B2B sales how do I even get going?

So I have been building this B2B sales tool called leadlist, which is a tool for finding new potential customers based on data such as technology and general data from the Danish "Companies Registry". (It should be noted that it is only targeted at Danish customers, as for why everything is in danish 😅).

This issue I am now faced with is sales. Right now I have 2 potential customers trying it out, both came from my professional network of people I know. Now I also want to try and reach out to new customers.

How would you recommend getting started on this?

Things i've considered:
- SEO for specific stuff like "Here's the top 10 WooCommerce users in X industry"
- Content marketing about lead generation
- Cold Emailing (Actually illegal in DK, as that one kind respondent told me...)

I would really like to hear your thoughts!

I find it ironic that leadlist should solve the problem you are trying to solve for customers no? Use leadlist to find agency leads (agencies need clients) and go from there right? Right?

Yes, actually using leadlist to find them was pretty easy, but its the sales part i find hard. I really don't want to come off as spammy/salesy and also the fact that I cant just email them by law.

@lord_squirrel Ooooh now I see your dilemma. It's a brand awareness problem, not a lead gen problem.

Here's my cold email outreach process so my outreach isn't icy cold (but maybe not quite warm):

  • generate a list of SaaS companies that fit my qualifications
  • do research to further qualify them and find a point of contact (for me: marketing manager, CMO, or CEO)
  • connect with that person/those people on LinkedIn and engage in a human-to-human way (no pitch)
  • create content that's relevant to what they want/need
  • join relevant LI groups and engage & be present there (to be visible)
  • research and save links to their content & other content about the company that's relevant to them & what I do (so it'd be successful marketing campaigns)
  • THEN and only then do I send an email, mention engagements we've had (as an anchor so I'm no longer just a random person), and reference their success -- then pitch them by sharing what my service will do for them in context of what they want, not what I want.

So it sounds like you can do everything there EXCEPT the last step. Even then, you can just modify your posts to have a very clear CTA for them to DM or email you for your calendar.

Reduce the friction as much as possible with this too. You can have your most relevant link in your bio since how LinkedIn works is friends of your friends will see your content, and, ideally, this will be people who are also your target audience.

I have SO many tips/resources I can share about strategic brand awareness, and I'd be happy to help if you'd like!

I had no idea cold email is illegal in Denmark! As someone who cold emails for B2B leads, I'll keep this in mind.

I agree with @strzibny. Can you use LeadList to generate leads for you?

SEO is a long game. Expect to put some serious time and effort into it to pay off. Not saying don't do this -- you should -- just also have a short-term game you play too.

Since you already have two customers, can you make them affiliates or simply asking them for referrals?

I'd create a case study of your two clients and use that as part of your lead gen process. You could direct traffic (social media, SEO, paid, whatever) to your case study, get their email in exchange for it, then wait a couple days then pitch them in the email to have a conversation with you.

Since you're new, I recommend keeping your process personalized right now (calls, etc), even though it's not scalable, because you simply can and it'll create high-quality referral partners later.

You can also think about your customer's journey. What other similar-but-different services do they need before or after they use LeadList? Then look up people who create those products or provide those services and connect with them. Networking has done wonders for me and has kept me in business during some lean times since 2008.

(BTW as a brand strategist and content writer, someone like me -- but local in Denmark -- would be someone who'd come both before AND after your customers using LeadList. It might be worth looking into local professional networks with service providers to connect with.)

Good luck!!

Hey thank you so much for the insight.

Leadlist was very usefull to actually find the leads as you and @strzibny suggested. I wrote to one of them via email and got a pretty angry reply because of the spam rules of Denmark 😅

I have started my SEO game by writing one article about webshop systems in Denmark, I plan on writing one about leadgeneration to match on that keyword, I'm not really the best writer though :(

The 2 clients i have right now, have not really paid yet because of the trial period but lets see what happens. I think what I have to do is make cold calls to potential leads as that pretty much the only thing i legally can do outbound wise (just love the EU).

Can you maybe explain how a brand strategist and content writer comes before and after a product like Leadlist? Do you mean in a sense that they are both users of Leadlist but also that people find them via Leadlist?

@lord_squirrel At least they replied and let you know instead of reporting you! Definitely dodged a bullet there.

First, you need a proper SEO strategy and to map out your customer's journey. Do you need help with this?

Writing content isn't too difficult. I can share some resources that talk about how to write effective articles if you'd like. Also, if you have some money to throw at this project, we can talk about outsourcing this so you can focus on high-leverage tasks, like networking.

For case studies, it doesn't matter if they paid. What matters is:

  1. The client is similar to your ideal client you want AND they faced a similar problem that your ideal client has.

For example, it wouldn't make sense for me to write a case study about a physical therapist if I want SaaS company clients. It also wouldn't make sense for me to write a case study of a SaaS company with systems strategy problems when I want a SaaS company client with content problems.

Your current client & problem solved must be aligned with your ideal prospective clients' for maximum effectiveness.

  1. The client actually got the desired/promised result AND you can describe those results in quantifiable terms.

For example, did they go from having 50 leads per month where only 2 were qualified for what they sell and 1 converted to a customer --> having 5,000 qualified leads per month where 2,000 converted to a customer and they increased their MRR by 500% within 3 months of starting to work with you.

See how specific and detailed that is? That's the kind of stuff you want for a case study. Then you just tell the story in an engaging way.

(I can share case study resources if you want. I'm actually writing one for a client today 😂)

If you can make cold calls, then I would try that! You can follow my process I shared, just swap out email for calling as the last step.

My process DOES take time and effort because it's not automated, but it sounds like you've got the time to dedicate building your business in a personalized, sustainable way since you've only got two clients. It's a slower way to grow, but, in my experience, it's more successful in the long run.

If this is a business you want to have long term (or even something you want to build brand equity to sell one day), it may be worth following a similar strategy.

You won't be able to call 500 companies a day with this strategy, but you'll have a higher conversion rate (if your offer is dialed in).

Can you maybe explain how a brand strategist and content writer comes before and after a product like Leadlist? Do you mean in a sense that they are both users of Leadlist but also that people find them via Leadlist?

Absolutely! Without really knowing what your product is or who it's for (besides B2B), it's hard to give a specific answer.

How I was thinking about it was: LeadList generates leads for corps/businesses, and then they qualify those leads and run through their sales process.

  • Brand strategists help companies define their audience (what "qualified lead" means to them). This would come before LeadList because without knowing their audience, they'll generate the wrong leads for them.

  • Content writers write content that captures their audience's attention. Copywriters write copy to convert their audience/leads. LeadList will give the companies a list of leads so the companies will know where to create content, who to target for ads, and write the direct-response conversion content the leads (from LeadList) will see (sales page, email, etc.).

I hope that helps! It's vague because I don't know the specific audience you're targeting for LeadList or what, exactly, it does.

PS Service providers (strategists and writers) CAN use LeadList, but it'd likely be a lightweight version since their (my/our lol) needs for lead gen differ from a corporation's needs.

Thank you so much for all these tips, I would definitely love if you had more tips/resources to share.

I will follow up on the 2 clients I have hear what the think and pitch the idea of a case study being written about their usage.

Basically what Leadlist does is both the discovery and part of the qualifying part. Basically you can make searches like "I want webshops selling outdoor clothing with 1-10 employees and they use WooCommerce for their webshop" thats how powerful it is, I think i really need someway to convey how good the segementation is 😅

Again thank you very much for your insights it's definitely very valuable.

Oh right you cannot just write them. You would need to play the long game like following them on Twitter and LinkedIn and let them notice you...

Google "B2B sales playbook type:pdf"

I'm not a lawyer, but I challenge this claim that B2B cold emailing is illegal in DK. Especially since in another comment you say that cold calls are legal.

Almost every country has well defined rules about cold emailing, and B2B cold emailing is usually the most permissive type of cold emailing.

I would look into it, because if indeed it is illegal in DK, then doesn't that make Leadlist a less useful tool for DK businesses?

SEO and content marketing are great too, but outbound marketing (e.g cold emailing) is way better for quickly validating whether you have product/market fit.

The law is explained here…

Any electronic "message" (i.e. emails, linkedin dms, etc) that contain advertising and or mention of a company is considered spam if the recipient has not consented to receiving it. The is regardless of if the recipient is a company or person.

As leadlist is not a email sales tool I don't think it makes it less useful. Actually tools like it are more needed as Danish companies have to rely on inbound leads more because of the rules. So think of it more in the direction of a research/enrichment tool like Clearbit, but laser focused on Danish companies.

But yeah, maybe I should still try more outbound with a different strategy.

Wow, that's crazy restrictive!

I don't know how I would proceed to validate a business idea without cold outreach. Paid ads to a lead magnet to get consent?

Yeah that or just cold calling people over the phone

Calling people on the phone?!?!?! Like cavemen used to do? Crazy!

since is very similar I can give you a few tips:

  • Get a co-founder in sales and marketing, if you are in the sales space but don't know how to sell you are going to have a a bad time.
  • Be aware that your offering is good but you are competing with me, lusha, apollo etc. It's a competitive market.
  • SEO can work very well but if you blast thousands of pages on google you need some strong domain rank first.

Competition is good haha means its a pain people have. I think I operate within a niche of a niche since I use the danish cvr. I really think I can make something unique like having data on number of retail stores for example. There is also a danish saas similar to leadlist but none have the technographic data 🤷

Finding a co-founder could be nice, but I also see this as a learning opportunity to get into sales stuff.