How-to-Generate-More-Leads-to-Your-Business

How to Generate More Leads to Your Business

Leads can be either a person or business (if you’re B2B) that has interest in your product or service. Savvy small business owners know that lead growth is crucial to their company’s growth and success.

A steady pipeline of leads means more business for you since some of these are likely to become paying customers. Without these prospects, it can be intimidating trying to forecast future profits. Luckily, there are some great ways you can attract and generate more leads for your small business.

How To Generate Leads For Your Small Business:

  1. Identify target audience
  2. Create A social media presence
  3. Set up social media promotions
  4. LinkedIn Lead Gen
  5. Directly engage
  6. Outbound and inbound marketing
  7. Use databases
  8. Automate marketing
  9. Networking
  10. Digital networking
  11. Email marketing
  12. Offer freebies
  13. Word of mouth
  14. Develop an informative blog
  15. Try guest blogging
  16. Connect with influencers
  17. Add a quiz to your website
  18. Embrace new technology
  19. Discounts and coupons
  20. Mutually beneficial business relationships

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20 Smart Lead Gen Ideas for Your Small Business

1. Identify Target Audience

Before you even try to attract more leads, the first step is to identify who those leads might be. Who are you trying to reach? Who is your ideal customer? Think about the best clients you have and find where those types of clients hang out online and offline, what type of language they use, and what they find valuable. By identifying these key components, you can then streamline your lead gen strategies.

social media to generate leads

2. Social Media Presence

You need to be visible where your customers are. If you are a consumer-facing business, having a strong social media presence is crucial. If you are not on social media, you’re out-of-sight, out-of-mind, and missing out on some great leads. Loyalty analytics company Aimia conducted research that revealed more than half (56%) of consumers who follow brands on social media sites say they do so to view products. That means you have more than half of consumers specifically on your social media page with the intent to possibly buy something.

3. Social Media Promotions

To take your social media presence up a notch, it’s wise to participate in social media advertisements. Specifically, Facebook promotions have been shown to yield a favorable ROI for businesses thanks to their cheap advertising costs and the fantastic ability to target very specific audiences you are hoping to reach with your product/service. Instagram and Twitter promotions can also be valuable depending on your target audience.

4. Maximize LinkedIn

Though LinkedIn is technically social media, it gets its own point because it is solely for business professionals. If you are a B2B company, you are missing out big-time by not being on LinkedIn. This platform is ideal for small business owners to position themselves as industry leaders with the publishing platform—write smart articles to appeal to possible leads lurking LinkedIn, and don’t forget to network when people comment and/or share your article.

Lead Values What is a lead

5. Directly Engage With Leads

Indirect engagement is something like FAQs. If you really want to drive the sale and sprout more leads, make it personal. Popular options include live chat, forums, and help centers on your website—the more a lead is engaged, the more likely they are to become a customer and, ultimately, suggest your company to their contacts.

6. Outbound & Inbound Marketing

Don’t put yourself in a box. By employing both outbound and inbound marketing campaigns, you double your reach and chances for generating new leads.

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7. Use Databases

Not sure where to find new leads? Try tapping into databases for fresh information. For example, data.com has a pretty well-updated list of companies and accurate contact information. You can easily scan this information to gather potential leads for your business.

8. Automate Marketing

Help yourself be more productive by using tools that automate marketing. Not only do marketing automation tools save time, but they also usually feature additional benefits such as organized insights and savvy systems for increasing leads.

9. Networking

Even though we live in a digital world, there is still something so powerful about a personal connection. Don’t forget to attend local, regional, and/or national networking events to put a face to your company and rub elbows with potential leads. Just by being there, you increase your visibility and set yourself up for more lead opportunities down the road, even if no immediate leads are generated.

10. Digital networking

Make yourself and your company visible online by doing a little digital networking. This could mean commenting on forums, on Quora.com questions, or on industry-related blog posts. Maybe you want to do social media networking and you comment on Instagram photos tagged with an industry-related hashtag or you build lists on Twitter. There are so many ways to use the internet for networking, and you would be remiss not to take advantage of the massive communication opportunities available to you.

Email lead generation

11. Email Marketing

Create personalized email newsletter campaigns using segmentation, and watch the leads roll in. Email marketing is a great way to bring people from the awareness stage to the interest stage to the purchasing stage—but the key is personalization.

12. Offer Freebies

When you offer a free download or free software, you are showing potential leads that your mission is to provide value to your customers. Creating the freebie will be a one-time project, but the opportunities that stem from it can be endless. People who use and love your freebie will be left wanting more, which is how they turn into leads and eventual customers.

online reviews for generate leads

13. Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is still one of the largest lead generators for businesses big and small because people generally trust the opinions of their peers. Digitally, you can leverage word-of-mouth leads by collecting online reviews. In the non-digital world, referral programs are great ways to reward customers for sharing the word about your business.

14. Develop an Informative Blog

Establish business as the go-to industry expert with a blog offering informative, well-written articles. Blogs are great for many reasons: they help your website get discovered on Google, they increase consumer trust in your company, and they educate the consumer. This form of content marketing is fantastic for turning curious minds into brand loyalists.

15. Try Guest Blogging

Once you have a great blog up and running, one outreach tactic is to guest-blog on other, non-competitor websites. When you write a guest post on a topic in your industry, you position yourself as an expert, and you can also link back to your own blog, website, and products/services. If you do it right, when people come to the blog post looking for information, they just might end up on your “contact” page.

16. Connect With Influencers

Influencer marketing is still a gray area for many companies, but one easy way to use social media and internet influencers to market your business is to interview them. Interview an influencer on your blog (they’ll be flattered), then once the post is up, that influencer can promote it to their audience. You’ll reach all-new leads.

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17. Add A Quiz To Your Website

Make your website more interactive, and people will linger longer. Quizzes are a great way to increase consumer engagement because they’re fun, shareable, and provide some useful information all at the same time. There are also simple programs out there you can use to create interactive quizzes for your website, so it isn’t extremely labor-intensive.

18. Embrace New Technology

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are just one of the newer technology innovations that have revolutionized the way businesses work internally. By adopting the new technology that makes sense for your company, you can optimize your time and waste less of it doing tasks that can easily be automated by technology. You can learn more about CRMs here.[insert post link when live]

more leads through discounts

19. Discounts and Coupons

Sending coupons via direct mail and discounts via email marketing are two simple ways to get people motivated to buy. Simply by offering a small discount, you can get many potential leads. People hate paying full-price, so as soon as they see that can save money on something, they entertain the idea of purchasing it. Running special sales also promote a sense of immediacy.

20. Mutually Beneficial Business Relationships

There are likely many people in your business network that aren’t competitors. Get the most out of these relationships by forming mutually beneficial partnerships. For example, if you own a car repair shop but don’t sell car accessories, you can partner with a local car accessories company you trust. This way, both of you can refer your customers to each other, and both of you win.

Conclusion

These 20 strategies are all fantastic ways to generate more leads for your business. Of course, we recommend you review your options and your audience to determine which strategies might be best suited for your business. Otherwise, get out there and start snagging more leads!

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What is a CRM

What is Customer Relationship Management & Why Your Business Needs It

What is a CRM?

You’ve likely seen the acronym, CRM, floating around. If you’re not familiar with the meaning, CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. and it plays a crucial role for any business looking to grow and organize itself.  Your Customer Relationship Management tool will also help you in organizing your sales leads, manage your customer interactions, and open new doors.

We’re going to go over some of the most common types of CRMs that successful companies use. This will help you review your options and decide which CRM is best for boosting your business’s efficiency.

What is a CRM Software?

CRM Software Definition

This may come as a surprise, but CRM software is not all the same. Generally speaking, though, a CRM is an IT system that stores all of your customer interactions and data that may come from a variety of different channels. This means you could have CRM systems in place that are collecting information from emails, calls, your website, marketing efforts, and meeting notes.

At that point, you are easily able to see your sales pipeline in action because all of the data is in one place. Think about it: The “contacts” app on your iPhone only collects basic details, and it’s a life-saver. Now imagine all the details you need to hold onto about your customers—the last product they purchased, who they work for, their contact information, which services they’re interested in, etc. That’s where CRM comes in.

As you might imagine, using CRM software can increase your company’s efficiency across a variety of departments. When you automate things like CRM, you are then able to spend more time on what you do best—providing the superior service or product that gained you all these customers in the first place. Automation is a huge time saver—if you want to save even more time, look into automating things like collecting online customer reviews.

If you use a CRM system that operates with cloud technology, everything is updated in real-time and allows employees to collaborate without duplicating their efforts. Plus, with technology doing the work, you ensure no information falls through the cracks (as opposed to a human manually inputting the data). Sounds pretty awesome, right? It is. Let’s go over some of the CRM systems you might want to implement in your company to increase productivity and business forecasting abilities.

Different Ways To Use A CRM For BusinessCRM Definition

There are four main types of CRM systems that could be greatly beneficial to your workflow.

  • Sales CRM
  • Marketing CRM
  • Customer Support CRM
  • Contact CRM

Sales CRM

CRM is proven to increase sales. Just take a look at this data from a study by Innoppl Technologies: 65% of sales reps who have used mobile CRM achieved their sales quotas, and a staggering 78% of those who didn’t use CRM did not achieve their targets. Wouldn’t you rather be in the group that reached their sales quotas? Using CRM for sales can help salespeople compile activity reports, target prospects, and predict customer needs.

Marketing CRM

For marketers, CRM offers the same efficiency feature expected with any CRM system, but with tweaks especially attractive to marketers who want to maximize their time. With marketing CRM, marketers get assistance with customer/prospect segmentation, project management, and admin automation.

Customer Support CRM

It is the age of the customer, and if you’re not keeping customers 110% satisfied, you risk losing their loyalty forever. To keep customers happy and coming back, a CRM can help you stay in touch, segment communications, listen to consumer needs and gain extra insights about their interactions with your brand, service, or product. With more information at your fingertips and everything you need to effectively communicate with your customers, you build more meaningful relationships that lead to more repeat business.

Contact CRM

CRM makes it easy to manage your important business contacts by corralling all the most valuable contact information in one place. Some systems even have a mobile feature that allows you to scan business cards and add them to your system with minimal hassle. Let technology assist you in staying organized, fostering new relationships, and maintaining old ones.

Common CRM Terms to Know

For a better understanding of the whole world of CRM, below are some of the most common CRM terms you might come across when researching systems. Knowing the lingo is crucial to making an educated decision on CRM systems!

  • Contact: Put simply, a contact is a person. In your CRM, a contact would be the name, email/phone address, and probably their company and account affiliation.
  • Lead: A lead is a contact who has shown interest in possibly buying your product or doing business with you. Leads are the lifeblood of your business.
  • Opportunity: So, it turns out that lead is really interested in working with you, and you think you can sell your service/product to them. This lead now becomes an Opportunity, and it’s important that you record specific information about this Opportunity in your CRM.
  • Quote: A quote is a price you give to someone who wants to purchase your service. When you give a quote, you are suggesting what the contact-turned-lead-turned-opportunity should pay based on details discussed.
  • Deal: Maybe that Opportunity accepted your quote, maybe you worked out a new quote together, or maybe the sale fell through. No matter what happened, that’s what we call a Deal. You’ll record in your CRM the Won and Lost Deals so you can easily refer back in the future to perhaps see what went wrong or what worked.
  • Profile: Profiles refer to the people in-house who are using the CRM app. A Profile helps segment roles and duties for your employees using the CRM so that everything stays organized and clear. An HR person might be the only one able to edit details about employee Profiles, for example.
  • Campaign: If you use CRM for marketing, Campaigns are where you’ll track contacts, companies, notes, and results most important to that marketing campaign.
  • Tag: Similar to photo alt tags, a Tag in CRM is a way to attribute additional information to a contact, deal, or another part of your CRM. They help you filter through everything more easily.
  • Activity: Whatever’s going on in your CRM, that’s the Activity. Usually, in a similar format to a Facebook news feed, Activity can be anything from new developments in Leads or Opportunities to a message from your colleague.

Conclusion

Customer Relationship Management provides a whole wealth of efficiency and sales benefits for your small business. Keep everyone in the office in-sync with your CRM software, and watch how much easier it is to close deals with your new tool!

Performance Management Process

Your Performance Management Process

Business owners, have you considered implementing a performance management process to help align employees with your company’s main goals? Performance management processes are great alternatives to giving employee performance reviews, though we do also make performance reviews easier by providing this free template for performance reviews. There is also a Team Scorecard feature on the Broadly Engage App that assists in monitoring the customer experience as it relates to each individual team member. Pretty cool, right? We thought so.

In addition to performance reviews and scalable digital insights, another big factor to creating a thriving business is a successful performance management process.

What is Performance Management?

We’re so glad you asked. Not to be confused with performance appraisals or reviews, performance management is when your entire staff comes to a shared understanding of how each employee contributes to the company’s goals and success. So, when you implement a performance management system, the system is focused on aligning your workforce, building employees’ skills and competencies to improve their work performance, and, ultimately, create a more successful business.

Not only is performance management great for the business owner, but it also fosters a more inspiring environment for your employees, one in which they feel valued and like they have a say in the achievement process (because they do!). With performance management systems, both the employer and employees win in terms of fulfillment. We promise your customers will notice, too!

Performance Management Process Steps

If you want to establish a successful performance management process in your company, there are five steps to familiarize yourself with.

  1. Planning
  2. Monitoring
  3. Developing
  4. Rating
  5. Rewarding

Performance Management Process Planning

Planning Your Performance Management Process

This first step takes a little legwork, but it is worth it. Call your employees at a meeting and begin to introduce the method of performance management. Now is a great time to explain how each employee’s contributions are directly related to the company’s success—this way everyone is on the same wavelength before you implement a new process. From here, you (or the supervisor) create the employees’ performance plans based on the goals you set.

Don’t be hesitant to discuss the strategic and operational goals with your staff—the clearer the communication, the more room you have for true improvement. After you set the company goals, the employee performance (or development) plans stem from how you believe their current competencies match up with the work needed to reach those goals. Let employees know their precise job descriptions, duties, and your expectations of them in their roles.

Performance Management Process Monitoring

Monitoring Your Performance

Next up, you wait. You watch, and you wait. This next part of the performance management process requires diligent attention on your end, but, again, it’s worth it. If you truly want to fix the weaker links in your company, you have to find them. To find them, monitor each employee’s performance as often as you can—not exclusively during specific review periods. With a finger on the pulse of your company—the people who help keep it afloat—you are able to identify where employees may be coming up short in comparison to the performance plans you created for them.

Wondering how this process differs from performance reviews? Well, the whole time you’re monitoring, it’s advised to correct the employee each time they are not aligned with their expectations. Not in a scolding way, but as a conversation—explain to him or her why their actions are not working well and how they impact the company. This way, you can either alter a timeline or make a course correction to ensure goals are met.

Employees are often surprised by some feedback at performance reviews. It’s best when employees are aware of their progress, no matter if favorable or unacceptable because then they have the opportunity to improve much sooner than a review meeting. Thus, the performance management method instead slashes the mystery and becomes much more proactive than simply holding performance review meetings once or twice a year.

Development Plans for Employees

Did you correct an employee, and they continued to make the same mistake? This next stage is for further development when an employee was not able to meet their expectations. Remember, though: Employee development is not only to be used as a remediation technique but also a way to enhance good-performing employees. Some options for employee development might be:

  • Formal training in a classroom
  • Informal training online
  • Coaching or mentoring from you or someone else in-house
  • New assignments or additional responsibilities

Rating Employees

After you’ve completed the other step, it takes a look at what has perspired so far. From monitoring your employees, you should have a good record for each person, where they excelled, and where they fell short. Then, you can compare those files to the original performance plans you compiled. Comparing the data, you can come up with a rating of the employee. This record is to be used to gauge employee performance over a course of time. The best part of all is that the employee should be in no way surprised at their rating score because they had plenty of moments to discuss their performance with you during the monitoring period.

Don’t forget that you can also use the Broadly Engage App to receive additional employee insights as they fare on the consumer-facing front. If you use a review service, this app is a must for integrating customer relations into your company development plans.

Performance Management Process Reward

Rewarding Employees 

Now comes the fun part. If you had some really excellent standout employees, reward them! How you choose to reward employees is up to you—just remember that stark distinctions should be made when choosing what types of performances are rewarded. Consider what constitutes a fully-completed job and an instance in which the employee truly over-delivered—they are different accomplishments and should be awarded as so.

During this stage, use this as an opportunity to motivate lesser-performing employees to reach their goals next time. When they see that there is value in completing or surpassing their goals, they may have more motivation to work towards improving and reaching them.

Conclusion

Though it comprises of five stages—planning, monitoring, developing, rating, and rewarding—the performance management process is a great way to improve your small business by improving the people who work for you. Never underestimate the power of a motivated and dialed-in employee!

Performance-Review-Template

Employee Performance Review & Evaluation Templates

When you run a small business, it’s important to incorporate employee performance reviews into your management. Not only do performance reviews help your employees learn how they can improve, but when your employees are better at their jobs, your business can reach new heights. Better employees means a better business. Better yet, positive reviews and feedback will come naturally as a result of great employees. A business is only as good as its people, and it should be your priority to ensure you’ve got the best people working for you. Help your employees succeed, and watch your success grow as well.

Before we get into our free performance review template, we feel it’s worth mentioning that there is another way to track employee progress and get new insights on their performance. The Broadly Engage App has a Team Scorecard, which is ideal for small service businesses with multiple team members. Basically, it helps you track and understand customer interactions by a team member. You are then able to identify trends and reward exemplary employee performance, learning more about your customer interactions with your employees. It’s a great tool to pair with traditional performance reviews.

Free Performance Review Template

If you’ve never conducted performance reviews before, or you need help creating a standardized method for the employee reviews, look no further. We have created a free performance review template for you to use in your small business. This free performance review template is meant to be used a rough guide for you to customize, so keep that in mind. Some details may need to be tweaked depending on the nature of your business or the way you quantify your employees, but generally, this template should work well for you.

We suggest using a 1-5 scoring system to easily establish solid quantifiers for managers to use when conducting the reviews. Go over the scoring criteria with your upper management to ensure fairness across the board. For example: 1 is poor, 2 is below average, 3 is average, 4 is above average, and 5 is excellent. The comment areas below each score then give the manager the chance to go into detail about specific issues that can be worked on, eliminating gray areas.

Name of Employee: _______________

Employee ID (if applicable): _______________

Department: _______________

Position Title: _______________

Date of Review: _______________

Reviewer Name: _______________

Reviewer Title: _______________

Overview of Position:

This is the area where you will fill in all the job duties and expectations as outlined on the employee’s contract. Feel free to copy and paste their job description.

General Job Competencies:

1. Consistently follows required procedures

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

2. Works efficiently and uses time wisely

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

3. Task completion

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

4. Ability to take direction from management

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

5. Collaboration/teamwork skills

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

Additional Competencies Required:

1. Creativity

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

2. Organization skills

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

3. Ambition/signs of growth

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

4. Communication skills (both written and verbal)

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

5. Dependability

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

6. Client relations

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

7. Coworker relations

1     2     3     4     5

Add’l comments:

Goals:

Achieved goals from previous performance review?

Goals for next performance review period:

Manager Name: _______________

Manager Signature: _______________

Employee Name: _______________

Employee Signature: _______________

Performance Review Template Tips

Tips for Conducting a Performance Review

So, you’ve got the template, but now you need to know how to go about this performance review thing. Do I do it before a meeting? During? After? These are valid questions.

Depending on how often you plan on giving performance reviews, your system can vary. Many times with annual reviews that pack a lot of information and feedback, managers plan in-person meetings with individuals employees to go over the review. This way, the employee knows they are about to receive feedback, and they can mentally prepare. It can come off a bit rude to spring an unexpected performance review on an employee, so keep their sanity in mind when planning your meeting.

Additionally, when going into detail in the comments section of the review, or when explaining your comments aloud, try to use specific, actionable terminology instead of general words such as “great” or “bad.” Some words to consider using might be:

  • Excels
  • Thorough
  • Knowledgeable
  • Growth
  • Decisive
  • Insightful

It is best to start with the positive comments and segue into the areas that need improvement. Which brings us to our next section…

What Not To Do During a Performance Review

Just as there are best practices for this inevitable part of managing a small business, there are also things you certainly should not do. In order for a performance review to be successful—meaning, it yields clear communication, outlines goals for employees, and empowers employees—you have to be careful with the way you go about it. Nobody likes being told they aren’t perfect, so delivering job performance feedback takes a little finesse.

With that being said, do not criticize your employees. Instead, offer constructive feedback that doesn’t sound like you’re berating your employee. It is poor taste (and bad business sense) to scold and tell someone everything they do wrong. Instead, word feedback in a way that promotes improvement without insulting. Try something like, “I believe you have a lot more creativity that we haven’t seen yet. It would be great to see what new ideas you can come up with as we approach big projects.” That will go over much better than, “You have terrible ideas.”

In addition, don’t compare employees to their coworkers. Each performance review should be treated as the personal conversation it is—focus on the person in front of you and their own performance level. Nobody wins when you create animosity by comparing employees to one another. The same goes for any inappropriate or unprofessional comments—don’t do it.

Business Growth

Remember, your customers are going to benefit from happy, competent employees. Ensuring the success of your staff is the foundation of all success to come. Your employees make your company run. Ensure you spend the time hiring and then nurturing them. When you have happy, successful employees, your customers will notice. Positive reviews and more positive conversations will come as a result. Customers sharing their stories with others always drives more business.

Conclusion

Performance reviews are a necessary process for small business owners who want to continue improving and growing their companies. Not only do these reviews establish clear communication in the company, but they also empower employees, which is perhaps the most helpful part of all. Happy employees mean happy customers, so you want to set your staff up for success from the get-go. Hopefully, with this free performance review template and tips, you’ll be able to conduct the valuable reviews your employees need.