Whether your company is large or small, the ultimate goal of B2B lead generation is to uncover qualified leads, nurture them as appropriate until they are ready for a sale and then smoothly transition them to field sales for closing.
Key tips for marketers on B2B lead generation
1. Create an ideal customer profile – Clearly articulate what this profile looks like and then focus your energy on lead generation opportunities that best fit this ideal customer profile. To uncover the profile, look beyond traditional definitions based on title, etc. and spend time discovering what separates your best and worst customers? What organizations/associations do they belong to? What are their demographic profiles?
2. Ensure your key messages resolve the pain your prospects are facing – This may seem like a daunting task but it really isn’t. Spend time speaking with current customers to understand why they chose to work with you? How has using your product or service helped their business? Would they refer you to other people? Speak with lost deals to understand what influenced their decision making process? Why did they choose the direction they did? What was their perception of your company, products or services? [Note: this is often best done by a 3rd party to really get to the meat of the answers you seek]. Once completed, these interviews will be invaluable in helping shape your key messages for marketing.
3. Develop a marketing plan with activities each month – Spend time outlining an integrated plan and then consistently execute on it each month. Plans should ideally incorporate multiple tactics for lead generation [ideas can include email, online, direct mail, events, outbound calls and more]. Map out your activities for each month and then really follow it! And don’t just make irrelevant pitches more often! Create a plan to ensure that every time you touch your future customers you provide relevant ideas, content and resources.
4. Rigorously qualify all incoming leads – Once you have a new lead, invest time in uncovering more details about the individual to ensure they are qualified and match your ideal customer profile. Avoid passing any leads to sales unless they meet all of the criteria you have established in advance. This enables sales to focus only on qualified leads and also ensures that when you do pass them a lead, they will invest time in it.
5. Develop a lead nurturing plan – While you may generate leads from your initial campaigns, you will generate even more by following up with additional touches. To do this effectively, tailor the content of those follow up campaigns to the needs and interests of the recipients. The more relevant they are to a recipient, the better.