How We Increased Our Leads by 234% in 2023
The year is coming to an end, and it’s time to summarize the results. We’ve had an outstanding year, achieving significant breakthroughs. Not only have we almost doubled our revenue, but we’ve also moved all KPIs into the deep green zone. However, one improvement stands out, and that’s the number of generated leads.
Up until now, we’ve managed to increase the number of leads by 234%, and this doesn’t even include those that will be added till the year’s end.
One might question whether we didn’t have many leads last year. However, that wasn’t the case. As a company focusing on lead generation, we naturally must start with ourselves. This has worked well for us in past years, but not as well as it did this year. What did we do differently?
- How do we generate our leads?
- The magic of the right target audience
- Step 1: Finding a suitable target audience
- Step 2: Cost-effective mass outreach
- Step 3: Picking up the phone
- And the results didn’t take long to show
- What does this mean for you?
Background: How do we generate our leads?
To understand the sources we’ve used for lead generation so far:
- Google Ads
- Search engine optimization and consequently, Google search
- Outbound activities on LinkedIn and through direct calls
- Identification of website visitors using our proprietary software
- Partnerships with agencies
- Other sources that played a minor role
These methods have worked reasonably well in previous years. The number of leads has increased from year to year, with the usual and inevitable seasonal fluctuations (reaching lows in July and December).
Each of the listed lead generation methods can independently lead to successful growth. These methods are tried and scalable. For example, by reinvesting profits into expanding Google campaigns, more inbound leads can be generated. The same applies to search engine optimization, LinkedIn, or cold outreach.
However, “good” is not good enough, especially in a highly competitive market and a generally weaker market environment. Therefore, new approaches were necessary.
Although Google Ads served as a reliable source for inbound leads for years, it was still cost-intensive, and the cost per lead was correspondingly high.
Regarding search engine optimization, we reached a certain ceiling where most of our keywords were in the top 5 or top 3 (and still are), and the growth of organic traffic slowed down.
As for cold outreach, whether on LinkedIn or via phone, the target audience and its relevance play a crucial role. Cold audiences performed significantly worse in 2023 than before.
Our software, LeadRebel, has reliably generated dozens of leads for us every month over the years. However, if traffic doesn’t continue to grow, the number of identifications cannot increase.
As a result, we were not satisfied with the growth of our leads. As other metrics depend on how many leads we bring into our pipeline, this has affected other metrics, especially the number of completed subscriptions, the cost per lead and acquisition, etc.
Then there’s a looming specter in our industry called Churn. If all other metrics stagnate, even the smallest negative change in churn has unpleasant effects on revenue growth. This is why our revenue stagnated at the end of 2022 and in the first half of 2023.
Therefore, we had to rethink our approach and restructure our lead generation.
The magic of the right target audience
In the past, everything seemed simpler in sales. Cold outreach and email marketing worked better, mainly because decision-makers weren’t bombarded from all sides. There was no flood of 50 inquiries on LinkedIn every day, no dozens of emails with the same subject and offers. Even in cold outreach, people didn’t tend to take a dismissive attitude from the start.
Nowadays, someone targeting a cold audience has a significantly harder time than before. Our initial attempts to fill our pipeline via email marketing, LinkedIn sales, and calls were almost futile. But then, we learned how to identify the right target audience—people actively seeking a product like ours right now.
The path to significantly more leads. Step 1: Finding a suitable target audience
A widespread sales wisdom often quoted – also by me – says: In any market and at any given time, only about three out of 100 randomly surveyed individuals or companies are actively looking for a specific product or solution. Another 10% might consider making a purchase in the near future. The rest is not relevant to your offer, for the time being.
The crucial question you should ask yourself is: How do you identify these three to ten percent of companies currently actively seeking your solution? It can be challenging to answer this question from one industry to another.
It took us a while to find the right answer, although it was obvious. During a call with a customer, I heard a statement familiar from previous conversations: “After signing up with LeadRebel, I was immediately contacted by your competitors.” For a long time, we ignored this statement, thinking “it’s just how it is, but we’re still better.” However, at some point, we had enough and decided to do the same as our competitors. With a slight difference: Our advertising budgets and consequently the number of our registered users were significantly lower than those of our significant competitors. Therefore, our competitors could poach far fewer customers from us than we could from them.
Hence, we set up an automated process that retrieves data from our customers’ trackers. This way, we built an extremely relevant target audience: companies actively seeking software like LeadRebel. Often, these companies are still in the testing phase and haven’t made a purchasing decision yet.
Step 2: Cost-effective mass outreach
Now, we come to a step that is common in our industry (SaaS) but not so widely used in many other areas – email marketing.
The advantages of email marketing are evident:
- There are many high-quality and cost-effective software solutions on the market.
- These tools are easy to use and allow the management and optimization of campaigns.
- It offers the opportunity to reach many companies without much effort.
Of course, there are disadvantages as well:
- Legal uncertainties.
- Technical peculiarities and requirements.
- The required expertise to set up campaigns correctly and optimally.
After a short optimization phase, we fine-tuned our campaigns to be extremely effective. The open rates were high, the response rates solid, and the conversion rates outstanding. These superlatives are not misplaced here. Even industry experts were surprised by our results.
However, the success was not in using particularly novel texts or subject lines. The real difference lay in the target audience – it’s genuinely highly relevant.
Step 3: Picking up the phone
Some time ago, a recipient responded to our email with the words: “From one salesperson to another: Pick up the phone to talk to potential customers. Generic email templates are a waste of energy.”
Little did he know that the telephone had been glowing from thousands of calls. Executing email marketing campaigns is something anyone can do, but making calls is a different story. It’s time-consuming, costly, and requires personnel. But as they say in Bavaria: “Wea ko, dea ko” (He who can, can). And we can. In fact, our sales team starts making calls early in the morning towards Australia and Asia and only stops late at night after reaching contacts in California. As an intermediary step between emails and calls, we use LinkedIn. This way, we can warm up leads a bit and refer to our LinkedIn connection during calls.
This multi-channel approach has maximum impact. An email might get lost, a LinkedIn request might go unnoticed, and an unexpected call is more likely to be declined. But by using multiple channels, the chance of reaching the decision-maker increases.
And the results didn’t take long to show
Right at the start of the new campaign, we recorded a record number of sign-ups in the first month. The number of leads increased month after month, and almost every month, we achieved better results than in the previous month (this trend has slightly slowed down towards the end of the year). Additionally, key metrics skyrocketed: the number of leads and monthly revenue growth. At the same time, the cost per lead and per customer acquisition decreased significantly. Here are some numbers:
- The number of leads increased by 234%.
- The number of subscriptions grew by 185%.
- The cost per lead decreased by 72%, and the cost per customer by 65%.
Such changes don’t simply mean optimizing business processes. Instead, they represent radical changes that significantly shape and elevate the company’s development to the next level.
What does this mean for you?
If you’re considering how to increase your number of leads in the coming year, just follow this pattern:
- Find a suitable target audience.
- Implement a multi-channel outbound strategy.
It sounds simple and is relatively easy if you understand your own market well. Because that’s the core – the rest is hard work.
However, if you’re still facing difficulties, we have good news for you: LeadRebel has launched a B2B lead generation service! We support clients like you from various industries in acquiring more customers. Exactly following the mentioned pattern: Identify the target audience -> Reach out to the target audience.
Feel free to contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.