Technology professionals are some of the savviest audiences out there. They have to be.
The information and technology industry is constantly evolving, and so IT professionals are continuously looking for the latest information to help them make decisions.
They're also 'extremely online', and they can spot a cheap marketing ploy at 1,000 paces.
Therefore marketers have to work hard to ensure their IT services lead generation is authentic and trustworthy in order to engage these decision-makers and generate ROI.
In this guide to IT Lead Generation we'll be exploring:
- How to get started with IT lead generation.
- The IT lead generation methods that are most likely to bring you success.
- What sort of IT lead generation supplier you should choose (and why).
How to Generate Leads for IT Companies
We'll start with an IT lead generation definition.
B2B lead generation is all about finding ways to engage professionals with your business, connecting with the right people, and pulling them into your marketing funnel to hopefully sell to later.
In its simplest forms, the end game for lead generation is to get relevant prospects' business card information.
However, it's also important to educate your new leads and understand their challenges before even thinking about selling to them.
There are lots of ways you can nurture leads through the marketing funnel, for example, you may choose to work with a lead generation agency to help you warm your leads up, and get them engaged with your brand so that they're ready to buy your products. Take a look at Headley Media's Nurture Track services as an example.
That's the basic process, but when it comes to IT lead generation it needs to be even more robust and transparent.
Some lead generation tactics can be perceived as marketing gimmicks by tech-savvy audiences, which includes most of the technology industry, especially IT professionals.
There's no question of 'tricking' these audiences into giving you their details. Which is something you shouldn't do anyway, of course. However, you'd be surprised at some of the shady practices going on within the lead generation industry.
To build brand trust and generate ROI you need to ensure your B2B IT lead generation techniques are:
- Completely transparent
- And importantly, give real value to your audience.
Content Syndication for IT Lead Generation
So how can you ensure your IT lead generation is fit for purpose? The best IT lead generation ideas involve giving away useful content for free – in exchange for business card information.
Your content should relate to their business interests and should be topical and useful.
For example, IT security professionals might be looking for updates and reports on cyber hygiene, zero trust access, and DDoS attacks. Whereas telecommunications decision-makers will need case studies and top tips on topics such as network encryption, 5G implementation, and WAN-as-a-service.
Therefore it helps if your content is published where the target audience can easily find it.
Social media marketing is one of the best-known ways to distribute your content, but content syndication for lead generation works even better. Content syndication services give you full control over your strategy, your costs, and the number of IT leads you get for your budget.
Lead Generation for IT – How to Get Started
The chances are you're already carrying out strategic IT B2B lead generation strategies. But perhaps they're not hitting the mark? Or you want to shake up your strategy.
The marketing departments of most B2B IT companies are producing valuable content, in the form of blogs, whitepapers, eBooks, and webinars, typically publishing and promoting them via their own website, email, and social media.
As your content is shared, it may be seen by new-to-brand audiences, who might follow you on social media or sign up for your email newsletter to see more of your content.
If your website, email, and social media channels are working well for you already you're off to a good start. You can use your established audience to direct people to further landing pages on your website where they can give their contact details in return for more content, for example, webinars and newsletters. A classic, and effective, IT lead generation tool.
However this IT lead generation strategy is often most effective for nurturing your existing audiences. What about if you need to reach fresh IT and technology decision-makers regularly? Which, as an IT marketer, is highly likely to be part of your remit.
IT Lead Generation Example
If you need to reach new audiences, transparent content syndication via a reputable 3rd party company is an effective strategy focused on direct ROI.
A lead generation specialist can publish your whitepapers, eBooks, case studies, and research reports on a content library designed specifically for IT professionals.
These content libraries are used as useful reference hubs for people in the IT industry.
Let's take a look at Headley Media's IT content hub, IT Corporate, as an example.
IT Corporate is not only a trusted source of educational information, but also a refreshing change from normal internet browsing. IT Corporate's websites are clean, uncluttered, and free of external advertising and clickbait.
Using the IT Corporate site as a research tool is free, and it's easy. All the content is categorized based on topic, so our audience can easily find what they're looking for.
So, how does IT Corporate create leads? Because each piece of content on IT Corporate is gated, which means the user has to fill in a form with, at the very least, their name, job title, company name, and business email address.
We then supply those leads back to you – the business the content belongs to – on a Cost Per Lead (CPL) basis. Take a look at our full lead generation process for more detail.
The example above shows the process of content syndication and how it can support your IT lead generation at its simplest, but there are lots of ways to enhance your lead gen.
For example, a Nurture Track campaign, sees each lead download at least two pieces of content, filling in their business information each time, and having their explicit consent to hear from the content provider. So not only are they a lead, they're an engaged lead, expecting to hear from your brand.
You can also enhance a campaign by putting more questions on the gated form for your content, one of the easiest ways of finding out more about a lead and determining how ready they are to hear from your Sales team.
Plus, we use full digital tracking across our content libraries to track what content each lead is reading, giving us 1st party intent data. Enhancing your campaigns with intent data targeting is another great example of an effective IT lead generation strategy.
IT Lead Generation Companies – What to Look Out For
A specialist IT lead generation agency is the best way to reach a wide but niche audience.
Cloud computing, IT security, SaaS, big data, data warehousing, storage, hardware, email management, network services, mobile computing, and telecommunications: there are dozens of specialist IT topics that require continuous refreshment of industry knowledge.
So if you're supplying one of those markets, the chances are you have valuable resources that you could use for lead generation in the IT industry.
A trustworthy IT lead generation specialist should have their own audiences within these markets. They should be able to put your content directly in front of the audience you're trying to target.
Look for an IT lead generation company that owns its own content libraries. This way you can be sure your leads aren't being bought from a 3rd party agency, so the data is more likely to be accurate.
Why Is Transparent IT Lead Generation SO Important?
Seeing as we've capitalized the word 'SO' within the title of this section, we mean business!
Getting to the source of your IT leads is one of the most important considerations when running lead generation for IT.
Therefore, you should only work with an IT lead generation specialist who you can trust. That means the IT lead generation services you work with should be able to offer full digital tracking, so you can see what content your leads have been exposed to, and build a picture of who they are, where they've come from, and how much they know about your brand.
For optimum lead authenticity, the agency should be able to show you the entire process from the leads' perspective – their reader journey.
They should also have a process for authenticating each lead: checking their business details are correct through secondary sources, such as LinkedIn and regional business directories.
There's a world of difference between the good lead generation companies for IT services and the shady ones. In our experience, only the good ones know how to generate leads for IT services and deliver a solid return on investment. Reputable IT lead generation companies also allow you to budget precisely, with a clear CPL to show exactly where your marketing budget goes.
Read our Quality Lead Generation Checklist for the full list of questions to ask a potential IT lead generation supplier.