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B2B Sales Leads: 8 trends that will drive your sales in 2018

TLDR:  The data trends that we anticipated largely came true. These trends made a major impact on the availability of data inside many popular martech / salestech tools. The modern inside sales and lead generation teams need access to many kinds of data, quickly, without a large cost burden.

Trends will change like they always do. Subscribe to our blog to get sales and marketing tips right to your inbox.

As we get fully into the new year, here’s our list of 8 outbound lead generation trends to drive sales in 2018. But first, some back-story and our track record...

Back story, 2017 trends drive 2018 trends

In early 2017 I was invited to HG Data during their sales kick-off event. I spent some time sharing my view of our little corner of the data market, where it was trending, and how b2b data would be consumed by outbound sales teams differently.

My view was that with the onset of cheap storage and computing technology, new data companies would emerge to find niches to serve in highly specialized (and thus effective) ways. The challenge these providers would face was not supplying great data but finding a way to get their better data in front of the lead generation or inside sales teams that use it.


"The death of people answering their telephone today is greatly exaggerated." - Henry Schuck

This aligns with my conversation later in 2017 on our podcast with Henry Schuck, CEO of DiscoverOrg. You can listen to the whole thing on iTunes but let me summarize...

Henry believes (I agree) that there’s a lot of fancy talk about something that is relatively simple, which is:

Calls and emails from a skilled business development team drive meetings, sales pipeline and revenue.

Another leader in the space, Rob Forman with SalesLoft, said at their inaugural RainMaker event that “semi automation” was the ticket to authentic communication. It was your pogo stick outside your prospects window saying that you are a real person while preventing the signature “tells” of automation. With these two heavy hitters talking about authenticity and fundamentals, I’ll take that as a leading indicator. In 2018 to continue to be relevant to prospects, the right mix of technology and authenticity will win the most qualified leads.

What to do in 2018 to drive more b2b sales lead with 1 to 1 email

This year as the number of transmitted emails sets record after record and even more data sources emerge, follow these best practices to make sure your message is seen and resonates. That way, you’ll continue to drive qualified meetings for yourself or your sales team all 2018 long.
  1. Start with account fit. Anyone at your target account can be a prospect if the business fit exists at the account level.
  2. Buy “Predictable Revenue” by Aaron Ross and remind yourself why “BlackBerry length” is still relevant advice about copy.
  3. Use “supporting cast” lists differently than “decision maker” lists to get maximum ROI from your campaigns. If you don’t know what that means book a call with us (link to calendly) and we’ll tell you.
  4. If you have the ability to work the phone or provide any other air cover (display, direct mail, social profile views), this will help email campaign response rates
  5. Be authentic for your niche. Spell out the value you provide for them concisely and specifically.
  6. Get data to market to your niche from where-ever you can. Many marketers exhaust one data source and assume the total addressable market is exhausted. This is a mistake.
  7. Niches are small but powerful, do not underestimate the power of 30 good emails a day, 3 days a week over 4 weeks to impact your pipeline.
  8. Support your inside sales team with qualified business development reps to maximize the benefits of specialization. That way, when sales has pipeline to work they don’t have to put down lead generation and stall growth.


"The hashtag for 2017 has got to be #SalesProcess" - @HenryLSchuck

The great news about this list is that it’s not really news. Authenticity and a considered approach to the value your product brings a market isn’t “fancy”. It’s not a cutting edge tactic and yet there is so much poor quality email marketing attempting to look 1 to 1 without being willing to do the work. And that’s exactly why in 2018, if you do the work to be authentic, you’ll continue to drive big pipeline. Volume has a place, but it’s not in determining business fit. That’s micro work and if you skip it, as they say, “garbage in, garbage out.”


What's Next?

Do you need help with your outbound strategy this year? Tired of sales pitch from teams that haven’t booked a meeting off an outbound campaign in years? We only work with customers we know we can help, so if you’d like to have us take a look at your markets for some ideas, the first call is on us. Book 15 minutes now and see if we can lower your cost per lead or increase your conversion rates.


This post is based on a podcast interview with Henry Schuck, CEO of DiscoverOrg. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Corporate Data Show.

If you don’t use iTunes, you can listen to every episode here.