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When your marketing efforts start to pay off, delivering a boatload of quality leads, it’s exciting. You want to celebrate. But the game’s not over. Your sale is not won yet. You’re just at the starting gate of your demand generation process.

The bare bone fact is: Leads do nothing for your organization’s bottom line unless you can convert them to sales. And the quality of the lead alone does not predict how likely it is to convert. The magic is in the lead nurturing: how you treat a lead after you receive it.

This brings us to the study conducted by Velocify. They looked at data from 3.5 million leads from 400 companies and discovered the formula to maximize conversions. While they note there are differences between businesses and what works for each of them, the overall findings are

Published in Lead Nurturing
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 00:00

Is B2B Telemarketing Effective

What are the most effective B2B lead generation tactics? How about social media, content marketing and search engine optimization?

Nope.

These shiny new tactics have their place, but according to research depicted in the chart, they pale in comparison to some good old-fashioned tactics. Ranking in the first, second and third spots for B2B lead generation are inside sales, executive events and telemarketing.

Published in Lead Generation

We all love the sales funnel…at least in concept. Visually, it’s the perfect model: Our leads pour into the top of the funnel. As they move through the middle of the funnel, marketing and sales both qualify the leads. And buyers flow out the bottom.

Or do they?

With the increasing complexity of B2B purchases, sales cycles are becoming longer, and more decision makers and influencers are involved in the buying decision.

It’s time to stop playing a numbers game and just pouring leads into your sales funnel. Now’s the time to flip the traditional sales funnel on its head and create a new model. The image of a sales and marketing pyramid helps you understand that you need to be more responsive to buyers’ needs throughout the sales process. You must assist them as they climb the pyramid and reach the pinnacle—a decision to buy from you.

The Changing Buyer’s Journey

Where once sales were relatively linear—prospects came into your sales funnel and decided either to buy or not to buy—today’s buying patterns have changed. The buyer’s journey is more complex, more fluid and increasingly self-directed. Above all, we know that leads don’t naturally convert into sales. Left to make the journey on their own, buyers easily stray off course: 

  • Easy Click Comparisons

    With the click of a mouse and a Google search, buyers can find several companies offering similar products/services.

  • Omni-Channel Marketing

    With so many more sources of information at buyers’ fingertips (e.g., social media, webinars, digital advertising, blogs, white papers), the buyer’s journey is no longer linear. Buyers can jump in, download some information, fall out, and just as suddenly return and commit to buying. With so many touch points, it’s difficult to know where buyers are in their journey.

  • Distractions

    Third-party reviews, customers’ referrals and comments, competitors’ promotions and your own content are all helping to disrupt and distract buyers’ already short attention spans.  And when vendors see the sales funnel as a pure numbers game, they’re looking to attract leads—whether committed to buying or not.

Turn the Sales Funnel into a Pyramid

A sales pyramid presents a more accurate model of today’s sales process. It’s a reminder that buyers and vendors must climb several significant steps to reach the top of the pyramid. You need to help them because there is no natural gravitational force downward, drawing them to a decision to buy from you. Instead, leads and prospects need assistance up the pyramid.

As a result, you need a well-defined lead management process that reflects an understanding of each step to the pinnacle. That’s how you’ll be able to transform prospects into customers.

The process includes:

  • Target

    The better you understand who your best customers are, the easier it is to target similar prospects. Review your past sales, identify your best customers and use that insight to build a business persona for companies and decision makers with the highest propensity to buy what you have to sell.

  • Attract

    When you know your market, you can create a message that speaks directly to buyers’ wants, needs and concerns. Apply this message consistently to content disseminated across all media channels, such as blogs, whitepapers, social media, and webinars.

  • Capture 

    Once you’ve drawn prospects to your message, you need to give them a reason to ask for more information. Almost half of marketers create highly specialized landing pages for each campaign, offering valuable content, demos, trials and consultations. In addition to building on your targeted message, include a call-to-action that invites leads to sign up for more information. Alternatively, offer an inbound phone number answered by knowledgeable associates who can collect contact information, qualify leads and answer callers’ questions.

  • Nurture

    Only about 25% of leads are ready to convert when you capture them. Another 25% are likely not qualified. The remainder will convert at some point, but may choose your competition’s offering instead of yours.  If you’re not offering them a helping hand up the pyramid with lead nurturing, it’s good reason for them to stray. With outbound telemarketing and email, marketing can nurture prospects. As they continue to engage and qualify leads, they’re also informing, building trust, and suggesting solutions to real problems. The more personalized the messaging, the better the prospects’ experience. And when they’re ready to buy, you have a better chance that they’ll come to you first.

  • Qualify

    When does a marketing-qualified lead become a sales-qualified lead? It’s an important question because sales and marketing are often at odds. Traditionally, marketing has played a numbers game, thinking the more the better. Sadly, that’s not true. Sales wants a few good leads they believe they can close. Unless marketing and sales agree on their definition of a qualified lead, sales reps will fail to follow up on marketing’s leads.

  • Engage

    With well-qualified leads in hand, sales is prepared to act. And when marketing consistently updates the company’s system of records or CRM, it’s easier for sales to pick up the ball and continue to build their case and engage prospects in the critical discussions that will ultimately close the sales.

  • Measure and Optimize

    Analytics and marketing automation tools have revolutionized our ability to understand the sales and marketing process. Given the increasingly non-linear trajectory of the sales process, tracking prospects’ path to purchase and how they respond to various content and offers becomes more important than ever.

The days of just playing the numbers are past. Today’s marketing and sales teams need to work together to target their best leads with a series of carefully crafted messages and activities that help them climb the sales pyramid. Leads alone are not enough. It’s the ability to convert prospects into customers that raises ROI and increases the bottom line.

Published in Lead Generation

B2B sales acceleration is all about closing more deals faster. When people think about speed, technology often comes to mind. There are, of course, many technologies that accelerate sales, but there’s one that you may not have considered.

According to an article in Forbes by Ken Krogue, one of the keys to sales acceleration is to pick up the phone. While new, shiny tools are exciting to marketing leaders, in the end, what’s most important is increased sales.

It turns out that to help buyers buy, which is what you have to do to sell faster, you actually have to talk to them. What’s interesting, however, is that you don’t need to have a face-to-face conversation. This isn’t just speculation. Research proves it.

The Data Tells the Story

InsideSales.com showed that on average inside sales teams close deals in 69 days while outside sales take 144 days.

A little math is in order. Inside sales programs slash the sales cycle by more than 50 percent!

Why is inside sales so much more efficient?

Published in Lead Nurturing

As a B2B marketer, it’s easy for you to get caught up in lead generation. After all, you often get measured on the number of leads you generate and even the cost-per-lead. But the truth is, none of that matters unless the leads convert. Inbound leads without a strategy for conversion are like kindling and logs without a match. One won’t ignite your sales. The other won’t start a fire.

The leads, however, are the starting point. If you have them, that’s great. Now you just need the match that ignites leads and transforms them into sales. You can find it in these inbound lead conversion tips. 

Published in Lead Generation

No one said that tech marketing was easy. After all, you’re trying to reach IT leaders — some of the busiest people on the earth. Not only that, other companies are hot on their trails too. Naturally, they’re seeking cover, doing everything they can to avoid vendors and stay focused on their never-ending to-do’s.  

Given the challenges of reaching your target audience, you need to have your marketing and sales ducks in a row. Where are marketers going wrong?

Published in Lead Generation

When you’re managing business-to-business telemarketing representatives, you can record their conversations and use them as learning opportunities. If one agent is particularly productive, you can listen to recordings of her phone calls to determine what sets her apart from the others. Also, if another is having difficulty meeting their goals, you can re-live their conversations and learn where they go off track.

Before doing anything, however, become aware oflocal and federal laws related to recording calls and ensure that you abide by them.

What to Listen For

When you’re listening to recordings to find out why some representatives are successful and others struggle, pay attention to these areas.

Published in Cold Calling

How to rock sales lead development? The quick answer…put a sales lead management team to work.

That of course, begs the question, “what is a sales lead management team?” It is, unfortunately, often the missing link between sales and marketing. It’s that gap between the two disciplines where leads are lost either because marketing doesn’t qualify them or sales doesn’t follow up on them. Conveniently, marketing points the finger at sales and sales points the finger at marketing.

If only there was a group in between marketing and sales that could take marketing leads and transform them into qualified sales opportunities.

That’s what a sales lead management team does via the phone, email, and more. And a Forrester Research study says that businesses which put a priority on lead qualification and nurturing have 50 percent more sales-ready prospects and reduce their cost-per-lead by 33%.

It seems like this missing link is made of gold. What are these sales lead management teams doing that is multiplying the number of ready-to-buy prospects while cutting marketing costs?

Published in Lead Qualification

Like most B2B marketers, you probably agree that the most successful way to create qualified leads is by using a human touch.

In its study, B2B Marketing found that 40% of marketers believe telemarketing is the best vehicle for generating high-quality leads. That’s second only to live, in-person events that were cited by 43% of respondents. Even in the era of online marketing these traditional tactics, where we talk one-on-one with prospects, stand out.

It’s one thing, however, to know that you need to add telemarketing to your marketing initiatives. It’s another to make it happen.
Selling telemarketing to the powers that be and ensuring it pays off comes down to executing it the right way — the way that’s most likely to maximize ROI.

While some marketing leaders want to test the telemarketing waters by doing it in-house, this isn’t a fair test. Why? Because statistics show that the ROI of in-house telemarketing isn’t as high as when it’s outsourced. Read more.

Published in Tele-Services

Why Your Script Doesn’t Work

If you’re not getting results from your business-to-business telemarketing calls, it’s time to throw out the script. It might sound scary because your script is your crutch. It makes you feel completely comfortable that you’ll know exactly what to say when you get on the phone.

But while your crutch helps you walk more smoothly through the call, if you’re not succeeding, you’re walking in the wrong direction.

How can a perfectly crafted script lead to poor results?

Published in Lead Generation
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