6 Changes You Can Make to Optimize B2B Demand Generation

“When you’re finished changing, you’re finished,” said Ben Franklin. And in a business world that seems to change more rapidly than ever, his words are still relevant.

What can you change today in your business that will help you with demand generation and ROI? Here are six ideas that can pay off. All you have to do is put them into action.

1. Clean Up Your Database

Sadly, there’s nothing glamorous or exciting about keeping your database clean. It’s a tedious job. Like cleaning your closet, it’s often a task that falls to the bottom of the priority list until there is absolutely nothing better to do.

But think about how you feel after cleaning your closet and ridding it of the clothes you no longer wear. Every day of the week, you save time because it’s easier to find what you need and get dressed. In the same way, when your database is not contaminated with bad data, you’ll increase efficiency.

Below are some of the benefits of removing duplications and obsolete contacts, correcting errors and filling out incomplete information:

  • Higher email open rates
  • Increased engagement in emails due to better segmentation
  • Increased lead conversions because you have all the right information in a central hub
  • Saving money by not calling wrong numbers, mailing or emailing bad addresses and more

When you think of the savings that will hit the bottom line and the sales results that will feed the top line, cleaning up your database becomes a more attractive proposition.

2. Profile Your Accounts

How well do you know your key customers? If you’re selling complex, high-value B2B products or solutions, each of your top clients and hot prospects is a mini-market all by itself.

The better you understand an account, the more likely you are to maximize its sales potential.

Every account has multiple people who influence the buying decision, each with their own perspectives. You need to understand how to step from one person to the next providing the information that each individual needs.

Start your profiling by doing research online, but don’t expect to find the answers to all your questions in the digital world. To understand the decision-making maze within an organization, you will need to conduct one-on-one phone conversations.

The account profiling process will enable you to reach out to the right people at the right companies with a relevant message, giving you the competitive edge you need to bolster your demand generation process

3. Respond Rapidly

I’ve written about the incredible power of response management before. When you have a well-defined methodology for pre-qualifying the leads you receive via the internet that enables you to respond to the best-of-the-best within five minutes, it increases your likelihood of reaching those leads by 900%. The qualification rate is also 21 times greater than if you wait for 30 minutes.

Time is of the essence.

What are the steps to express response? In your web forms, ask as many prequalifying questions as possible, so you can use this data to score leads in your marketing automation platform. Integrate your marketing automation and CRM solutions. This integration allows you to distribute hot leads immediately to your inside sales people, so they can follow up in the magic five-minute window.

4. Qualify Leads

Passing a high number of unqualified leads to your sales force is not going to help you achieve your sales goals. In fact, contrary to popular opinion, sales is not a numbers game. It’s the job of the marketing department to whittle down the number of leads, empowering sales people to focus on those that are sales ready.

According to Forrester Research, businesses that nurture and qualify the leads have 50% more sales–ready leads than those that do not. Also, the cost per lead is 33% less.

5. Maximize Events

When I talk about maximizing events, I’m not referring to creating a stunning booth, presentation, or a party with sumptuous appetizers and cocktails. Yes, that’s the fun and visible part, but it’s not necessarily what makes an event successful.

First, plan ahead and decide who you want to attend your event or visit your booth. Send invitations to these people, follow up with them via email or phone, and set up appointments to meet with them face-to-face.

Second, when you’re at the event, make sure you gather all the information you need to follow up quickly. Up to half of the sales will go to the vendor who reaches out first. Of course, you will need to have follow-up materials such as content and brochures prepared before the event.

Lastly, follow up as soon as possible. If some leads are not ready to buy, put them on your email newsletter drip campaign to keep your company top of mind.

6. Manage Your Leads

A lead management process defines how you will work with your leads from capture to close. It prescribes the steps you will use to acquire leads, educate them, and build trust and interest. Also, it includes creating the all-important definition of a qualified lead that’s shared by marketing and sales. Based on that definition, you can set up your lead filtering and scoring rules to prioritize leads. In addition, it will help you to recognize the not-ready-yet leads so you can channel them into a nurturing program.

When putting your lead management process together, also determine:

  • The data you plan to include in a qualified lead when you send it to a salesperson
  • How you will track, measure and report leads

Each of these tactics can make a substantial difference in your demand generation program. Don’t try to tackle them all at once. Pick one, implement it, experience the results it generates, tweak as necessary, and then move to the next.