04. October 2023
Marketing, planning and lead generation: three bases of successful business
How to organize your marketing? Why planning and proper presentation are the keys to success? Which tools can help you to boost your lead generation and why personalization matters?
Silk Data has prepared a case study which demonstrates a long and rather complicated path to proper lead generation and marketing strategy. We don’t claim that our way is the only one possible, but it’s our story, our flaws and solutions that led us to the results.
First, let’s talk about our company for a little.
Silk Data has been working on two main business directions: IT products development and consulting.
Our spheres of work:
NLP (natural language processing);
Main services that we offer:
Web and mobile app development;
IT consulting and prototyping;
The range of clients and locations is also impressive. Starting from Germany we expanded further through Europe (Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark) and even came to other continents (the USA, South Africa).
The position we have right now was not an occasion or didn’t come thanks to some fortunate case. This is the result of immense amount of work mostly connected with proper planning and marketing.
In this article you’ll find out:
How we organized the marketing?
Why positioning and presentation are so important?
About the product.
What is good lead generation?
Why you sometimes need personalization?
How was the marketing organized?
Our marketing department was built more than a year ago. Before that, all the experts engaged in sales and marketing activities worked together without any specifics and responsibilities differentiation.
When we came to the task of organizing these people and making them work more efficiently, the first step was to create a strategic plan. The main criteria that we defined were the following:
What are our goals?
What have we already achieved?
Which roles do we need?
What are the responsibilities of these roles?
Do we need additional resources?
Answering these questions led us to two crucial solutions:
First, we needed more resources. That’s why we immediately hired one more lead generation specialist and started working with SEO specialists.
Second, as was mentioned above, we identified two main working directions: product and consulting. And each of them has become a separate sphere of responsibility for one of our two lead generation specialists. That led to a higher level of attention to both fields and the work has dramatically speeded up.
One more advantage of the second point is that it’s finally become clear who our lead gens can engage in the negotiation process. For example, if we talk about the product direction, second and third calls can also involve our Head of AI who can answer all the questions regarding technical specifics.
Positioning and presentation are the key
When the general planning was finished, we came to the new question: how can we present our expertise?
Very soon we found the solution. To be particular, several solutions.
First, and the most obvious, is a proper and detailed slide deck. Structure, fonts, colors, shapes – everything was thoroughly worked out, to make us stand out from the variety of competitors.
Moreover, we took care of adding several links to working demos, so that even after the first call, the lead could test and interact with the solutions and technologies that we offer. Such a decision is the act of openness and full confidence in what we do, which inevitably demonstrates the client, that we are masters of our sphere.
Second, we built a structured portfolio.
It’s a separate block on our website called “Case studies”, where everyone can read about our projects. You may find out all the necessary information, from the timelines and budget to the stack of technologies and key results.
Step three is our presence on GoodFirms. It’s a B2B reviews & rating platform that helps businesses start their collaboration by listing them according to different categories, such as area, location, and the services provided. We asked all our clients, including old and those who we’re working with right now to leave their detailed reviews on our work. Furthermore, we started our activity on many other platforms of such a profile, for example, G2, DesignRush, and many others.
Step four is about digital presence on social media. We have corporate accounts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many others. Some of them (for example, LinkedIn) are used for direct client affiliation and lead generation, but the others are just the tools that help us to talk about our expertise or let people know about recent services and case updates.
Social media, and LinkedIn in particular, are a different story that also defines our marketing strategy. When we analyzed the markets and chose those who make the decisions, we created special messaging chains, that perform as a first contact message.
However, though all the markets are defined, and the chains are used as templates, there are, of course, many unpredictable cases. For example, we can get an incoming request that may seem perspective and profitable. That is how, for instance, we started our work in the South African market.
It was just an incoming offer, but now we have made a firm decision to expand our work in that field. South Africa is a new region that is commonly underestimated but that also has already demonstrated its business perspectives. There are, indeed, many challenges and the most vital and painful are 1) regular power outages (which lead to communication problems) and 2) national currency instability (changes in the exchange rate can be 10-12% per month and rather unpredictable).
We do not fear these challenges, as we know that long-term cooperation covers all of them.
Now, let’s get to the product.
About the product
One of our projects is a good example of how we work with the product part of our business.
We received a request to develop a special antiplagiarism system, mostly for students' tests and exams. The increased percentage of those who study from home led to a great number of outright plagiarisms, and many educational and proctoring organizations have been looking for an efficient antiplagiarism solution.
And we created such a solution. The main difference is that our system checks plagiarism among the works, comparing them and finding the repeats. You don’t compare texts with online open sources, you try to find cases of frank cheating.
Moreover, our solution can check about 1000 essays and more in a reasonable time, while most of the analogs may offer only one work within one session.
The client considered it a masterpiece, so we decided to work further.
First, we defined who we’re oriented for. These are online proctoring and LMS systems.
Second, we found the competitors and discovered their advantages. As we said, none of them conveniently support checking 1000 works at the same time and the comparison was performed mainly with the open Internet resources.
Third, we created an ideal client persona, the person or organization we’d like to get connected with, including location, company size, etc.
The last step is creating a proper and attractive landing page, special offers, and messages. Then we started a campaign. It’s been lasting since July 2023 already, and we’re in search of new clients. All the mentioned steps are the tools that help us get them.
And now it’s time to get to the lead generation process.
What are the lead generation tools that we use?
Lead generation is one of the most important steps of our marketing strategy, and we pay thorough attention to it.
Spoiler: there’ll be a lot of boring routines along with the most creative approaches.
First, let’s talk about the tools. Our standard workload is about 1000 leads/month, and the first stage is a manual selection of companies through their websites. After that, the automatization comes onto the stage.
There are many automatization tools but we at Silk Data use Apollo, Snov.io, Zoho CRM, and LinkedHelper. Let’s talk a little about all of them.
Apollo.io is our favorite tool, as we use it both in sales and marketing departments. You may customize all the necessary criteria, including:
We also work with Professional Plan, which provides us with the following features:
connection of two mailboxes;
unlimited number of emails sent per day;
running an unlimited number of sequences;
Snov.io is one more tool that has almost the same functionality with some specifics and limitations. Many companies use it as an Apollo alternative, but Silk Data uses it for email verification only. Apollo is preferable for us.
The resulting process is rather simple and can be divided into two main steps:
Defining the criteria of applies needed (industry, location, position, number of employees, etc.);
When the information is gathered, it is collected at Zoho CRM, which is already synchronized with LinkedIn.
Now let’s discuss how we work with LinkedIn.
When the task comes to mailing, we stand for as much automation as possible. There, of course, can be tasks that require manual management (for instance, commenting posts or negotiating), but if there are none, we delegate them to a robot.
There are two tools that help us with it: LinkedHelper and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
LinkedHelper is a separate tool where we run message chains. And Sales Navigator helps with quality search and pulling contacts. For example, some contacts are hidden through LinkedIn. In this case, the Navigator helps. You enter your query: USA, 10,000 employees, Retail – and see the entire list of leads.
Getting through all the steps connected with finding companies and connecting with them leads us to the end of the lead generation campaign. After we ran a campaign, we analyzed how everything was going. If we take about 2000 leads per company, we get about 30 calls per month for a product.
Of these, about 5 leads make it to the second technical call. About 3 leads are at the stage of signing contracts. 1-2 end up signing a contract.
Personalization and its pros. An amusing case that led us to contract
Automatization is a rather quick and efficient way of getting new leads, but sometimes mere templates are not enough. When the result is not satisfying, we apply for personalized messages.
We’d like to share our story.
One of our lead generation specialists was struggling with getting new leads. One day, one of the people on LinkedIn said that our messages were nothing more than spam, so the specialist took the initiative.
A wreath of dandelions, a national outfit, a spring forest in the background and a parallel story about our services led to a true result. Our lead was fascinated, signed the contract, and now they are one of our most trusted and respected clients.
A good case, but there’s another side to the coin. Our specialist spent about 6 hours dealing with such a creative solution. Using this approach every time can lead to the loss of customers, because there's no way you're going to reach 1,000 people in a month if it takes half a day per person.
But the working method was changed anyway.
After the incident, we started sending voice messages as well. For example, we would take the third letter in a chain of messages and say it in voice. Lead immediately understood that it was recorded for them personally, because voice messages have not yet been automated.
And so, we tried to send 20 voice messages a day. The conversion rate immediately increased to 30%.
We also tried to record a company presentation thanks to the Scrap.io program.
Our specialist divided the screen into two parts: on one part the presentation, and on the other – their face. We recorded presentations of up to 1 minute individually, as the paid version includes this timing. Conversion increased 3 times.
Finally, this year, we started creating video greetings for current clients. We emphasize humanity, and it is respected the clients that come in.
Throughout the year, we embarked on a series of lead generation experiments, exploring various channels and tools, all to bolster the influx of high-quality leads and enhance our conversion rates to contracts. The outcomes of these efforts yielded remarkable results:
Lead acquisition witnessed a 35% increase compared to the previous year;
Our conversion rates to contracts showed a notable 12% improvement;
The overall value of our contracts experienced an uptick of 8%.
These outcomes are a testament to the effectiveness of our strategy, demonstrating tangible value added to our business. We take pride in our ongoing commitment to innovation, continually testing novel approaches and refining our processes to ensure the perpetual enhancement of our marketing system.