B2B lead generation is the #1 activity on SlideShare, according to the company’s CEO Rashmi Sinha who I spoke with about the branded channels on their B2B lead generation platform and more.
B2B sales cycles are much longer those of B2C, because the former requires a purchasing committee be walked through a sales process, learn best practices and see relevant case studies before the sale converts. And PowerPoint presentations or “pitch decks” are still popular tools.
Google Adwords and online display ads may bring the horse to water, but before a B2B leads take a drink, they need a more comprehensive understanding than ads can provide, and pitch decks solve that problem.
But just what kinds of decks work best at actually generating qualified B2B leads on SlideShare?
That’s one of the questions I asked Rashmi, in a conversation that also touched on the shortcomings of user-ratings, making sharing beneficial to community members and encouraging high quality business conversations by discouraging anonymity, which is available as a special episode of my “On the Record…Online” podcast.
But if you’re looking to generate leads on the SlideShare, and you want to know how to do it, here’s a cheat sheet directly from SlideShare CEO Rashmi Sinha:
1. Get Personal — SlideShare may be a business-to-business social network, but the service’s real strength is its ability to promote business with personality. To see how this works in practice, check out SlideShare’s homepage on any given day and see what types of presentations rank high. You’ll find dryer, text-heavy presentations — though packed with useful information — are much less popular than those with a strong dose of personality and individual flair.
2. Visual Essays Work Best — In the real world, when you use PowerPoint as a visual aid, you are able to to narrate your presentation. But on SlideShare, your deck has to speak for itself. Using imagery to add visual punch works to communicate more information with fewer words. It’s more attractive to viewers because it requires less effort to look at pictures than it does to read.
3. Serve an Underserved Audience — Most of the content on SlideShare is tech-oriented. So if this is your addressable audience, you’re prospecting in the most competitive of SlideShare’s markets. If, on the other hand, you’re visual essay is about some type of subject-matter that’s less prevalent, you may be appealing to much a smaller audience, but there’s also much less competition, so the probability of converting members into leads is higher.
4. Presentations as Media — On SlideShare, your presentation is media. And good media is different from a good presentation. While good presentations include all the ins and outs at the expense of requiring more time and attention, effective media typically promises quick gains for a small time investment. A SlideShare presentation that works as a lead generation tool, is less about driving actual purchasing decisions than it is about sparking someone’s curiosity. Lead generation is about opening doors, not than closing them.
Rashmi says SlideShare is fixing the broken “white paper download paradigm,” one of the more common ways B2B marketers generate sale leads online. The problem, she says, is that in the white paper download model you have to forfeit your contact information before you know whether or not the content is any good. By introducing a social layer of comments, embeds, favorites and downloads within an active B2B community, SlideShare lets members use a social filter to more efficiently identify what might be compelling content for them.
Are you using SlideShare to generate leads? is there anything I’ve missed that can add to this post?