How does your B2B organization attract and handle leads?
Apparently, it may seem to be a simple question, but very few of the companies that we spoke, had a definite answer. Researching further on this subject, we found business organizations do not have any process in place for supervising leads from primary conversion through sales closing of the deal. In some organizations, even if a process exists, it is generally an intermix of manual sorting and an ineffectual communication that forewarns losing leads over time.
Here are 10 key steps you should follow to improve your Business to Business lead generation and lead management skills.
1. Sales, Marketing, Product Alignment, and Customer Service
Assemble your Sales, Marketing, Product Development, and Customer Service teams in a room and do not let them finish the meeting until they have come up with an SLA (Service Level Agreement) that commits them and the management to:
- Agreement on criteria and definitions, such as what is a lead, sales qualified leads, marketing qualified leads, sales accepted leads, customers, opportunities, upselling opportunities, customer retention opportunities, and others
- Business to Business lead generation and lead management process
- Benchmarks, KPIs, and monthly, quarterly, and annual targets for Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service teams
- Reporting which includes an in-depth report for each team along with dashboards metrics and how it will be circulated to the stakeholders
2. Marketing Automation and CRM Integration
Organizations need marketing and sales technology to put their processes in place and get them running. Hence, as a part of this arrangement, your teams need to commit to using agreed tools to capture leads and customers. Now, the best solutions, which are easy to use and lets your teams work on inbound marketing includes:
- Content management system (content creation and promotion in social media and blogs)
- Lead conversion (forms, landing pages, and call-to-action)
- Lead nurturing (personalized content for drip marketing campaigns)
- Marketing automation (list segmentation, email marketing, lead management workflow, and lead scoring)
- CRM integration (bi-directional, seamless transfer of lead data, communications, and KPIs)
- Integration of enterprise applications (e-commerce, customer service apps, and business intelligence systems)
3. Use Targeted Content
Capture qualified sales lead through targeted high-quality contents, which includes:
- Inbound marketing (calls-to-action, guest blogging, blog syndication, social media engagement, on-page SEO, premium content (eBooks, videos, infographics, and webinars), landing pages, etc.)
- Demand generation (social media ads, paid search, native ads, direct mail, email marketing, trade shows, media ads, personal networking, speaking engagements, etc.)
4. Lead Intelligence Gathering
Marketing and sales work together to establish the key criteria needed for lead segmentation and lead scoring. Once you have completed the comprehensive list of your buyer personas and also planned their buyer journey, map how you can garner this information using forms, landing pages, using a continuous profiling approach so that your conversion rates remain high. In addition, identify relevant events and pages, which when triggered or visited, also allow you to update your lead’s profile during the buyer journey.
5. Lead Segmentation
Set up a marketing automation workflow to break down leads as per different categories and segment them into multiple lists. You can use these lists to nurture leads with personalized emails and relevant content for necessary communications.
6. Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is an important part of lead management after the Business to Business lead generation process. For this setup lead scoring standards and award points to your leads to update the lead cycle stages after moving the leads to the CRM platform. You can trigger notifications to these leads using marketing automation software, when the time is right, for leads accumulating positive scores for their engagement behaviors.
7. Lead Nurturing
Observe and influence the progression of the leads through your sales funnel by presenting your leads with appropriate content based on the buyer personas. You can use marketing automation workflow and apply lead scoring rules to move the leads through different life cycle stages by sending personalized drip email campaigns tailored to your prospects’ needs.
8. Assign And Transfer Leads To The Sales Team
Assign the leads to appropriate sales reps after you have moved your inbound leads over to the CRM and the leads have reached lead scoring thresholds for requesting the prospects for a free trial or a demo.
You can also use lead management segmentation guidelines to allocate leads to appropriate sales reps by dividing them as per territories, industries, and others
9. Closing and Customer support
Use your marketing CRM or any other lead intelligence tools to help the reps formulate a strategy for gaining their prospect’s interest and trust, and thereafter develop a relationship that leads to a closing sale.
Every sales rep needs to update the business CRM following every communication to keep their lead statuses up-to-date. Once the sale is consummated, the customer service team should be notified via the CRM platform to take over and manage the account.
The product development and marking team of your organization also need to stay in the loop after the sale is completed so that they can keep the customer educated on best practices and upcoming releases of your brand.
10. Analytics and Reporting
At each step of this previously mentioned process, each team needs to know how to generate the right report in agreement with the SLA mentioned in Step 1.
Without proper monitoring of the performance of every aspect of your lead generation and Business to Business lead generation process, you can never make strategic decisions to improve results and find business growth.
Boiling it down, it is only by ensuring compliance with the SLA, you can make better staffing decisions, budgeting and allow your senior managers to assess the performance of your teams which can predict higher revenue for your businesses.