- Our services:
- Lead Generation,
- Lead Nurturing
Create a constant flow of quality opportunities for your sales team
Our philosophy is simple for B2B lead generation: combine the best of database analysis, digital tactics, traditional techniques, and strategic personal engagement to yield a lower cost per lead and increase lead-to-sales opportunity conversion.
We partner with you to define the opportunities in your audience, create messaging that resonates with them, and engage your prospects through the best combination of communication mediums and channels.
We then track lead sources through downstream MQL conversion, enabling analysis of which front-end marketing activities are converting to sales opportunities in order to optimize your marketing spend and provide solid justification to your management.
What you get is a well-defined, effective lead generation system, rather than the constant churn of trying to stand up new campaigns, which come with delays, more utilization of personnel and financial resources, and a disruption to the flow of leads. An approach such as this also results in lengthening sales cycles and missing sales opportunities all together.
Our approach is rooted in marketing economics and based on four principals:
Define target prospects based on ROI potential
Weight effort and spend on targets, according to their potential lifetime value
Don’t spend money or energy on non-prospects
Success requires an on-going, singularly-focused, systematic effort
What it takes for successful B2B lead generation programs
A well-defined target audience yields the greatest return
Key to effective lead generation is identifying your target audience as precisely as possible. Too often marketers want to select communications channels before fully defining the audience. It’s through the definition exercise we determine not only where to find your prospects, but what specifically to say to them.
Defining the profiles of purchasers and influencers starts with looking at your current customers and marketing database contacts.
An analysis of both databases helps create a profile of likely prospects for your solution. For example, looking at contact titles can shine light on who the decision-makers actually are. And examining purchasing periods can shape the timing of the program.
Gathering insights directly from your customers and sales teams further informs the program approach. We like to examine:
Conversations with your internal and channel sales teams are incredibly valuable. They can help simplify the marketing message to focus on the opportunities and address the most common obstacles they face in selling. This helps define how to execute engagement activities through all phases of the buying process.
Save money by identifying non-targets
It’s also important to develop profiles of non-targets to reduce downstream marketing effort and prevent spending budget on parties who will never purchase or influence the purchase of your solution. Using these profiles, you’ll want to build suppress lists so you can automate scrubbing batches of leads as they come in.
Dig into your prospects’ world with industry and competitive research
You’ll want to understand how prospects currently address the problems your offering can solve, including the prevalence and perception of competitive solutions.
We conduct several activities at this stage:
These explorations help uncover the prevailing opinions, biases, and critiques—and they reveal opportunities for how to successfully go to market.
Understand market size to shape plans
After defining prospect profiles, use SIC codes and other sources to determine industry segment, company size, and other firmographics. These steps lead up to market sizing: understanding how many companies exist that match the target profile. From here, you can prioritize targeting and start searching for media/publishers/list resources that have reach into your audience.
Prioritize targets to maximize marketing spend
It’s essential to define high-value prospects based on potential ROI and potential lifetime value. Be sure to include desired accounts to target and other requests from the sales team. These discussions help decide how best to market to prospects, such as:
Some solutions, however, are horizontal in nature, geared toward a particular profession or line of business. This generally requires a reverse-engineering approach around who to eliminate rather than who to target. For example, if your solution is a high-cost human resources solution, you may want to eliminate industries with low turnover and low budget, such as the public sector and non-profits.
Create a perfect union between your program strategy stages and content
Top-of-the-funnel demand generation requires educational and thought leadership content to help capture attention and create awareness. That content gets more specific to solving the prospects’ challenges as they move through the funnel or buying process.
We create program strategies that determine the type of activities and offers that lead to action in each phase of the buying process.
1. Discovery phase
Target potential customers in the discovery phase with both search and outbound marketing. We determine assets and communication mediums based on your target audience. (For more about this and the services we offer, see our B2B Marketing Content Services page.)
Overall, the primary mission in this phase is to generate clicks, views, readership, and other forms of initial engagement.
2. Evaluation phase
The evaluation phase delves into more educational content, such as considerations, options, and solution use cases.
This is the perfect time to establish your credibility and authority on topics. It’s important that your marketing assets clearly outline the business benefits of your solution—even if that means limiting the amount of technical content you include.
The evaluation phase generally involves a push marketing effort to secure prospect engagement. There needs to be real value in the content created for this phase, because the success of these offers will be directly tied to the value of that information.
The evaluation phase’s golden rule for content is if the same information in your asset can be easily found via a Google search, the value of your piece is low. In turn, so is the likelihood of people giving up their personal details to get it.
3. Decision phase
Support the decision phase with solution comparisons, technical briefs, customer testimonials, and sales tools built on proof points. More personalized delivery methods such as emails from inside sales, telemarketing, or field sales are the best tactics to use here. Assets can be made available on a campaign site or corporate website to support self-shoppers.
Align the commitment level to the value of the content and the phase of buying process
Offers and calls to action (CTAs) are essential to qualifying a prospect and moving them through the buying process. As the prospect moves through the process, you can increase the amount of information you request from them in exchange for content—but only as long as the value of the content matches the level of information they are willing to provide for it.
First, you must define the desired prospect actions, align the value of the content with how much information you are requesting from prospects, and choose the mediums appropriate for various commitment levels.
Top-of-the-funnel (discovery phase of buying process) offers should require little to no commitment from prospects. While people are researching solutions, they are generally hesitant to give up personal or business information. Make it easy for them to review and gather your information. Research on the web is an essential part of the purchasing decision. Don’t make it easy for them to go to your competitors for information because you have unnecessary barriers to yours.
As the level of your prospect’s engagement and the value of the content you’re offering increases, people are more willing to fill out forms and self-identify their interest in return for higher-value information.
This continues as the ask for personal time or commitment increases. Activities such as web seminars and physical events are next-level engagement activities and are more effective in the middle of the buying process or later. Never underestimate the value of a prospect’s time. Add in the fact that prospects know they will be face to face with the sales team for physical events, and it’s easy to see why gaining their attendance is a big commitment.
Finally, hard CTAs such as free trials generally require not only commitment by the prospect, but from their entire organization. A large percentage of free trials aren’t really free as they require buy-in from the prospect organization to implement, learn, and manage the solution being trialed.
A campaign database integrated into your business systems
A campaign database is essential to executing, managing, and tracking your lead generation program. It simplifies the flow of leads coming in from external sources, as well as going out to your business systems, such as Salesforce.com.
Note: Using a database outside the current business systems can be a sensitive subject for the teams managing those systems. Nobody wants another database to worry about, or worse case, a “rogue” database handling sensitive prospect data. It’s important to emphasize that this database supports the existing business systems and is only intended to help streamline the lead generation process. This can often be resolved with a thorough discussion about security, uses, and integration points.
Certain fields and tables required in your database are obvious, such as contact information and lead source identifiers. Others involve defining all the desired and necessary data required by different systems and teams. Those fields might include:
Leads and inquiries which come through a website or broadly publicized events need to undergo a data prep or vetting process. You’ll want to suppress the files for various audience segments that aren’t prospects, such as:
Maintaining files like these and routinely running them against inbound leads averts trouble down the road.
Optimize results to extend the duration of the effort: monitor, measure, refine
Once your campaign has been launched, it’s important to keep a close an eye on its performance. You’ll want to monitor results, such as which sources are producing the most actions and what offers are generating the most responses.
Using this data, you can adjust different variables and make course-corrections in your plans. However, be sure to look beyond the high-level metrics and dig into the form fills, downloads, on-page actions, and sources of origin. That’s where you’ll find the most useful insight. Be careful not to overcorrect based on the raw results though. Dig into them to make sure you understand what’s happening. For example, low response rates that produce higher quality leads are better than high response rates that produce few actionable opportunities.
Internal acceptance of your demand generation program is critical
An often-overlooked element that will impact your program’s success is the buy-in from your sales team and other internal stakeholders. This needs to happen at the beginning of program development and be maintained throughout.
For large organizations, integrated, aligned, and consistent demand generation can be “too big to succeed.” That’s because finding alignment and commitment from the numerous teams and stakeholders can be an arduous task.
However, without the support of the sales team, your well-conceived program can look like a bust if leads never evolve into real opportunities.
Here’s how we can help engage, prepare, and educate your inside sales, field sales, and channel partners:
- Buy-in: Involve sales in the program strategy phase; make them owners.
- Program brief development: Share useful information such as campaign touch points and messaging platform, customer pain points, competitive environment, and conversation guides.
- Training: Deliver solution information.
- Content library for conversation follow up: Centralize relevant information and offers for easy access.
- Sales team launch call: Explain your program to field sales.