Top-Shelf Tip No. 217:

"You are out of business if you don’t have a prospect."

Zig Ziglar

Four Ways To Manage Your B2B Leads

Generating qualified business-to-business leads is challenging. Your audience has highly specific needs and interests, and their time is limited so capturing their attention is tough. Plus, some buying cycles are painfully long and get caught up in uncontrollable delays.

To get interest from a B2B audience takes a carefully integrated plan of multiple touchpoints. B2B leads also typically require more nurturing in the middle of the sales funnel, so maintaining the interest of these prospects is important.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share these tips from digital marketer Rohan Ayyar on how to identify and qualify the most valuable B2B prospects.

1. Know Your Website Visitors. One of the most efficient ways to generate leads is collecting information on the people who visit your website. The ability to see what both known and unknown visitors are doing on your platform gives you a huge upper hand in learning what they are interested in and how to target them effectively. Look at the web pages they visit. Track what they download from your site. Understand the order in which they digest content from your website.

With the help of web analytics tools, you can see where they come from, what elements of your site they're engaging with, and how frequently or recently they've interacted with you. Features such as Behavior Flow and Funnel Visualization in Google Analytics give you an in-depth look at how visitors interact with your web content.

2. Send Lead-Nurturing Emails. B2B leads require a greater and more intense focus on lead nurturing-or growing the interest of your audience. There are all kinds of lead generation tools that work in varying stages of your sales cycle. The channel that works best for this purpose is email. According to Econsultancy's Email Marketing Industry Census, 73 percent of marketers say email drives good or excellent ROI; that's more than for any other channel.

Not having an email marketing strategy in place is one the biggest mistakes you can make as a marketer. It is most likely costing you a great deal of leads as well as revenue. When a visitor opts in to your list, they have already shown interest in your product or service; in other words, they want to hear what you have to say. Begin your email campaign by segmenting your subscriber lists based on the where and how prospects match up to your sales funnel. From here, you can automate responses to communicate with subscribers at the most optimal times. For example, you can have an autoresponder in place that reaches out to new newsletter subscribers within minutes, breaks the ice and starts new avenues of conversation.

Ultimately, B2B customers need to keep reading your emails. Incorporating a strategy for sustained two-way communication into your marketing plan is vital to maintaining and nurturing valuable leads.

3. Don't Overlook Social Media. Social media can be used to showcase your expertise while conveying and expanding a unique brand persona. An IDC report found that 75 percent of B2B buyers incorporate social media into their purchasing decisions, showing the powerful influence of these platforms.

Start by identifying which social media platforms are most relevant to your business. In general, LinkedIn, Facebook (with interest targeting and Custom/Lookalike Audiences) and Twitter (with interest targeting and Tailored Audiences) typically work well for B2B marketing.

Posting the right stuff at the right time will take a bit of research. Be sure you are using social monitoring tools (like Mention) to get an idea of what the most discussed topics and concerns are in your industry. The more keywords or brands related to your operations you track, the easier it becomes to craft your posts to play to consumer interests with more certainty.

4. Test And Adjust. It's important to test your strategies to make sure they keep up with the changing influences on your customers. A/B testing is a relatively easy concept to grasp. Basically, it involves running two versions of a certain element to determine which one yields better results. You could test different email subject lines, CTA button colors and various landing page components to find which combinations bring in more leads. Various tools (such as Optimizely) allow a multitude of experimentation options and provide in-depth analytics on the performance of different variations of your pages.

Lead generation is critical to the B2B marketing strategy. Embrace these tips to move your leads through the funnel to the final sale.

Source: Rohan Ayyar is a project manager at E2M solutions, a digital marketing firm. His article, Five Mistakes That Are Costing You Precious B2B Leads, first appeared on MarketingProfs.com

Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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