Entries Tagged as 'B2B marketing'

Marketing-for-Leads Guide: Step 10 – How will you reach the best prospects?

Step 10: Determine how to reach the best companies and contacts.

After you have identified the right companies and contacts to target with your B2B lead generation efforts, you need to determine the best ways to reach them.

The first step is to determine to what media your target audience is exposed to. For example, which magazines do they read? This may include national business or industry magazines as well as regional and local trade journals.

In addition, you should think about the

  • Professional associations to which your target contacts belong.
  • Conferences and tradeshows they attend.
  • Newsletters (print or electronic) to which they subscribe.
  • Websites they visit for professional or product information.
  • Radio and television programming that attracts them.

Each of these, potentially, is the source of a mailing list, website, conference or publication that would be appropriate for reaching your target contacts.

Another way to reach your target companies and contacts is through their professional advisors. Accountants, attorneys, consultants and other advisors often provide recommendations on purchases relevant to their spheres of knowledge. In other words, they influence buyers. For example, a decision-maker in search of a commercial printer might ask his/her graphic design firm for recommendations. Therefore, your marketing plan should have some provision for articulating your competitive advantage to key these influencers.

Download the complete Marketing-For-Leads Guide here

 

Marketing-for-Leads Guide: Step 9 – Who are your best prospects?

Step 9: Target the best companies and contacts with your lead-generation efforts.

Create three lists that rank your current customers using three criteria:

  • Gross revenue. Place the largest companies at the top of the list and the smallest at the bottom.
  • Profitability. List from “most profitable” to “least profitable.” Keep in mind that the most profitable are not necessarily those with the most gross revenue.
  • Fit. Which companies represent the best fit for what you are selling? This ranking is more subjective than the first two. It identifies the companies you know well, those with business you understand, those that are fun to work with, those you understand best and those with which you have—or could have-a great working relationship. Rank these companies in order, descending from the best fit.

Your ideal customers are those that are at, or near, the top of all three lists. While reviewing your existing customers, consider the following questions:

  • What industries are they in?
  • Are they small, medium or large businesses?
  • Where are they located geographically?
  • What is their Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code?
  • What are the titles or job functions of their decision-makers?

This information will help you find similar companies and decision-makers to target with your marketing efforts. Determine what is unique about them so that you can find more like them.

In addition to looking at your current customer base, review your company’s internal expertise and credentials to determine likely prospects for your solutions. If your company is a start-up and has no existing customers, you can leverage your own past experience and that of your people. Think about the kinds of companies you and your team have had success with in previous jobs.

You also can educate yourself on a vertical market (i.e., a particular industry, such as residential or commercial construction, banking, distribution or the retail clothing business), weaving the industry’s concerns and buzzwords into your marketing-for-leads materials. This will suggest that you do understand the market and its needs. However, be prepared to answer the question, “Who else in my industry have you served?” It is bound to come up.

If you don’t believe you can successfully sell into vertical markets, consider horizontal markets. These are markets that cross industry lines. To articulate a horizontal-marketing strategy, you could say, for example, “We are the inventory-control experts for small- to medium-sized businesses.”

Geographic markets are another possibility. You could combine horizontal and geographic marketing with a statement such as: “We are right here in Akron, Ohio, and we are uniquely qualified to help you with your inventory-control needs.”

Although theoretically every company in every business may benefit from your solution, you can’t afford to try to be everything to everyone. You must pick the companies with which you are likely to have the best success and the individuals within those companies who are in the best position to recommend or buy your products or services.

Download the complete Marketing-For-Leads Guide here

 

Marketing-for-Leads Guide: Step 8 – What are your competitive advantages?

Step 8: Determine your company’s competitive advantages and how best to articulate them.

You need to leverage your company’s unique selling proposition to articulate for prospects what is in it for them (the solution) if they buy from you. For example, if you are an individual consultant, you could articulate your competitive advantage by explaining that you will not be relegating the prospect’s business to an inexperienced employee. You could also point out that, because you are a small company, the prospect’s business will be very important to you—more important than it would be to a larger vendor.

If yours is a large company, you could talk about the depth of expertise represented by your large staff. Or you could point out that you wouldn’t have grown so large if you didn’t provide the highest quality products or services.

Pinpoint your company’s competitive advantages by using a SWOT analysis. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Start a list under each category.

Then determine which of those you can do something about. Are there threats you can turn into opportunities? An example of a threat would be the downsizing occurring in prospect companies. You can turn that into an opportunity by articulating the operational efficiency provided by your product or service offering.

To articulate your company’s competitive advantage, tell customers why the advantage is relevant to them. Here are some examples:

Competitive advantage: Your company has the capacity to mass produce silicon micro-gizmos.
Articulation: “We can supply all your silicon micro-gizmos with minimal lead time, thanks to our annual production capability of 4,000 tons.”

Competitive advantage: Your company is the only one in the industry headquartered in the Miami area.
Articulation: “We can provide just-in-time service for Greater Miami-based companies because we are headquartered in Coral Gables.”

Competitive advantage: Your company has a nationwide network of service centers.
Articulation: “We can support all your installations, coast to coast, through our nationwide network of technicians.”

Download the complete Marketing-For-Leads Guide here

 

Marketing-for-Leads Guide: Step 7 – Determine the specific business problems you solve

Step 7: Determine the specific business problems your products/services address and the problems your company is qualified to solve.

The first step in developing your marketing strategy is to identify the business problems your product or service will relieve. Why would somebody buy what you are selling? What specific problems does it solve?

For example, if you sell filling-line equipment to bottling plants, you might solve the problem caused by faulty integration between the labeling and bar-coding equipment. Or if you are selling tax-consulting services, you might solve the economic problem caused by paying too much in taxes.

In addition, you need to think about the problems your company and its people are qualified to solve based on your experience and special credentials. What kinds of business problems have you helped customers with in the past? What kinds of professional or educational credentials and industry experience do your people have? What licenses, certifications or approved-vendor status does your company hold?

Download the complete Marketing-For-Leads Guide here

 
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