When launching a new product or brand, building a pipeline of leads from scratch is a difficult task for any business. Whether looking at lead generation from a marketing or sales perspective, there are a number of techniques we have relied on for the past ten years. Yet, in the past five years, we've seen an increase in the technology that both teams can use to build their B2B lead pipeline even further.
So we're here to discuss the most advanced toolkit B2B organisations can use to build leads from scratch. Moving forward, these techniques and tools will be essential to staying ahead of the competition in their industry.
Starting with marketing
After all, the lead pipeline starts with marketing's activities. This is a critical stage, as sales and marketing have a history of disagreeing on what makes a "good quality" lead. In order to drive the right quality leads, marketing needs to portray the right image.
This is where the brand-focused best practice comes into play. Email marketing, content marketing and social media have only become more and more important.
Take content marketing, for example. Five years ago, companies wouldn't have dreamt of blogging every week. Now it is a necessity for all of their content to be SEO-optimised and make a logical journey in order to drive and nurture leads on their website.
Email marketing has changed too. Plain text messaging is performing higher than graphic-led mass email designs. We're seeing that the more personal you can make your email marketing, the better it performs.
Then there is social media, which has gone in the complete opposite direction. On these platforms, media such as memes, gifs, and videos perform higher. With the world being online 24/7, a constant presence from every business has become essential to survival.
But these best practices alone won't ensure that marketing drives the right leads through to sales. In order to ensure their best practices are achieving the best results, marketing teams need to track which high-quality leads come from which marketing campaigns. That way they can focus their marketing budget on the areas that sales agree are attracting the right audience.
They can do this by using UTM values within their campaign links to track which platform, marketing medium and topic drives the right traffic. This allows marketing to follow up on their paid-for marketing channels first – a feat they never used to be able to do. Where they used to rely on a form fill from the likes of PPC, marketing now don't have to, allowing sales to follow up on interested leads without relying on a form fill.
From there, marketing can adapt their future campaigns to make sure they are focusing on the "killer values." Both the killer values of their campaign and of the right quality leads that sales are converting.
With the first level of the toolkit enabling marketing to successfully fill the sales pipeline, it's time to dig deeper to level two.
Sales in mind
The fact of the matter is, with the technology at your disposal, there is no need for salespeople to go blind into their sales relationships anymore. There are a number of online tools that a sales team can place in their toolkit in order to beat their competition.
But, the two essentials - think hammer and nail here - include:
- IP Lookup – the ability to see which companies are not only visiting their website but who the employees and key decision makers at those businesses are, too.
- Visitor tracking – Using IP lookup with cookie technology that can tag and track a device, salespeople can see individual movements of the leads on their website. This allows them to establish pain points and tailor their sales pitch before they even pick up the phone.
Once sales have mastered the essentials, it is a matter of using tools that can refine their technique. The one we would promote most? Lead scoring software. There is nothing more important for sales than to qualify, qualify, qualify their leads. The software itself allows sales to categorise their leads in order of importance, making sure that the sales-ready leads get priority.
Of course, you can't always base a lead's journey on a mathematical equation, which is why sales teams must use their common sense with this tool in order to successfully qualify leads. This tool can also be used to determine which approach they would like to take.
For example, should a cold lead go straight through to a sales call? No. They should be put through an automatic lead nurturing campaign set up and run by marketing. That way, sales can focus on the warmer leads that just need a bit of objection handling and hot leads that are showing a clear level of buying interest.
All of the tools we've mentioned are designed with effective lead management in mind. All too often sales pipelines can become clogged with poor-quality leads, develop leaks where sales and marketing fail on communication and, overall, become rusty with the lack of leads moving through the entire pipeline. With this toolkit in place, not only do you build a strong pipeline that has the ability to stand the test of time but you also bring your sales and marketing teams together.