This blog covers the topic of B2B Lead Generation and contains a lot of interesting information and guidance. However, if you’d rather take an easier route to success, please do check out the ‘collate systems’ approach. We don’t just offer consultancy, we actually run your lead generation programme for you, it all requiring minimal intervention by yourself. We really do ‘Walk the Walk’, but not only that, we carry you all the way too.
B2B marketing strategies and tactics are quite different. One of the biggest tips being that the very best marketing tactics won’t produce the leads you want, unless they are a part of an overall, explicitly defined strategy.
Throughout the process the aim of your B2B strategy must be to construct a system where all the working parts move a lead through your marketing funnel.
Remember, if there is no firm and measurable goal, it is hard for all the component parts of the process, and team members to work together, because the common goal is too vague.
Create your B2B marketing strategy with your targeted customers in mind
This is a vital part of the process and needs you to take into account the position your business holds in the marketplace. As well as your unique selling propositions. Remember also that the scope of your strategy will be defined by the resources you can commit.
Your Current Marketing Position
Any strategy has to be based on reality, the starting point being the current position your company occupies.
The Difference Between a Marketing Strategy and a Tactic
It is surprising how many people in the marketing world are confused with the difference between “tactics” and “strategies.” However, if you carefully consider the meaning of these two words, the difference is easy to see.
When people talk about ‘Strategies’ they should be referring to the overall ‘Strategic PLAN’ that is being deployed to reach a defined goal. This is a very high level plan, such as:
‘Our goal is to increase the number of leads by 50% by the end of 2020. This to be achieved by targeting the right business people on LinkedIn, using LinkedIn and emails as the delivery vehicles”.
As you can see, there is no detail in this plan, just a goal, a defined target marketplace and the means of influence.
This is where the Tactics come in – defining the TOOLS that are to be used in order to meet the goals set at the higher, Strategic level.
It is essential that your marketing strategy includes targets and goals, as without them it is impossible to measure success. It also defines, at a general level, who you will target and how this will be done.
It is the HOW That Defines The TACTICS
In this example the marketing strategy calls for two different marketing tactics:
- Email marketing
- LinkedIn marketing
The tactical plan defines how the tools (email marketing and LinkedIn marketing) are to be used. Just as a General tasked with taking a town as a part of the Strategic Plan is given tools, soldiers and tanks, the tactical plan defines how these are utilised, what would attack where, in what order etc.
To take the military example further, there could be many towns to take on the way to realising the overall strategic goal. Each of these ‘towns’ may well use different tactics, whilst using the same tools. However, in each case there has to be an overriding plan.
Tactics are Useless Without Strategy
It goes without saying that taking several objectives by themselves will only succeed if the right ones are won. If the tools and the tactics win the wrong battles, for example reaching the wrong age group of customers, the tools and tactics would have been successfully deployed, but your business will be no closer to its overall goal.
You need to have an ‘explicit guide to success’, to know the purpose behind your activity on LinkedIn and, in this example, your email campaigns.
Tactics Need to Include Detailed Information
Continuing with our example of targeting the right business people on LinkedIn, we can define some detailed tactics.
- Use Sales Navigator to select your targets
- The personal and business profiles on LinkedIn need to be re-written to better align to your target markets’ needs, pain points and values
- Automation tools should then be used to start ‘conversations’ and to raise the visibility of your business, moving it to the front of your target markets’ minds
- Relevant Posts and Articles must be created on a regular basis
- Connect requests should be sent / accepted at the appropriate time
- Conversations mustbe carried out in order to better understand your target markets needs and to confirm that you can help them meet their objectives
- One to One meetings should then be arranged outside of LinkedIn
Similarly, for the Email Campaign
- Various tools are used to find the business email addresses of your target market
- A series of short emails should then be sent, in order to raise your profile and credibility
- These emails will contain time sensitive offers to increase the likelihood of a response
- These emails will also be used to fester a level of curiosity about your business
- In all cases, special attention to the use of emotional triggers will be used, whilst promoting the benefits of using your company, rather than the features
Basically, deploying a range of ‘marketing tactics’ without an overall strategic plan will simply not work, as your business will have no means of identifying if success has been achieved. Worse still, it is very possible that these tactics would in effect be fighting each other, the overall marketing message being unclear.
Successfully tied together with an overall plan, your marketing tactics will support each other towards a common goal. They will help you map ‘effort’ to the buyer’s journey, allowing you to visualise and optimise every single part of the overall plan, so that they’re individually more effective.
Every business has unique needs, goals and capabilities, but the steps they need to take to develop their B2B marketing strategy are much the same.
Step 1: Understand Your Position in the Market Place
It is impossible to set reasonable goals until you understand the market you’re operating in.
Some of the factors here are:-
- Your Competitors, the position they hold in the market a well as their strengths and weaknesses
- Your USP’s , that is your own unique selling points
- Your Place in the Market Place, where your USP’s position you in the Market.
Tip – Use this step to identify opportunities in the market that only your business has solutions for.
Step 2: What Makes Up Your Target Market
Understanding who makes up your market place is vital. Only once you have identified your target audience can you take steps to capture it. Some of the questions you will need to answer are:-
- Exactly who are the people you want to target? What are their age ranges and where are they geographically.
- What information do you hold about them. Do you understand their “pains” and importantly, how does your business solve these?
- Is it possible to combine some of these into groups, known as ‘personas’?
- Are you targeting the same groups as your competitors?
- Do you know where these groups congregate, both online and offline, and where is the best place to reach them?
Tip – Ensure that your marketing strategy includes a detailed profile of the people and personas you want to sell to, as that way you will better understand just how to sell to them.
Step 3: Set Your Goals
Goals are a vital part of the marketing strategy. After all this is how you tell whether you have succeeded or not. The best goals are:
- Created in consultation with your Sales Team
- Placed on a timeline, with goals for each month or quarter
- Easy to measure and quantify
- High-level – detailed goal metrics are set at the tactical level.
Step 4: Define the Tactics You Will be Using and Create a Plan for Each One
This is the last stage, where you create details about the tactics you are going to use. For example, when using LinkedIn, the methods of finding the target business people are laid out, as is the process of starting and maintaining the conversations so very necessary if a firm relationship is to be built.
What Lead Generation Strategies Could You Employ?
There are basically seven for you to consider:-
- SEO – Website Optimization
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Search Marketing and Paid Advertising
- Social Media
- Offline Strategies
Each of these areas are complex, having their own advantages and problems.
SEO and Optimising a Site for Lead Generation
This system of lead generation requires that the business website is aligned with Google’s algorithm and includes both on page and off page techniques. It is also essential that the site is easy to use and is fast enough for use on the speeds obtainable on mobile devices. The system also includes ‘tricks’ like targeting the keywords used by the competition and the clever use of design to engage the visitor as quickly as possible.
This methodology includes creating content for your own business website, as well as for publication on other websites, thus gaining a useful backlink to the site. Placing content on other sites, a process known as Guest Blogging, forms a vital part of Content Marketing, the pinnacle of achievement being when a post is placed on a relevant, high traffic website.
In order for this channel to work, it is vital to understand just who you are targeting and trying to communicate with. Thus, the first stage is to obtain a list of email addresses, ones that can be used without fear of breaking the GDPR regulations.
Search Marketing and Paid Advertising
Paid marketing, either via a system such as Adwords, or by the use of Banner Advertising can be a very good way of generating new leads. However, when using Google AdWords, great care must be taken as it could consume an entire month’s worth of marketing budget in just a few hours. It is essential that you know what you are doing or that you hire an agency that has a history of running successful Adwords campaigns.
Banner advertising is somewhat dated these days, but properly placed, banner advertisements can bring in a lot of high value leads. Just make sure you measure their effectiveness and cancel any that do not make the ‘grade’.
Google Adwords Remarketing
This can be a highly useful tactic, allowing business owners to ‘remind’ any visitor to their website about their existence and services. It works by placing a ‘cookie’ on the device used to visit the businesses website. Then as they move around the Internet, advertisements designed to attract them back to visit the website are shown to them. It can be a highly efficient method.
Today, there are many Social Networks, but not all are suitable for every business. B2B is one example where the correct Social Media channel has to be carefully chosen and used.
LinkedIn is considered to be the most effective for B2B purposes. However, some also find that Twitter and Facebook can also provide leads. Facebook advertising can also be used if desired.
Whichever channel is chosen, it is imperative to use it in the correct manner, B2C methodologies and techniques not always being suited to the B2B market place.
B2B lead generation has been going on ever since the first business was started, with many established and proven techniques.
Attending a Trade Show
This technique includes simply turning up and networking with all the businesses present, to running an exhibition stand or booth.
This can be a highly effective channel, the competition never having been so low as it is today. This is due to the fact that many businesses now spend the majority of their budget online, making anything that you send out – really stand out.
Another old favourite, sponsoring a charity event, or indeed a charity, can really boost your visibility, especially if used in combination with some well written and placed Press Releases.
TV and Radio Advertising
The number of TV and radio stations available today has resulted in the fragmentation of this channel, but when used correctly, by the right sort of business it can be very effective.
Cold Calling and Call Centres
Call centres have just one function and that is to make cold calls on your behalf. If you start with a decent list of numbers, this system could well provide your business with plenty of leads. The best thing about using Call Centres is that they do all the hard work, and, as they normally have the ability to make a lot of calls, can get through the longest list in a short period of time.
Outbound and Inbound Lead Generation
The tactics listed above cover both Outbound and Inbound methodologies. The first relies on ‘going out and making contact’ with the potential customer. Examples of this are attending a trade show or sending printed material through the post.
Inbound lead generation concerns the use of digital channels to bring leads directly into your business via its various online incarnations. These will include your Social Media channels and your website.
Whilst the use of inbound lead generation can be highly effective, it does require that your online content is continually maintained and updated.
Selecting the right mix of Outbound and Inbound Lead Generation strategies and tactics is not an easy task, but when done correctly, the results can be truly astounding.
Other B2B Topics Covered in our Blog
Besides Lead Generation Tips’ we also provide assistance and information on a variety of subjects:-
B2B is a lot different to B2C marketing and our deep understanding of the processes involved could well benefit your business.
Using the data we have collected from LinkedIN, we can run a series of Lead Generation programmes, each one tuned to meet your specific needs.
B2B Marketing Tips
We also provide business data in the form of contact information for a large range of business types and markets. This ‘big data’ will allow you to target any business that you wish in the knowledge that the data we provide is as accurate as it can be.
Email Lists and Business Contact Data Lists
Email lists, telephone numbers and names can all be provided. However, these, as well as any other data sources must be used in accordance with current GDPR regulations.