5 Keys to B2B Lead Generation Success: How to Drive Demand for your Software
If you are in the business of selling software or technology to the corporate world, you are probably very familiar with the challenges of long sales cycles, difficulties in getting in front of decision makers, and trying to find partners who understand the complex nature of your business and products. Sales isn’t was it used to be - cold calling doesn’t work nearly as well as it once did and buyers are becoming more and more sophisticated. These 5 points below will help you adapt your lead generation strategy for a changing market and ensure that your company has a healthy sales pipeline with quality leads that convert.

1. Strategy Before Tactics

It’s not hard to find people who will tell you to skip the strategy and move straight into implementation of tactics. What they don’t tell you is that more often than not, this is the underlying cause behind campaigns not performing or not producing a ROI. It is essential to lay the foundational groundwork for success before jumping in and shooting from the hip. You might have the best tech in the world, but unless you understand your key points of differentiation, value and key messaging, you are essentially stumbling in the dark and hoping to bump into success.

2. Take a Multi-Channel Approach

B2B technology and software companies are typically characterized as having complex, long sales cycles that require multiple touch points before a prospect makes a decision and converts. A multi-channel approach is essentially a marketing response to how buyers have changed their behaviour. This technique has the potential to integrate a prospect’s touch points into a unified customer experience and allows you to utilize every available means to increase visibility and generate B2B sales leads. B2B companies working in complex sales environments need to invest in multiple tactics - not only to determine what will be the most effective for acquiring their target audience - but also because it is rare that a single channel or tactic on its own will produce desired results. For example, AdWords might be an effective tactic in driving traffic to your website but may fail in execution if your website is not geared for lead generation and paired with trust building tactics such as content marketing.

3. Understand what Problem you Solve

It’s important to understand that whilst you might be characterized as a B2B company, you never actually sell anything to a business, you sell to people who work in the business. That is why relationships are critical to sales success. It is also imperative to understand that people aren't buying your software/technology because they like it, they are buying your services to solve a problem. To quote Steve Jobs:

“Stop talking about your features, your proprietary algorithms, years of experience and whatever else you think makes you better. Instead, let people understand what you stand for, the problems that you solve and what you care about. This is the essence of the advice that people don't buy what you do...they buy why you do it.”

The focal point of your marketing strategy is not the software or product itself but what value the software actually provides. This requires a strong understanding of your prospects’ needs and pains in order to address and offer them solutions. Gaining their trust is possible when you listen and understand their pains.

4. Use Lead Nurturing

Why is Lead nurturing key to B2B lead generation success? The answer is simply that 96% of visitors who come to your website aren't ready to buy (yet) (Source, Marketo). Getting visitors to your website is only the beginning of the lead nurturing process and you are missing out on huge sales opportunities if you do not have a solid and effective lead nurturing program in place.

So what exactly is lead nurturing? “Lead nurturing is the purposeful process of engaging a defined target group by providing relevant information at each stage of the buyer’s journey. You want to actively move the prospects you’ve created through your marketing and lead generation efforts, to the point where they become paying customers. Some tactics on how to nurture leads are through targeted content, multi-channel nurturing, multiple touches, timely follow-ups, and personalization.” - Hubspot

Implementing an effective lead nurturing strategy can have a huge impact on the results of your digital marketing efforts. Research conducted by Forrester has shown that marketers see an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured vs non-nurtured leads. Furthermore, the research also reveals that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost (Source Forrester, 2014).

5. Set Goals and Measure Key Metrics

Regardless of the lead generation strategies and campaigns you implement, if you have not set goals and key metrics that you are measuring, then how can you expect to know what is working or not? In order to know how effective your lead generation efforts are and where best to invest your marketing spend, it is imperative to set goals and monitor key metrics daily.

In order for your lead generation efforts to be successful you need to work agile - test, experiment, learn, and adapt. Don’t be afraid to fail, but fail fast, learn and adjust.

Article written by
Donna Hirschson
Co- CEO NinjaTech
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