One of the biggest challenges for any organization, including B2B companies, is to keep their sales pipelines flowing.
Under ideal circumstances, businesses would have an endless stream of quality B2B sales leads that are primed for conversion. In the real world however, the situation is not only very different, but it is perpetually evolving. B2B lead generation is in fact a fluid and dynamic space.
Business need to constantly address changing market dynamics and an increasingly aware customer base if they want to stay competitive.
B2B organizations therefore need to proactively navigate and plan their marketing and sales strategies if they want to be at the top of their B2B lead generation game. The best way to do this is by being flexible and accommodative to changes in the market space and effectively addressing customer expectations at every stage of buying/decision making process.
While there are several B2B lead generation strategies that can be applied to drive B2B sales, the one thing that is becoming evidently clear is that the days of cold calling and door-to-door marketing are a dying, if not a dead” art.
Salespeople in organizations today use a variety of channels to connect and communicate with clients and customers. Of these, three highly effective areas of focus today for any B2B company regardless of its scale of operations and size are:
- LinkedIn Prospecting.
- Email Marketing.
- Sales Development Phone Prospecting.
Continue reading to know how each of these three areas of focus can help drive B2B sales.
LinkedIn Prospecting for Driving B2B Sales
Social is one area which has captured the collective imagination of an entire generation of customers for the simple reason that it allows customer-brand interactions in an open and transparent manner. While Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great platforms for building brand equity, the one social site that commands a space of its own is LinkedIn.
If you are wondering why LinkedIn prospecting, let’s start with one eyebrow raising stat – 80% of B2B leads are generated via LinkedIn compared to 13% on Twitter and only 7% on Facebook.
The three core aspects of a highly effective and successful B2B sales pipeline on LinkedIn include the following:
- Identifying qualified leads.
- Making it easy for qualified leads to find you.
- Building a robust referral system that is primed for regular conversions.
The one thing to keep in mind here is that most people, this includes potential leads and buyers are usually more relaxed and receptive on social when compared to say at meetings or other marketing/sales specific event.
However, LinkedIn prospecting becomes easier if you have already spent time and effort by building a space for your brand and sharing highly relevant content with your target audience on a routine basis. This is one platform which is dominated by active decision makers from across industry types – so when you share highly relevant domain information, the chances of it being viewed and actively consumed is much higher.
4 Steps to Successful LinkedIn Prospecting
Identify your Target Base – in order to do this, you need to first search and identify people who best meet your customer profile criteria.
Connect with your Target Buyer/Lead – send a short message with maximum 2 or 3 lines and include video link. In the video (can be a 30-40 second company video or a personal video) clearly and briefly explain why you want to connect with the person.
Keep a Track of all Customer Interactions and Create A Deal – you can use a CRM tool to manage these interactions.
Find/Ask for Contact Information – if you can find that contact (email/phone) information of the lead/buyer great. You can start sending emails with relevant domain information. If not, then wait for an acceptance on your connection request before asking for their contact information. When doing this, explain how connecting with you/your business can be beneficial to the lead/buyer.
59% of B2B marketers are confident about generating leads for their business on LinkedIn. However, the key is to build a strong rapport by increasing digital connections with your brand.
Sharing articles or other relevant domain information, or even including the potential lead/buyer within your email campaign can help expose the potential B2B lead/buyer to your brand. This in turn makes them more receptive to receiving a phone call – they know your product and will most likely be willing and open to further communication.
Even if you don’t email or call the person directly, most of these interactions can happen via LinkedIn messages.
The big advantage here is with each step, you can filter prospects who really want to connect with your business which means converting them will be far easier. LinkedIn prospecting is also a great place to build brand evangelists – a converted lead will not only be willing to do repeat his business with your brand, but can be a great influencer to rope in other leads!
B2B Lead Generation and Email Marketing
While social media has definitely shaken up the market place for good, email marketing continues to be one of the most effective channels for businesses to connect with their customers. In fact, 82% of B2B and B2C companies use email marketing technology. And for good reason – 53% of marketers say that ensuring continuous and personalized communication with their current customer bases, can impact revenue generation.
Did you know that 72% B2B buyers are willing to share relevant and useful content via email? In other words, your emails carry tremendous conversion potential. By sharing highly relevant content with your target audience, you increase the potential for your emails to be shared with other people in the social groups of your original readers.
Key Tips for Running a Successful Email Marketing Strategy
In a successful email marketing campaign, the ROI rate is much higher compared to traditional marketing and even some of the more recent marketing platforms. Consider this – the ROI for every dollar spent on influencer marketing is 6.5 dollars. However, for every dollar spent on an email marketing campaign, the ROI is 44 dollars.
However, this in no way means that you should only focus on email marketing. Every marketing and branding channel and platform has a specific role to play in a particular domain. Making emailing marketing a top priority however, will definitely serve a B2B company for several reasons.
Understand your Customer’s Needs – keep in mind that B2B purchasing decisions don’t happen in silos anymore. Several players are involved at different strategic levels. In other words, B2B purchases are dependent on the collective decision of the management teams(s). So when you plan your email marketing strategy and messaging, here’s what you should focus on;
- What is my core solution?
- Who will/can benefit the most from my solution?
- What are the key areas/pain points that my solution covers?
- Why should a potential B2B lead do business with me instead of my rivals?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can then proceed with building marketing personas of your buyers in keeping with their needs and specific attributes which among other things should include, the scale, scope, and size of the business, their revenue figures, their specific pain-points, their budget, the key decision makers, solutions currently used by them, and how do they want to consume domain specific content.
Armed with this information, you can then craft marketing messages that will display not only your level of preparedness, but also allows you to present brand strengths and values that strike connections.
Personalize your Messaging – personalized messages have a higher strike rate than email blasts. List segmentation and personalized and targeted messaging can generate 58% of total revenue. This is because by segmenting your leads based on specific attribute and needs, you can craft personalized messages that align with a particular group’s needs – this makes conversions easier.
Integrate your CRM and Email Marketing Tools – this provides B2B companies with multiple benefits.
- It provides sales and marketing teams with insight into the state of their leads – who is ready to convert and which leads need time and effort to convert.
- Resource allocation becomes easier since there is clarity on which leads can offer immediate benefits and which leads need more effort or if they need to be dropped.
- Tracking buyer behavior and interests as well as how they interact with your content becomes easier. With this information, you can then plan further action or fine tune your CTA to ensure better conversion rates.
- It can help ensure both marketing and sales are on the same page. Most buyers conduct extensive research before approaching a business which means they would have had several interactions with the marketing team. Knowledge about these interactions can help sales teams plan how to move forward with a potential B2B sales lead.
In the same manner, it is important for marketing teams to have information about which sales leads need nurturing and which leads are ready to move forward in the sales pipeline – both these actions can only happen when sales and marketing are aligned.
In addition to personalizing your messages, you can improve your messaging by doing the following:
- Build curiosity and add a sense of urgency in your subject lines and messages.
- Keep your messaging short.
- Don’t hold back from asking questions – if your audience is engaged, they will respond.
- Think of unique ways to improve your email “click rate” but don’t over use it – “click bait” is a dirty word in the online world.
- Break down your information into bite sized chunks – use bullet points.
- Include ONE strong CTA.
Keep in mind that email marketing is about building brand awareness and fostering relationships. Your messages as such should focus on highlighting your core brand strengths and encouraging buyers to take decisive positive action.
The Role of Sales Development Phone Prospecting in Higher Lead to Opportunity Conversion
Sales development reps enjoy a critical space within the inside sales model. The role of an effective sales development team is to connect with leads, override customer/sales objections, ensure the lead is an ideal fit for conversion, and then pass on the lead to the sales teams.
In other words, they are the perfect liaison between marketing and sales. And as such can drive B2B demand generation and business growth and revenue.
Todd Berkowitz, managing vice president, Research & Advisory at Gartner while speaking at the Gartner Sales & Marketing Conference 2018 in Las Vegas, NV, said: “Sales development reps are typically inexperienced, with the average individual holding approximately 1.4 years of experience and short tenure, but these individuals can deliver significant value to the pipeline.” Source.
5 Strategies for Driving B2B Sales using Sales Development Phone Prospecting
The B2B buyer journey has evolved drastically thanks to the advent of the “information age.” Your buyer knows what they want, when they want it, and most importantly, from whom they want it.
So, marketing and sales teams need to be at the top of their game at all times. Here are seven strategies to keep your SDR’s on the right path to driving B2B demand generation.
Align with Marketing – as mentioned above, SDRs are the perfect liaisons between marketing and sales. So SDRs need to align closely with marketing to enhance their outreach efforts by making use of different content, marketing campaigns as well as other marketing-based events. While aligning to improve their outreach, SDR teams also need to build a feedback loop which can help drive future marketing endeavors.
Prioritize Accounts and Outreach Efforts – categorizing accounts based on specific criteria such as needs, intent data, interests, and website engagement can help SDR teams prioritize their outreach efforts for accounts that promise maximum conversion.
Use Account-based Analytics Tools – to get an insight into buyers/companies that are interested in your business. Tracking website traffic and monitoring their behavior makes it easy to customize outreach initiatives that are most likely to lead to conversions.
Use Sales Intelligence Tools – by using sales intelligence tools businesses can track and monitor intent data to gain a better understanding of business-to-business sales leads with respect to their interests, what they are researching or reading on the net. Again, this kind of intelligence into prospect behavior can help SDRs fine tune their messaging.
Constantly Identify and Engage with New Contacts – B2B sales pipelines need to flow constantly. Which is why SDRs need to focus on constantly finding and engaging new contacts. If a prospect in a particular account is unresponsive, identify other key players in the account and find ways to engage and convert them.
A Key Marketing Tactic
The ultimate goal of an effective B2B demand generation strategy is to keep the B2B sales pipeline alive and kicking at all times. And given how today’s buyers rely on their own research and information prior to any kind of brand engagement, B2B organizations need to constantly improve and build on their marketing and sales initiatives in a way that best addresses all the queries and needs of potential prospects.
There is no doubt that LinkedIn prospecting, email marketing, and sales development phone prospecting can be game changers provided they are done the right way.
However, what is equally important is that regardless of whether your B2B organization focuses on one or each of the above mentioned solutions for driving sales, at each stage, both sales and marketing need to be aligned and on the same page. Only then can you expect to drive business sales, revenue, and growth.