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    Posted January 15, 2014 by
    Watford, United Kingdom
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    The Best Ways of Finding New Customers in 2014


    So, it's the start of a New Year and it's time to assess what's working, what's not and to develop your marketing and B2B lead generation strategy for 2014.


    The relentless challenge for every Chief Marketing Officer and Sales Director is to devise a strategy to consistently deliver enough high quality leads to feed the Sales Team and ultimately win more business. There is constant pressure to maximise ROI on all marketing expenditure so do you follow the latest marketing trends or stick to the tried and tested methods that have worked for you in the past - but perhaps not quite as well as they used to?


    Here is the best way to find new customers in 2014


    In the infographic, published in a post by Marketing Profs about research into The Best Ways of Finding New Customers in 2014, it's clear that although inbound lead generation is the big thing right now, nothing is more effective than Outbound Marketing.


    Is Content King?


    At Marketing Republic, we are huge advocates of Content Marketing and Marketing Automation and in the infographic published on our blog, you can see that there is a trend towards adopting those strategies to create inbound leads. 71% of marketers are using content marketing to generate leads.


    We have developed our own Content Marketing Strategy, this post being part of that and this does generate leads for us. We have also implemented Content Marketing programmes for our clients and helped them generate inbound leads.


    In our view, Content Marketing has a very important role to play in terms of a lead generation but, most importantly, we believe for companies selling B2B, it is most effective running in parallel with a powerful outbound marketing strategy.


    It's great to be early adopters of the latest marketing strategies, e.g., creating high quality content, positioning yourselves as thought leaders in your industry; this often underpins all of your marketing and sales activity.


    But the reality is, an outbound marketing strategy is often the quickest and most effective way for B2B companies to predictably grow their pipeline and sales.


    Actually, the most important element of a systematic, proven outbound sales prospecting strategy is it produces Predictable Revenue whereas Inbound Marketing can be more random and takes a lot longer to test and refine.


    Content Marketing is not necessarily an exact science.


    Some content just hits the sweet spot with your target audience; a small percentage of the content that you produce will get the vast majority of views, likes and shares. And it's not necessarily down to the post being timely or topical, some posts continue to enjoy great hit rates months and even years after the are posted.


    If you could predict what constitutes 'killer content', it would make Content Marketing a lot easier but the reality is that you have to continually try new ideas and keep testing.


    You can never say that you've got the exact formula as tastes change, platforms change, SEO rules change (thanks to our friends at Google) which can cause your search ranking to drop off a cliff so the key is to be relentless in the creation and to keep exploring different media and platforms for distribution.


    The other major problem with inbound lead generation is you cannot guarantee the quality of the leads that you generate. A lot of time can be wasted on people who are purely researching or people with no budgetary responsibility etc.


    It is of course a numbers games, buried within your mass of inbound leads, perhaps one or two gems will be found. We have certainly had some great new inbound business leads from the content we distribute. The great thing about content is that you can re-purpose and redistribute to capture as many leads as possible from far and wide.


    But if you are not automating the follow-up and the qualification process, you will likely kiss a lot of frogs before you meet your handsome prince!


    But Outbound Marketing is Different


    With inbound, it's often a slow burn.


    With Outbound, results can be achieved significantly faster. With a systematic, proven process it is possible to generate results more quickly and more predictably. I'm talking relatively when compared to the time taken to reliably and predictably generate high-quality leads from inbound initiatives.


    "The reality is, if you want Sales Growth, the most important thing isn't how great your salespeople are or how effective their sales process is. The most important thing, the thing that determines how fast you grow (or don’t), is having predictable ways to generate quality pipeline for them.


    For the right companies, an outbound prospecting team can give you control over quality and quantity of your lead generation, and thus also a solution to exceeding your sales goals."


    That is a quote from Aaron Ross, inventor of the Sales Prospecting process he named Cold Calling 2.0


    Aaron is the "Guru" when it comes to highly effective, proven outbound lead generation and whilst we can't claim Cold Calling 2.0 as our own, we have added to it and refined it based on our own experiences implementing it for ourselves and our clients.


    In fact we are currently the only company in the world providing Cold Calling 2.0 as an outsourced service.


    We have now implemented Cold Calling 2.0 across 21 countries and we are pleased to say that we have proven it to be effective across all geographies, including non-English speaking countries such as China.


    We have proven that for our B2B clients, the fastest way to generate high quality sales opportunities is through outbound campaigns. This is not to say that other lead generation activities should be ignored. A dual inbound/outbound strategy works well, as people that you proactively contact with an outbound campaign will often check you out online using a combination of search Social Media, other blogs, review sites and anywhere else they can dig up useful information about you.


    However, outbound prospecting still leads the way for B2B companies looking to build the sales pipeline quickly and predictably to drive growth.




    Stefan Boyle is a UK based entrepreneur and Co-Founder of B2B Lead Generation Agency Marketing Republic.


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