When it comes to using B2B marketing to generate leads, Nike’s right

A B2B lead generation campaign that’s sitting on the drawing board has zero ROI.

I have to admit that I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I could easily find myself fiddling with my marketing communications plans, campaigns or materials for months. Instead, I’ve had to teach myself, and my clients, to aim for the best results possible by a predetermined deadline… and launch.

I’ve learned that you can continue to tweak things, often without gaining any real improvement as a result.

In my Marketing for Leads and Sales™ seminars and workshops, I like to quote Nike’s slogan: “Just do it”. In other words, stop thinking about it. Get it done and get it on its way to prospects.

How about you? Do you think I’m right in recommending that you “Just do it”? I’m interested to hear your opinions… for or against.

 

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?

 

Pros and cons of Webinars for B2B lead generation

Webinars offer options for reaching out to and educating buyers at all stages of the lead generation cycle.

Your choice to do live, butts-in-seats events, or webinars will hinge on several factors, including the time needed to present the information, the needs of the customers or prospects you’re targeting, and the physical locations of attendees. Keep in mind these pros and cons when deciding how best to reach your audience.

Pros of Webinars

  • Less time: It’s easier to get on attendees’ calendars if you’re only asking for 30-60 minutes.
  • No travel: Your audience and can join in from their desks or home offices. In today’s marketplace, prospects are coming from different time zones and personal schedules. It’s also a big plus for presenters.
  • Usually cost less. If you fly in presenters, renting a meeting space and equipment, and provide refreshments it can add up.
  • Viral marketing: To put it simply, attendees can invite others easily and they’re more likely to because it’s easier to attend than an event you have to travel to.
  • Record the webinar. If someone’s registered but doesn’t show up, you have an easy way of giving them a second chance at their convenience. Follow up by auto-responder email. You’ll get extra “bonus” attendance. And don’t forget, you can put it on your website as content to draw in web visitors.
  • You can do live, interactive demos over the Web. You can use web conferencing software or services to demonstrate your software right on participants’ own computers. They can follow along as you click through each step, or you can let them manipulate their own mice and keyboards.
  • It’s easier to attract guest speakers. If a speaker can participate from his or her own home or office, they’re much more likely to rather than having to travel to the event. You could even save a few dollars because professional speakers usually charge more when they travel.

Cons of Webinars.

  • You may not have participants’ undivided attention. It’s easy for attendees to be interrupted by colleagues or staff, or to get distracted by phones or e-mail while your webinar or teleconference is going on.
  • Time is limited. Webinars should last no longer than an hour. Shorter is even better.  If your material requires more time, perhaps break it into chunks that can be a series of webinars.

The Upshot

Busy C-level and senior executives will likely prefer the convenience of a quick webinar, whereas a user group may prefer the interaction of a live event such as a lunch-and-learn seminar. Give the audience your information in the way your audience wants to receive it. It’s much more likely your message will be heard, retained, and acted on.

 
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