Lead Generation for Startups

by James Ker-Reid - November 5, 2021

What is lead generation?

Lead generation is the process of gaining the interest of potential customers in order to increase future sales. It is a crucial part of the sales process of many companies. A lead is anyone who has shown interest in a company’s products or services but may not yet be qualified to buy.

Generating leads for startups

Generating leads is essential for any business to succeed, but for startups it can be an especially difficult challenge.

1. Limited resources. At the beginning of your startup journey you will never have enough time or money to do everything. Whether that’s paying staff, office rent, suppliers and technical support or even just accessing cash to survive. Ultimately meaning you cannot afford to throw money at every lead generation strategy out there.

2. No reputation. A new startup is a blank canvas. You cannot rely on word-of-mouth, network referrals, credible testimonials or social following. Additionally, you are competing with other startups with potentially better connections or capital as well as established companies with most likely strong customer bases. Convincing people to take a chance on something new is always an investment.

3. No experience. Every business is unique, but having worked with over 70+ Pre-Seed to Series A startups we know that our best client Founders are not from a B2B sales background. Furthermore, what works for one business won’t necessarily work for you. Only as you hire a team, test strategies and start to attract leads will you gain the experience to see what works and what doesn’t.

Lead generation strategies can be split into two streams: outbound and inbound. Each has benefits and drawbacks, but most would agree that finding a balance between the two is the key to success.

The first step for either strategy is to create valuable content. Publishing good content increases the number of visitors to the website through search engines. However, creating content without understanding your buyer personas or clarifying your brand’s perspective is not going to achieve your company goals and could be a waste of time

Outbound strategies

1. Ideal customers. Before you can begin attracting customers you need to identify who your potential customers are and where they spend their time. Building buyer persona profiles will help you focus your efforts and ensure that you will accomplish the most satisfying results. But don’t underestimate the importance of understanding the solution your product or service provides as sometimes the customers you see as ideal might not actually be the right ones for your company.

2. Finding your leads. Gone are the days of bulk buying lists of data, with outdated contact information or completely incorrect details. When it comes to finding leads, the key is to seek quality. For example, if you’re seeking B2B decision makers, LinkedIn is a great free resource that enables you to find and connect with your target customers.

3. Get in touch. Despite the stigma around cold contact, it is still one of the most effective ways of building a network, and as a startup this is a priority. The key to success is personalisation. Define a process for contacting leads via:

  • Cold calling
  • Cold emailing
  • Social selling

Research shows that 82% of decision-makers don’t mind cold calling and emails if they are relevant to their company’s needs and occupation. What’s more, 71% prefer to hear from sellers early on in their consideration process when they are looking for new ideas. And 62% will welcome suggestions when they provide solutions to their current problems.

Inbound strategies

1. Capturing leads. From webinars, gated downloads, landing pages, demo requests to newsletter sign-ups create the opportunity for a lead to opt-in to hear from your business. Make it easy for people to sign up to further valuable content by creating a structured customer journey and clear call-to-action.

2. Distribute content. Establish your primary and secondary media distribution channels. Whether that is your owned channels, featured content on industry leaders accounts or press coverage most successful brands devise an effective combination.

3. Effective lead generation is essential for your startup. Whether you are focusing on outbound or inbound strategies, using the tips in this article should enable you to create a flow of leads.

The hard part begins when you need to convert your leads into loyal customers: How To Sign Your First Big Deal. 

We’ve put together this eBook defining The seven key tenants that startups and salespeople fail to consider when signing the first deal and trying to build revenue.

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Further Reading

James Ker-Reid
October 28, 2021

Sales for Startups partner with Thrive to cut down the likelihood of making a bad sales hire

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Patrick Thorp
October 29, 2020

4 of the best sales enablement tools available today

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Patrick Thorp
February 16, 2021

How to build your sales pipeline within your target market

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