As someone who has been in outbound prospecting roles for the last four years, I’ve found that marketing must equip outbound lead generation teams with engaging content for the operation to be successful. Without supporting marketing content, the cold calling efforts will hit a brick wall. After the initial conversation with a prospect, a shortage of corroborative material can make relationship-building difficult, as a lack of eye-opening resources and testimonials connotes a lack of expertise and professionalism.
Here are the top 5 supporting resources that have proven effective:
#1 – A Modern Website
A modern and streamlined (meaning a clear site architecture that won’t lose users in a mess of hyperlinks) website explaining your company’s products, services, history, management teams, and value propositions.
Here’s a very simple example of clean architecture. You’ll notice how the deeper you get into the site, the more specific the materials become; meaning an onslaught of data should never be your homepage’s centerpiece. For inspiration on how to craft your own clean web layout, check out this gallery of examples and pick up cues on how to best update your site.
If your current website isn’t up to par, you’ll want to prioritize a website redesign, to add crucial elements like an enhanced user interface. Your website is a true reflection of your business. Particularly if you are a SaaS company, having an outdated, unattractive site will turn off potential customers.
#2 – Microsites
Content microsites—or individual landing pages providing additional materials related to your site’s main page—can build excitement about your product, service or company as a whole. Take, for instance, our just-launched site OpenView Labs, which provides expertise and new approaches to building expansion stage tech companies. Microsites—also called niche marketing—can, however, languish if not properly maintained, so be sure to keep an eye on them—and keep updating. Fresh content is key! Also be sure to keep your clean web layout in mind—filling microsites with too much information (or worse: hokey graphics and sounds), will be more irritating than enticing.
#3 – Case Studies
Case studies and customer testimonials can and should be leveraged to promote your business. Articulating a customer success story is a powerful tool and motivator for a potential lead to become involved with your company.
Testimonials can be tricky. More often than not, they come off hokey and staged, which will give the impression that you’re paying people to toot your horn. Entrepreneur has a list of 5 ways to ensure your customer testimonials are convincing, including: creating authenticity using photographs and voiceovers rather than actors reading scripts; bringing quantifiable data, like money or time saved into the equation; and using diversity to broaden the testimonial’s significance and reach.
#4 – Whitepapers
Creating a brochure or whitepaper geared specifically towards the prospect’s segment can also prove successful. Compelling whitepapers are in-depth (yet relatively brief) analyses of topics and situations that make it evident the author is an expert in his/her field. Whitepapers tackling specific target segments can make your prospect think it was individually tailored to them, thereby implying a deep understanding of a prospect’s needs and building instant comfort and trustworthiness.
#5 – Multimedia
We are living in the 21st century. Our culture has become extremely visually-oriented, bred on instant gratification, and expectant of interactive technologies such as videos, blog comment boards and social media integration. Creating online videos and building a strong online presence can quickly capture a lead’s attention. If you haven’t yet created a company video or harnessed the power of social networking, now’s the time. Videos in particular can be a great tool for less-experienced lead generation specialists who lack technical skills, as videos—perhaps created in the voice of the CEO—can do most of the talking for them. Check out our primer on using social networking — including video sites—to push your company through the crowd.
These five pieces of content—which should all appear on your website, easy to find and download, in addition to being placed in the hands of your lead generators—will convey your company’s familiarity with the prospect’s segments, needs, the value of your product or services, and the legitimacy of the solutions you provide. Verbal communication without backup materials will very rarely engage a prospect; a lead generation specialist needs supporting materials after (and sometimes during) the first conversation to push the lead to the next stage of the sales process.