Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Lead generation is the path to growth in your B2B business. It's the primary strategy you're going to use to generate more interest in your brand. And, the first step in your sales process that's going to help you secure more revenue.
You may already have a solid idea of what your lead generation should be. Your lead generation strategy might be working perfectly, with years of consistent performance to prove that it works. But if you want to see even better results for your business, and keep it growing consistently, you'll need to learn how to conduct better lead generation experiments.
The value of experiments
Why are experiments so important in lead generation?
There are a few main reasons:
- Objective comparative information: Experiments give you an opportunity to objectively compare two different lead generation strategies. These strategies may differ in any number of ways. For example, you might compare lead generation strategies as they apply to different platforms, such as comparing Google PPC ad lead generation with LinkedIn marketing lead generation. Your experiments can drill much further down, however, comparing two different tag lines or two different product photos on your landing pages. In any case, you'll gather objective information that can prove the value of a lead generation tactic — or prove that the tactic isn't working at all.
- Complacency avoidance: Experimentation is also valuable because it gives you a solid foundation for avoiding complacency. Too often, business owners become complacent with any lead generation strategy that happens to work decently. Rather than resting on your laurels and pursuing this strategy until the end of time, experimentation forces you to keep improving so you can keep seeing better results.
- A creative mindset: If you're going to plan more experiments, you need to think creatively. Ongoing experimentation in lead generation is a way to keep your mental gears turning. It allows you to remain malleable and adaptive in a highly competitive environment.
How to conduct better lead generation experiments
So what steps can you take to conduct better lead generation experiments?
These are some of the best approaches:
- Measure outcomes in multiple ways: Experiments are nothing without a way to objectively measure them. You'll want to measure the outcomes of your experiments in multiple ways, however. For example, you'll want to measure not just the quantity of leads that you generate but the quality of leads you generate;. Instead of just counting the sheer number of people churned up by your lead generation tactic, evaluate them in terms of how well they fit your target customer profile. It's possible to measure lead quality in some objective ways, giving you real data on your lead generation strategy performance. While you're at it, survey your salespeople to get a feel for how these leads are buying or expressing interest.
- Start big and work your way smaller: When experimenting consistently, start with big changes and work your way to smaller ones. Start by comparing different platforms and different overarching strategies. Then, as you get more answers, work your way to more menial and ground-level adjustments.
- Mix things up occasionally: Don't hesitate to mix things up. You might have a fantastic landing page template. Or a set of strategies that have historically worked well for your business. But don't feel like you're locked into using those. Build something new, from the ground up, and see how it impacts your lead generation stream. It's a great way to discover new tactics.
- Compare apples to apples (when you can): The whole point of AB testing is to isolate a variable so you can better understand its influence in a given system. This approach only works if the variable is truly isolated, meaning all other variables are functionally the same. When possible, try to run experiments with the same demographic group, at the same time of day, with all the same conditions in place.
- Boost the sample size: Generally, the bigger your sample sizes, the more reliable your data is going to be. You can conduct experiments quicker and less expensively by keeping your sample sizes small. But if you want better, more accurate results, you'll need to step up those sample sizes and work with bigger audiences.
- Keep pushing: No business becomes permanently successful after just one experiment. You have to keep experimenting. And keep pushing for more if you want to be successful in generating more and better leads.
With better lead generation experiments in your business, you'll be able to gather much more reliable data. You can then improve your lead generation strategy much more consistently. You don't have to experiment constantly, but you do have to make sure your experiments are ongoing and consistent in quality. As long as you keep making iterative improvements, you'll continue to see better sales results.