You’re in B2B and guiding your business towards another big growth target. Fantastic. So your sales engine needs to fire on all cylinders. But what’s happening upstream in your sales pipeline?
So far, your growth might have come organically, through positive word of mouth and referrals. But you know that won’t last forever. After all, there’s only so much you can do with your personal network. So you’ve dipped your toes into campaigns to reach out to new audiences and increase B2B sales leads.
Maybe it’s made sense to focus on the more immediate short-term appeal of cold-calling, direct marketing and telemarketing. However that well-trodden route is expensive and won’t always talk to prospects when they’re ready to buy. Indeed, some won’t be looking at all. Some won’t respond because they don’t know you. Some might want a call back months down the line. Perhaps a few might be open to talking. But it can feel rather like looking for a needle in a haystack.
So there comes a point when you need to invest in the medium to long-term game, as well as knowing what to do if your B2B sales pipeline is empty in the here-and-now. But how?…
Route 1: The short, the medium, the long term
For a short-term sales pipeline fix, running well-targeted and carefully crafted outbound lead generation campaigns – to thoroughly researched prospect lists – can buy you time and give you breathing space. See our blog for tips on how to ensure campaign success.
Over time, if you can get clarity on what your buyers are looking for (and when), then you’re in a luxurious position. Understanding who’s seeking-out your products and services at any one time can be a game changer.
Work that one out then you can build a new business marketing programme that always ensures you’re having relevant conversations about the right stuff, tailored to your prospects’ position in the buying cycle. It also enables you to set more realistic expectations about the leads your campaigns are likely to generate. Our 9 step guide will help you successfully create each campaign.
Route 2: Getting inbound marketing in place
Mid to long-term plans to address poor lead generation should always include inbound marketing – where you draw your prospects towards your brand and your services by using content marketing and social media – not to mention fine-tuning your website with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Rather than ramming your messages down your prospects’ throats, this technique takes a helpful and relevant approach to interaction with your customers, as the basis of a dialogue, not a one-way diatribe.
Unsurprisingly, it takes time and talent to do well. You’ll need to build a range of buyer personas and structure engaging content around the three key buying stages: awareness, consideration and decision. Then you’ll need a robust process to structure and support campaign management – take a look at how Hubspot makes it happen.
Patience and investment will pay-off in the form of higher quality enquiries, because the people who engage with you are more likely to be further down the sales process, and more likely to convert. Bingo.
So much for the ‘how’ and the ‘when’. What about the ‘where’?…
Route 3: Multi-channel, multi-savvy marketing
It’s tempting to focus all your marketing efforts in one or two places, or be seduced by the ‘appointment setting’ agencies who’ll reel you in with ‘no meeting, no fee’ offers and tales of tantalising conversion rates. Sounds good on paper. But it’s no strategy for a lack of sales leads in the long haul. Instead, a multi-channel approach will put your eggs in many different baskets.
Start by considering how your buyers stay informed and where they go for industry information. As consumers we get our news from a variety of sources, and the B2B space is no different. So find out where your prospects go and how you can best reach them. Make it meaningful, timely and engaging and you’ll generate quality leads.
Today’s switched-on B2B marketeers will choose from a diverse mix of channels including social media, events, network marketing, public speaking, thought-leadership, partner marketing, PR and awards. And with dedicated marketing support, you’ll see how these channels fit together and understand the part each plays in cultivating the best B2B leads.
Professional marketing will choose the optimal marketing mix for generating quality leads, nurture them through the sales process, and hand them over when they’re ripe for Sales to convert into new business.
One goal: filling your sales pipeline
Professional B2B marketing is no game of smoke and mirrors. It draws on tried-and-tested techniques to build a B2B sales pipeline, from inbound marketing to a multi-channel strategy, not as an end in itself, but with one clear objective in mind – to keep your sales team busy with quality leads.
Set your marketing free to perform
Is your B2B marketing an engine of growth in your business? Time to find out. Our quick Self-Assessment tool is a tailored B2B marketing audit that’ll help you see where your B2B sales challenges could be lurking, so you can recognise the symptoms and tackle the causes head-on.