A to Z Prospecting Ideas
26 Tips for B2B Lead Generation
Assess your current prospecting process. Ask your clients why they choose to do business with you. Then use their answers for content ideas in your marketing messages. If referrals generate most of your business, stay-top-of mind with both clients and prospects via email marketing. Analyze your results before you decide which methods to pursue and improve.
B2B marketing differs from B2C. B2B decision makers prefer quantifiable data to justify their decisions. Help them. Link your direct marketing messages to your website to enable the gathering of additional layers of information. Business buyers include teams of decision makers and influencers with different wants and needs. Remember to include different points of view in your marketing.
Client analysis creates a road map for the future. Use demographic and psychographic information to identify prospects with similar profiles to your clients. Do not overlook this critical step even if you sell to “everyone”. Ask Business Wise to create your “Custom Client Analysis” with market penetration by zip, size, SIC code, etc.
Demographics of your current clients matter. Sites with over 250 employees comprise about 1% of the total market. Over 32% of business locations own their building, and over 28% of businesses occupy retail space. Determine what demographic data will help you focus your resources on those most likely to buy.
Email marketing begins and grows relationships. Make emails personal. Resist using a variation of your newsletter or magazine ad for your email marketing. When you send a personal email, do you begin “Dear”, “Hi”, or simply with the recipient’s name? Use the same format in your Drip Marketing. Imagine the message you are about to send will go to one prospect only. If that’s not the message you would send, start over.
Free information offers encourage response. Sell the benefits of your offer, rather than the benefits of your products or services in your direct marketing efforts. Explain what benefits your prospect will receive from accessing a white paper, article reprints, seminars, consultations, demonstrations, videos, newsletters, or a meeting with you. In email messages, beware of the word FREE since it may trigger spam filters.
Goals not set are never achieved. Work backwards from your sales numbers to your activity plan. Determine how many leads you need to generate from your direct maketing efforts. Know how many click-thru calls it takes to schedule a qualified appointment. Learn how many appointments result in proposals. Count how many proposals it takes for a sale. Then aim to make or beat every one of your numbers.
Help yourself to marketing advice. Robert Bly, Brian Carroll, Peter Drucker, Jill Konrath, and Jay Conrad Levinson wrote great books on B2B marketing. Read them. Use your Business Wise representative to be your “Facts and Ideas Prospecting Expert.” Get first hand advice on how to improve your new business development process.
Information of value will hook your prospects. Business executives seek solutions to problems or opportunities to excel. Share success stories, white papers and testimonials with ideas from internal and external resources. Promote paths to improvement and you will build trust with prospects and clients. Business grows from trusted relationships. Aspire to become the resource, if not the inventor, of ideas of value.
Jump-start your marketing plan using pro-active referrals. When you ask for specific referrals, you control your prospecting success. Identify prospects in your target market that your clients may know. Prepare a list. Tell your clients that you plan to call the list of prospects. See who they know and to whom they will refer you.
K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple stupid.) Use simple language when talking or writing to your prospects. This is not the time to impress with professorial erudition. Write it like you’d say it. Say it like you’d say it to a friend.
Leads require definition and nurturing. Like people, leads come in various shapes, sizes, and stages. The buying cycle for your products and services may require multiple touches and lengthy nurturing time. With input from both sales and marketing, determine the benchmarks to identify sales-ready opportunities. Chris Coleman describes the process as what to do with “green bananas.”
Marketing without measurement is like sales without payment. Do you define a sale when you receive a commitment, a signed purchase order, a down payment or complete payment? Just as you measure sales, define benchmarks for leads, click-thrus, responses and conversions to determine what’s working or what’s not. For B2B sales, one sale often provides ROI for an entire campaign.
Now is right time to prospect for new business. The business world never stops, at most it slows down. Make sales prospecting a top priority now. Whether you outsource the process or handle it yourself, make certain it gets done. Successful prospecting insures a healthy future for you and your firm. Consistent, mediocre marketing outperforms a brilliant one-shot approach.
Originality is suspect in direct marketing. If additional appointments, increased sales or more referrals are your objectives, skip originality. Forego the creative in favor of the familiar. You will tire of your marketing long before your prospects do. Continue what works until it stops working.
Permission method phone prospecting shows respect and builds rapport. Sometimes, the bulldozer approach works, but you risk losing the opportunity to build relationships. Ask your Business Wise representative to explain the “double handshake” or permission method to get your prospect’s complete attention. It works.
Questioners control the conversation. Learn how to ask questions to get you past the “gatekeeper.” Give your first and last name; ask for your prospect by their first and last names; and finish with a question. Improve your skills concerning the questioning process, and you will improve your prospecting skills. Develop your listening skills as well. You have two ears because it is twice as important to listen.
Repetition works. Repetition works. Repetition works. On average it takes 9 conscious exposures of your marketing message before your prospect acts. Why give up before you let the process work and leave prospects ripe for your competition to pick? If you want to develop new business, you must develop patience. Ask us about Drip Marketing, the BWise way to email and nurture prospects and future clients.
Solve problems for clients and prospects. Don’t know the answer? Find it or find a trusted resource who knows. That’s when the power of networking kicks in. Prospects care little about your company, but care tremendously about solving their own problems. If you solve problems, prospects will call you.
Thought Leadership builds trust. Commit to acquire content valuable to your clients and prospects. What do your prospects care about now? Narrow your area of expertise to a mile deep and an inch wide. Do not confuse content with “con-job.” Craig Rosenberg reminds us to honor the facts when he asks, “If you’re trying to learn about something, would you rather watch a documentary or an infomercial?”
Use testimonials to improve prospecting results. Your readers give more credit to what others say about you. Testimonials work for direct mail, telemarketing and face-to-face sales calls. Authentic testimonials build trust and trust builds business.
Value your customer list. Capture “untapped referrals” from your customers. Use your clients to profile your target market. Tap clients as a resource for testimonials. Find out what they read, to what groups they belong, why they buy and what problems they want solved.
Words may be magic or miserable. Email copy that reads like an individually composed message creates magic. Brief, snappy, action oriented words compel your reader to “click“ or respond. Action verbs accelerate your reader’s eyes and encourage continued reading. Shorten or cut in two any sentence that contains more than 15 words. Vary your sentence length for interest; never exceed 5 line paragraphs.
You communicate from the “you” point of view. One thing that interests all of your prospects is “themselves.” What the prospect wants should outweigh any other agenda. Restructure the “I/we offer” to what “you,” the prospect, will receive.
Zoom in to target your best prospects. Ranked in order of importance, your best prospects include the following:
1. your current customers
2. your past customers
3. your competitor's customers
4. "look-alikes" of your current customers
5. buyers of products and services in similarly categories to yours.
P.S. Ask us why the “X” is missing. Remember this: in direct marketing, the P.S. often determines whether or not the entire piece gets read!
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