B2B Lead Generation: Getting and Converting Leads
Three out of five B2B respondents believe their online marketing mix doesn’t deliver and nurture the leads their sales pipeline needs according to a BtoB Magazine and Bizo survey.
Further exacerbating this problem is the slowdown of the sales process increasing the need for more effective marketing support to power lead generation.
B2B organizations need more high quality leads. The research revealed 60% of respondents thought generating more leads was their biggest marketing challenge. This is consistent with the 2013 Lead Generation Trends Report research.
3 Strategies to Make Your B2B Lead Generation Work Harder
To solve this challenge, B2B companies must develop three distinct strategies to deal with each of the three business levers for increasing sales. For each strategy it’s critical to test your marketing materials to ensure they’re optimized and to track performance indicators. Also, you must provide the ability for leads to contact your firm and be able to close the deal at any point that they’re ready to buy.
1. Generate more sales leads. Understand that not all of your lead sources will yield the same level or quality of prospects. In today’s market, there’s a good chance you’ll need to use a mix of sources. The 2013 Lead Generation Trends Report found that company website, email and search were the top performing lead generators.
- Create buyer profiles (aka marketing personas). Know who your customer, influencers, decision makers and other interested parties are. To ensure that your content and communications resonates with them, learn what their needs are and what keeps them up at night.
- Listen to what the market is saying. Gather input from internal and external sources. Pay attention to your customer service and sales teams as well as to social media channels. Assess what your competitors are doing that appears to be successful.
- Develop enticing content. Create content that hits your target audience’s hot buttons. Think major pieces of content including ebooks, white papers, trade show/conference presentations, and webinars. Also use social media to build a community. Consider your corporate blog, video, LinkedIn, Slideshare and other options. (BTW—here are some tips to help you with B2B content marketing.)
- Leverage all appropriate channels. Distribute content through your owned channels, social media and third party (including PR, placed articles and advertising.) Don’t forget to include social sharing buttons to support social proof.
- Build your housefile. Get prospects into your purchase funnel so that you can continue to market them cost effectively via email. Where possible, use tailored landing pages that are coded to enable you to track your most effective lead sources.
2. Nurture and qualify more of the leads generated. Keep the conversation with prospects going while providing appropriate information they need.
- Develop on-going marketing communications. The goal is to maintain contact until the prospect is ready to enter the purchase process.
- Create compelling content communications tailored to purchase cycle stage and buyer profile. For most firms this translates to email although some firms still use direct mail.
- Continue to use consistent creative elements (aka brand your content!). This enables prospects to recognize your firm and helps your communications to stand out from the pack.
3. Convert more of the qualified leads. Between 5% and 10% of qualified leads convert although one quarter of respondents have no idea as to their conversion rate, according to the 2013 Lead Generation Trends Report. Further the cost per lead varies from $25 to $500 but a whopping 40% of respondents didn’t know how much they spent for an average lead.
- Customize your communications. Ensure that you’re responding to specific prospect needs.
- Determine what works best to convert prospects. Create a feedback loop to ensure that your marketing and sales department are communicating and working together. You don’t want different departments sending conflicting messages.
- Continue to market. Maintain communications with customers after the purchase to ensure that they know how to use your products effectively and to provide added service so that they remain customers.
While limited resources, human and financial, continue to be top B2B marketing challenges, take the time to plan your lead generation and conversion strategies to determine where you need to allocate your resources.
What has your B2B lead generation experience been? What online elements have you found to be most effective in generating qualified leads?
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