Recently, I have been working with some of our clients on supporting their B2B marketing initiatives. Our clients are aggressively looking to grow their small to mid-size business portfolios with qualified new relationships. We’re consistently working to develop effective acquisition/lead generation strategies to support the clients’ goals. The use of data, analytics, multi and integrated communication channels and a robust communication delivery platform are all critical components to successful B2B acquisition/lead generation efforts.
As we begin to develop a B2B marketing campaign, the first priority is to determine clients’ objectives and how they define success. Gaining a solid understanding of the campaign objectives will determine the overall scope of the engagement. When building an acquisition/lead generation program, it’s necessary to fully understand how the client determines a qualified lead. Upfront collaboration with the client is necessary to establish a solid foundation of program requirements, from which our strategy can then evolve.
A significant amount of time and data is used in characterizing the best prospects for the campaign. Specifying the target audience relates back to the stated goals as well as how the client defines a successful lead. Analytically based exercises are employed to create targeting tools to identify the best candidates. Profiling analysis, which leverages multiple firmographic, transactional and behavioral business data associated with previous qualified leads is conducted to hone in on the target audience. Results from past campaigns and industry knowledge is used to refine targeting criteria. Response or purchase propensity models are other tools that are effective in identifying the ideal target audience. Geographic industry data also comes into play to support the targeting effort. The more access to relevant data sources one has, the more successful this exercise will be.
The messages we send to our prospects along with the motivational factors (offer) are also important elements of a successful acquisition/lead generation campaign. When it comes to the message, it is vitally important that it’s relevant, consistent and well timed. Each campaign touchpoint a prospect receives must reinforce and support the main focus. Regardless of the channel, the communication experience should be consistent.
Traditional, digital, mobile and telemarketing channels should be leveraged to deliver a relevant and timely message that generates an impact as well as creates meaningful dialogue. Managing these relevant touchpoints using multiple marketing channels requires a well-thought-out communication strategy. Utilizing a robust decisioning and delivery platform or marketing automation system helps to manage the contact flow. A well-designed and maintained marketing automation platform delivers a steady stream of qualified leads to the appropriate small to mid-sized business sales team. It’s been determined that a marketing automation platform can improve the sales effort. According to Forrester Research, B2B marketers experienced a 10 percent increase in sales pipeline contribution when marketing automation was implemented.1
Marketing automation platforms help us to understand the prospect behaviors and leverages that insight to execute refined and relevant follow-up contacts. In addition, campaign reporting can easily be consolidated and automated within the platform.
A successful B2B acquisition/lead generation strategy in today’s marketing environment has many moving parts. It’s imperative to understand the objective of an initiative. What does the initiative need to achieve success, and what defines success? Then, finding the best and most responsive prospects is a time-involved process, but when done correctly, can yield great results. It’s important to find a motivator to give the prospects a reason to listen. A solid communication strategy plan needs to be devised to speak relevantly to the audience at the most opportune time and using the best channel for each touchpoint. Combining all these elements of data/data sources, targeting rules, communication strategy, channels, reporting, etc. into a marketing automation platform allows for a more efficient process for managing the campaign.
Follow these guidelines and best practices to move ahead of the pack in supporting your B2B marketing efforts.
1. Forrester Research. Market Intelligence Report: B2B Marketing Automation Platforms 2015: A Marketer’s Guide.