Curious how your lead generation programs stack up against other B2B marketers? A recent Gatepoint Research survey (Trends in Salesforce Marketing, Sept 2014) explored just this topic with marketers attending Dreamforce. Turns out, there’s considerable room for improvement. Among the marketers who responded, websites were overwhelmingly identified as the primary source of leads, yet alarmingly only 15% of these leads are on target. That means that the vast majority of website-generated leads – up to 85% – have little to no value. Between the efforts of both marketing and sales around these leads, this translates into a lot of wasted time.
So where is lead gen failing? Survey responses indicate that organizations are not getting the most basic segmentations right: they often target the wrong management level (79%), the wrong job title (62%), and even the wrong company (41%). Consequently, not only are the majority of leads poor, but so is the resulting quality of the marketing database. In fact, survey respondents collectively rated their databases a 2.8 on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (clean and comprehensive).
What’s a marketer to do? Here are two critical steps in driving the effectiveness of your lead gen tactics:
- Know your target market – intimately. In conjunction with your sales team, determine in which market segment(s) your value prop is strongest, then explicitly define who your customer is and what shapes their behavior:
- Build buyer personas to get “inside” your prospect’s mindset – survey current customers, prospects, and your client-facing team members to better discern buyer challenges, issues, influences, motivations, and goals.
- Understand your buyer’s ultimate goal and prioritize their primary concerns – on both the business and personal levels.
- Identify key business and industry segment drivers and sub-drivers.
- Map the relationships between all of these factors (goals, concerns, drivers, sub-drivers) to understand cause and effect.
- Create insightful, compelling, and relevant content. To properly engage your target prospects, content must provide differentiated value, while connecting with the emotional, value-driven needs already motivating their behavior:
- Provide new insights: Having gained insight into your target audience’s current reality, you’ll need to think through the implications and potential impacts of those combined insights. What does the proverbial Big Picture look like and what might a bit of crystal-ball gazing tell you about how that might change? By identifying the most likely scenarios, you can test the veracity of these ideas in a number of ways. Feedback can be solicited from industry thought leaders, clients, and influencers through community groups, blog posts, etc. Likewise, developing a carefully crafted prospect survey will not only garner you great feedback, but also allow you to surreptitiously place those forward-thinking ideas on your target market’s radar – efficient and effective!
- Be compelling: Be clear about the purpose of your content and use emotion to drive the effect you want to achieve in your target audience. Recent research from CEB and Google (see our post on psychographics and driving behavior) indicates the strong – and under-utilized – role emotion plays in differentiating your message and motivating favorable behavior in B2B prospects. By framing your content to connect deeply with the values and motivations informing your audience’s thought process (read our post, Insight selling: Make me care), your content can help move prospects towards a buying decision.
- Be relevant: Never forget – it’s all about them. Content must address the interest of the reader by answering, “What’s in it for me?” From your audience’s perspective, you’re selling results, not a product or a service. Lead with the results that matter to your target audience and you’ll be far more likely to engage them to read further. But understand which of their values or motivations these results tie into, and you can hook them emotionally.
Effective lead generation is about knowing precisely who you’re trying to reach and how best to reach them. By understanding what’s influencing and motivating their decisions and behavior, you can craft content that engages and compels your prospects to action. To learn more about using SimplyDIRECT prospect surveys as a highly effective way to develop key sales and marketing insights, click here.