👔 Sales

6 Lead Generation Tactics to Fill Your Pipeline

What’s the most exciting part of your sales job?

You didn’t say ‘spending 8 hours researching, enriching and cleaning lead lists’ …did you? 

We don’t blame you.

Lead gen is one of the hardest, most time consuming parts of sales. But it’s also where you start you start, whether you’re a self-sourcing AE or just starting out as an SDR. Sales calls are flashier and demos are sexier. But using great lead generation tactics is where you cut your teeth on what works in sales. 

Creating effective lead generation tactics is the best training for powerful sales performance down the line. 

To a certain extent, lead gen is a numbers game. But to really perform well, it’s an art form. 2k carefully curated leads may perform just as well as a list of 10k leads without any opportunity for honed messaging. 

These lead generation best practices will help you create better lead lists. Better yet, they will help you build a stronger foundation for your sales career. 

Lead Generation Best Practice: Remember That It’s Just the First Step

When playing darts (or cornhole, for those of you so inclined), you don’t throw as many projectiles as possible at the target and just hope something hits the bullseye. 

What’s the fun in that? 

When generating leads, it’s not best practice to gather any and all leads that could conceivably fit your target audience. You’re going to have a hard time getting positive responses to your cold emails down the line. 

Why take your time with lead generation?

It’s simple: better research early means better responses later. 

Remember that lead generation is just the first step in the sales process. It’s not as exciting as a discovery call or demo, but it’s just as important. The best lead generation tactics aren’t just about making prospecting more efficient. They’re also about unearthing the best leads.  

The initial steps in prospecting? 

  1. Find leads
  2. Reach out to leads
  3. Qualify leads
  4. Create an opportunity

Narrow your funnel at the top for more effective sales all the way down. 

The better your lead generation tactics early on, the more effective and successful you will be in later steps. Your AE or team lead will notice. 

3 Lead Generation Best Practices

Lead generation best practices are centered around a handful of big ideas:

  • Focus on leads that fit your ideal customer profile. Your sales copy focuses on specific messaging around role, pain points and industry trends. Your lead gen should, too.
  • Segment your lists for more effective outreach. It’s more efficient to send the same email to 10,000 people. It’s more effective to send emails to 300 people at a time. Set yourself up for success by segmenting your lists early in the lead generation process.
  • Go deep on your research. “Hi {first_name}” doesn’t cut it anymore. As you start generating leads, go deep on the information you gather. Mutual connections, interests, phone numbers, past companies, social media info — it’ll all help you create better sequences. 

6 Lead Generation Tactics to Book More Meetings

There are dozens (if not hundreds) of tools that you could leverage for lead generation — just like there are plenty of lead generation tactics to choose from. 

For the B2B lead generation strategies here, we focus on one platform in particular: LinkedIn Sales Navigator

Plenty of sales people use Sales Nav, but in our experience not nearly enough sales pros realize just how powerful the platform is for lead generation. With Sales Nav, you can leverage search criteria, account information, lead activity and more to create targeted lists for personal outreach. 

Learn More: Advanced LinkedIn Sales Navigator Training

These lead generation tactics outline how we use Sales Nav for lead generation at Wiza — and how you can, too. 

Build Focused Lists With Advanced Search on Sales Nav

The advanced search functionality on Sales Nav is nearly unmatched for a lead generation tool. Combined with the 500M+ LinkedIn users, you have a virtually limitless criteria to build your lead lists and keep your pipeline full. 

To start, you can essentially narrow in on your ideal customer profile using search operators like role, company size, past experience, function, seniority and more. 

lead generation tactics 1

Outside of simply searching around the typical firmographic and professional info you’ll need for effective outreach, you can take your actionable lead generation tactics further with Sales Nav:

  • Explore keywords. Get even more specific by looking for what people talk about in their profiles. For example, Wiza’s CEO uses “LinkedIn lead generation” to home in on leads who will already be warmed to the idea of our tool. 
  • Use exclusions. Keep irrelevant leads out of your lists by excluding specific companies, titles, keywords and more. 
  • Look for rapport building opportunities. Use criteria like interests, past company, and groups that your leads are a part of to create an enriched record you can pull from later. 
  • Return to your searches. Get more value out of your lead generation activities by setting them up to keep producing in the future. To start with, return to your best searches and change just one or two variables to get a fresh list of leads (i.e. add ‘became a member’ to include new LinkedIn users). You can also set up email alerts for fresh leads — more on that below. 

Set Up Email Alerts for New Leads 

This is a quick tip, but one of the most valuable lead generation tactics here. Get fresh leads delivered directly to your inbox by setting up email alerts for your searches. 

Create a specific search (our recommendation is narrowing in until you hit under 2500 leads), then click “Save search” on the top right of the page. You can set up your alerts to be delivered daily, weekly or monthly depending on the size of your search. 

lead generation tactics 2

Once saved, LinkedIn will send you a notification as new results are added to your search criteria. Instead of having to manually reenter and track your criteria for lists, you’ll get new leads every day, week or month. When you click through, you’ll be shown only the new results — brand new leads for you to reach out to. 

Reach Out to Referrals

Asking for referrals from newly signed accounts is a great way to keep the lead generation train going. But getting your contacts to actually make the introduction can sometimes feel like pulling teeth. 

Instead of a general ask that will most likely fall through the cracks, use one of my favorite lead generation tactics: get specific with asking your accounts for referrals. You don’t have to be pushy for this to work. 

  1. Look up your signed account on Sales Nav. If you’re active on LinkedIn, you’ll most likely have a good number of shared connections. 
  2. You can view those shared connections directly on LinkedIn — just click through to their profile, then “shared connections” under the highlights section. 
  3. Look through the list to see which shared connections fit your ICP. 
  4. Draft a forwardable introduction and send to your newly signed account with a brief note: “High Devin, I just realized we’re both connected with John. I’d love to set up a conversation with him — would you be willing to help that happen?”
lead generation tactics 3

You’ve done 90% of the work for them and set up a system that is replicable every time you sign someone new. 

Add Valuable Touchpoints With Social Selling

Nobody likes to receive a pitch right after receiving a connection request. 

If you’re going to sell on LinkedIn (instead of reaching out by email), make sure you make it as organic as possible. You can still generate leads on Sales Nav (using the advanced search above), but make your list even more narrow for social selling. Focus on the top 50 dream customers, for example. 

Save them to a separate list (#winners, anyone?), then take your time engaging with them. Here’s one LinkedIn-oriented sequence of many: 

  • Week one, hit the ‘Follow’ button and engage with some of their content throughout the week. Week two, send a connection request focused on how helpful their content has been.
  • Week three, follow up with those that accepted the request either by email or InMail. 

This one mixes lead generation and prospecting, but if it shows results then what’s the difference, really?  

Leverage Events for Initial Contact

Events have always been a fantastic way to generate high quality leads. Then 2020 came around and dashed all of our cocktail hour dreams. 

But not all is lost for events and lead generation tactics. Plenty of companies were slated to sponsor large events throughout 2020, and some are still sponsoring digital events. 

To leverage event sponsorships for cancelled events, identify the top 10 events in the industry you’re selling to for 2020. Then spend some time on good old fashioned research: look at the event websites, identify the sponsors and, if you really want to go for it, create a list of past attending companies using hashtags. 

Then it’s time to turn to Sales Nav. Search for the accounts and save them to an account list. 

Finally, head back to the ‘lead results’ tab and select your saved account list from the ‘Custom Lists’ filter. From there, you’ll have hundreds of leads you can contact with the event as the context. 

lead generation tactics 4

Read more on the leveraging events on SalesHacker.

Alternatively, you can attend a handful of the virtual events that brands are putting on. Keep track of who’s speaking and who’s sponsoring at the events, vet them and create a short list for the leads you want to reach out to. 

Follow Up As Leads Find New Positions 

Most leads (people) won’t stay at an account (company) forever. As people change jobs and move up in their career, it presents a great opportunity to reach out in an organic way. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator has a nifty tab in the search: “Changed jobs in the past 90 days.” Using that tab, you can identify anyone who meets your search criteria and who has a (relatively) new role. You can take advantage of this in two ways:

  1. Reach out to new leads. Create a search specifically for your ICP, then click through to those who have changed jobs. Save that search (with an appropriate title) to get notified anytime someone switches jobs into your ICP. You’ll get fresh leads using the same search criteria month after month. 
  2. Save your customers. Get alerted when your current customers move into a new role or to a new company. If they changed jobs completely, send a congratulations (or, if the ACV is high enough, a gift). Suddenly you’ll have an ‘in’ at a brand new account. 

Those are the six lead generation tactics we recommend as you lay the foundation for your B2B sales career. Try one or two out — be sure to let us know how it goes!

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About author

Hey, I'm Brooklin, Head of Content for Wiza. I used to create content for tons of B2B SaaS clients. Then I saw the beauty of Wiza and had to jump on board. Use Wiza to quickly create email lists from LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Use GIFs to win my heart.

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