Entries Tagged as 'B2B marketing'

B2B Marketing Automation: Crawl, walk, run, win

B2B marketing automation, if done right, is an efficient and cost-effective tactic for engaging your prospects and helping them move forward in their buying process; ultimately generating more of the qualified, sales-ready leads that your salespeople and channel partners need to meet your company’s sales, revenue and growth goals.

The bad news is that when it comes it comes to implementing marketing automation for generating, nurturing and qualifying leads, many B2B marketers are daunted by the perceived complexity.

The good news? Putting marketing automation to work doesn’t have to be an overwhelming effort. You can start simply, building the sophistication of your marketing automation campaigns as you go.

I call it the Crawl, Walk, Run, Win Approach to putting marketing automation to work.

Crawl: Focus first on building a strong foundation for your marketing automation campaigns.

Step 1: Develop Personas and Related Content

Think about your customers’ motivations, expectations and goals. Develop a core definition of who you’re targeting. Use these definitions as models for adding companies and contacts to your marketing automation database. Repurpose, refresh or create content for offers that are relevant and useful to them. Test your offers to see which work best.

Step 2: Improve Targeting and Deliverability

Take the time to clean up your prospect database. An old and/or dirty list will have many obsolete addresses. Integrate data from various sources. Eliminate duplicates. As email will be one of your marketing automation tactics, confirm your list addressees have given permission. Then be sure to test your emails to assure that they will display well in various email readers and on hand-held devices and to minimize the chance they will get caught up in spam filters.

Step 3: Capture Data More Efficiently

Learn more about your prospects. Don’t turn them off with opt-in forms containing a long list of questions. Determine the minimum amount of relevant information you need to get up front, planning to get the rest later as you build a sales-winning relationship with prospects.

WALK: Integrate Campaigning

Now, with a firm foundation, you can start your marketing automation.

Step 1: Build Multi-Touch Campaigns

Prospects require anywhere from three to 15 touches over an extended time period to nurture them from initial interest to conversion. Build a multi-touch campaign with one or more touches per buying-cycle step.

Step 2: Send at the Right Time

Space the touches out over time, so you’re neither annoying them with too much too soon, nor losing momentum by allowing too much time to pass between touches.

RUN: Automate the Dialogue and Process

Once your marketing automation is up-and-running, it is time to improve your lead-management processes to increase efficiency and tighten up any leaks in the sales funnel.

Step 1: Score Leads Using Implicit and Explicit Information

Gain agreement with Sales as to the definition of sales-ready, Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs). Working with your sales team, develop a lead scoring system to rank prospects according to the level of their buying interest or readiness to buy. Use both explicit data (e.g. company size, industry segment, job title, geographic location) and implicit data (e.g. website visits, email opens, click thrus) to determine which score as MQLs, ready to be passed along to sales.

Step 2: Develop Lead-Stage Campaigns

Not all leads are at the same stage of their buying process, so develop different campaigns for long-term prospects and short-term opportunities. Match the content and cadence to each. For example – More frequent communications containing information about demos, competitive positioning and pricing might be appropriate for short-term opportunities, but longer-term leads might require less frequent communications which offer information that is more educational in nature.

Step 3: Align with Sales

If possible, integrate your marketing automation platform with your CRM system to give Sales full visibility into Marketing’s activities, and vice versa.

WIN: Analyze and Improve

Fine-tune your marketing automation-driven lead generation and lead management processes to reach even higher ROI. A wonderful by-product of marketing automation is data about activity and results that you can use as market intelligence. Feed this “closed-loop” results information back into the system, using it to make better decisions, eliminating or fixing the things that are not working and doing more of what is working best.

The bottom line?

By following the “Crawl, walk, run, win” approach outlined above, it will be easier to get started and before you know it, you’ll be running sophisticated, efficient, and automated email marketing / lead generation / lead nurturing campaigns.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

 

B2B Marketing Automation: Here’s my definition

How’s this for a definition of B2B marketing automation? 

The use of technology to generate, nurture, score and qualify leads, and drive sales, using customized, multi-touch marketing communications tailored for each contact’s profile, level of interest, behavior or place in the buying process.

Unfortunately it’s a mouthful, isn’t it?

In my view, the primary benefits of B2B marketing automation are:

  • It allows marketers to accomplish more, usually at a lower cost, than they can get done manually;
  • It facilitates continuous improvement by allowing marketers to track and measure the results of their campaigns, then make necessary adjustments, in near real-time.

What do you think?

Do you have a better definition of marketing automation?  Do you see other benefits that marketing automation delivers?

 

Writing effective email copy from an expert in B2B marketing, lead generation and lead nurturing

This is the latest in our ongoing series of tips from some of the experts who provide our lead-generation agency services.

Meryl Evans

Meet Meryl Evans, one of our email copywriting experts.

Meryl is a professional writer and editor who specializes in online B2B lead generation and lead nurturing. She helps our clients build and maintain relationships with their prospects and customers through email, newsletters, social media, blogs and more.

Here are Meryl’s top email copywriting tips:

  • Write emails with the prospect or customer in mind, not the company. Remember that even in B2B, people make the buying decisions.
  • Use paragraph breaks every three or four sentences. Many emails still have long paragraphs, which are hard to read. Faced with a long block of text, many people are daunted and move on.
  • Use multiple sub-headings, and numbered and bulleted lists (like this one) whenever possible. People skim and scan when reading online.
  • Limit calls to action to one or (at the most) two items. Any more than that and people get confused about what you want them to do. Confused people do nothing.
  • Add a response link to the beginning of each email for those ready to take action before reading the rest of the message. Don’t make people who are ready to respond search for your link. Repeat the link further down for those who take longer to decide.

Worth considering:
Professionally written lead generation and lead nurturing emails get higher open rates, and more responses. Consider putting Meryl or our other marketing copywriters to work. Click here to learn more.

Readers, what are you top tips regarding B2B email copywriting?

 

The components of a successful business-to-business telemarketing call

Successful B2B telemarketers must understand the basics of a successful call: from the opening statement, to engagement and qualification, to close. Each of these stages has techniques and skills that a successful telemarketer must master.

In the opening statement the telemarketer gives his or her full name and the company name, and explains the reason for the call. Outline techniques in the training session on how to get past the assistant or executive gatekeeper by showing that their call is important to the assistant’s boss.

Once the right person is reached, the call moves to the engagement stage. This is basically finding out if there is a match between their needs and your offer. Here is the critical point where the ability to ask effective questions and to gather pertinent information will make a difference. While they are uncovering the prospects’ needs, the telephone marketer is also building the case for the prospect to meet with the sales staff.

It is here in the training that the new employee must learn how to handle prospects objections and generate real leads. You’ll want to include a list of every possible objection and practical responses for each one. If the telemarketer has the qualities of a problem solver, they will engage the prospect in a helpful way vs. Slipping into an adversarial role with them. It is at this time the telemarketing rep will be able to determine whether or not the prospect meets your lead-qualification criteria.

In the close of the conversation, the telemarketer should restate the agreed-to next steps and ask for confirmation.

Being able to use the new information your telemarketing employee has learned along with the sales techniques takes practice. Role-playing is critical to telemarketing training. Both a variety of objections and a variety of types of prospects should be rehearsed.

Assign the newly hired rep to a mentor, most likely one of your best staff members who can coach and support the new person.

Long term success

Some unrealistic expectations can short-circuit a good telephone marketer from doing their best at identifying qualified leads. The telemarketer cannot be expected to do more than one job. Their total focus needs to be on lead generation.

As you know, telephone marketers face a lot of rejection on the phone and need support to keep their enthusiasm up. The callers’ manager should consistently reinforce the idea that rejection should not be taken personally. Occasional motivational boosts will help them feel recognized for their efforts. Publicly recognize individual telemarketers for their accomplishments. Create a team atmosphere and encourage them to share tips on what techniques are working best for them.

When you maintain an optimistic, continually improving environment, you will have great results in hiring, training and keeping your best employees. When you encourage a winning attitude, you will hire and keep winners for your telemarketing lead generation programs.

 
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