B2B (Business 2 Business) Lead Generation is the process of capturing interest in a product or service for the purpose of developing a sales pipeline. It is generally time-consuming, a lot of back-end operational work and needs perseverance in the long run. It is necessary, but not so nice to do! Which is why I find that most marketing / sales people often tend to miss out on some basic steps / activities which can make all the difference in building a robust sales pipeline and conversion. In this post, I am going to share 4 key points which I believe make all the difference in the B2B Lead Generation process:
Know Your Customer
As basic as it sounds, too many business development professionals who are tasked with lead generation activities don’t prepare enough before a customer meeting. They don’t make a genuine attempt (in terms of time and efforts) in learning about their customer. They assume a lot. They think they know, but in reality they don’t.
As a rule of thumb | Before any customer meeting, one should strive to know more about:
- Profile of the company – with details and insights on the company history, growth, evolution, priorities, technology landscape, business model, leadership, geography presence, revenue, profitability, etc. Whatever is available in the public domain, needs to be read. And if there is a way to learn more from someone associated with the company (like a supplier, partner, employee, analyst, etc.), it would be worthwhile to attempt to know more
- Individual Profiles – Details on the individuals you are meeting prior to a meeting. A little knowledge on their background, interests and causes they are associated with helps in building a personal rapport when you meet / talk in person. With the power of social media, there is lots one can gather about an individual even before connecting one-o-one.
‘Lead Qualification’ is simply about doing the required due-diligence with the customer / trusted intermediary on whether there exists a business opportunity or not. The most effective lead generation is when you can bring every single “lead” from the “Top of the funnel” (TOFU) moves to the “Middle of the funnel” to the “Bottom of the funnel” (BOFU). And for that, early lead qualification makes all the difference. “Full funnel Optimization” is indeed the dream of most sales professionals, albeit tough to achieve.
In my experience, at the ground level – It really all depends on what you are measured on. For e.g.: If you are measured on the number of leads you generate, then the priority would simply on generating maximum leads. If you are measured for % conversion at every stage of the funnel, then you will put in more efforts on ‘lead qualification’ to ensure that the probability of lead conversion is higher.
‘Lead nurturing” is the art and craft of staying connected and engaging in meaningful dialog and interactions with a potential customer. There is a science and skill to it. The below picture says it all!
Last but not least, if you don’t track or measure it – the chances of it getting done are lower. So the key is to define a periodic frequeny in which the leads will be reviewed by all key stakeholders. And agree on specific action plan with timelines (if follow-ups are required!). If a lead is out of sight, then it goes out of mind – both your mind and the prospect’s mind!
So what do you think is the most important step for effective B2B lead generation? Leave a comment to let me know…
A version first appeared on LinkedIn
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