Introduction to high quality B2B leads
Here is a fact: 94% of B2B buyers conduct at least some form of research online prior to making a purchasing decision. This essentially means that acquiring leads online is one of the best ways to increase the sales of any B2B company. However, not all leads are created equal and should be treated the same way.
Now, even though B2B companies realize the opportunity lying in generating leads online, most of them forget the most important thing: B2B is not B2C and the lead generation efforts aren't the same either. Decision making processes in B2B are far more complicated and you can’t just focus on generating large amounts of leads. Most of those leads probably won’t even consider becoming a customer.
This aligns with the top goal B2B marketers are setting for 2016, according to the report by Technology Marketing and Partners, to improve the quality of their leads. In addition, in the same report, 59% of the respondent said that generating high quality leads is their biggest challenge when it comes to lead generation. So, don’t worry, you are not alone.
The starting point for getting high quality b2b leads
What online marketing made a lot easier compared to traditional marketing is that most activities can be monitored and measured. Therefore, it's wrong to base your decisions solely on experience or assumptions. Take a look at the data first. Numbers do have a surprising nature sometimes.
When crafting a marketing strategy, think about it from a different perspective: put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyers and try to assess their behavior. In other words, identify your buyer personas.
After that, think about stuff that is most relevant for their current stage: some people know exactly what their problem is and what needs to be done to fix it (this is basically what you call a qualified lead) others are lost. They just know they have a problem, but don’t know how to fix it or where to start (these are the bad quality leads).
Your job is to guide those customers who seem to be lost, and show them the way (not enforce!) to solving their problems by providing relevant, helpful and valuable content. Quality content is exactly what you need to start with if you hope to acquire high quality leads.
This is what a customer’s journey (or buyer’s journey as a more preferable way of calling it) looks like and this is what you need to get straight as your top priority.
Lead nurturing is your best friend
Closing sales as fast as possible is the dream of any B2B company. You find the person, you offer him or her the product, you close the deal. Nice and easy.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the best approach for B2B companies. It's surely excellent if you can find those sales-ready people, but what about potential customers that just don’t know whether they need you yet, or those that need a bit more information in order to become a customer?
Here is something important: 73% of acquired leads are not yet ready to buy. This technically means that around 1 out of 4 leads you get will be ready to close the deal on the spot, but this doesn't mean that the other leads should be neglected. With effective lead nurturing campaigns, you will be able to bring them to the point where they too are ready to become customers.
Lead nurturing is an effective online marketing practice that builds relationships with your potential buyers (or low quality leads for that matter), engages with them and helps proceed further down their buyer’s journey.
While there are a lot of lead nurturing tactics that can be utilized, emails are the most effective and cost efficient strategy available out there. By Far. For every dollar spent on email nurturing efforts, the average return you get is equal to $44.
Moreover, according to Mckinsey, emails are the second best channel for acquiring customers, after organic search.
At the end of the day, you will be investing a bit more resources into lead nurturing efforts, but it's going to be worth it.
Lead nurturing helps establish trust with suspicious/non-sales-ready clients
One of the main reasons why people (and leads) don't close the deal on the spot is suspicion, and that is understandable. With so much content out there and so many companies offering technically the same thing, how do you know which company you can trust?
This is where personalized and unique tailored lead nurturing content steps in. If you have identified your buyer personas correctly and targeted the right people, this means you already know a lot about them: who they are, what they love, their lifestyle, their hobbies, their interests, etc.
This kind of information combined with the information on your landing page form that people fill out to become a lead, can become your life saver. You will be able to create personalized, unique tailored content and emails that fit each lead perfectly on his or her own, and not take the matters the general way. A single approach never works for more than a few people.
Every person wants to get personalized approach, whether it's online, at a store or any other place. Lead nurturing gives you the chance to provide that approach with the help of all the information you have about each specific person and therefore, prove that you are a trustworthy company.
Keep the communication going
After you prove that you can be trusted, it's important to maintain steady communication with your prospects and nurture them further down their journey.
For example after you send some tailored content to the prospect, monitor the behaviour of the lead and act accordingly. If he liked the content and responded to the CTA you provided in your email, it might be a good time to move to the next stage.
You can also consider using a marketing automation software for lead nurturing purposes as lead nurturing has been continuously reported as the most beneficial feature of any such software, just a shy edge more than reporting and analytics.
Its also important to understand that each lead comes from a different stage of the buyer’s journey. This means that each lead will require a certain amount of time (awareness stage requires most time, while decision requires the least) to move down the funnel and convert to a customer. Be patient and don’t push your prospects: keep providing relevant content and let them choose themselves.
Use lead nurturing insights to get a better idea of what your customers want to get
Another great thing about lead nurturing is that you can use the established trust and communication to get a better understanding of what exactly your customers are looking for. You can include a survey or ask direct questions related to the features of your product/service in your emails and gather their feedback.
Once you have it, you can then conduct an internal research to understand whether those suggested changes should be implemented or not.
On a final note, it's important to keep in mind that even with nurturing, you aren’t going to close the deal with each of your leads. Some people that become leads are just plain uninterested in what you have to offer or just needed to get your ebook from you, since it's great content obviously.
This is a price we all have to pay though. There is no company that is able to close their sales with every potential buyer, but this doesn't mean that trying to is a bad option. Lead nurturing will allow you to boost the number of your Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)s significantly and get you a giant step closer to achieving your business’s financial .
If you found this helpful, let's pick up the pace, learn how to rectify your sales pipeline and grow your business in our FREE 14 B2B Marketing Best Practices that every CMO must know eBook!