Many marketers struggle with the right way to generate leads. Most know that “spray and pray” marketing does not work anymore and have adopted lead nurturing strategies. But just because you’re nurturing, are you focused on sending the right content, to the right prospect, at the right time? Are you dedicating enough time to creating content that gets attention and response? If you are getting their attention, are you converting them when they are ready to buy?
The objective with marketing today is to be first in mind. Since 60% of all research is completed before a prospect ever contacts you, you have to stop spamming your potential prospect with e-mails consisting of the latest product offers, or generic/horizontal content that does not meet their needs. Being first in mind is a balancing act of educating and introducing your prospects to solutions for their problems. Being first in mind suggests you target relevant information to the prospect based on what the prospect’s needs are.
To do this, you want to be visible where your prospect is (virtually that is).
• What do they read (online)? What Web sites do they scour? What other vendors, associations, etc. do they visit?
• What is happening in their business that could initiate a search for your products and services?
• Drop e-mails to your prospect with interesting case studies of how other companies similar to them saved money or made more money, whether in solving a problem or expanding into new business.
There are technologies and expertise available that can help you better target interested parties proactively. In addition to providing information of interest, your sales team will be much better prepared for that first conversation with the prospect.
Staying First in Mind
Being first in mind is not only about reaching the prospect before they enter their buying cycle.
Being first in mind must be a continuous process. If you continually interact with your prospect throughout their buying cycle, you will end up with better results. Minimizing lead leakage (when generated leads that sit in the sales funnel—those that are usually not yet ready to buy—get lost in the shuffle and are not acted on by sales or marketing) by nurturing leads through the process will help ensure more prospects end up buying from you.
There are two aspects to minimizing lead leakage and maximizing your ability to stay top of mind with prospects.
• First, there is the tracking and identifying of leads and opportunities to be acted upon.
• Second, there is the actual action, the outbound interaction with the prospect.
Once leads are generated, it is critical to identify the leads that are “hot” or A leads and those B, C and D leads. Hot leads should be immediately sent on to sales for an action, depending on your sales process. Information about those leads’ interests (what they visited on your Web site, what campaign they responded to, etc.) should be available to the sales reps in real time.
What happens to the other leads? Processes and technologies should be set up that help you to find, segment and act on the other leads. A mechanism should also exist to enable you to target those leads on a continuous basis. That mechanism should be flexible enough to change the action based on the type and interest of that lead. You need to track what each lead does, what actions they might take based on the information you send out and where they go on your Web site.
If nurtured throughout the process, when the prospect is ready to buy, your company is most likely to be first in mind. Knowing more about what each prospect is interested in is critical to providing value.
First in Mind, First in Market
The Internet has changed selling and marketing forever. Sales and buying cycles are no longer aligned. No longer is the prospect dependent on you for their information. The good news for you is that there are strategies and tactics, technology and processes that can be deployed to help you better target your prospects and their interests. The Internet and the information available to your prospects can be used as an advantage. Now with demand generation services, e-mail marketing, sales management, campaign management and customer support solutions, you have the ability to stay first in mind with leads, prospects and customers, thereby maximizing revenue potential.
Being first in mind is not about having the best automation or technology. Although technology can help support the above objective, it’s not the end goal. Most important for you, being first in mind is about results. It’s a combination of marketing, sales, technology and processes that in total drive the desired results. It’s about having prospects buy your products and services, it’s about optimizing your marketing and sales resources, but most importantly it’s about cost effectively maximizing revenue potential.
(Article originally published on the LeadLife B2B Marketing blog and reprinted with permission.)