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Building a Foundation to Improve B2B Lead Quality

Building a Foundation to Improve B2B Lead Quality

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What is the next trend in lead generation? Driving sales is becoming less about providing data and statistics and more about getting to know your customer, offering bespoke advice and being seen as the reliable, independent and honest place where they get genuine and valuable insight.

The measure of success for a marketer can often focus on hitting specific numerical targets. Whilst this is an important process to quantify what has worked well, it’s critical not to overlook success in other areas such as brand advocacy and sentiment. This is particularly important when measuring campaign success as many campaigns do not provide a clear return on investment immediately.

Focusing purely on quantitative lead generation could mean a business misses out on improving techniques and strategies that will generate high quality and more fruitful engagement in the long term. It’s time to consider brand loyalty and how the solution can solve a customer problem, delivering credible results that translate into meaningful relationships and ultimately sales. This is not the easy option for many marketers, however, so what are the key issues that you need to understand in order to improve the quality of your engagements?

Making genuine connections

Generating quality leads relies on marketers building a foundational knowledge of their audience and the content that will be attractive to these prospects, whilst delivering it in an authentic and engaging manner. Doing so means talking to customers in a human manner that they will relate to, rather than relying solely on the promotion of sales collateral such as white papers and reports, which are less likely to capture and sustain the reader's attention. Understanding the specific needs of a potential customer and the pressures they face, which is not always achievable in a short time-scale, is fundamental in building genuine connections. This is more likely to encourage a positive reaction towards your brand and lay the foundations for a long-term relationship. 

Cut to the chase with the right content

Being an effective marketer is less about the blind promotion of your product and more about taking the time to work out how you can solve someone’s problem. Offering bespoke advice will result in your brand being considered as a reliable, independent source for genuine and valuable information. Buyers are not interested in jargon, but the right content that helps them make informed decisions such as detailed pricing and product specs. In turn, this will naturally build an affinity towards the business. Hard selling is outdated and is likely to fall on deaf ears. Prospects are less interested in the brand and its success but rather what it offers them and why its specific features will be of value to their business. Move away from the marketing jargon and buzzwords that often corrupt the sales process and engage with prospects on a human and personal level. No one likes to feel like another name on the list or another number on the spreadsheet to call.

Connecting socially

Cold-calling, advertising banners or shiny reports through the mail may look great but more often than not they end up in the recycling bin. These tactics might get some level of attention, but it’s no longer enough to guarantee the recipient will make the next steps to turn this into a meaningful two-way engagement. With more than half the world on the internet, 3.2 billion of those users are on social to consume media, interact with brands and watch cat videos - so it’s highly likely that the majority of your prospects are going to have some form of presence on social platforms.

Social networks are a community of like-minded individuals interacting and engaging with one another on topics of interests and this is exactly where marketers need to be. And no, it’s not another place to shoehorn your product. It’s far more subtle than that, as people want to connect with faces and names and not brands, products and logos. As an individual, interacting with prospects on a personal level, and discussing news and topics with a shared interest, is an important step towards building genuine connections.

Whilst the big social networks like Facebook and Twitter are where most people are, the sheer size means finding relevant users, topics and connections can be a tricky affair. Vertical social networks can help overcome this by honing in on the audience you wish to target. Whether it’s to engage with health professionals on HealthUnlocked, teachers on Edmodo or IT pros on Spiceworks, these communities will be critical to improving lead quality in the marketing strategy. In fact, according to Spiceworks' latest report, 97% of IT buyers said they would use online forums and communities to learn about new products demonstrating the value in which these vertical networks provide. Presence on these communities means that word of mouth becomes your biggest advocate. With a few genuine connections under your belt, off the cuff and positive conversations about your products are more likely to occur.

Executing a strategy which focuses on quality over the number of leads through the door will improve on average retention rates of customers as they begin the relationship in a meaningful and authentic way. Building a foundation that positions the brand as one with integrity and which considers the individual need of the customer, is a surefire way to improve the quality of a lead in the B2B space.  

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Jamie Bowler

Jamie Bowler

    Jamie Bowler is marketing director for Spiceworks EMEA & APAC. He has over 20 years marketing experience, previously working for the likes of Sky Travel, Expedia and most recently Dice. He was part of the leadership team who sold IT Job Board to Dice in 2013, rebranding the European business to Dice and creating the leading tech career brand in Europe. Prior to leaving Dice, the business won multiple marketing awards, most recently best marketing campaign at the 2017 Global Recruiter Awards. He has marketing and business leadership experience in both corporate and start-up companies, primarily in the tech space.

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