We all know how funnels work in reference to lead generation. Your corporate marketing drives MILs, turns them (hopefully) into MQLs based on lead-scoring models, your BDR qualifies them for BANT (budget, authority, need, and timeline) and they become SALs if meet your BANT criteria. Then, the season of opportunity chasing begins.
If, with lots of luck, you get those prospects to the demo stage, they might become SQLs. After that, who knows how long it will take to turn some of them into closed/won deals.
But your performance is measured on MQLs that turn into revenue opportunities. So, how can you help yourself shine?
First, you need to understand the bottlenecks in your funnel.
What Stands In The Way Of Leads And Funnels
- The average human attention span is only eight seconds
- The Internet itself can be a problem. From social media to shopping ads, the tiniest distraction can deter your potential lead from becoming an MIL
- Your organic presence isn’t supporting the brand awareness it needs to in order to compete in the marketplace
- The paid advertising budget you have isn’t sufficient enough to deliver as many MQLs as you need to provide the level of revenue your leadership expects
- Your assets have come from your brand and therefore have 70 percent less trust than they would have had, had they come from John Smith on your sales team
Here are some stats supporting the idea of you possibly asking John Smith on your sales team to share your brand-approved content to execute Employee Lead Generation.
Statistics Show Funnels Must Be Amplified Today
- Brand messages reached 561 percent further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup) – we call this “employee lead generation”.
- 79 percent of businesses reported more online visibility after the implementation of a formal employee advocacy program and 65 percent reported increased brand recognition (Hinge Marketing)
- Content shared by employees receives 8 times more engagement than content shared by brand channels (Social Media Today)
- Leads developed through employee social advocacy marketing convert 7 times more frequently than other leads (Marketing Advisory Network)
- Earned media (press, word-of-mouth, peer-to-peer referrals) drives 4 times the brand lift as paid media (Bazaar Voice)
- Peer-to-peer marketing is the leading driver behind 20-50 percent of all purchasing decisions (McKinsey)
- An employee advocacy program costs 1/10 of paid advertising (EveryoneSocial)
- An employee advocacy program involving 1,000 active participants can generate $1,900,000 in advertising value, according to Kredible.
Here’s a visual for you to dream up your amplified funnel:
Eight Critical Aspects Of Modern Lead Generation
You and I both know that what worked in marketing yesterday won’t necessarily do us any good tomorrow.
Remember the days of huge organic social reach for Facebook pages?
Remember the time when we could write a 300-word blog post and it would instantly appear in Google Search?
While that may have been just a couple of years ago, with the digital world changing so fast, a couple of years is like two millenniums!
As sophisticated marketers, you and I must disrupt ourselves and innovate constantly.
There are eight critical aspects to innovative thinking about modern lead-generation.
Let’s talk about each in detail.
1. Social Expansion
How can you enable yourself to easily leverage employee advocacy for lead-generation?
As you give brand-approved content to your employees to share on their social media, their social connections discover and follow your company brand.
That’s how your social footprint expands and demand grows.
2. Content Amplification
How can you quickly distribute brand-approved content to your entire organization, groups of employees or individual team members?
You send them great content, they share it on their social platforms, the content gets amplified with just a few clicks and your lead generation explodes.
3. SEO Maximization
How can you consistently increase the SEO value of your website by improving your domain authority?
One way to do it is by leveraging real canonical tags to attribute the organic value of cross-posted content to your site.
You can publish content on your main domain, repost it on the personalized funnels we discussed earlier for each of your key team members, implement rela canonical tags and watch your domain authority soar, bringing in organic leads 24/7.
4. Brand Magnification
How can you enlarge your brand in a very short period of time?
You can position your team members as thought leaders by supplying them with great content for sharing online. More people trust your team’s voice over your brand’s voice. As your employee advocates gain visibility among their peers, the awareness of your business increases, your share of voice grows and your brand is magnified improving lead generation.
5. Lead Generation
How can you generate leads from every member of your team? This aspect of your thinking requires you to be both strategic and tactical, so a programmatic approach is critical to enable your success here. In today’s business and online worlds, employee lead generation is a must!
Build personalized lead funnels for key employees. Let’s call them Brand-Hubs, for example. Upload quality content to each Brand-Hub and gate it with forms. Collect leads from each hub that are automatically integrated with your CRM and Marketing Automation. This allows you to amplify your entire funnel and give a significant boost to your lead generation.
6. Conversion Optimization
How can you drive better conversions by humanizing your company brand?
Today, 70 percent more people trust their peers more than they trust brands. By enabling your team members to share brand-approved content with their peers, you convert prospects into customers faster. This is because people like to buy from people in today’s human-to-human business environment. This improves your lead generation.
7. Pipeline Acceleration
How can you create higher pipeline velocity to help the MQLs you deliver close into new revenue, so you as a marketer can prove the value of your contribution?
As your sales team members gain reputation of subject matter experts by consistently sharing the quality content that you produce, the sales cycle decreases, the acceleration of stage progression from MQLs to SQLs to opportunities to wons takes place and you can show lead generation ROI faster.
8. Growth Intensification
How can you as a sophisticated marketer help your company brand grow faster and easier?
Think about how you can intensify your bottom-line growth by turning your team members into advocates for your brand and industry thought leaders, thus enabling them to amplify your funnel with quality leads 24/7.
Employees who already want to advocate for your company brand can help you with all of the above.
Before we continue, let’s define employee advocacy because we will be referring to it a lot in the next section of this article.
What Is Employee Advocacy?
A study conducted by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research shows a growing movement spurred by social media — employee advocacy.
Employee advocates draw visibility to their company brands through their personal social media channels.
One in five employees (21 percent) are already highly engaged and can act as role models for others to emulate.
The study further estimates another 33 percent are open to becoming stronger brand advocates under the right circumstances.
These “right circumstances” are where you come in!
To leverage your team at large, you must entice their social advocacy for your company brand with great content, and great content is something you’re already producing!
You can give brand-approved content to your team members to share on their social networks and see your lead generation skyrocket, all thanks to the inherited credibility and trust given humans over brands.
That’s how you encourage employee advocacy.
Employee Advocacy is about channeling the passion and knowledge of your employees to grow your revenue by enabling your people to reach out to their social networks and amplify your company’s leads.
A survey of CMOs found that while today, only 12 percent of their marketing budgets were spent on social media, this percentage is expected to rise by 20 percent over the next five years.
Employee Advocacy is a cost-effective approach to increasing brand awareness, driving demand, improving website traffic, increasing SEO, reducing your CPC ad budget, optimizing conversions and skyrocketing revenue for your company.
Sounds amazing, right?
There is only one problem. Remember John Smith, from sales? He is incredibly busy.
I mean, his goal is to close sales, why on earth would he help you with lead generation? Right?
See, if you ask John Smith from sales to do something YOU need done, then yes, that’s extra work, I agree.
But what if YOU did John Smith a huge favor instead? You see my point?
Let’s say you really want him to share your epic content so you could bring in more leads by expanding your reach. You don’t have to bluntly just say this to John Smith. He has his own goals.
But what if you helped John Smith to achieve his own goals of building a reliable professional brand?
Helping Your Team Members Achieve Their Big Goals Through Employee Advocacy
- Your team members want to make a difference, so frame your request as a mission-critical contribution to strategic business growth
- Your team members want to build their professional brand, so help them see how sharing brand-approved content will help them with personal branding
- Your team members want to be industry thought leaders, so share with them how sharing industry-related, value-added content will position them as subject matter experts
Now, let’s say you did all that and John Smith is excited and eager to get started on your win-win partnership.
You show him where to get brand-approved content from your shared drive, how to share it on LinkedIn (he has to login of course), Facebook (he must login there, too) and Twitter (ooops, John hates Twitter because he never knows what hashtags to use.) Now, John is panicking just thinking about the work content sharing will take.
After about 45 minutes it took you to explain all these details to John, he’s exhausted.
The hustle is too much for him and he’d rather not participate in this whole thing just to save time and brainspace. Sorry!
But let’s say you found an awesome solution – a tool to help John Smith help you!
What would you be looking for? Here are some ideas.
Five Criteria To Help You Find a Good Employee Advocacy Software
- Employee advocacy must be as easy as breathing with the employee advocacy software you choose
- Logging into all social media must only be required one time and then posting must take just a couple of clicks, not a hustle
- Employee advocacy software must offer an easy-to-use mobile app with push notifications about new content to engage your team
- Team members must be able to never have to worry about hashtags or messaging, because you will be the one to write messages for them
- Employees must be able to get personalized Brand-Hubs loaded with brand-approved content produced by you. This way, the content will help them build their personal brands and be positioned as subject-matter experts, while delivering new leads and increasing SEO equity for you
Sounds like a dream? I know!
In fact, that was exactly what I said in this press release, “Brand-Hubs are a marketer’s dream come true.”
How does employee-advocacy marketing make your life better?
The Value Of Employee Advocacy For A Modern Marketer
- It helps a marketer get more exposure for their content
- It makes lead generation easier for a marketer, because leads are easier to convert when they come through employees’ social networks
- It allows a marketer to amplify their funnel delivering more leads faster, all thanks to the social connections of employees, 90 percent of which are new to the company brand
So, engaging your team members helps you amplify your existing funnel and improve your marketing KPIs.
Your goal is to make caring and sharing a no-brainer for your team by positioning the new employee advocacy program as a win-win that will help them establish their personal brands.
To summarize, what you need to ponder in order to hack your lead generation and amplify your current funnel is how to grow your MQLs by empowering your team members to advocate for your brand using the epic content you have already produced, powered by some innovative software technology.
Your Ten-Step Action Plan To Hacking Lead Generation Through Funnel Amplification
To be honest, when I learn new information, which I do every day as a marketer who’s aspired to stay on top of all things new, it helps me to have a clear step-by-step action plan.
A simple plan empowers me to take action and implement the new knowledge.
I’ve spent a great deal of time writing this article for you. I want you to succeed and win your share in the market. I want you as a marketer to earn your seat at the revenue table. I want you to get the help of your entire organization driving lead generation and amplifying your funnel.
That’s why I created a simple action plan for you to follow.
Knowledge is not power. I shared a lot of knowledge with you in this article, but you are the one who can turn it into super powers by acting on what you now know.
A Ten-Step Plan To Increasing B2B Lead-Generation
- Decide to pursue funnel amplification, set goals of leveraging employee advocacy and commit to a solid programmatic approach vs ad-hoc
- Use social expansion to boost your bottom line by driving MQLs
- Leverage content amplification to help your company grow
- Commit to brand magnification to help increase your MQLs, SQLs and revenue
- Engage your entire team at large in lead generation to amplify your funnel, and remember to find the software solution that meets the criteria we discussed here
- Promote employee advocacy among your team as a win-win that will help them build their personal brands
- Position your salesforce and leadership team as thought leaders in the industry by arming them with epic content and easy-to-use technology
- Enable your company’s growth intensification and help boost revenue by powering your efforts with innovative and comprehensive software that can support your important program goals
- Set benchmarks and KPIs; Know what success looks like to your organization
- Measure and manage to optimize your program on an ongoing basis
As a marketer, you don’t have to hustle alone. Invite your team to advocate for your brand. Give your team great content to share with the industry and help position them as thought leaders.
The win-win is that you get more higher quality leads and your company gets more new revenue.
Now I want to hear from you!
Dream big and tell me in the comments below: How much could your funnel grow if every person on your team agreed to advocate for your brand and helped generate MQLs?
P.S. Want to see how easy it is to build an advocacy program with the right software?
Thanks for reading. I typically write about modern selling, virtual selling, prospecting, sales reps reputation and how content helps all of these with modern buyers. My primary audience includes CEOs, CROs, CMOs, and other executives responsible for increasing bottom line. Post your questions in the comments section below and let’s discuss this!