Lead generation has been the fuel for revenue-generating activities for a long time. What used to be exclusively known as cold calling has transformed into a multi-channel, multi-touch, and hyper-personalized approach to generate high-quality leads for companies around the world.
So what industry transformations are going to take place in the coming year? It's time to look forward to a new year and what better way to kick off 2018 than to make a few predictions (and maybe even a few wild guesses) about what to expect in the next year. Below you'll find 5 predictions from our team about what to expect in lead generation in 2018.
1) Email Will Continue to Be a Top ROI Lead Generation Tool
Lead generation and sales development representatives that aren't using this channel in combination with their other approaches will be missing an easy target. We believe that email will continue to be a top channel for prospecting in the new year.
2) New Prospecting Channels Will Emerge
B2B lead generators will take a cue from their B2C counterparts and start utilizing live chat and messaging applications to communicate with prospects.
According to the demand generation firm Market One, live chat has lowered the cost per marketing qualified lead (MQL), lowered the cost per acquisition and increased sales acceptance rates versus tele-generated MQLs.
By being available to chat precisely when the prospect has a question, the sales development representative is able to capture their attention and engage them before they have a chance to move on to another businesses website. This takes the 5-minute follow-up to a new level.
3) Prospects Will Require An Exceptional Sales Experience
According to the customer intelligence firm Walker Information, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator very soon - and yes, we're talking about B2B products and services.
Access to information and buyer expectations are both on the rise so organizations that place utmost importance on creating a superior experience for any prospect engaging with their company will reap the benefits in the new year. Strata Beat theorizes that marketing and sales professionals must place extra focus on mapping the customer journey and defining personas in order to deliver the most impactful and hyper-targeted experiences throughout the sales process.
4) Transition to Account-Based Selling
As defined by RingDNA, account-based selling (ABS is primarily a B2B sales model that targets companies rather than specific leads. Instead of one sales development representative targeting a single contact within a company, an entire team is dedicated to targeting multiple stakeholders at the prospective customer’s company.
Instead of prioritizing volume-based KPIs like number of phone calls, voicemails, emails, etc., ABS requires that the sales development representative quit smiling + dialing and plan out a more methodical and personalized outreach approach across a prospect organization. This hyper-personalized approach allows sales development representatives to get prospects within target organizations talking to each other about their pain point, while then being top-of-mind when they decide on a solution for it.
5) Lead Generation Role Will Get More Development Attention
The lead generation role has traditionally been a stepping stone for recent college graduates looking for a resume builder before ultimately finding a sales role and because of that, the role has lacked the attention to development that others have gotten.
According to marketing automation giant Hubspot, "the SDR role is undergoing a shift." As the sales development role becomes a position that requires more creativity and accountability due to the shift in prospect expectations, employers are going to realize the need for development within that career path. In 2018, organizations will offer more sales training, mentorship opportunities, and more distinct career trajectory plans for their lead generators.
What are your predictions for 2018?