Quality leads are the life force of any B2B company, but designing new methods to increase leads can be a huge challenge.
Adding to this, most businesses recognise that they now operate in an era of multichannel, multimedia, multi-device, always-on connectivity that has dramatically –and perhaps irreversibly – swung the dynamic of power into the hands of buyers.
This digitally inspired chaos has spawned a customer class capable of conducting most of its ‘buying journey’ behind the scenes. Today, buyers can surreptitiously flit from one informational outpost to another, gradually building up a purchasing opinion.
Fortunately however, the same technologies powering the journey of these buyers are also generating a wealth of data through which innovative companies can identify, track and assess buyer behaviour, and ultimately use that data to influence their journeys.
So while finding new lead generation strategies is a necessary evil in order for businesses to keep up with the ever-evolving online marketing space, with the surge of data-driven marketing, the explosion of B2B e-commerce and a growing focus on automation, the future has never looked brighter. In fact, by just 2020, the total B2B sales market is forecast to hit $25 trillion.
Here are some of the best ideas for generating more leads in the new financial year using data-driven marketing:
1. Make lead-scoring behavioural
Quite often, a prospect who hits all of our demographic marks is, from a sales perspective, actually a dead end. Even though they looked picture-perfect on paper, they simply aren’t looking for a solution like ours.
That’s assuming all we have is demographic data. If our knowledge is limited to the prospect’s industry and job title, anyone can look like the perfect fit.
If we grow our view to include behavioural data, however, the picture is very different, because the way in which prospects engage with our content tells us how interested they actually are.
By shifting from a limited focus on demographic data to a blend of both demographic and behavioural data, we can then deliver leads that are less expensive to chase and far more likely to end in a sale.
Unfortunately, most marketing campaigns only deliver demographic data, usually through a download or registration form. While this data is valuable, it takes multiple touches before we can even begin to build a behavioural proﬁle on that contact.
The new fiscal year is the time to invest your efforts and resources into making your lead-scoring behavioural.
2. Give your customers what they want … not what you think they want
As Zig Ziglar once said, “Help enough people get what they want and you will get what you want.” In other words, your success ultimately rides on the value that you can deliver to others.
At each stage of the sales funnel, prospects are evaluating you based on the value you can potentially bring to them, so make sure that what your offering addresses this.
Essentially, buyers take action for two reasons: 1) to achieve an aspiration or 2) to alleviate some pain or problem. And a relevant offer doesn’t feel pushy, because it’s not. If it’s useful, the prospect will welcome it.
A good offer strategy involves knowing what stage of the buying cycle they are in, and the common questions they are trying to ask at each stage:
- Awareness – What problem do I have?
- Consideration – How can I solve the problem?
- Transaction – How do I make the best decision?
So if someone is in the Consideration stage, give them the in-depth education they’re searching for with a case study or best practice guide. They’re past the need for a how-to blog post, but they’re not quite ready for a free trial.
Always deliver content that meets the prospect’s needs, at the appropriate time. Offering the wrong piece of content, or not having an offer strategy at all, can do great harm to your marketing and sales efforts.
3. Integrate your marketing and sales teams
In the past, sales and marketing have acted more like opposing teams in a turf war than partners working together to achieve a shared goal. Innovative companies, however, have realised this model is out-of-date, and are now changing their structure to better align the teams.
Marketing should no longer be supplying a simple list of form fills to sales, but rather should be applying a lead intelligence program that equips them to identify actual “marketing-qualified leads” that are genuinely ready to engage with sales.
Integration of these two teams will be crucial to company success, as they will be better equipped to tag team and deal close, instead of functioning in silos.
Aligning the two functions will mean a better understanding of the customer buying journey, aligning incentives for both teams to ensure bottom line accountability, and leading with a clear and united focus that nurtures a culture of organisation-wide partnership and co-operation between the two teams.
Michael Savanis is vice president and managing director for global digital marketing organisation ON24.