Lead Generation for Tech Companies: Best Practices & Case Studies
Date : August 25, 2021 By
- 1 The recent changes in technology buying journey
- 2 What customer personas are actual leads in the tech sector?
- 3 What types of assets are B2B tech leads interested in?
- 4 Why leadgen for tech companies is not straightforward?
- 5 How to choose effective leadgen assets for tech?
- 6 How to generate leads in tech sector with webinars?
- 7 Conclusion
The recent changes in technology buying journey
The buying journey in the tech sector has undergone significant transformations in recent years due to the widespread adoption of the digital communications, shifts in consumer behavior, and the evolving business landscape. Here are some key changes:
1. Information Search & Accessibility
The internet has democratized information access. Tech buyers can now research products, services, and tech vendors online, gaining access to a wealth of information, actual user reviews, and expert opinions. This has shifted power from sellers to buyers, making the buying journey more customer-centric. Moreover, the organic search traffic will be much harder to get by tech vendors because of the future Google’s Search Generative Experience which will change the way vendor websites conquer search results.
2. Online Research and Comparison
Prospective tech buyers rely heavily on online resources to compare different products and solutions. They read reviews, watch videos, and engage with content from both companies and independent sources to make informed decisions. New platforms which deliver trusted reviews as well as expert opinions include G2, TrustRadius, Gartner Peer Insights, Capterra and many others. Tech vendors have to claim (or update) their accounts on these platforms, and stimulate their successful customers to leave reviews on them for further promotion.
3. Social Media and Influencers
Social media platforms and tech-focused influencers play a significant role in shaping buying decisions. Buyers often seek recommendations and insights from industry experts and influencers on platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Not only tech companies have to work with opinion leaders, but also advertise wisely in these channels for those who are inside their tech buying journey, actively listening to influencers. The advertising at this particular moment is very effective.
4. Global Reach for both Buyer and Vendor
The improved quality of online translation tools powered by AI has expanded the global reach of tech companies. Buyers can source products and services from anywhere in the world, and vendors can build their websites and other marketing collateral in local languages for a low cost and with minimum effort which makes this a match.
Tech companies heavily invest in digital marketing strategies, including content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising, review websites and in-marketplace marketing and other digital tools to reach their target audiences and drive leads for a sales pipeline. Successful companies which wish to increase their sales pipeline must adapt to these changes to effectively engage with modern tech-savvy buyers.
What customer personas are actual leads in the tech sector?
When it comes to technology companies, there are two main types of markets: B2C and B2B (enterprise). It’s simple to define the lead for the B2C technology market or just consumer software – in this case, a lead is mainly a trial registration or a free version download that turns into a purchase sooner or later.
However, lead generation in B2B technology is more complex. First of all, B2B technology lead generation is a multi-step process that addresses several different levels of a company at different times – which means that the actual process of selling a product or a service to a single company could easily take an entire year or even more (depending on the size of the deal).
Moreover, tech lead generation strategies usually target different customer personas within the same company. For example, if we’re taking a company with a need for an enterprise data backup and recovery system – a basic sales pitch should start with system administrators, database administrators, and other kinds of IT personnel. The next step is to work with the IT management – including CIOs, CISOs, CTOs, and so on. These personas have different pains and require different value propositions compared to the regular IT personnel. There might also be a need to communicate with procurement chief, CFOs, CEOs, etc.. This leads us to at least three entirely different levels of target audience within a single lead.
What types of assets are B2B tech leads interested in?
Not all of leads you get fill in the contact form or request an instant quote in live chat. There might be lead engagements during different stages of customer journey with different levels of interest in your product or service. It can be a general research for a potential solution to an existing problem, a research for a list of potential solutions to evaluate, comparison between several products based on features, support level and reviews after evaluation – they all require different type of assets to engage with. Based on the customer journey stage they can include:
- Contact form submission / live chat request;
- Trial or demo request;
- Tech whitepaper or e-book downloads;
- Custom checklists and templates downloads.
To be successful in tech lead generation, companies need to have at least one asset of each type to cover all stages of customer journey. Ideally you need to have a set of assets for each customer pain that your technology covers.
Why leadgen for tech companies is not straightforward?
Back in the day it was relatively easy to promote your commercial pages (product landing pages, solution pages, etc) in search results on Google, and get leads from them easily. But with the rise of AI-based Google algorithms and Google’s helpful content system promoting product pages in organic search is much harder, if not impossible, especially with reduced budgets. To rank on the first page and get traffic your content needs to be truly helpful for the user and thus informational, and this is why search results are dominated by blogs, glossaries, KBs and other non-commercial pages.
However, even getting to the top of search results with such content doesn’t mean that visitors will be converting into leads. Usually non-commercial pages have low engagement rate (which is opposite to bouce rate), low session depth (views per user) and visitors leave the website after reading your information article:
As you can see on this example screenshot, 1.19 views per user and 57 seconds on site clearly demonstrate low level of engagement. This is where the two-step leadgen approach comes in – its main purpose is to convert bounced visitors to active leads with the usage of targeted remarketing campaigns.
Here is one example. In my leadgen project with a SharePoint app development company I was working on SEO traffic using non-commercial content. As an example, one of our blog posts about SharePoint Forms was in top-5 rankings for the keyword “SharePoint forms” in the US region.
The traffic was growing for all such blogs but less than 3% of the visitors were actually interested in performing target actions like app trials.
To solve this, we’ve created several different remarketing campaigns using LinkedIn Lead Ads. We knew that visitors of the blog have SharePoint on-premise or online installations, as this was the topic of the post, and based on these we created several whitepapers addressing common SharePoint user challenges: project management, migration and user adoption. These assets were advertised on LinkedIn only to those who visited our blog from organic traffic:
The LinkedIn Sponsored Messages (now called Sponsored Conversations) format that we’ve used to engage with remarketing audience were simple and straight-to-the-point. Additionally we used LinkedIn Forms which were pre-filled with the information from users’ profiles to boost conversion rate.
We have received 200+ leads in a month from a single whitepaper, and the cost-per-lead was less than 50USD. This way we transformed the unknown blog traffic to quality leads with real data from their LinkedIn profiles.
Another example of such two-step strategy is my project with an Australian IT security vendor CipherPoint. The process is similar, the keyword we ranked for is “data classification”, and we’ve managed to achieve success with it – #3 place from the top organic result.
The similar problem appeared – website visitors were not engaging and converting, but in this case I started working on a remarketing campaign in Google Ads where the corresponding whitepaper about data classification in SharePoint was advertised. Here are some ads that we used in display network:
This approach allowed to generate lots of leads from whitepaper downloads, more than 1000 per year:
The cost-per-lead was 4 times less than industry average.
How to choose effective leadgen assets for tech?
The success of tech leadgen campaigns depends on the relevance of assets to actual customer pains and also on the search demand. It’s important to perform keyword research to figure out which keyword combinations are researched more often, and thus, can attract more potential leads.
Here is one example from my practice. The above call-to-action block from Bacula Systems’ website perfectly demonstrates how we’re selecting the lead generation assets. While trial download and webinar registration assets are industry standards, disaster recovery guide and ransomware prevention checklist are thought leadership whitepapers. But why exactly them? Not only DR and ransomware are main painpoints of Bacula Systems’ clients, but also these topics have significant search demand:
Looking at the keyword research tool I understood that people that look for disaster recovery are actively researching DR plan examples which explains why we created free DR guide and template. This thought leadership whitepaper delivers 2000+ quality leads per year which are willing to engage with sales team regarding backup software as a part of disaster recovery strategy:
The other asset listed on the screenshot is ransomware prevention checklist. It was chosen in the same way, based on the search statistics and customer painpoints. While its search volume is lower, it still delivers a decent amount of leads (500+ per year) and ensures lead type diversity for sales:
How to generate leads in tech sector with webinars?
Many tech companies are using webinars as a tool to convince the customer during the buying journey (especially in its critical points, when the customer is not convinced enough for the next action in the pipeline). Some of the potential themes for webinars in tech sector might include:
- Case studies of product usage;
- Specific solutions or features of a product;
- New product releases.
Webinars are resource-consuming, especially for small marketing teams. However, each webinar is a one-time investment that can work as an “evergreen” leadgen asset in the future through continuous webinar downloads.
Here is my another case study with Bacula Systems – this strategy delivered 300+ leads in 2 years:
It’s important to begin promoting the webinar several months before it occurs. The first step is choosing the topic – as a backup company we can talk about the best ways to perform disaster recovery, performing a backup for a specific database, hypervisor and so on. Same as with the assets, our topic decision is influenced by customer painpoints and search demand.
Secondly, it’s vital for success to choose the proper webinar advertising channel. LinkedIn’s Sposored Conversations format is very suitable for webinar invitations, and the registration process is very simple – just two or three clicks.
I usually split a single campaign into several job title-specific ones, this allows to customize the message for better affinity and deliver better results. In this case I am promoting the Docker backup webinar to several audiences: devops, sysadmins and IT managers.
This customization allows to deliver registrations for less than 25CHF, and the overall amount for this campaign is more than 80. What is more important – not only these people register, at least 60% of them show up on the event itself.
The evolution of the buying journey in the tech sector has ushered in a new era of consumer empowerment, connectivity, and convenience. This transformative impact on how prospects research, evaluate, and ultimately purchase tech-related products and services is undeniable.
This shift has empowered buyers with unprecedented access to information, enabling them to make informed decisions, compare options, and seek recommendations from peers and influencers. Simultaneously, it has challenged tech companies to adapt to a rapidly changing landscape, emphasizing the importance of sophisticated digital marketing techniques and leadgen assets personalization.
As technology continues to advance and consumer behaviors evolve, the buying journey in the tech sector will likely see further transformation. Staying agile, embracing digital marketing innovations, prioritizing data privacy and security, and fostering meaningful assets will be key for tech companies to thrive in this dynamic environment and still generate leads for a meaningful cost.