Generating qualified sales leads in B2B business is a daunting task, even for the most seasoned marketers. It is a complex process that requires a great deal of planning, dedication, and expertise. Although much of the process is similar to B2C marketing, there are some distinct differences.
This article details five of the most important things a marketer can do to increase the number of leads generated, and thus, the number of sales.
A marketer’s main priority is generating qualified leads for the B2B sales team and that’s no easy task. It’s a task that many marketers find daunting, in fact, it’s the most common problem marketers face. Many times, the reason it’s so tough is a simple fact that the right tools and techniques aren’t being employed.
Even when the tools are available, many marketers just don’t understand how to use them effectively and fail to take full advantage of them. That means they aren’t providing their sales department with the volume of leads they need and everyone suffers. In order to overcome these obstacles, successful marketers incorporate the following five techniques into the marketing strategy.
Use Website Chat
B2B buyers overwhelmingly use the internet to search for the products and services they need. Content such as blogs, articles and even social media posts help attract them to the company’s website where they can learn more.
While those are great ways to get them in the door, so to speak, once they’re on the site, it’s vital to engage them. Often, however, the prospect has no way to interact with anyone, beyond filling out a form or sending an email. Both of those options leave the prospect waiting for a response, which gives them plenty of time to decide against the company.
The newest, most effective means of connecting with website visitors is with an on-site messaging system. It allows companies to reach out to web visitors and engage them in meaningful and educational conversations. This is an important aspect of the lead nurturing process and one that should not be ignored.
Plus, when organizations proactively engage with leads, it’s easier to convince them to give up their contact information so the sales team can continue the conversation through other means.
Master Cold Calling
Inbound marketing experts say that cold calling is dead and that marketers should avoid it at all costs. Companies are supposed to generate all of the leads they need through inbound marketing techniques like content creation that draw customers in, rather than chasing them down.
Inbound marketing is extremely effective, and many companies do prefer it, but that doesn’t mean that every business should abandon cold calling altogether. The truth is, many extremely successful businesses still rely on cold calling as a way to generate leads and drive revenue.
Successful cold calling starts long before the marketer ever picks up the phone. The first step is to create a definitive plan for the conversations they’ll have with prospects. That means creating a script that addresses common objections as well as answering the questions buyers frequently ask.
More importantly, it’s important to create a blueprint for what the marketer expects to accomplish from the calls. They may simply want to qualify leads or to book appointments and sometimes, the goal will be to close the deal.
Embrace Social Selling
B2C companies have seen a great deal of success with social media marketing, but many B2B companies ignore those results and shun social media. They prefer to rely on the same tactics they always have, and they miss out on a golden opportunity to connect with more leads.
Social media platforms, especially LinkedIn, are a great way to increase a company’s B2B sales leads. This is especially true for products and services with higher price tags.
If a brand doesn’t have a presence on LinkedIn, there are a multitude of reasons they should. It allows them to share their extensive knowledge base, attract new customers, increase the brand’s credibility and introduce new products and services. It’s also a highly effective communication tool.
The average LinkedIn message results in a 50-60% open rate. That’s much higher than emails, which typically have an open rate of somewhere between 20 and 30%.
Lead generation isn’t the easiest job in the world; in fact, it can be downright difficult and demoralizing at times. Many cold calls result in a flat out rejection. Email campaigns and other approaches are also prone to not working out as intended.
While these techniques do result in limited success along the way, marketers have to learn what not to do before they discover what works. Marketing department heads can spare their people the pain of failure by training them well when they’re hired and retraining along the way.
First, and foremost, the team has to know the company’s products or services inside and out so they can answer customer questions and offer the right solutions to their problems. It’s okay to provide them with a “cheat sheet” of product specs they can refer to, but that only goes so far.
They need to be able to answer questions quickly and expertly without any reference material. Secondly, they have to have the ability to effectively communicate. It’s vital to monitor calls and other interaction and offer them feedback as to how to improve their techniques so they are more proficient.
Marketing & Sales Alignment
It’s quite common for sales and marketing teams to see their roles very differently and that creates barriers that are difficult to overcome. Sales teams concern themselves with meeting their daily, weekly and quarterly goals and don’t see how the marketing department contributes to their success.
Marketers often believe they’re the only ones who think strategically and see the sales team as unable to understand that lead generation is a numbers game. They often discount the other department’s role and that makes collaboration nearly impossible.
Change starts at the very top by way of clearly defined goals that hold both teams accountable for their contributions. One way to do this is to replace the sales funnel with a revenue cycle, which gives everyone a better understanding of what they’re working towards.
It’s also important to get both sides involved in creating a lead-generation strategy that produces the highest number of qualified leads. Another way to bring departments together is to create a team of sales development representatives that represent both sides. When both sides finally realize that they’re actually on the same team, they’ll work towards common goals successfully.
The marketing team’s job is to generate high-quality leads that can be followed up on by the sales team. It’s upper management’s job to provide them with the tools, training, and guidance they need to do an exceptional job. That means incorporating web-based communication tools like website chat, encouraging old-school methods like cold calling, and embracing social media marketing.
More importantly, however, it’s important to ensure that the sales and marketing departments are working together like a finely tuned machine. Therefore, it’s vital to bring the teams together in a way that allows both sides to recognize the value, and importance of the other. Doing so will provide a measurable increase in the number, and quality of the leads generated, and ultimately an increase in sales.
5 Ways to Increase B2b Sales Leads