I have a high tech software start up B2B ...I know in my industry that competitors market through blogs, webinars, seo, associations, broadcast emails etc... I am targeting the Canadian Small to medium size business between 20- 300 Million in revenue. What is the best first steps in generating leads as cold calls don't seem to be the right thing..Can anyone make suggestions please?
Getting Started Marketing Sales Strategy
My advice is fake it til you make it! Make sure your website gives off the look and feel of a big player and make your media/info kits high, professional quality. Make sure you under price your competitors and/or emphasize your unique, strong points clearly on your site.
Lastly, channel your energy on only a few good marketing tactics so you don't spread yourself thin. E-mail marketing is usually the most cost efficient way to drive traffic and generate sign ups that will convert into sales with a little massaging. I use tele-mail.com to send bulk emails, because it has an automated dialer to trigger phone calls to me and my sales team as the recipients are clicking a link or opening the E-mail and then bridges me to the call in real time. Also, SEO is 10% brains and 90% grubnt work, so get to work!
It's critical to stay hands on in the begining to hear every objection, so you can setup your product/service and sales pitch to overcome every objection even before it becomes an objection.
If you already have Contact Details of some target companies, than make them a good offer to try your Solutions and to provide you with a Feedback you are able to use to acquire new customers.
In case you don't have Contact Details, you may buy some from a Mailinglist Service. Even if you have a small budget, all you need are just a few Contacts.
Furthermore, think about Social Media Sites, where your Customers might be around or where they are contributing to the one or the other Group. Contribute to these groups as well.
Social Media Try to find your potential customers on twitter / Facebook and engage in a conversation with customers
Blog Keep writing blogs around your subject and attract visitors to your site.
The above two are easy ways (but takes time) of getting leads / beta users for your startup
The best source of getting access to small business I have found is the community. While you can use AdWords to generate a lot of traffic to your site for the right type of product, it doesn't generate the relationship. Without more knowledge of your business specifics it would be hard to say but trade shows, small business associations, community events, and vertical mixers are all great places to start.
Cold calling works if you are willing to put someone on the phone all week to generate a few okay leads. Generate a script, figure out how to qualify a buyer, and you can outsource that work to some organizations. It's not great in my experience but they can sometimes generate a number of leads if you give them time. It's normally not overly expensive to use third parties as the person on the phone is just following a script and cannot answer any real questions about your product.
This is a bit underhanded, but you could advertise something on-topic to your app (but more generally interesting) under the guise of a poll or petition or (less sneaky) a mailing/notification (ie, "Let me know when the sun rises!") list. Farm the sign-ups and basically have yourself some leads from the start. Google Adwords can narrow the exposure geographically for you so that your clicks come from your region.
Think in terms of how to corral people who are interested not in your product but around your product. Once you have an idea of the demographic (ages, likes, affiliations), you have an idea of how better to warm up cold calls. [Just think of how political parties mass farm names and emails and ZIP/postal codes around meaningless petitions, ie "Get Keith Olbermann Reinstated!". When they sign that petition, they should also know that it will mean they will be getting unsolicited requests for campaign contributions 18 months later.]
Although a lead can be a real thing; for your long-term, creating a marketing pool is something you can continue to grow at a much lower expense over time and will yield very good results.