Getting qualified sales leads is a never-ending challenge for MSPs, telecom resellers, and agents.  As the CMO of Cloud Age Solutions, I think about this all the time.  Cloud Age Solutions is in the business of unraveling the chaos of telecom bills through automation. We offer a targeted product in a very competitive industry.

There’s no shortage of options: trade shows and conferences, advertising, email marketing campaigns, paid search.  My inbox is filled with companies promising to fill my sales funnel.  The challenge is finding something that works for my target customers, is cost-effective (I don’t have Microsoft’s marketing budget), and does not require hiring a dedicated marketing manager.

I’ve had plenty of “learning experiences” along the way.  This is why I wanted to share some lessons learned from a recent LinkedIn content marketing campaign that exceeded our expectations.

How It Worked
Our sales cycle can sometimes be long – prospects do their research before they contact us, so it’s critical that we are seen as a trusted authority within our market niche.  We chose to do a LinkedIn campaign because our target customers use the platform, it’s optimized for sharing business-oriented content, and it can reach all the functions involved in our sales process: CIO’s, COO’s, CFO’s, CEO’s, and VP’s of finance/accounting.

The Results
In a few months, the campaign generated multiple qualified sales leads that have turned into sales proposals.  Not surprisingly my LinkedIn connections and followers on LinkedIn have grown quite a bit.  The quality of our LinkedIn interactions – who follows us and how they interact has improved pretty dramatically.

Takeaways for Channel Partners
So, here are some general lessons learned that you can use no matter what your budget is.

  • LinkedIn users are practical and want to learn – if you can make them smarter at their jobs, you build your authority and influence. We got excellent results from content prospects could use directly use for a task – for example, an editable financial model, or checklist CFO’s can use during a telecom M&A process.
  • Don’t go too narrow – engage your prospect’s full range of interests. In past campaigns, we only shared content related to our niche of the telecom space.  For this campaign, we went “broader”, using content that would be attractive to our target prospects even if it was not about telecom invoices or telecom expense management.
  • Be a curator. There is a lot of great third-party content out there. If you are willing to invest some time being a true curator of this content (as opposed to just re-posting material), you can save yourself the expense of creating everything from scratch.
  • Have a strategy to generate likes and comments. This is critical from a post visibility perspective (LinkedIn promotes your post based on user interaction) but it rarely happens by accident.  Successful tactics we used were to 1) summarize key takeaways in your content and ask if those resonate and 2) offer to provide a full copy of the content in question (a case study, for example) if a user requests it via LinkedIn.
  • Once a prospect shows interest, start a personalized dialog.   I’m not an aggressive LinkedIn “connector” by nature, so I was pleasantly surprised at the number of “C” level telecom executives who were glad to connect and follow with us – once we had provided useful content to them.  The key is to make the connection a true dialog and not a sales pitch.

If you would like more details on how we executed this campaign, please contact me — bnorberg@cloudagesolutions.com – and be sure to follow Cloud Age Solutions on LinkedIn!  Or better yet, subscribe to our newsletter go get the latest from Cloud Age Solutions.