26 April 2021

22 Smart Ideas to Generate New Leads Now

Sally Shuttleworth
Written by Sally Shuttleworth

Sally Shuttleworth is Regional Director for The Marketing Centre and specialises in working with small and mid-size businesses. She has over 20 years’ experience working in a broad number of different industries, including FMCG, tech, manufacturing, the baby industry and financial services.

It’s great when potential customers seek you out. But most of the time, you can’t just sit back and wait for people to find you. You need to get out there and work for it.

Thankfully, there are all kinds of things that you can do to find new customers and fill your pipeline. And many of the most effective tactics are often overlooked by business owners and their sales teams.

From incentivising your distributors to working with local trade associations, here are 22 smart ways to reach your target audience and get your pipeline moving.


5 ways to find new contacts

Use LinkedIn to find lookalike prospects

One of the best ways to find new customers is through the LinkedIn profiles of your existing customers. Visit their profile and look for the ‘people also viewed’ bar along the right-hand side of their profile. You can also scroll through their connections.
Get your sales team to do this for all of your customers and you’ll find hundreds of new prospects in no time at all.

Call up old contacts

Go through your sales data to find customers who haven’t interacted with you in a while and get in touch. For added oomph, consider 1-to-1 video outreach using tools like Loom and Vidyard.

If your sales team already has its hands full, hire a telemarketing agency to do this for you.

Encourage some healthy competition

Run a competition in your sales team to see who can generate the most qualified leads in a given amount of time through cold calls, outreach, LinkedIn requests or whatever channel works best for your business.

For added drama you could form teams or create league tables. Just make sure you have a good prize up for grabs so people really go for it.

Start every day with 20 minutes on LinkedIn

Every morning, have your sales team spend 20 minutes sending 20 new connection requests and giving useful information to the people that accept.
The new conversations sparked by 20 connection requests a day from each member of your sales team will have a big impact on your pipeline.

Buy lists from a data vendor

Build a customer avatar from your existing customers: industry, location, company size, etc. Take this profile to a data vendor and buy potential leads that match your target audience.

Thousands of new email addresses overnight for your sales team to work on.

However, be conscious of the fact that just because a company matches your target customer avatar, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have an immediate need for your services. Make sure you look to offer them value in your outreach first, rather than diving straight into ‘sales-mode’ which could be off-putting.

Create 'gated content'

'Gated content' is a type of content marketing where you create high-quality, relevant content, such as a white paper or report related to a key pain point or priority for your audience.
You then ask customers to exchange their contact details for access. We've got quite a lot of gated content on our website - you can see an example of how we use it directly below.

B2B Lead Generation: Step-by-Step Guide
Get our complete guide to generating, nurturing and converting leads.
Download the guide.

3 sales tools that will help

Turn your team into Sales Navigator pros

LinkedIn Sales Navigator delivers 75% better ROI than traditional sales methods (according to LinkedIn).

Use it to build laser-targeted lists of new contacts and send out relevant, valuable content that will help build relationships.

Add a “Book a Meeting” link at the bottom of your outgoing sales emails

Many prospects will rifle through old emails when they finally need your service.

Make it easy for them to reach you by having a “Book a Meeting” link at the bottom of your outgoing emails.

Test a new advertising platform

Run out of fish at your old spot? Find a new one!

Facebook, Google Adwords, YouTube, LinkedIn - there are no end of platforms and social media channels out there to try. Set a budget and the objectives you would like to achieve, then run a test to see if the platform works for your business.

If it does, scale it up and make it part of your lead generation process. If it doesn’t, move onto something else.

6 ways to work your existing channels harder

Pick a winner and double down

Have your marketing team review how your channels are performing.
If you see a clear winner, invest more. If channels are underperforming, reduce the spend and put it into your winners.

Contact your trade association

Many trade associations have “Meet The Buyer” events. Like Christmas, these events usually happen once a year. So make sure you book your space!

Have regular meetings with your distribution partners

Get together every few months to review how things are going, resolve any issues and hear about new opportunities.

You can find a lot of opportunities through informal conversations with your distributors.

Review your distribution channels

Not all distribution channels are equal. Some will deliver more than others.

For example, online sales might be growing and there may be more opportunities for international business. Therefore, consider selling on Amazon or eBay.

Pick out the high-performers and make their lives easier by giving them all the sales materials and support they need.

Incentivise your distributors

Consider offering discounts for bulk orders to motivate distributors to hold more stock.

You can also create a rewards program for distributors who hit certain sales numbers to motivate them to push more of your products.

Purge underperforming distributors to make space for new ones

Once or twice a year, cut off the distributors who aren’t delivering to make room for new ones. New distributors will usually come with new prospects.

Webinar: 7 Ways to Grow Your Revenue
“After following this process we have identified two new initiatives that will be fundamental to our growth plan for 2021.”
Click here to watch.


8 ways to help existing customers to buy more

Don’t save your special offers for Black Friday

You can run special offers to customers any day of the year. And your offers will get more cut through when everyone else isn’t running them as well.

Target a specific sector

Creating sector-specific campaigns is a surefire way to improve the performance of your marketing and get more leads from your key markets.

Review your case studies

Case studies are powerful sales tools that often gather dust or don’t get the creative attention they deserve.

Review and update your case studies, then send them to prospects in similar companies or industries. Also, video case studies are often easier to produce (in the days of Zoom) and tend to create more of an impact.

Ask your top customers for referrals / case studies

Customers will rarely offer to refer you to someone or be a case study. But people who really value your service will usually be happy to help out when asked.

Gather and use social proof / testimonials

A lot of companies forget to gather quotes and testimonials from customers. But social proof is a great way of demonstrating your value. It builds trust and shows that your product and service is valued by customers.

Give your customers a referral

What goes around comes around. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. You get the picture...

Do more cross-selling and up-selling

Find opportunities to bundle your products or services together. Then analyse your sales data to find customers who have bought part of a bundle and might be interested in complementary products.

Check in on your customers

Marketers love to over complicate things. Sometimes the best route is to just give someone a call and see how they’re doing.

They might have been meaning to call you for months...

Just ask for the order

You miss 100% of the orders you don’t ask for. When in doubt, just ask. The worst they can do is say no.

Got a ‘quick win’ for new leads that we haven’t covered?

If you’ve got any B2B lead generation strategies to add to this list, join in the conversation on LinkedIn.

How would you rate your business’s lead generation strategy?

We know how hard it is for business owners to find the time to take a step back and review their marketing performance.

The Marketing 360 takes just 10 minutes to complete and will give you an objective view of what’s going well and what you should focus on.

Click here to get your Marketing Maturity Score


New call-to-action

Ready to take
your marketing seriously?

Since 2010, we’ve helped business owners make sense of marketing.
To make smarter decisions and make the most of their investment.

So if you’re tired of switching from one thing to the next hoping one will stick, maybe it’s time to try a different approach.