What would you say is the biggest challenge when it comes to B2B lead generation?
- It’s not staffing; that’s number two.
- It’s not budget, though it probably feels like it most of the time.
- It’s not analyzing the data, even though that is extremely important.
Without a solid strategy, your B2B lead generation is like playing a game of darts blindfolded. You just take a deep breath, hope for the best, and pray you to hit the board and not the guy haphazardly standing next to it.
But hope is not a strategy in darts or in lead generation. The problem is there is no plug-and-play template that will work for all, but there are some basic elements that make developing a strategy easier and success more predictable.
B2b Lead Generation Strategy
1. Get To Know Your Audience
If you don’t understand your audience, even the most elegant of strategies with all the bells and whistles will not yield a profitable return. You can’t phone it in on this one. You have to get personal with your audience whether that means doing a little market research, conducting customer surveys, or going through CRM notes. It’s important that you know what makes your audience tick and what ticks them off.
Don’t be afraid to also look at why your past customers ditched you. Did your competitors have a cleaner design, low price, or better support? Or maybe they just smooth-talked their way into your customer’s hearts.
All this customer insight will help as you build out your value proposition and offer. You will not only ramp up your B2B lead generation efforts by speaking directly to each audience, but you will also win back some past clients that will take less time to convert.
2. Make Your Value Proposition Relatable
As you start to develop a strategy, you have to consider how your value proposition solves the problem of each audience, not just the generic problem it solves for the masses. The more you can relate your value proposition to the customer insight you gather from your research, the more tangible your value will be.
You can achieve this by segmenting your audiences and personalizing the value to connect on an emotional level. Let’s give you an example. Say you provide an interdepartmental financial forecasting software. You could just describe your solutions as, “The only FP&A software your company will ever need.” That might pique the interest of an accounting director, but does it speak to sales or human resources?
Instead, explain how it empowers sales managers to predict seasonal highs and lows so they can set measurable goals for their sales teams. Then explain how it allows human resources to have a staffing model that coincides with financial forecasting so there are no long silos of information causing tension between the departments. Finally, drive it home by getting the CFO on board with the ability to generate a variety of “What-If” analyses to prepare for the coming fiscal year. Now that’s a product everyone will support.
If you show value for all the decision-makers in a very specific way, then you’ll have much less resistance as you make your way through the chain of command.
3. Create An Irresistible Offer
Your offer puts your value proposition into action. Words alone can drastically change the way potential clients perceive your solution. Instead of describing the features of your products or services, relate the features to the solutions that they provide.
For example, say you have a SaaS solution that offers around-the-clock customer service. Instead of saying, “We provide 24/7 support,” which sounds like a bunch of white noise by now, say something like, “Our team is always available so you never have to put your questions on the back burner.” Much better.
If possible, alleviate fears by offering free trials, demos, or a guarantee. In addition, webinars and value-based content can build trust with your audience and improve the appeal of your offer. Again, these risk-reducing opportunities should not be served up blandly to your audience; spice them up with a bit of an illustrative flair to build up the value.
4. Develop Your Tactics
Here’s the tricky part. Like a puzzle without a box, you have to put all the above pieces together to make the picture clear before declaring your strategy. Then you will need to make sure you’re looking for leads in all the right places.
Before you write your copy, set your budget or blast your offer on social media, use your research and your team to discuss these questions:
- Where do your ideal clients like to spend their time on and off work?
- Are they tethered to their email, to their desk or do they work remotely?
- What social media platforms do they scroll through on their break?
- What’s the process they go through to make a purchasing decision?
- What type of content do they prefer when consuming information?
Once you have established a clear idea of how and where your audience interacts with potential solutions, then you can build strategies based on the intent of the platforms.
You might be wondering, “Why not just hit them up on all platforms?”
There is an argument for that as we have had great success with omnichannel approaches. However, if you want to make the most of your time and your budget, meeting your audience where they are in their normal day-to-day will have a much higher impact on short-term success.
5. Analyze And Adjust Your Strategy
Let’s just get this out of the way.
You’re not going to have a flawless campaign the first time around, or the second time, or the fifth time. It might take your team 20+ attempts before you can start putting campaigns on autopilot. But even then, you’ll need to analyze and make tweaks as your solution and audience evolve.
This is why strategy is the biggest challenge that companies face when it comes to B2B lead generation. It’s not so much that marketing and sales can’t come up with some amazing ideas, it’s that it takes a lot of time and resources to test, analyze, and adjust based on the results.
Set SMART goals for each step of the sales process in order to know what is working and what might need to be fixed. Defining these goals heavily depends on the market you are engaging in and the channels and content you use to attract B2B prospects. Fortunately, there are some universal questions to consider for any B2B lead generation strategy.
- How many touchpoints does it take to get a response from a potential prospect?
- How many markets qualified leads (MQLs) become sales-qualified leads (SQLs)?
- How long does it take to nurture your prospects into a pitch for decision-makers?
- What percentage of prospective accounts convert after the presentation?
- What is the average length of each phase of the sales cycle?
For us, implementing these 5 steps when building out a B2B lead generation strategy has proven to be one of the most effective ways to gain a revolving supply of MQLs and SQLs for sales teams to nurture. While the strategy is certainly not your only challenge in generating B2B leads, it’s one of the best places to start refining your processes in order to scale at an accelerated rate.
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