S3:E1 - How to Generate B2B Leads on a Budget

Updated: Apr 28

SS: Hello folks, welcome back to the Marketing Mindset Club. Today, we're talking to Chris Hann, and Chris is the Digital Marketing Manager at CUBE. CUBE is a regulatory technology firm that seeks to automate the management of regulatory change in the financial services sector, but his expertise is B2B so today, that's what we're talking about - B2B marketing lead generation and how to get the most out of your budget.

SS: COVID has affected many sectors out there and some more than others, but even for those of you whose budgets haven't been reduced, you are still going to want to get the biggest bang for your buck. So with that in mind we're going to talk strategy, tactics, and lead generation for your business. Welcome to the show, Chris.


CH: Hi, nice to be on the show.


SS: It's great to be here. Tell us a bit about your background as a marketer and how you got to where you are today.


CH: Yeah, so I've been involved in marketing for the last 15 years. I did a degree in it, and then post-degree I did a bit of freelancing in my local area while looking for my first job and then landed my first internship in marketing and not looked back from there. So, moved across quite a wide variety of industries, worked international healthcare, security, insurance broking, then a stint agency side looking after businesses in the cloud space and a little bit in between and ended up with CUBE, who are sort of reg tech SaaS business, sort of as a quite a bit of a broad experience and hopefully learn a few things that can pass on and hopefully help a few people.


SS: That's awesome. So B2B has very much been the thread throughout your career by the sounds of it.


CH: Yeah pretty much. my start point in my career. It's the majority the experience I've had and so if you want to take those next steps and move forward. Yeah, you kind of have to you have to stop focusing guys start bouncing from b2c b2b too much is why there's quite a lot of similarities there also massive differences between those two sectors - audiences, everything that goes with it.


SS: Yeah, I think that's why I was particularly interested to get you on the show is that you do have such a broad background but the similarity across all of it is B2B, so I'm really hoping that for for marketers out there who are either at the beginning of their careers and maybe not sure which route they might go or for experienced marketers who have done B2C before but not much B2B Then hopefully this episode is going to be really useful for them.


So I thought we should start off just acknowledging some of the massive upheaval that we've been through in B2B recently. So what's your, your take on how things have evolved, given that the massive economic and political shifts we've had in the last 12 months or so,


CH: Yeah, it's been quite interesting, obviously it's been one thing after another. Even though quite a bit of it hasn't negatively impacted the industry I worked and actually, in a sort of perverse way it's been quite beneficial, as a marketeer keep my eyes on the broader market is difficult, out there in the B2B world. I mean obviously that you look in the newspapers and it's a lot of the B2C businesses get the column inches when it comes to the Brexit fallout and all that but there are a lot of B2B businesses that are heavily impacted that sort of trundle on in the background that don't have the brand, the wider brand awareness within the population that have been hit quite hard. It's difficult. I mean it means businesses have had to really look at how they market. When you could do stuff broad brush UK, you target UK in Europe with sort of similar advertising similar messaging and drive more to the same sort of base you can't really do that now - you really have to segment in the UK is a completely separate market, just due to the barriers that have been out up, which in which means more work. If you're targeting a few countries in Europe and the UK, and you know you're focusing just on the English language, you now have to have a landing page for UK and landing page for Europe but your message is gonna have to differentiate because how you can supply a service, or the product or service has changed so much.


And then looking at the pandemic, the huge thing out of that was everything shifted digital - businesses that didn't really focus on digital as much as they had sort of more face to face events or what you would consider traditional media. I really had to up their game. The funny thing is is the huge number of digital marketing manager job roles that I see recruiters posting for today in B2B organisations, it's sort of, you have a look at the job descriptions - This will be the first hire, and this role is pretty much the opening sentence and 90% of them, and it goes to show that they've sort of seen where is that the craziness is taken a pandemic for a lot of b2b businesses to really take a close look at how they're operating their digital space, and then realising that they don't have the skill sets in house and they don't really have an understanding how it operates.


I mean, a lot of people know by SEO is something we need to do, you have conversation with people about SEO, and it's something we need to do but when you get to the nitty gritty of it a lot of people don't fully understand how that operates and how that works, especially in B2B, where the buying cycle is so much longer than the B2C market.


SS: Yeah, I think there's a couple of really important points that you mentioned there for B2B businesses who have previously trundled along, and you know leads have kind of come to them, the pandemic has pretty much flipped that on its head. For most industries as far as I can tell, it's no longer good enough just to assume that business is going to come your way. There has got to be more of an edge and there's got to be some targeted lead-gen activities. Do you think that's fair?


CH: Yeah, massively. Everything when you come to build a lead generation strategy is down to data, as everything marking should be, especially for digital. You've got to gather as much data as you can pull together, sift through it, manipulate it and to see sort of what the golden nuggets are that fall out because you know, that's the info layer you understand on a granular level what's working before, how to best segment and collate your contacts into groups to target, where people have come from, where you know where your biggest referrers, what websites that they come from, and then you can understand that what people are interested in seeing - what content you gather are they interested in.


And then that all wrapped up into sort of the KPIs you should be looking at as well. It's, yeah I said, data is huge. I think a lot of businesses, just think they can chuck some ads out there, you know, do some PPC, chuck some ads onto the Display Network do some stuff, via LinkedIn and Twitter and start rolling in, but you can't just blanket it you really got to segment it down. Especially as all your competitors are going to be chucking out the same stuff that they have to stand out. You really need to know who you're targeting and cater everything along the journey towards them from the ad creative ad copy landing page follow up columns, how sales people are informed about what the they've engaged with other conversations can start from, not zero because start from for no position or four or five out of 10, or they know the details. But the problem is a lot of businesses aren't set up for it or they see as too scary and they don't put the budget and the resources behind it to get it right and those are the businesses that will fail compared to competitors who are willing to do that.


SS: Yeah I think that's the other point that I wanted to draw out from your initial thoughts was - for business who is just going into having their own marketing capability in house, that person going into that role is not necessarily going to be going into an environment that really knows anything about marketing. They have probably just got by up until now, so if you are one of those marketers going into a B2B role in a company that's not had one before - if it was me personally I think I would have quite an emphasis on building that structure and answering the question of how do we do marketing before just like you said jumping in and putting ads out and not really thinking about your target audience, I think there's a real piece to be done there to understand how the business works and what does marketing look like for that business.


CH: Yeah, hugely. Especially if you're stepping in as the first digital person. I said data is everything but, you know, you're going to get to the point where if you're that first person they might not have the data and they've not run stuff before, then you got to be a bit smart about it and okay - where else can I find this data. Data is not just, you know, stuff have a CRM and campaigns - it's what's in people's head. What are salespeople, what do they know about the industry, the pain points and where do they look sort of reformation in their industry, because that's possibly where the people sort of who you're targeting are going to be looking as well. For example, an industry so a lot of financial based people so you know Financial Times is going to be huge for ourselves people to stand up for stuff also for the compliance and risk people. So it's understanding that so yeah if you've got, if you don't have a lot of data to start with, you've got to be a bit smarter and sort of bootstrap a few things, but there should always be. I mean, unless you start in a real bad place where you know you have Google Analytics on the website, and stuff like that, then you know, is really bad. Maybe you got Google Analytics as a whole range of data and then [Google] Search Console as well. So that's the best starting point for now you can just start segmenting, and again, going at data CRM hopefully even if there's Excel spreadsheets floating about - by just shoving everything together and just seeing what you can go.


SS: Yeah, this, this really brings me nicely on to our next point which was, you know about designing a lead-gen strategy from scratch. So, say you are coming into that greenfield environment where there isn't a coordinated lead-gen strategy, research is obviously going to be a big part of that. So talk us through that process, you know, you mentioned a few data sources there. What else would you imagine goes into the foundations when you're starting off in that setting?


CH: Following on from the data side of things, once you get the data into a place where you understand who you're going to target, where you're going to target them, what's going to work, it's working with whoever designs the creative and looks after the website - if that's yourself then obviously you've got a bit of a head start, you can sort of just start working on it. But then really passing that information over, and making sure that the journey starts from a good place.


So, capturing their attention in the right way to drive them, to then capture their information to then pass it on to sales but once you pass into sales, that's not the end of things - you've got to continue nurturing them. You've got to use marketing to draw out more information to pass on to the salespeople around topics that people are looking at, what they're reading on the website, the solutions or products they're looking on the website and just doing everything you can to fill out a bigger picture of every single contact you start getting through, or contacts you already have some really filling out the details, and just, again, kind of up to data. I think that's the biggest thing I think without that running through everything you do for a lead-gen perspective, it's, you know, it could work but it won't work as well as if you as date centric, as you possibly could be. And that takes that takes time and effort, it's not a sort of day one, let's go start running stuff, you need to be a bit structured and how you lay out what the KPIs that are important to us, what data do we really want to capture and find valuable and how do we track the value that we're getting from say ad spend and the email - you know email says, No, you're not paying per email you still paying for an email system and understanding, you know, is the cost you're paying towards that generating the information needed to then sort of drive forward sales.


SS: Yeah, so there is definitely an element of confidence to that - to be able to go into an environment that is maybe pressured, because things have changed a lot over the last 12 months to be able to take that time to understand the environment in order to be more effective down the line, I think that, you definitely have to be confident in your approach. There is undoubtedly going to be pressure from the stakeholders and pressure from the board potentially to get things on the way. And you might be in a position where you can do that but I feel like there has to be that time in order to assess the situation properly and understand the audiences. Which, which kind of brings me on to the point about tech, and planning your tech stack, you know obviously data is hugely important. How would you recommend somebody goes about thinking about the tech and the tools that they might need to execute a lead-gen strategy.


CH: Yeah so, sort of in the b2b world, IP tracking is something that is even during pandemic where a lot of people at home is still a really great tool to help you understand what businesses are looking at your website. You can't obviously get the individuals, but the good, the good systems to provide you, you know, based on what they know about you, the possible people it could be. You're gonna want a decent email system where you can build out automated nurture tracks that trigger based on a wide variety of variables - don't want to just to be, we sent an email if they open send this you know if they clicked on this email - you really want to be, you know, we've got this person in our database, we know that they come on to, they come on to the website we know that they spend five minutes reading our product page for a specific product so we can send them on a nurture journey that doesn't start with "we saw you looking at this page" but, you know, "this is a recent blog we'd like to highlight as relevant to that piece of content" and then if they engage with it then you can start dripping them through a journey towards more sales orientated content and obviously at every stage flagging up with sales individuals that this person, what this person is doing, how they're engaging, obviously come to having some sort of system to beat and build a lead scoring model, so you can get to a certain point and and be like - Southwest and see that score ticking up and then go okay, right, this is the right time for me to step in with a more personalised message.


Other technology. I mean, I saw such a wide variety out there I mean personally like stuff like CRM stuff so systems like Hot Jar and Lucky Orange, where you can really start tracking how people move through a website on an individual basis. So, if you see there's been certain form completions, then you can sort of go into to the system and see how they got there, what was the journey. But they also can tell you when people dropping off from a form so you can start understanding are your forms too long. Is there a specific part and you probably know, digital form after a phone number and you can look in this thing as a 60% of people drop off when they ask for a phone number. Take out the phone number you know you won't have the phone number but you have the other details and you have increased conversion, and that sort of stuff can be really helpful especially where you're initially to trying to capture data for that longer sales cycle.


SS: Yeah I think that's, that's really important to emphasise that what we're talking about here before we even get into any paid activity or any promotion is just optimising what is already happening. You know if you have a website and you have some traffic getting Google Analytics in there if it's not already in there is gonna make your life so much easier to understand what people are doing on the site and then, you know, adding that CRM layer that conversion rate optimization piece - you can optimise what people are already doing with the site, so before you even get to a point where you're asking somebody, you know, a senior stakeholder for money - there's a lot that can be done to optimise what's already happening. Which, I have always found really fascinating about B2B I love the CRO piece and seeing how people interact with forms differently and content differently. For somebody who's never used a Hot Jar or Lucky Orange, can you just describe a little bit about what those platforms do and what they allow you to see,


CH: They're really good though so they have a number of different things so you have your heat map so they will tell you, you know, where are people clicking. This can be quite interesting because if you've got your call to action that you really want people to click on and you look on and they're not clicking on it but they're clicking elsewhere, they're going on a not as good call to action you can sort of start to think about A/B testing to switch them around. You can see scroll depths, so there's a great when I worked in insurance broker. We had specific documents near the bottom of the page, that were very relevant to that piece of insurance and we noticed that 50% of people who hit the page didn't see those documents they didn't then scroll down far enough so we re, check the page a little bit to shift those up, and the engagement on those pieces, increased and the conversion rate on the website so the goal completion on the website which was to reach out, contact us about the specific insurances, just massively crushing with every page that we did that on. So it showed that if there's a piece of information you want people to see you can use their software to see "are they actually seeing it?'. If it's not directly at the top of your page, then they have the recording section which is interesting. If a slightly creepy way you can watch every individual person's journey through your website. This is more useful if you kind of see someone who's, you know, been on 10-15 pages, watching their journey is the reason they've been on 10-15 pages they looking for a lot of information, or is it they're bouncing around five/six pages, then find a page that they want, and then spend a lot of time on that page and you can look at the journey it's like okay - have we made the journey is it possible to get to the certain information that is useful? And you know, you don't have to spend a huge amount of time is that you - start picking a few people you start getting tagging in that they do certain actions, and you can really start building a picture of how people are interacting with your website.


So as you said, you don't want to start paying stuff, if your organic side of things, isn't working. If you're driving people to your website and your website isn't optimised well then you're just wasting money because people you know said if people are dropping out on a form, because you asked for a phone number you started driving paid to the platform you got 60% drop off at the phone number and you didn't know that. That's all that money wasted right if you've done some studying beforehand. You can see okay take that out and then run the page to that page, and you probably get a lot better results for your money.


SS: Yeah absolutely and if we're talking about getting the most bang for your buck. There are free levels - I don't know about Lucky Orange but I know Hot Jar has a free tier that you can start with which gives you something like 100 page views, to create a heat map.


CH: Lucky Orange is my preferred favourite. I mean the price on that it's this are you looking at, you know, $20 for 60,000 page views, a month, so you know, for most marketing businesses that is relative pocket change - you're looking at $240 across the year for a piece of software that has so much to it. I mean, not, not to start becoming a paid shill for them or anything but there's live chat, there's basic live chat functions that you can run polls on, you know, so, first of all software can be really, really cost effective and so the first step in building out a lead-gen campaign if you have no starting point, that's where you got to start as we start gathering the data. I mean there's other stuff like this that the - Microsoft actually have something called Microsoft Clarity, which is free. It's not as good as the others. But it has some interesting stuff - it has a rage click metric is one of the more interesting.


SS: Oh, interesting.


CH: So yeah, so we tell you if someone clicked a lot in succession on something that wasn't a link. And you can watch their journey and you can start understanding, you know, and it's quite interesting to see what certain things people think should be a link - so if you've got to 'find out more' and an image above it and the image isn't part of the link and you're seeing people rage clicking on the image expecting to go to the next page, just make the image a link - a simple simple change, but then you're improving the user experience, and you know, if people start rage clicking that image and think 'sod it' and sort of bounce off - the likelihood of that happening is low but you don't really want to risk it - that could have been the next big client who does that and they go to a competitor. So why take the risk?


SS: I think that's a really good point you know for most businesses, you know, we're looking for quality, not quantity. So, you've got to think about these leads in terms of generating five or 10s rather than hundreds and 1,000s, you know, for some businesses that one form completion could mean a lead that's potentially worth millions of dollars or millions of pounds in the future. So ,when you think about the platform price of something like Lucky Orange, and neither Chris or I are endorsed by them, you've got $240 where you could potentially make a massive difference to your website up front before you've spent $1 on paid media.


CH: Yeah exactly, that's the thing, there's a lot of cost effective technology out there that you can bring on board, I mean, I say Google is always the leader in this sort of stuff. I mean if you want to do a basic A/B testing and stuff like Google Optimise, and you go on YouTube and there's some really good tutorial videos on how to use it and all this and you know, you can quite quickly from zero become quite proficient at this digital side of things, especially for B2B, where it's, I do think it's a bit less forgiving because, as you said, B2C they need volume, because for the most part people are spending, usually sub 100 quid on a lot of e-commerce platforms, more B2B - longer sales process, 10s of 1000s generally minimum for a lot of B2B businesses, some as you said up to the millions, and just that little bit of upfront investment in terms of the solutions and in your time to learn how to use them, can make a huge difference in the long run.


As I said the IP tracking is a huge one as well it's bring up - massively in b2b, it's pretty much useless in B2C, but for B2B it's huge - especially linking it in with paid is with PPC, generally, you know, if some come from a paid campaign. Google Analytics won't tell you what business they're from the if you're getting 1000 clicks a month from your paid advertising, you have no idea whether that's 1000 clicks from businesses you want to get clicks from, or if there's just all dross, but with IP tracking, you can set it up so you can tell who came by the PPC - filter by that. And you can see the business names and if there are enough business names coming through for PPC in the sort of your target markets and the sweet spots, then you know it's working. If it's all completely out of sync with what you want, and you know you need to make changes. For example - CUBE we work in the reg tech space specifically for financial institutions, but then reg tech across other industries pharmaceutical manufacturing so for so what I use IP tracking for is to look okay from the page, how much is coming from financial institutions, and how much is coming from businesses are flagged as manufacturers and pharmacies because neither. And, you know, at the start, it was a it was more towards those industries which we have no interest in. So you got, you either yourself or the agency use stop tweaking and doing the changes and start keep track and hopefully see a tick over more towards where you want the industries you want, and that's what happens now is sort of, probably 80% are in bad situations but we've made those tweaks to be a lot more optimised in our PPC was running. But without IP tracking we wouldn't really know that a lot of budget was being wasted on industries we weren't interested in.


SS: Yeah, I think it's worth saying with these platforms that we're talking about, most of them can be implemented really simply with a JavaScript snippet, or something, usually inserted in the header of the site, which if you've got Google Tag Manager, you can do yourself or a developer can do relatively quickly, to get you up and running, you know, we're not talking about a long, arduous process to get these tools on boarded, they're pretty quick to to get in your flow. Which kind of leads me on to the next topic about tactics that are surprising you at the minute what's, what's working and what's not, you know the good the bad and the ugly of b2b tactics right now.


CH: For me, the surprising one is one of actually is quite a few years and LinkedIn forms have used it previously and had a bit of middling success with it. But since 2020 I mean pretty much sort of round about the time of pandemic kicked in, it's sort of really ramped up and now is absolute flying. I mean, some of the ads are running are running sort of like £20 cost per lead when, you know, industry averages near £100, and they working a lot more successful than driving people through to on page landing sites. Because what I always say is, the more clicks you have, the more drop offs you'll have, so that fewer clicks to success, while obviously still providing information, is best and so I think the LinkedIn forms is really taken off.


But it's not really for conversions but I'm loving Twitter polls at the moment. The fact that you can push Twitter polls out paid is brilliant. I'm really absolutely gutted that LinkedIn haven't jumped on this bandwagon yet, because the Twitter stuff you get some good stuff from but the targeting and the audience out there is nowhere near as good for B2B as LinkedIn. I mean LinkedIn is pretty much if you only ran paid advertising on LinkedIn as a B2B business, you'd be fine. I'd say you don't really need to generally wondering about the other platforms in my opinion. Yeah, but you know, if you want sort of target followers or capture interest in getting some information out of. We did it sort of tail end last year, ran one poll a week for four weeks then took the data we got from that and turned it into a really good piece of content that he then pushed out on LinkedIn, with paid advertising within LinkedIn forms and generating some like really good quality contacts from that that we could pass into our CRM and flag up to the sales guys so they're aware that this person is now aware of us, sit down with this piece of content, you know you can reach out on LinkedIn, or we can start them on an email nurture journey, you know, getting a bit steer from sales depending on the level you know - we were getting a C-suite downloading it and so once you sort of get into that level you really want to get those top top tier ones, right in front of you, to understand how they want to approach it.


But yeah, the bad. For me it's always been the Display Network, I keep going back to I was all over this panel, and it just never had it just, it just generates rubbish really. Could be just the industries I've worked in, they're just not conducive for Google Display Network. But, you know, pretty much every time I used it is generate a lot of traffic and then you look at what then you segment in analytics by that sort of traffic and you're like, 80/ 90% Bounce Rate, Time on Pages sub 10 seconds for most of them, conversions are pretty much non existent than any conversion there is spam. I just feel Google Display Network is far too easily targeted by spam bots and I've yet to personally see in a B2B industry where it's actually generated anything where I've decided to keep it ticking on for more than sort of like four months or so. And that's still with significant testing by the by myself or by an agency, and I really trying everything under the sun to move the needle from the trash to good quality. And yeah,


SS: I'm interested that LinkedIn forms have taken off so much. I'm wondering if that has to do with how much more screen time people have had over the last 12 months, and whether that change in behaviour has meant that there's more time spent in the platform. I'd be interested to see if LinkedIn, comment on the change in their users over the last 12 months because I reckon that will have had something to do with it. It'll be interesting to see if it carries on for the next 12 months as, as the you know alleged normality returns.


CH:Yeah, I mean, you see the other platforms talk about - Instagram and Tiktok - saying that the average screen time per user has been going up and so you can imagine, it probably is the same for LinkedIn I definitely have spent more time on LinkedIn, even though part of my job is obviously to be on LinkedIn. But the interesting thing is now because more people spend they're getting better results and that there's a lot better stuff being pushed out via it so I spend more time on. So it's interesting that said, if that cycle continues I probably will still spend a fair bit of time on LinkedIn because the quality of stuff on there is increased significantly since the start of the pandemic, you know, in forms of webinars and podcasts and reports and it's all the information I love sort of like reading of an evening.


And I think if people continue to produce good quality staff, people keep going and I think the cycle will continue. If once normality comes in a lot of businesses start chucking money at in-person stuff and events like that and start, not producing fresher content for their paid LinkedIn then I think they could drop off again. So I definitely I think that's in the LinkedIn best interest to start bringing out some, but I said, you know, make LinkedIn polls, something they can push out via advertising because that would be amazing to be able to do it. There is a bit of a trend at the moment people complain about the number of polls being run, but personally I mean I love the polls because it gives you a real insight on a wide variety of topics. I've seen polls obviously across many different industries, even if the industries I'm not interested in, it's still interesting to see that sort of data gathering and the insights are provided, and if you're smart and you follow visitors, you're getting free information.


SS: Yeah, absolutely. I think the thing I just wanted to tack on to the end of that was, I wouldn't be surprised if most people on LinkedIn are using it through mobile, so they're on the mobile version, or on the app so by that extension you need to make sure your site is providing a good experience for mobile visitors, otherwise you're just wasting that traffic that might come to the site.


CH: You should be doing that, I mean Google is mobile first and has been for a while, I mean that also from May it's going to become even bigger. So if you're not, then you just in general you're shooting yourself in the foot. Which is slightly annoying for a business like ours, I mean, I say, 80% of our traffic is desktop.


SS: It's kind of intuitive in B2B Because most of the traffic, in the businesses I've worked in, comes from desktop, but you still have to be extremely mindful of mobile especially since Google is mobile first. Yeah, these days and you know on site user experience signals are what's going to change the algorithm again in May.


CH: The number of websites you see who are not ready for it in terms of PageSpeed and other bits and pieces like that, there's gonna be a lot of web agencies out there sort of rubbing their hands because there's gonna be a lot of people are going to be hit by this who are going to start scrambling and trying to find agencies that can fix their website really especially if there's not even, even though a lot of mobile-first websites I've seen have quite long loading times and that's going to be a huge thing. Yeah, it's interesting


SS: So I just wanted to move on a bit to talk about brand, and, you know, ask you what your feeling about the role of brand in B2BLead Gen is?


CH: I think brand is huge. I mean, if people recognise your logo or your name, even on a subconscious level, and then they put a positive association with it, then they're more likely to stop and engage with whatever you're putting out. Now I know it's true for myself if I see a brand if I see say Salesforce that I'll always stop because they go out I know they put out good content when it comes to sort of data, CRM and marketing automation and stuff like that and it always, always stop it. So if you've got that, then a bit of free lead generation but yeah and then going along with that is brand awareness should be less about people going oh I know this brand and more about as I said, I know this brand, and they are good at understanding what you want to be good at outside of I know they are a good product or service but that they offer something that I said, Salesforce for me. I know they offer good, free content so always stop and take a gander at what they're putting up and same for CUBE, we want to be known as a brand that people involved in compliance and risk can come to you for update insights on industry trends.


I mean, I'm gonna use a hugely overused term but we want to be seen as thought leaders, and that's quite an overused term but it is very true. If you want good brand awareness, people have to think these people produce good free content, and even if the content's not free, it's gated I can give them my email address and I feel like it's a worthwhile exchange, I give my email address, I get content. A number of times I've seen someone promote a piece of content I've gone okay they want my email address. This sounds like an interesting piece, I've downloaded and it's been two/three page PDF with basic stuff in it that you know, I could have got from Google nothing brand new, no real insights, no independent thought or research done. And then I've got a negative impression, no I never know when to stop for those brands I won't, you know, if I see them trying to push another piece of content I won't download it, I'll unsubscribe from the first email they send me. Well, if you do it right and you push out, high quality, independent stuff that what's in there is generally nowhere out, most people will start coming back to you, they'll start stopping when they see you putting out content, and actually engaging with it and that's in the B2B world where the sales cycle can be so long and what you need to do is you just need to start building that brand awareness up from the subconscious level to the really like, you know I'm keeping my eye out to see the next piece of information from this brand.


SS: Yeah I think that's really important to state, you know, if you are going to have that lead generation strategy. And like you said, there is a long sales process to go through and decision-making cycle, you have to do the brand awareness stuff to bring people into that flow in the first place, because otherwise you're just not filling up your bucket with potential leads you're just emptying it out and then, you know, eventually you'll run out of pipeline. So, I think if it was me going into a business there would have to be a strategy for that brand awareness and that top of funnel activity in conjunction with the lead-gen activity.


CH: Yeah and it comes down again, to kind of like to say to data. When you can segment your data, because you can just put a piece of content out there that is now you live on, I love this but what you really want this smart way of doing is bucketing people into a certain number of groups based on what you have available to you in terms of resources is doing content that target people who are the gatekeepers. So you sort of more manager, senior manager level with content that you know, they'll find interesting and start to engage with them. But then what a C-suite is interested in is completely different to senior managers in a lot of products, because you know, the manager level person probably using the product day in day out with a C-suite person more interested in the bigger picture. So, I mean that's a simple way of segmenting your data and the content that goes along with it, and then that feeds into brand awareness because then, it's building out to brand awareness pitches as well as with the. I don't want to say lower tier in the organisation people have, see your brand as okay, they provide really good content, me and the C-suite. See it as well what they like, these people understand the big picture, while the manager level support persons okay they get the intricate details of that. And that's the best way again. The problem is is a lot of stuff comes down to available resources that you have, it's all well and good saying that when you've got huge teams and stuff like that. If you're sort of a one man band or there's only a couple of you of the team. You then have to look at the data and prioritise - okay let's look at the data, we don't have particularly good engagement rate receives rate, I'm not saying that's CUBE, but I'm saying in general hypothetically you look at your data and go okay, C-suites generally don't engage with our content, there's no point in focusing too much time on that on that initial stage - let's start and try, lower down the organisation and start, you know, kind of going with the gatekeeper and then use that to build the journey to then hopefully get their C-suite into the conversation down the line. There's many, many ways that you can approach this.


SS: I think the resource point you mentioned that is really interesting, and it leads me on to a question that I was going to ask last but I think it's a good point to cover now. So, how do you manage the demands of sales team who obviously have a job to do, to convert people to make sales who are waiting for leads and feeling that pressure versus the marketing activities that you know you need to do, which can take time to bear fruit. If you can give our listeners some advice on how to manage that relationship that would be really awesome.


CH: Yeah, it's an interesting one, my personal approach to it is I can tell the salespeople - I can easily generate you 100 leads for you to follow up, and you'd be lucky if one or two progressed further, or you could give the marketing team time, let us do that what the what we need to do, and you know we might only generate 20/30 leads, but they be quality, and you know 50 to 75% of them would go further down the funnel. And that's how you got to position it - is quality over quantity as you said before.


You know, you can easily start generating tonnes and tonnes of leads you know just chuck stuff on Google Display Network you'll get a load of spam, unless you're the one who has to qualify the leads, you just pass it on to the BDM and the sales team. You know they won't be happy but then you'll be like, well, you asked me to generate X number of leads and that's why anyone who's managing marketing things, setting KPIs - you need to do marketing needs to generate X number of leads that week or month, or this idea - that can be easily manipulated like saying the KPI oh I want to increase social media following by 1000 a month. You could do that organically, but if someone starts going to be worried as if I start, don't hit this KPI it's gonna impact me, they are just gonna start buying crap leads. You can buy 1,000 followers on Instagram or LinkedIn or Facebook for 510 quid, they're gonna be rubbish but the high level report number be like yep, increased by this amount. So, if you push people into a corner way, you know, they've got to do this sort of things and some people will do that some and some people will leave.


That's the other thing you don't want to, you know, you start putting too much pressure you're going to get the churn. So you've got to let marketing people who spent a lot of their time learning about how to do marketing, to do their job.


SS: Yeah, absolutely. I think something you said early on sort of caught my eye into my imagination as well. I was thinking about, you know, understanding the pressures and the role that those salespeople have, as you said you could fill up their pipelines with 100 leads that won't go anywhere, and being able to empathise with that person and saying, look I don't want to create a whole load of extra work for you by sending leads that I know are not going to go anywhere for you. It's much better and more efficient for all of us, if marketing takes the time to deliver you 20 or 30 leads that are actually a value to you. I think that shows a lot of maturity on the part of the marketer and you know you're only going to build positive relationships there, whereas if you, if you go into that conversation, you know potentially a bit defensive then, you know, those those barriers are not easily going to be maintained.


CH: Yeah, I mean with that with building relationship is they shouldn't be hiding and marketing away, it shouldn't be in in a darkroom sort of thing where you're not telling sales and other parts of the business what's happening. You need to get everyone in the business involved. So salesperson will I, you know, we want to leads. Start getting content out and say okay, spend a couple hours every week doing me a piece of content, it doesn't have to be the best piece - it's easier to sort of get someone's I know some of them put down with our ideas, and then you can get them either bullet points or few short paragraphs and turn that into a piece of content, and just say you know start getting the sales team to help. If they're saying they haven't got a lot of leads at the moment, get them to help you generate leads by picking their brains have a meeting with them to understand the content of our user to segment - they know the data in the database, most probably better than the marketing people I know use or speak to salespeople at CUBE, they know who they really want to go after, who in the organisation worth going after, and then using that to start really building personalised campaigns.


LinkedIn, again going back to have a great new feature called conversations where you do sort of paid - it's a bit like in mail, but slightly different. We had some good success off the back of that. So, find someone yourself team go okay, we need access to your LinkedIn account, help us build this piece conversation that goes out and we'll send it out with this piece of content and start the really early stage conversations off the back for that. I said, Yeah, you can't just go in and say, We're not going to be able to do this for you. Wait on us to do it, get them involved, that's the best thing I can say is get anyone in the business who's asking marketing for something, get them involved in the process, get as much help from them as possible at the same time while not obviously putting everything on their shoulders and making the same if they don't do something, nothing's going to happen. But you should treat every person in the business as an extension of the marketing team, I mean what we do in CUBE are very basic level - when we put something out on social, post it out around the team get them to share and like and comment on it and start building some engagement and getting that organic side of things going.


SS: I think that mindset is really one to remember that everybody in the business has a role to play in marketing, and that LinkedIn conversation ad that you mentioned, I think is a really good way of engaging a salesperson because the ad will go out to people that you target and also can be in their network, but the replies will come back into them so they can see in real time who's responding to that ad, because the message will come straight back to them. So while it's tricky for a marketer to keep tabs on that because you're never quite sure of how those conversations are going, you can see the numbers and you'll get the feedback on it. But that's such a good way and a good tangible way for a salesperson to see some instant results, and, you know, as we've said, LinkedIn is the best place to be targeting people for for B2B.


So I think we are nearly out of time. If there was one thing you wanted to leave our listeners with that they should take forward when thinking about B2B lead generation, what would that be?


CH: Don't be afraid to test and learn, don't be afraid to fail. Always feel ready to put some money behind any idea that you might have and don't let people say, Oh, this is the way it's always been done hold you back, you know, let's try this Linkedin conversation, let's try Google Display Network, it might work for you, that's the thing, though, you know whatever anyone says, might not be true for your individual situation they only have the experience of what they've been doing. So for me, in the business I work in Google Display Network has not worked don't take it as a gospel truth and never touch it, put some money behind the test see what results you get out with that, that's, that's the best thing I can say to anyone in marketing, don't believe everything you see people say, test it for yourself.


SS: I think that's so important. If people wanted to reach out and chat to you, Chris where's the best place for them to find you.


CH: Yeah, LinkedIn, funnily enough, Chris, Christopher Hann on LinkedIn, relatively active on there, more and more lurker and commenter than pushing stuff out.


SS: That's cool. I think sometimes we marketers get like that don't we, where we just like to sit and listen and see what's going on in the conversation. I'm very much like LinkedIn. Except when I'm pushing out the podcast, obviously.


Well that's all we've got time for Thanks so much, Chris, for being here. It's been a really awesome conversation I really enjoyed it. And to all our listeners, if you have any questions do reach out to Chris or myself, the Instagram for the podcast is @marketingmindsetclub, and I will see you next time.