With the increasing realization that marketing is now B2P (business to person) rather than B2B or B2C, there is much discussion about how to craft the perfect, blended strategy. I have been a strong advocate of the need to adopt a blended approach, so there is no argument about what needs to be done. However, I am finding in my conversations with CMOs and other senior executives that there is a tendency to get carried away and change everything.
What has changed in the marketing landscape is the profile of the buyer. There is less and less predictability in buyer behaviour because unlike in the past, today, it is hard to draw the line between B2B buyer and B2C buyer. Buyer behaviour, in general, is a morphed picture.
One must remember, however, that there are certain differences between B2B and B2C that remain:
- Market Size: B2B markets are generally more niche while B2C markets typically cover large, broad markets with more individual prospects.
- Sales Cycle: B2B marketing involves a multi-step buying process, meaning a longer sales cycle. B2C has a single-step buying process with a shorter sales cycle.
- Purchase Decision: B2B sales are based on task-oriented and rational buying decisions, reliant on business needs and budget. Instead, B2C sales are driven by more emotional factors such as desire, price or status.
All marketers struggle to find new ways of winning business in a competitive market. Innovation is the key—our customers demand it, and therefore, it has to be customer-centric. However, there are certain tried and true methods that we don’t need to change; they still work.
Here Are 7 B2B Lead Generation Tactics that Still Work
- Monitor, Track and Measure Buyer Behaviour for Lead Scoring. Choose your lead generation program wisely so that you have the ability to monitor lead behaviour online and track progression. Don’t overwhelm your sales and marketing teams with meaningless measurement metrics—only use the most logical metrics. For example, if you have a prospect that signs up for a free trial of your product, you should attach a higher score to that behaviour than when a prospect subscribes to your email newsletter.
- Be Progressive with Lead Profiling. Don’t frustrate your existing leads by making them fill out the same information in different campaigns. Your online forms must be designed to gather new information about existing leads. Social sign on is convenient and preferred; so most of your prospects will be happy to sign in with their LinkedIn or Facebook login. Make sure you customize at least one form field in every new campaign—this will help you gather capture information you don’t have about those leads. Through this process of profiling and adding more intelligence to your database, you can track how every lead is progressing through your sales funnel.
- Incentivize Social Sharing. If you offer quality content on social media, it will be consumed. That is not enough; however. You want that content to be shared too. Encourage social sharing by rewarding the influencers who regularly share your content. You can also offer exclusive rewards. For instance, the first 25 individuals that share your upcoming webinar registration link with their friends can be included in an “invitees only” webinar if the people they shared with resulted in at least 2 new registrations. Ask regular commentators to write a guest post on your blog. They will want to share that with their social connections and that will bring more quality traffic to your blog. Need a refresher on social media lingo? Here are 10 Things About Social Media Every C-Suite Executive Must Know.
- Social Retargeting. You are spending time and effort on creating valuable content. Are you seeing the ROI? You need to provide social content that drives prospects further down the conversion path. For those prospects that are still at the top of the funnel, gated content will not work. You need to simply give away valuable, relevant content without asking for anything in return. Gated content works well for prospects that are already engaged with your brand and want to continue to benefit from the content you provide.
- Channel Optimization. Be aware of which are the most popular social media channels for your top prospects. Find out what type of content these prospects are looking for. It could be discussions on industry forums, e-books, videos, webinars, group discussions on LinkedIn, or any other. Keep in mind that all content does not have to be created in-house. Refer to my earlier three-part series on Content Curation.
- Responsive Strategy. Even as you read this post today, Google has unleashed the Mobilegeddon—a change in its ranking algorithm that will penalize and demote sites that are not mobile-friendly. Is your content optimized for mobile devices? It’s no longer an option!
- Customer Relationships and Brand Building. It goes without saying that the most easily proven ROI of social media marketing is relationship building and brand awareness. Marketers that focus on thought leadership and value-based content are winning audience engagement. Companies that are too busy with complicated KPI measurement metrics are losing out on more important outcomes such as word of mouth branding, reduced cost of customer support operations, a positive brand image, and enhanced customer experience.
What are some of the tactics that your organization has found useful and effective in lead generation? Feel free to add to the list above and do leave me a comment below.
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