By Trace Reddick, MBA
Customer retention is key to business success. But before you can keep your clients, you need to find them, attract them, and earn their business. That requires leads and a well-developed sales pipeline. Keep in mind, that prior to working on generating leads, you have to do thorough research. Identify your target audience and your ideal business customer. Decide how you’ll measure your marketing metrics and ROI, and then set goals. Once you have all of that in place, it’s time to start filling that pipeline. The following strategies can help with that objective.
Approach Influencers that Mesh Well with Your Brand
Influencer marketing is a growing trend. Influencer celebrities and prominent personalities can bring thousands of new eyes to your products, services, and brand. While the focus has been largely on marketing to consumers, B2B marketing can also benefit greatly. That’s because referrals and word-of-mouth advertising play a pivotal role in B2B sales. But you must be strategic when selecting the influencers you want to work with.
When choosing influencers, analyze who your target audience is already paying attention to. You can use high-end data analysis software or go old-school and perform surveys. Either way, learn who your customers are watching, listening to, and reading about. Emphasize how much they trust these people. For B2B influencer marketing, social media presence and reach have less importance than in B2C marketing. Instead, choose personalities that your clients respect and trust – consider well-established podcasters, bloggers, consultants, speakers, authors, and thought leaders. Finally, evaluate how well a potential influencer meshes with your brand and the services or products you provide before reaching out.
Pro Tip: Prepare to work with your B2B influencer for at least one year and don’t expect results immediately. Six months is a realistic time frame to see some impact from B2B influencer marketing.
Host an Event
Another way to generate leads for your sales pipeline is by hosting events that offer value to your target audience. Well-planned event marketing attracts quality leads and sets your company up as an expert in your industry or business niche. Today’s successful marketing events are data-driven. They also rely heavily on other marketing channels – such as email marketing, influencers, and paid social campaigns.
Consider merging your influencer marketing with your event planning. Create an event that spotlights your influencer’s talent, knowledge, and expertise. Host a conference or exhibition where your influencer is a keynote speaker or presenter. Incorporate your branding and demonstrate how your business offers solutions to applicable problems, issues, and challenges that your audience is facing.
Pro Tip: “[B2B buyers] expect the same personalized experience they receive from those consumer brands when they are at work.” ~ Brian Glover, Marketo Engage Product Marketing Director
Reboot – or Start – Your Email Marketing Program
Email marketing has worked as an efficient marketing tool for nearly a quarter of a century, and this strategy is in no danger of losing its effectiveness, especially for B2B marketing. Though it has evolved. For example, automation and personalization are now essential.
Email campaigns can work as both outbound and inbound marketing strategies. But you should always concentrate on permission-based email communication. For B2B lead generation, your main goal is to boost engagement with your target audience. Providing informative, useful content is an effective way to accomplish this. Use this strategy to offer something of value at no cost to capture leads and build an email list of businesspersons who have shown an interest in your business offerings.
Some ideas include:
- Downloadable eBooks
- Discount coupons
- Product Demos or one-on-one consultations
- Service Trials
- eNewsletter subscriptions
- In-person events
- Email courses
- Website and blog push notifications
Pro Tip: Your subject line has the biggest influence on your open rate, and personalized email subject lines boost these rates by up to 50%.
Launch a Podcast or YouTube Channel
Content is still king – but savvy consumers and business professionals are more demanding with the type of content they consume. Video content is a booming enterprise, and it needs to be one of the channels in your B2B marketing strategy. YouTube makes this possible with minimal effort. Be sure to integrate your company branding – incorporate product or service demos and post video segments of your events. Because YouTube is second only to Google in search engine standings, your YouTube URLs can help improve SEO rankings.
Podcasts are another viable channel for B2B marketing. It’s a clever way to reach your audience when they’re unable to sit in front of a screen. Attract your ideal customer by sharing information that’s relevant to their industry, rather than hawking your own services. This helps boost engagement and build relationships. It’s a more organic sales approach.
Pro Tip: Use those influencers as guests on your YouTube programs and Podcasts. Be sure to negotiate these terms when you sign your influencers.
Perform Regular Business Reviews
Current customers are an excellent source of new leads. But you’ll need to ask for referrals – better yet, ask for introductions. Set up a schedule to perform quarterly business account reviews. Focus on your biggest accounts and growing businesses that may need more products or services over time. This new business from established clients also fills your sales pipeline.
Set an agenda for your QBR and inform your client of the plan to ensure they understand what you both hope to accomplish. Let them know you understand that their time is valuable, you appreciate their business, and your goal is to work on alignment of their business needs and the products or services you provide. Customer account reviews also help improve customer satisfaction through responsive customer service practices and build valuable relationships with your clients.
Pro Tip: Consider offering referral or introduction incentives as part of your account review process.
Bonus Tip: Stop Wasting Time on Ineffective Strategies
Are you wasting your efforts on unproductive lead generation strategies? Discard the following practices:
- Quit cold calling. Instead, spend that precious time contacting and nurturing qualified leads.
- Get rid of the silo mindset – support a team relationship between your sales and marketing departments.
- Don’t oversell your company by telling your potential leads what they need. Ask questions. Listen. Show them how your business can help solve their problems or meet their needs.
- Skip the trade shows if the ROI doesn’t make sense. There are other more cost-effective and modern marketing strategies you can use today.
- Don’t rely on marketing alone for lead generation. Network. Build relationships. Nurture your current clients.
Pro Tip: Filling your Sales Pipeline requires investments of time and money. Dorado Finance, Ltd. can help you with both of those things. We offer same-day funding for valid unpaid customer invoices and save you the time and hassle of pursuing those delinquent accounts. Apply online for a speedy solution.