-side on your screen so you can follow these steps to get your connections list. Do it right now before the easy option goes away:

  1. Hover your mouse over “My Network” on the top bar.
  2. Click “Connections”
  3. Click the cog wheel that is at the right-hand side of your Connections header – this is the one that says how many connections you have.
  4. Under Advanced Settings on the new screen, click “Export LinkedIn Connections.”
  5. Select your file format — we recommend “MS Outlook (.CSV file)”.
  6. Export it to your computer.
  7. Shout for joy at least once because you could get it before it was gone.

Exporting your connections with a CSV – Old LinkedIn Layout

For those of you with the older layout, it’s a good idea to export this information regularly as well. LinkedIn maintains the way it sorts your contacts, so you can check for additions at the bottom of the exported file, making it easier to know who to add to your large database.

2. Two New Helpers

One thing to note that can help with some of this management is that you can now turn on read receipts for your messages. That way you can tell if someone isn’t using LinkedIn or is simply avoiding you. It’s worth doing right now just to increase your overall effectiveness on the network.

You also have a messaging platform that’s gotten a bit smarter, so you can use its chatbot feature to set up meeting times with Google Calendar, which can be especially important.

3. Where’d My Search Go?

Advanced Search is probably the feature we use the most because it helps us find the right person, right when we need them. It used to perch nicely at the top of our screen, just a click away. Unfortunately, your Advanced options are now a bit buried.

Instead of going right the Advanced option, you need to click the magnifying glass, which will take you to a separate search page. The core sorting and searching options still remain and it actually seems a bit more robust for diving deeper into the particulars of a specific person, position or company.

But the one thing we’ve noticed that’s gone is the ability to sort by posts.

With Pulse getting hidden behind the scenes for many, you also can’t search by post topics and see what’s trending within your network.

The Pulse Discover page appears to still be active (but may not stay that way) and will show you who and which topics to follow, plus access all of LinkedIn’s core content channels. Without no current buttons or links directing you to it specifically, we believe this page may soon be removed or replaced with something that goes in line with LinkedIn’s posting changes.

4. LinkedIn Articles or Back to Blogs?

Many were hoping that LinkedIn could be a new blogging site perfect for their company and their time, but the update may have burst that bubble.

In the new update, there are no longer URLs for your specific activity, such as posts or shares. We used to be able to grab URLs of past posts on the LinkedIn Newsfeed to help for smarter tracking, but now they’ve removed the option to save posts for later viewing and you can only see a handful of your most recent posts.

LinkedIn Posts have been rebranded as Articles and they are no longer shared with your entire set of connections, so notifications aren’t being sent out. Your Articles will still go through your Newsfeed, but it’ll take some extra legwork to get it to your connections.

A blogging strategy is a smart part of any LinkedIn marketing tool, so it might be best to create content on your company blog and then share it in LinkedIn as a post. If you have an executive who is building up their influence on LinkedIn, you can also try having them post your next blog as an Article and then link to your company’s page to help drive a little traffic.

5. Saving Your Profile by Request

LinkedIn has removed the simple option for you to save your profile as a PDF, which was helpful for many executives during LinkedIn marketing. It gave a clear snapshot of who you are and made it simple to compare campaign notes across a wide range of profiles – PDFs are a bit easier to look through than switching back between web pages.

Plus, if you found a profile you really liked, then you could save a copy of it and model your efforts based on what they were doing right.

Now that there’s no PDF drop-down option, you have two methods you can use:

  1. Request an archive of your data, like in the above section, and you’ll get a copy of your profile.
  2. Save a copy of the page itself, either by right-clicking on it and selecting your browser’s save page option or taking a screenshot and saving the image.

They’re not the best options, but they will get the job done.

6. Quickly See Your Connections

There’s always been the push to get above the 500 connections hump of LinkedIn, but after that many users didn’t realize there were ways to see exactly how many connections they had beyond the “500+” marker on their profile.

The new LinkedIn makes it simple by going to My Network and then looking at the top-left, where you can see a specific number for your connections. There is also a search and sort function on the page that gives some tools you’ll enjoy. We especially like sorting by who was recently added to your connections list.

7. Option Lost: Tagging Connections

In older LinkedIn versions, you could tag your connections to help keep them sorted, such as clients and colleagues or why you wanted to follow an influencer. It was a simple way to keep yourself organized and manage a personal LinkedIn database. We found it to be a very successful helper for marketing to connections and avoiding becoming spammy.

Tagging someone with a campaign name helped prevent sending message on top of message.

Unfortunately, now that’s been removed for work within LinkedIn. Rumors point to marketers who got exceptionally spammy with the tagging as a chief culprit, because removing the function makes it more difficult to track and target people.

The one thing that you’ll have to do if you want to keep managing your connections is incorporate a CRM (customer relationship management software) with LinkedIn. Request your LinkedIn data and then incorporate it into your CRM’s database, and do this regularly to make sure you keep on top of people’s current employer and position.

If you have a particularly important set of relationships on LinkedIn, it’s also a good idea to create calendar reminders once or twice a month to reach out.

8. Absence of the Organization and Membership Section

LinkedIn has removed the Memberships and Organizations section completely, which makes it more difficult to share your credentials or see possible points of commonality with your connections.

The best way to get around this is to put your existing memberships either in your summary or your Certification sections. The more people who do this, the more likely it will catch on and your prospects will adopt the practice too.

9. URLs are Less Available

Proper metrics depend on URLs for their tracking and LinkedIn is removing some of these options that you may be using.

We no longer can get a URL that links us to past posts from your LinkedIn Newsfeed, making research a bit tougher and making it harder for you to come back to a post or update that you wanted to read and respond to later.

The interface has changed so that you can only see recent posts, with the save function completely removed. What you’ll need to do is save it to your computer to read later. This means some of the long tail for social sharing is going to go away and it’s likely better to post things on a company blog and then share that on LinkedIn when you want to provide your own take.

10. Seeing “See More” A Lot More

Longer LinkedIn profiles are having more and more information hidden behind “See more” tags, which is making it take a lot longer to read profiles.

For marketing, this means clicking a lot more often to learn more about prospects and connections. For the people you’re trying to reach, it means they are looking at a lot less of your profile when trying to figure out who you are and if you’re an expert.

Focus on creating a scannable profile so that someone can get your highlights quickly. Your summary is a great place to focus on recent wins and big accomplishments because it’ll naturally display more than you past experience or other sections.

These are just a few of the things to keep in mind with how LinkedIn’s current changes will shift your marketing efforts. They aren’t big now, but we know a new LinkedIn header and taskbar are on their way, so stay tuned for further help. Or, if you’d like our LinkedIn experts to help you with your social outreach, contact us right now at [email protected]

7 Smart Ways To Create Sales Opportunities At Trade Shows


Are those business cards on your desk still collecting dust? Or perhaps that stack of flyers you passed out didn’t generate any leads?

At tradeshows most of us fall victim to the easy, but least effective, prospecting techniques: Handing out business cards, passing out flyers and collecting business cards for raffles.

And it gets worse.

We give prospects our business card, hoping that they’ll contact us… But they never do.

It should be your goal to break this pattern, stand out and create a compelling reason for your prospect to take action on the spot!

Trade shows have a culture of their own. It’s brimming with loud music, inspiring vision and hallways packed with world-class marketers creating a better future.

So, it’s important to capitalize on these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.

This doesn’t mean you should look at everyone as if they’re a dollar sign – but let’s face it, sales matter.

And since it can be challenging to determine the ROI of your presence at these events, leaving without closed sales makes it difficult for your company to justify investing in future conventions.

That’s why on-site selling is not only important, it’s practical! People are there to see what YOU can do to set their business on fire (figuratively of course).

Capitalize on the emotional momentum that the trade show is creating for you. People are more motivated and open-minded here than they are at the office, surrounded by distractions. Use these seven smart ways to create sales opportunities at trade shows.

1) Reserve A Room Near The Trade Show Floor

Reserving a room can be a very important logistical detail. It eliminates distractions and creates an environment where decisions are natural.

Tradeshows are incredibly noisy and distracting. You may be able to rattle off an answer to a potential client or shoot them a quick sales pitch, but due to noise, you may not be able to thoroughly answer questions or get them to make a decision.

Having a quiet space and privacy can assist you in making authentic personal connections. It allows you to hear about your potential client’s problems, and genuinely discuss how they can be resolved—as a team.

In addition to having a booth, you should reserve a room that’s near the trade show floor so you can talk about prices, details and ultimately close the deal. This will give you a chance to pull aside folks that are genuinely interested and have a real, authentic, in-depth discussion.

2) Rehearse Your Elevator Pitch

At any event, you really have about 30 seconds (or less) before you lose the attention of your guest.

That’s why it’s incredibly important to nail down your 30-second elevator pitch before you arrive. An effective pitch is a short overview of what your product or service does, and how it can help the individual or their business.

For example:

“7 Figure Automation is a digital marketing company that helps B2B companies fill their sales pipeline so they can focus on running their business.”

You want listeners to be informed and interested, but you also want them to engage and ask questions too. Which is why a private room can come in handy.

3) Attract Attendees With Unique Content

You only have about 10 seconds to capture the attention of people passing by before they become disinterested.

Every company wants their spotlight and many will pay thousands of dollars to achieve it. But most company booths look the same.

When planning your event look beyond boilerplate videos and run of the mill brochures. Find something that’s going to grab their attention and hook them right away.

For example, at a recent sales conference, we knew that we only had a short amount of time to grab people’s attention. There were many other companies at the trade show, so we needed to figure out a way to stand out from the rest. To do this, we displayed a giant white elephant at our booth (which was connected to our problem-solving campaign of addressing the white elephant in the room).

This alone slowed foot traffic to our booth, especially when combined with large screens displaying funny, interactive videos that also tied in with our campaign message. These two pieces of content kept people’s interest long enough so that we could have in-depth discussions with them.

Making sure your content leads to a sale is your next step!

Once your content draws people in – whether it’s a video, fun display, unique signage etc. — it should grab people’s attention enough to slow them down so you’re able to show how your service benefits their end goal. This also gives you an excuse to bring up even more content as well.

Testimonials, content, pricing information, case studies – you name it! Prove to them that you can provide outstanding value.

4) Research Companies In Attendance To Leverage Sales

Knowing which people and companies are attending is incredibly beneficial. Checkout RSVPs on Facebook events or the trade show website to learn who’s going to be there.

If you’re a B2B company that sees a lot of professionals from the same industry are joining, ensure that your sales pitch, or even your materials speak to that niche.

5) Use Calls-To-Action To Maximize Engagement

In your trade show marketing you should always be asking attendees to complete some form of action. To increase sales on-site, you need to make sure you connect the call-to-action in all of your marketing to something they can do AT the event.

Don’t have them just leave their business card in a fish bowl – have them do something ASAP—right then, right there.

Getting a business card is great, but it’s not going increase your chances of getting a sale. Rather, schedule their meeting on the spot or have them enter their contact details into your CRM system – instead of sorting through dusty business cards on your desk the following week.

6) Develop Connections Before, During And After The Event

To get the most out of your sales presence during trade shows, let people know that you’ll actually be there.

This could be a simple series of social media posts, or something more intricate like an email campaign.

The more people you can connect with beforehand, the better! For some people it’s easier to answer emails, or write messages on LinkedIn.

Connecting beforehand can prime them for potential sales opportunities. You could even prepare something specific for their industry ahead of time.

After all, hard work is what it’s going to take.

During the event you should continue the social engagement – post on social media using the event hash tag, and look for people interacting with that hash tag as well.

But remember to be authentic.

The last thing you want is to come across as too pushy and seem like a sales robot. Simply make a connection. If they aren’t interested, don’t try and force them into something that they don’t want.

The best you can do is deliver your message and let them know how you can benefit them. The rest is in their hands. If you come across as polite, professional and convincing, they might just come back when the time is right.

7) Ask Yourself These Questions

Trade shows are an opportunity to learn and network with your industry leaders. After the event, ask yourself the following questions to get the most value:

What did I do well?

We’re often too hard on ourselves, but there’s likely something you’re proud of, so understand your strengths. This could be your visual presentation, or maybe the way you handled a certain potential client.

Nonetheless, this is a very important way to do some self-reflection.

What did I learn?

Teachable moments are everywhere, you could be a conference veteran, but there still will be things you learn from each one.

This could be something as deep as how to dispel common myths about your industry or something as simple as the new automation trick you learned.

Even the small things add up. Whether it’s big or small, focus on the “aha” moments during the trade show.

What could I improve upon?

Could your collateral have done a better job explaining your service or product? Or maybe you could have done a better job scheduling appointments on-site.

These three questions will keep you on track and move you forward. Self-reflection is an important part of growing, learning and improving.

These tips can work for any conference that you find yourself attending. Securing on-site sales is not only key, it’s incredibly rewarding!

Making long-term connections and growing as a businessperson, is equally fun, adventurous and satisfying. So, use these tips to grow and leverage experiences with world-class marketers.

7 Smart Ways To Create Sales Opportunities At Trade Shows

5 Mistakes Preventing Companies From Growing Cash Flow

businessman hand working with new modern computer and business success as concept

Technology has made it super easy for just about anyone to start a business online. But with that ability, the quality and success rate of ecommerce has declined just as rapidly…

And when analyzing the failures of our clients, we have found 5 simple mistakes that are almost always the cause. These are the 5 Mistakes Preventing Companies From Growing Cash Flow.

1. You don’t know your Customer Avatar

A Customer Avatar is vital if you want to target the prospects that will be the most responsive to your marketing efforts.

This means higher converting campaigns and lower advertising costs…

A Customer Avatar is a profile that we create with our clients to determine their ideal customers’ demographics, desires, and method of advertising.

This Customer Avatar is so powerful because it’s the blueprint to discovering your audience’s hidden fears and secret desires – and identifying the hot buttons that will be crucial to creating your content and your promotional offer.

But there’s more…

2. You don’t have the proper Lead Magnet

Your Lead Magnet is the most important piece of your marketing equation.

It’s the one thing that converts your website traffic into email subscribers – which will enable you to follow up and nurture them into becoming paying customers.

A Lead Magnet is an appealing bribe that gives a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information – usually an email address.

And a good Lead Magnet can save a bad Landing Page, but a good landing page will never save a bad Lead Magnet.

But we’re not done yet…

3. Your website isn’t designed to convert Visitors into Subscribers

Highly converting websites follow a proven blueprint for structuring Landing Pages.

We use a 16-point landing page checklist with our clients to ensure that every page we’re driving traffic to follows this blueprint.

It allows us to consistently convert 30%-50% of the people that visit into subscribers.

And our team of copywriters and conversion experts are available at our clients’ disposal to continually improve their ad copy, website flow, and results.

4. You don’t have the proper follow-up systems

Email Marketing is responsible for generating 3,900% ROI for small businesses.

That means that you should be following up with your customers on a regular basis to provide them with valuable content and let them know about special promotions.

Otherwise you’re leaving some serious money on the table…

We segment our clients’ email subscribers in multiple categories depending on their:

  • Topic of interest
  • Buying mode
  • Current level of engagement

This prospect segmentation allows us to personalize communications and focus on the 20% of your customers that are producing the 80% of your revenue.

And finally…

5. You don’t know your cost to acquire a lead

Knowing your numbers is absolutely necessary if you want to automate and scale your customer acquisition online.

If you know how much it costs to acquire a lead then you have valuable information that can be used to determine your ideal marketing channels and how much you’re able to spend in order to get new prospects.

My team and I use Google Analytics to setup dynamic tracking systems to determine which traffic sources are producing the highest quality leads.

And there you have it. These are 5 of the most crucial elements to focus on if you want to achieve predictable and consistent growth in your business. If you marketing efforts aren’t as profitable as you’d like, be sure to review these common mistakes for improvement.

5 Mistakes Preventing Companies From Growing Cash Flow

7 Simple Steps To Writing Compelling Sales Copy

You know you can do better. There’s always room for improving your writing. Whether you’re writing sales copy for a landing page or posting content to your blog—effective copy is the most valuable asset to getting a prospect’s attention and their hard earned money.

But as content marketing continues to become more and more important, you’ll need to get good at producing high quality content in less time. To accomplish this you need a system for predictably and effortlessly creating great copy on command. Wouldn’t you like that? Go ahead and steal these 7 simple steps to writing compelling sales copy.

Step 1

Become an expert on the product or service you’re selling. You’ll get your greatest ideas digging into discovering everything you can about a product or service than from any other resource.

Step 2

Know your prospect. You might become an expert on your product or service but if you don’t know your customer, your competition will have a serious advantage. What will influence your prospect to become a customer? Who is a good prospect for you? Questions like these give you insight and bring forth many actionable ideas.

Step 3

Write your headline and subheadline. They must grab your reader and create enough curiosity to get them to read the first sentence. Headlines that spark curiosity are most effective. “10 Step Digital Marketing Solution,” “The One Weird Trick That Tripled My Sales,” “What Business Are You Meant For?”—all leave out details and create enough curiosity to get you to read the subheadline. Subheadlines should be about 16 words, and first sentences should be as short as possible.

Step 4

Write the copy. Forget about sentence structure, grammar, punctuation—just start writing and keep writing. Let all your ideas and thoughts flow into the computer and most importantly don’t worry about making mistakes. The purpose is to take everything out of your head about the topic and put it into your computer (develop the habit of becoming an imperfect action-taker from the 12 Habits Of A Rockstar Online Entrepreneur). Next comes the most important part—editing.

Step 5

Edit your copy. Go through it and correct your spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure. Get rid of extra words not necessary to express your thoughts. Clean things up.

Step 6

Incubate. Stop editing, put the content aside and take a walk or do something relaxing. You’ll be amazed at what getting away from your computer will do for you. If you can come back to it the next day, even better. The more time between what you’ve just edited and taking the next step—the better.

Step 7

Take a final review of your copy. You’ll be blown away with how much more you’re going to catch and how much more refined you’ll be able to make your copy with this final review. Of course you could easily repeat steps 5 and 6 and continue to edit until you are happy with your results.

As soon as you use the 7 steps to writing compelling sales copy a few times, you’ll be amazed at just how much better your copy turns out. Often times my first draft isn’t anything exciting. All the magic happens when you slow down let the creative process take its course.

7 Simple Steps To Writing Compelling Sales Copy