Entries Tagged as 'Customer relationship management'

Persona-Based Marketing: Getting Started

Persona-based marketing goes beyond simple demographic data

Persona-based marketing describes who a prospect or customer is, by also answering questions about their behavior such as: what keeps this person awake at night? How does he spend his time? How does she like to be sold to?

This concept can help you, as a business-to-business marketer, by creating a vivid, tangible picture of your best prospects or customers, and then sculpting a marketing message that’s pertinent to their concerns, and move them to inquire and buy.

How to get started:

  1. Convene a group of employees who interact with your customers and prospects. Bring in lunch and a white board and ask them to help you build a persona for each of your target customers.
  2. Start by describing the customer’s role in their company: CEO, CIO, CFO, COO, sales manager, purchasing agent, user, and any other important influencers.
  3. Next describe the kind of company they work for. What industry is it in? How big is it? How up-to-date is it? Does it have a lot of competition?
  4. Then describe the person and their behavior: Give each persona a name, a title, an age, and describe how he or she looks. How does he dress? What kind of car does she drive? What does he do in his free time? What kind of educational background does she have?
  5. Flesh out as many attributes as you need to give a full, rounded picture of who this person is. Then, turn to your persona’s problems and goals.
  6. Think about what does this person’s daily calendar look like? What are his or her most pressing concerns? What product or service attributes would be most helpful in solving this person’s problems? Is he or she looking to roll up 20 databases into one, getting ready for an IPO, dealing with a new competitor who has just entered the market?
  7. Then, when formulating your marketing messages, think about what path this prospect or customer might pursue to solve this problem. Will he or she turn to white papers or articles in trade publications or Web sites? Would this customer or prospect seek input from a speaker at a networking group of their peers? Let the personas steer the route, which you can pave with information that can help your prospect and customers move forward in their consideration and buying process.

Read the full article at my website: Persona-based marketing: Powerful tools for connecting with prospects and customers


Targeting Your B2B Lead Generation

When searching for leads to buy your products or services, you want to find those companies who have a problem for which you have the solution.

How do you go about finding those companies and how do you find the level of contacts you need from within the companies?

I’ve added an article to my website about the process of targeting your lead generation:

  • Rank current customers
  • Add information about each customer
  • Determine likely prospects
  • Target lead generation by market or geography
  • Research the media they use
  • Focus on B2B marketing vehicles

Read the full article: Lead Generation: Targeting your B2B lead generation


Customer relationship management

Your CRM, marketing database or marketing automation software could be your number one asset. The right database of prospective cusotmers can increase marketing effectiveness and shorten sales cycles. I can help with everything from cleaning up your existing data to using profiles of your best customers to find more companies and contacts just like them.

To find out more: B2B sales lead management software and marketing databases


Get in your prospect’s comfort zone: The right offer at the right time

“Will you marry me?”

This offer will get you a chilly reception from someone you’ve just met. You’d sound half-crazy popping the question unless you nurture the relationship at the right pace and offer what the other person is looking for.

Same thing goes for B2B marketing. Sure, a salesperson can get lucky with an occasional prospect, but counting on the magic happening instantly isn’t the way to build a stream of sales-ready leads. Build trust by developing the relationship.

“Will you go out with me?”

Here’s the “first date” of the sales cycle. You’ve just identified a prospective customer and you need to provide background information and answer the questions that are important to that specific customer. Offer educational materials such as case studies, white papers, how-to articles and decision-maker kits until they’re ready to go to the next level.

“Here’s what we’re really like.”

In this “middle date” stage, the interest has been shown and you can move into more details. A self-assessment tool, technical white papers and webinars require more participation from potential customers, but they also target the solutions to each prospect’s situation. Show you’ll be there for them to help build a sales-winning relationship.

“So how about it?”

When the prospect gets comfortable with your company, start to make more serious advances: offers or calls-to-action. Although it’s not time to pop the question, smaller commitments move prospects toward choosing your company. For instance:

  • Invite them to all-day seminars delving into implementation details.
  • Offer demos or low-cost or free needs assessments.
  • Ask whether your salespeople can meet with their decision makers to present customized proposals or quotations.
  • Consider making “buy now” deals offering discounts or additional products or services bundled in for a lower cost.

What if you don’t know where prospects are in their buying cycles? In that case, make offers appropriate for every stage and let people find their own comfort zone.

How to propose

What makes a good offer or call-to-action?

  • They must be genuinely enticing.

  • They must move the buying process forward. Satisfy prospects’ key concerns.

  • They should be “self-qualifying.” Don’t offer something anyone would want. Provide what a qualified prospect is looking for.

How do you put them together?

  • Repackage or update the information you already have.
  • See if your suppliers have white papers, evaluation guides or other materials you may use.
  • Join forces with your suppliers to provide combination sales pieces or newsletters.

Prospects must clearly understand what they’ll gain from choosing your company and its products or services. They need to believe that what you’re marketing will help them achieve their goals, and they must trust your company to deliver on its promises.

Getting to that point requires making the right offers or calls-to-action for each stage of your prospect’s buying process, from awareness and inquiry to consideration to purchase. You’ll build strong, valuable relationships with your customers that will last for many years to come.

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Great reasons to outsource inquiry/response handling

Outsourcing marketingToday’s lead management service companies assist business-to-business marketers by handling routine tasks and much more. If you and your staff are overloaded trying to keep in touch with interested prospects, you may end up missing revenue sources and slowing growth.

Overloaded, or just want to get more efficient?

For starters, you may want to look into outsourcing for their typical functions such as

  • literature fulfillment,
  • lead distribution,
  • response handling,
  • tracking, and
  • reporting.

Beyond that, did you realize response handling services have become quite sophisticated and can help you

  • qualify prospects,
  • get leads into the pipeline sooner,
  • show prospects your company is timely and efficient, and
  • provide the data you need to show marketing ROI?

Some examples that can help your group get ahead of the game

  • Publish different fax numbers or e-mail addresses in your ads. Route the responses to the inquiry handling service. It’s fast and easy for both the prospect and your company.
  • Set up phone response 24 hours a day or during U.S. coast-to-coast business hours. It serves the prospects, plus they also can provide immediate qualification of inquirers and first level technical support.
  • Have the service handle website information forms and “chat” requests. Do periodic check-ins as a prospect to see what the experience is like.
  • Most services can forward sales leads as email attachments that integrate with your salespeople’s existing contact management software or corporate CRM or sales automation systems.
  • Advanced sales lead distribution methods let you get leads to your salespeople, reps, dealers or distributors by email, fax and directly on the Web.
  • Outbound telemarketers can generate sales leads, qualify prospects, perform “Did you buy?” studies, build relationships with longer-term prospects and invite them to seminars. Some can even sell your products or services, when appropriate.
  • Sophisticated reporting capabilities let you measure lead follow-up, can link inquiries to sales and determine return on investment. Reporting can be prepared as statistical analysis or graphs and charts. Reports can be given to you as printed documents, as e-mail file attachments you can view using common programs like Excel(r), or they can be viewed, downloaded or printed on demand on the Web.
  • Does your marketing database need cleanup? These services can develop and manage your sales and marketing databases, clean them up and append data from postal and public databases, enhance them through feedback from salespeople and marketing response handling and direct mail and telemarketing efforts, and let you keep in touch with and convert more prospects to customers.
  • Ongoing broadcast e-mail, broadcast fax and e-mail programs can be implemented to keep in touch and build a sales-winning relationship with your prospects and existing customers.

Where do you find service companies to assist you with marketing response handling and sales lead management?

  • Ask your peers at other companies.
  • Ask the folks at your advertising agency.
  • Check the display and classified ads in industry publications like B2B, Direct, DM News, Sales & Marketing Management, Target Marketing and Exhibitor or the directories they publish.
  • Do searches on the Internet using key words like “response handling,” “inquiry handling,” “sales lead management,” “response management” or “literature fulfillment.”
  • Check with marketing associations like the Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org).

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Need help with B2B lead generation, marketing and sales?
For more information, please call Mac McIntosh at +1-401-294-7730, send him email at or visit www.sales-lead-experts.com