Proven Steps for B2B Marketers to Secure, Engage and Convert Quality Leads
In the world of marketing, we all live in relentless pursuit of finding more prospects and converting more customers. Now here’s a recent study that declares “on average, 57% of a purchase decision is complete before a customer contacts a supplier.”
Given the statistic mentioned and show in the chart above, it really should be quite simple to convert these prospects into customers. As B2B marketers, the only task remaining for us would be to run through the rest of the sales cycle and fill that 43% gap required to complete the purchase decision. So where’s the problem with that? The challenge is that the sale becomes increasingly complex beyond this point. The prospect moves closer to determining precise needs, finalizing a budget and fixing a price point at which to buy. The more we grapple with these prospects, the more we allow ourselves to be arm-twisted into discounting price and giving away more for less.
I know some of you are thinking about what I’ve been saying all this time that you need to “separate hand-raisers from true leads”, “qualify a lead using the 5 criteria”, and so on. And I stand by all of that. In addition, what I want to emphasize now is that just finding qualified leads is no longer enough. You have to take these leads by the hand and nurture them, educate them, engage them to the point where they look to your organization as the go-to source for the product or service their business needs. Without that, you will be chasing the same pool of prospects your competition is—tooth and nail. Conversion is the ultimate goal, but the path to get there is Engagement.
10 Rules of B2B Lead Generation that Help Marketers Engage More, Convert More
- Be a solution provider with a solid value proposition. Get stuck in a rut as yet another vendor and your buyer will rule the roost.
- Educate, inform and upgrade prospects to buy what you can offer. Move them higher up from what they think is sufficient to fulfill their need.
- Use the sales cycle efficiently. Don’t rush things and be afraid of a sale that takes longer to close. A questioning and demanding prospect is looking for VALUE. If you can make sure you demonstrate value, you’ll have a more engaged customer who, if well looked after pre and post sale, is likely to help engage more prospects.
- Build champion teams with alignment between sales and marketing. It’s easy to reduce or add head count in an attempt to cut costs or expect more hands to bring more leads. The trick is in optimizing the resources you have and helping them work collaboratively to deliver lead generation results.
- Make technology work for you; not the other way around. Sales automation tools and CRM systems are meant to simplify lead generation. It’s common, however, to see organizations and individuals become slaves to meaningless metrics and reporting systems. Let technology be the enabler; let your people drive results.
- Transcend relationship nurturing to move into perception management. Too often we focus on building a relationship on an accepted foundation. When the foundation isn’t strong enough, the journey becomes short and ends quickly or drags aimlessly and gets you nowhere. As marketers, our task is to manage perceptions and change what prospects believe is true of our industry. That is when we become trend-setters and thought leaders that customers seek rather than shun.
- Relevance is key. Whether it is a social media platform, an email campaign, your website content or any other form of communication, you have to ensure it is highly relevant to your prospective buyers. AND it must give them insights beyond what they already know (or think they know).
- Tailor your lead nurturing process. A one-size-fits-all approach is well and truly passé. Depending on a potential buyer’s behavior through the sales cycle, your lead nurturing process must be continually refined, modified and customized to ensure you are able to engage and finally, convert customers. It doesn’t work to be process-driven with blinkers on.
- Don’t forget your Ps and Qs! With the deafening noise of social media, email marketing, sms messaging, landing pages, mobile marketing and what have you; the typical customer is experiencing chronic fatigue and adrenal stress. I can’t say this enough—as marketers, we cannot ever forget simple courtesy and etiquette. If you want to have social conversations, ask “please may I” and when your prospects share with you or share on your behalf, say “thank you”. Simple as it sounds, the payoff is invaluable.
- Devise an integrated marketing strategy. Yes, we know there are new tools and techniques on the lead generation scene every day. Some are best suited for B2C, some have worked in the B2B space; know that there is a difference and engage in proven B2B marketing activities.
These are just my top 10 “rules”. Would love to hear what has worked for your B2B organization! Please leave me a comment.