by Jayne Burch
B2B lead generation has never been more challenging for the marketer than it is today. Due to a profound shift in the way buyers purchase goods and services, the old-school, interruptive marketing and sales methods – think email blasts, cold calling and advertising - aren’t working.
Today, the buyer has more and more control over their entire buying process thanks to the abundance of information available online, helping her make her buying decisions. Plus, the number of channels where prospects can receive marketing messages has skyrocketed - websites, blogs, social media platforms, multiple devices, SMS text, and so on.
Print and broadcast media has taken the back seat. Buyers can, and do, tune out interruptive messages, and seek out the messages and information that are attuned to their specific needs, interests and sensibilities. What’s happening now is:
- 97% of people go online to do research before making a purchase decision, (especially, B2B buyers.)
- Buyers are often 60% of the way through the sales process before they ever talk to a sales person.
So what’s a marketing manager to do? Your boss and the sales team are breathing down your neck to get more traffic to that website and more, better leads in their inboxes. Will working harder using the same tactics you used last year do the trick?
Maybe. Maybe not. Start by looking here:
- Examine your current marketing and sales process (i.e. your whole pipeline) for what’s working and what’s not.
- Stop doing what’s not working.
- Consider implementing some or all of these ten best practices that are working right now.
10 B2B Lead Generation Strategies You’ll Want to Implement Now
1) Make it personal. Develop a Persona Profile of your target audience(s.) Really do it.
“According to “Understanding B2B Buyers a 2016 Benchmark Study," companies that consistently met or exceeded their marketing qualified lead and bookings targets did so by developing, maintaining and incorporating personas into their daily routines.”
2) Publish quality content (the more the better) to drive traffic.
“In the wake of Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, which, as you’re aware, dealt a disastrous blow to many websites, the search engine giant has not been coy about its desire to see more fresh, relevant, and original content on websites.”
Check out this article for tips on how to get started with content marketing.
3) Turn your website into a lead generation system.
Your website as a lead generation system is the key to qualified, sales-ready leads. An automated lead generation system consists of multiple elements such as: calls-to-action, landing pages, great content offers, lead capture forms, email follow-up workflows and a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. Leverage the traffic you're driving to your website with a strategically targeted lead generation system.
4) Use data to improve the quality of leads.
"Terms like ‘lead scoring’, ‘net promoter score’ and ‘key performance indicators’ may seem daunting at first — but they are in fact very powerful in determining company success and equally, failure."
5) Embrace “Smarketing.” Get your sales and marketing teams working together.
Successful “companies in 2017 are paying more attention to how their marketing decisions affect consumers at every stage of the buying process (not just in stand-alone sales or marketing pillars).”
6) Know what SEO means today – it’s constantly changing.
- Mobile first. Make sure your website is mobile ready.
- Google continues to prioritize relevant, engaging, authoritative content. Blog consistently.
- Visual content (videos and images) is getting more attention than ever by search engines.
7) Start building stronger relationships on social media.
For long-term success with social media, or your business in general, you need to build customer relationships.Your loyal customers will eventually turn into advocates that promote your brand for free.
8) Use email workflows and personalized email to nurture leads.
According to Marketing Sherpa, “79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance. Lead nurturing requires a human touch.
9) Use SMS text messaging for lead capture and for lead nurturing.
90 percent of all text messages are read within three minutes of being received. Consider adding a Text-to-Opt-In system (A Short Code or 10-digit phone number specifically programed to receive SMS opt-ins) option to your lead generation.
10) Integrate multiple channels to keep your sales pipeline filled.
Many companies make the mistake of marketing on one channel only (e. g. only their website, email or networking) The fact is, your prospects are engaging on multiple platforms and receiving communication through multiple channels already. To be more visible and attractive, you’ll need to be on the same platforms and communicate through their preferred channels.
Your Next Steps.
Assess your marketing and sales processes. What’s currently working? Decide which best practices you want to add or improve to get the results you want. Make a new plan. There’s no time like the present.
Please do us a little favor and share this article with others, for there’s a good chance that it will help them with their lead generation.
To help you get started with content marketing DOWNLOAD THIS FREE GUIDE "6 Multi-Channel Lead Generation Ideas". You will learn how to create content that drives traffic and generates leads.
Entrepreneur | CEO | Lead Generation Systems Expert | Inbound Marketing Expert Through Marketing Monsoon she has helped hundreds of business owners to develop automated marketing systems with their website. Ms. Burch has a background in organizational development and leadership development in large healthcare organizations. She is a Graduate Master Business Coach.