The marketer, like the chef, has to think about the entire process. Getting the lead in the door is just one step in a long process. That lead is actually a prospect, after all, and should be treated to content and marketing outreach that nurtures their journey in tune to the sales process.
This takes some planning and coordinated execution on the marketing side, but the results will be worth it.
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Step 1 – Find Your Audience
There is nothing worse than getting that first batch of leads and realizing you forgot an important piece of your audience profile. B2B marketers need to make sure that they have given proper thought and careful consideration to their ideal customer profile (aka ICP) before launching a campaign. The ICP should be based largely on the profile of the best and most active customers, and needs to be very complete, including company type, job type, location and even stage of intent. A well thought-out ICP should feed into how marketers form ABM lists, suppression lists, and opportunities in pipeline.
Step 2 – Plan the Journey
Nutured leads are leads that are more likely to convert. TFocus on keeping leads warm and personalizing the journey. And, nurturing needs to happen ASAP. In fact, research shows that companies that follow up within five minutes convert 9x more than their peers. The prospect journey should be well thought-through, with specialized content that’s targeted to individual leads based on what a marketer knows about them and what steps they’ve taken.
Step 3 – Know the Score
Would you ask someone to marry you after a first date? Nuturing has more than one value, not only does it keep leads warm, it also helps marketers assess how to qualify their leads. Too many times simple one-touch or even MQL’s are passed directly to sales, which leads to sales disqualifying leads. Measurement needs to be set up to see how they’re engaging with content and campaigns compared to previous leads that ended up converting to score them effectively.
Step 4 – Use Proper Measurement
Everyone wants things to happen yesterday, but great leads might take time to be fully baked. Many times lead gen efforts are measured with an unreasonable time frame. Measurement needs to realistically follow the company’s actual lead-to-close timeline. If a company has a 12-month sales cycle, marketers need to suppress their desire to measure the overall success of a campaign after 90-days.
Step 5 – Content is Still King
To optimize performance and put the best foot forward with a prospect ensure content is as relevant and valuable as possible. From that first outreach to the last interaction on the journey to conversion, content is the leading factor in success. The best pieces of content are valuable because they help convert leads through different phases of education, advocacy, entertainment and insight, and they need to be kept fresh for longer running campaigns.
B2B marketers have had to do more with less for months. At the same time, B2B buyers are content to sit at home and do research online, making it that much harder for marketers to make a solid connection. But, with best practices like these, marketers stand the best change to get good leads in the door and make the most of them all the way to close.
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