Article - Marketing

How to Drive Lead Generation in a Digital-First World

By Ellen Fearnley|5th August 2022

Digital lead investing has become the priority for many businesses since 2020. Many digital pipelines were fast tracked by up to 8 years when the pandemic hit. Lending digital lead investing to become a priority for many businesses. However, with so many investment opportunities how you do ensure your digital lead investment matches your strategy and can lend itself to success within this digital-first world.  

How did we get to seeking digital lead investing as a top priority in 2020?

The Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the most significant ‘black swan’ events of our generation. Where few of us were able to accurately predict the impact of the virus, even fewer were prepared to deal with the fallout. In its wake, we saw mass layoffs, lockdowns, and the largest economic contraction since the Great Depression. Consequently, organizations were not looking at their growth, they were looking at survival.  

As both B2B and B2C industries struggle to keep up with the backlash of pandemic and impending recession, consumer confidence is thrown into doubt. So how should businesses be pivoting their priorities to meet the shifting needs of the consumer? And how can drive lead generation help find these changes in this digital-first world?  

Why Driving Lead Generation in a Digital-First World is important?

Almost every business has faced a downturn in its lead generation potential due to the recent pandemic and its impact on the global economy. Meetings between clients and prospects have been prevented by travel bans, face-to-face conversations at conferences have been cancelled and businesses have had to contend with their workforce becoming ever more remote. What then, does this mean for lead generation efforts?  

Brands that hope to fuel a lead generation recovery must invest in their ability to manage systems and teams remotely for the foreseeable. This is an investment that should focus not only on business operations, but also on reaching the consumer where they are. To this end, we must design streamlined purchase processes for non-physical shopping to help cater to customer needs and expectations. 

Defining a digital approach in the digital-first world adds value that has become the ‘new normal’ amongst business operators and it is not hard to see why. Pivoting to a digital-first strategy helps to create more channels by which you can reach potential consumers and activate them. Additionally, customers expect an organization to have some sort of digital outreach initiative as the businesses that do not are often considered suspect or outdated. 

How does it affect e-commerce?

For most digital retailers, ecommerce is a prerequisite to lead generation. Though e-commerce channels were key to business success even prior to the pandemic, they have since become a necessity. Even in spite of efforts to iteratively relax restrictions, consumers are still wary of the risks in physical sales interactions, and it is stalling a total return to normality where brick-and-mortar stores are concerned. 

This success of ecommerce is even more apparent when we look at sales figures from 2020. Notably, consumers helped to grow US ecommerce by 44%, a figure which excludes the sales of items not usually purchased online, e.g., spending at restaurants, bars, etc. It is a sizeable margin of growth and one which may have singlehandedly saved many retailers, as we can see here. 

Digital Commerce 360: ‘Comparing growth: US ecommerce vs. total retail* sales 

To this end, executives must hone their e-commerce systems, providing continual upgrades to ensure that they are seamless and do not frustrate the end user. However, even now, there’s still room for improvement. Research from Wunderman Thompson Commerce recently suggested that 43% of business’ still find buying online more complicated than buying offline. Therefore, executives must ensure that they better streamline this process to reduce friction between the organization and any potential leads. 

Creating Content that drives leads

Driving awareness is challenging in any business sector with a surplus of voices. To combat this, executives and their organizations are focused on building a tangible sense of brand and company voice to get the word out. Increasingly, they do this via the content that they produce. It is an area of the business that is seen substantial investment following the pitfalls of 2020, with HubSpot finding that 70% of marketers now actively invest in content marketing. 

Great content will answer all questions that your audience may have regarding your brand. Naturally, organizations must make efforts to utilize content in every form to help to address these questions. Podcasts, videos, blogs, and infographics are all excellent means of taking your audience on a journey. Following this, if you ensure that the content is fully SEO-optimized and with a direct call to action you can generate better leads at greater number across a variety of segments. During 2020, global consumption of content online doubled; this captive audience is one that no brand can afford to ignore especially from a lead generation perspective. 

Why and how virtual events can help?

Increasingly, we all want to hear from experts in the field, how are they driving business success, realizing the business of tomorrow, and driving lead generation in a digital-first world? Unsurprisingly, in response to the pandemic, many are looking to upskill and retrain to deliver value for their business. It is for this reason that digital events have increased in popularity, with as many as 45% of future B2B events going completely virtual according to a recent study from LinkedIn. 

We are all looking for quick wins in business and often the easiest means of discovering them comes down to a conversation with another human being. Digital events sift through the noise of physical events from travel to cost and put you in front of the right people at the right time. The answer to your lead generation problems could well be solved by hearing from executives in this capacity, helping you to easily forge human connections in a digital-first world. 

GDS Summits are tailored 3-day virtual events that bring together senior business leaders and solution providers to accelerate pipelines, industry conversations and outcomes. 

Click here  to hear from attendees on how GDS has helped them to achieve their business outcomes. 

Apply to Attend 

Position your thought leadership at the next GDS Digital Summit and learn how the likes of IBM and Salesforce partners with us to achieve pipeline and revenue generation objectives. 

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