The challenge of generating high quality B2B leads doesn’t come down to a single technique. It comes down to how well you understand your target audience, their needs and motivations and how this understanding informs your sales and marketing strategy. If you don’t have this insight, what value does your database really hold? A list of names and organisations with no intelligence around the needs and interests of those individuals is no more helpful than a leaky bucket.
What do we mean by that? The leaky bucket is an algorithm based on the analogy of how a bucket with a leak will leak at a constant rate, and can even overflow. If we apply this theory to the practice of generating high volumes of B2B leads, it means the rate of leads coming into the funnel will be almost the same as the rate of those failing to convert, a pitiful waste of your spend on marketing acquisition. With no real insight, identifying and bringing good quality leads to the surface is an impossible task, one that leaves your sales team grappling with a bloated pipeline of low value prospects.
How then, do businesses in the B2B sector achieve the level of customer insight needed to feed a healthy sales pipeline? Let’s look at some key factors:
Accurate data that matches your target audience
Accurate, up-to-date and compliant data is integral to any successful lead generation campaign. Poor quality data will undermine your marketing ROI not just in financial terms, but also impact your business relationships and organisational reputation. There is nothing worse, for example, than receiving a phone call or email from two different members of the same organisation, neither of whom are aware of the other’s involvement.
Data needs to be clean and accurate and match the profile of your target audience. Prospects receiving marketing materials or sales calls that pitch a proposition with no relevance to their interests are never going to convert. Unless your efforts are targeting the right audience, your resources are wasted.
Determine how prospects see you
Once you have clean data with the right profile, enriching the base information is the next stage. Data providers can provide basic information such as business description, SIC code, turnover or number employees, or append phone or email to give you more targeting options.
Pre-sales quantitative and qualitative market research can give you a much more strategic view of the market, your target audience and the competitive landscape to help shape your lead generation approach. Phone-based research can dig deep to capture the true ‘voice of the customer’, their pain points and challenges and throw light on how your proposition may be received, or your brand perceived.
Social media monitoring is also a great way to gauge attitudes towards your brand, messaging and product or service. This awareness will allow you to adopt new approaches within your communications, or compare perceptions of your brand to those of your competitors, to see how you could be doing better. Interacting directly with your target audience - not just in terms of direct messages, but through social listening or connecting with relevant interest groups – also provides powerful intelligence to help hone your lead generation techniques.
Resonate with your prospects
Once you have a deeper level of insight, ensure that you use it to tailor your messaging and communications. If your proposition addresses their needs, your prospect will be much more receptive to your offer and your leads more likely to convert. If it is to ring true, your message needs to be consistent across all channels and all interactions. As we highlighted in our article on gaining consumer trust, a consistent and authentic experience builds the trust and relationships that are integral to successful B2B lead generation and sales. Decision makers need to feel that what they are buying into will provide value for their organisation, not just in financial terms but also for longevity. Whatever your approach - email marketing, digital advertising or telemarketing - your efforts will be wasted if the message does not resonate.
Nurture and qualify leads
Once you have generated a response, it isn’t time to sit back and feel good about a job well done. The effectiveness of your B2B lead generation and the rate of conversion is dramatically impacted by how you manage the leads in your pipeline. Depending on how the leads were generated, they may need very different treatment. A prospect who has clicked on an email link or downloaded a digital asset is unlikely to be a ‘sales-ready’ lead. A lead generated by a phone call, however, where a meaningful one to one conversation has established a good fit between needs and pain points, should be very receptive to a call from sales.
It is important that your process segments leads according to the stage they are at, typically Automation Qualified (AQLs), Marketing Qualified (MQLs) or Sales Qualified (SQLs), and nurtures interest appropriately at each stage. It is essential to define strict qualification criteria, particularly in the latter stages, to ensure your sales team receives only leads that are truly sales-ready. An intelligent and systematic lead qualification process will ensure leads are either qualified out so they don’t negatively impact the health of the pipeline, or move steadily through each stage to conversion.
Call recordings – a powerful sales tool
Marketing automation can reduce workload by automatically scoring leads, but human to human contact, either over the phone or face to face, is the best way to build a true understanding of the motivations of your prospect and to make a genuine connection. Outsourcing to a telemarketing specialist has the benefit of providing access to call recordings. Not only fundamental to quality assurance, recordings are also incredibly valuable for capturing insight and hearing the true voice of your customer. They also provide an exceedingly powerful sales tool; your sales team is in a much better position to convert a prospect, if they have access to the conversation that took place when the lead was generated or the appointment booked.
Make your systems work for you.
Holding your customer data centrally in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system provides a single customer view so that sales and marketing teams can monitor leads and manage customer interactions intelligently at each stage of their lifecycle. Data duplication can be avoided and intelligence shared, so those interacting with a customer or prospect have a full view of how they have engaged with the business to-date. Integrating technologies across your sales and marketing processes can enhance your lead generation efforts, ensuring that valuable information is accessible to all, rather than held in silos. If marketing automation is integrated with the CRM system, sales reps can see how prospects have engaged with marketing communications, which website pages they have visited, what content they have viewed or downloaded. Similarly, valuable information gathered during sales interactions is available to marketing to improve targeting and optimise overall lead generation efforts.
At The Telemarketing Company, our expert data cleaning services can transform poor quality data to create a refreshed, profiled database to feed your sales and marketing strategy. Our phone-based market research can enhance your data with valuable prospect, customer and marketing intelligence that increases the quality of your sales leads. Our telemarketing experts can qualify and nurture leads through each stage of the sales process, gathering insights and closing the gap between early stage leads and revenue generating opportunities.
If you need to strengthen your lead generation process, get in touch to discuss how we can help.