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Leads are valuable to your small business because they are the people who have indicated organic interest in your business and its content by giving you their information in some way. Explore these three in depth mistakes small businesses make and how to overcome them.
Little definition so that we are all aligned: When we talk about lead generation, we are of course talking about creating business opportunities.
The leads. These are the "prospects" who will potentially become customers of the company if they go through the entire sales funnel. Previously uncovered thanks to prospecting calls, commercial letters, and commercial meetings, they are increasingly difficult to capture.
Why? Because now the competition is no longer on Yellow Pages but on Google, Linkedin, by email and all the other means that we use every day to search for products or services. The least we can say is that this competition is fierce, numerous, and with hybrid skills between marketing and sales. Specialist teams in "lead generation" or "lead acquisition" are born.
Very often, our customer journeys therefore now go online. In B2B, ignoring digital marketing or implementing a lead generation strategy becomes absurd when you know that:
- More than 67% of the B2B purchasing journey is carried out online
- 3% of direct calls reach an appointment
- Companies that use marketing to generate leads have salespeople who spend 73% of their time selling, while the rest spend only 57%
We are in an era where marketing is getting closer and closer to sales teams. It is a period of transition where few leaders have really experienced lead generation.
On a daily basis, we as marketers, often come across the same 3 mistakes:
1. Assume knowing your leads, when this is not the case
There are many marketers or salespeople who assume they know their target. Yet the understanding of its leads is not only done with market research or statistics.
Why is it absolutely necessary to define your target before creating your lead generation strategy?
It can be tempting to pass this step which is similar to a bullshit business school concept. It is, however, a mistake not to make. We will give you 3 arguments which should convince you
- Choosing a target excludes people who have no interest in your product/service. These people, who may not have enough budget to buy your product, or who are not decision-makers, should not pollute your advertising campaigns unnecessarily.
- The more you know your target, the less you spend on advertising budget afterward.
How to better know your "ideal lead"?
To learn more about this ideal lead, you do not need the latest trendy marketing software, nor large cross-marketing studies. The ideal remains to speak with them, or at least to call these leads.
If we had to summarize this in a few simple steps that everyone can apply for their business, we would say that it would be necessary:
- Have the first base of customers who bought, to be based on reliable and real data
- Select your 5 best customers, then 5 leads who did not buy
- Identify & note the common characteristics of these profiles: age, average budget, interests, affinities, online journey, maturity with digital, etc.
- Call these leads explaining your approach. It is important that they adhere to it and are willing to collaborate.
- There is as much to learn from those who did not buy as from those who bought from you.
- Ask them why they bought (or could have bought) from you?
- Ask them what their basic problems were?
- Also, ask by what means did they research their product/service or what other means could they have used?
Thanks to these answers, you will get their problems (your future challenges, the obstacles to buying your leads), their motivations to buy and the marketing channels to use to reach them.
Frankly, if you take these elements into account to constitute your target in lead generation, you have already saved a lot of budgets in ineffective or poorly targeted advertising campaigns.
2. Adopt a too generic lead acquisition strategy
If there was a recipe for success in building a lead generation strategy, it would be known. Type " Example Marketing Strategy " on Google. You will find 14,700,000 results.
Most are blog articles, guides, and recipes for "ready-made" marketing strategies. They are inspired by the winning strategies of big or medium brands.
Your business is unique, why would you want to pre-fabricate it?
Through my experiences with my clients, we have realized that you cannot apply 1 recipe for several companies. Every business is different. The profiles, habits, and behaviors of the targets on the market are even more varied.
For example, for an entrepreneur who has e-commerce of smartphone cases, here is what the main features of his marketing strategy might look like:
- Targets : 15-45 years old - BtoC
- Main objective: to buy / Secondary: to make additional sales
- Main acquisition channels: Google Ads, SEO, Facebook Ads
- The total duration of the customer journey: 48H
- Average basket : 15 $ / order
Whereas for a SaaS CRM software like Hubspot, Pipedrive,… it would be rather
- Targets: Business decision makers 35-65 years old - B2B
- The main objective: generate registrations for free trials / Secondary: capture contact details of leads
- Main acquisition channels: Content marketing, influence network and word of mouth, Linkedin Ads
- The total duration of the customer journey: 5 months
- Average basket : 300 $/month
This comparison is only a quick example to help you see more clearly in my remarks, but the differences are sometimes even more marked.
How to adapt your lead generation strategy?
To start, you have to know your targets. For that, if you have not read part 1 concerning the knowledge of its targets, we really want you to read it.
One of the essential elements to understand here is that nothing can replace short tests and iterations.
Let us explain: marketing has never been an exact science. It is based on human psychology, which is both rational and emotional. It is therefore not possible to anticipate the purchasing behavior of your leads.
We personally use the growth hacking experimentation cycles to quickly advance in the creation of my lead generation strategies. In broad strokes, this technique allows continuous innovation in marketing. Here are sous steps to follow if you want to get started:
- Know your targets and draw precise robot portraits (after talking with your target)
- Make assumptions about the main acquisition channels. Example: for a target of B2B HR managers, we know that from experience these targets often use Linkedin. It is, therefore, necessary to experiment with Linkedin Ads.
- Perform these marketing experiments for 14 days.
- Record all of your experiences and their contents in a Google Sheet. Also, record their results.
- At the end of the experience, you have 3 possibilities:
- Abandon this lead acquisition channel: if you have had little or no results VS the other channels
- Optimizing: the results are average / fairly positive but not exceptional. You have to retest with another message, another format, rework the form, etc.
- Validate: the results are very good, you further optimize and validate this channel. Make the most of it, and carry out other experiments in parallel!
This endless process allows us to constantly innovate and rationalize marketing expenses, which are often too high in terms of results in lead generation.
3. 100% automate your lead conversion funnel
Who hasn't dreamed of letting little robots handle all of their gruesome tasks? You could plan your next vacation or go for a walk. Today, this dream is not so impractical.
Marketing automation: the ultimate weapon for your lead generation?
Marketing automation is the fact of automating certain tasks & their relationship with leads according to their profiles (decision-makers or not, for example) or their behavior (ready to buy or looking for information).
According to a Plezi.co study, in 2018 there were 11 times more B2B businesses to use marketing automation than in previous years.
Well-controlled, it, therefore, allows for example:
- To send abandoned cart reminders in e-commerce automatically
- OF warning commercial when a common lead 2-3 times the page "Offers & Prices" in 3 days
- Send a blog article only to those interested in a specific topic. Example: if you are a general business consultancy, and a lead is an administrative and financial director.
No, marketing automation is not a miracle tool.
Marketing automation is seen as THE technique that saves your marketing strategy. Except that in reality, everyone talks about it but few people apply it.
Software like ActiveCampaign, Customer.io or Autopilothq.com can help you automate your first contacts with your leads. Remember, however, that in B2B, marketing automation is useless when a lead approaches the purchase decision.
Your leads will need human contact. To be reassured by phone or to consult you for ultra-personalized advice.
Remember: 67% of the B2B customer journey is done online*. This also means that 33% is achieved with commercial support, personalized meetings, commercial negotiation.
Marketing automation will still give you a significant advantage: you will have a personal relationship with each lead long before the business relationship begins.
Adopting a lead generation tactic is essential to the efficiency of sales teams. There are thousands of known marketing channels to try: SEO, content marketing, Facebook ads, Cold emailing.
Keep in mind, however, that the vast majority are unlikely to be suitable for your business. You have to constantly test, iterate using the correct budget to have reliable data.
Do you think that generating leads is impossible for your B2B business? We can discuss it in the comment section.
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