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:
When most people hear “web analytics,” they tend to think about counting visitors, transactions, and conversion rate on a transactional site, such as an eCommerce store.
Yes, there’s a lot of insight to be gained from web analytics for eCommerce sites, you can also learn a lot about B2B lead generation if you’re using analytics correctly.
Measuring the Performance of Informational Sites
Online performance measurement for informational sites can actually get pretty complicated.
The typical end goal for businesses with informational sites is to use the site to generate more leads. But that lead generation process usually isn’t streamlined into a sequential funnel like one would see on a traditional eCommerce site where visitors enter the site and go through a series of funnel pages to make a purchase.
B2B clients need multiple touches, more one-on-one conversations, and outreach through various channels in that process of converting them from onlookers to prospects to leads and eventually to customers.
From an online perspective, the lead acquisition funnel has three major steps – brand awareness, prospects acquisition, and lead generation. Let’s expand on the definitions of each:
On a recent business trip to Mauritius, I had the opportunity to play a few rounds of golf at the Tamarina Golf Club and Ile aux Cerfs Golf Club. The magical landscape between mountain and sea at the Tamarina was inspiring but I’ll save my swing scores for another day J The ocean views, white sand bunkers, lakes, volcanic rock features and the sheer variety of tropical trees and plants at Ile aux Cerfs offered an experience that just doesn’t compare with playing golf on a regular course. Needless to say, it was time beautifully spent.
Some of my golf buddies happened to be CMOs at organizations that depend heavily on channel partners for their B2B marketing. As we cursed and sweated over a bad shot or cheered on when we got lucky, the conversation drifted towards the common challenges that channel marketers struggle with in their demand generation efforts. With each of these C-suite executives sharing what worked for them, I realized that what they are all missing is a defined strategy for demand generation. When they talked about strategies that worked, I noticed that almost every single one of them was an example of what I call “spike marketing”. These channel marketers indulge in frequent and repeated tactical plays, but there is no consistent effort to sustain their lead funnel. They can neither predict lead generation outcomes nor measure the effectiveness of their demand generation programs.
Last week, the Big Apple hosted the ultimate conference for performance marketing and lead generation: LeadsCon. The conference was buzzing with energy as hundreds of industry professionals gathered for two days to discuss changing dynamics and top trends of lead generation in the B2B environment.
Attendees had the chance to learn about B2B focused lead acquisition, nurturing, and conversion in the digital age. The conference welcomed industry experts from companies including Facebook, eMarketing Strategy, freshly.com, and many more to share their valuable insights.
It was a whirlwind of learning, networking, and strategizing, but there’s no doubt that all attendees left with some actionable takeaways to improve their lead generation strategies. If you’re in the world of B2B marketing and looking for ways to step up your strategy, drive more traffic and convert leads, then these tips are for you.
With many SME businesses reporting diminishing returns from their B2B lead generation efforts, the days where growth could be assured using trade shows, mailers and outbound calling are well and truly over.
At incite we believe this is down to a failure to adopt modern sales and marketing techniques. Technology has changed buyer behaviour in profound ways and you need to respond to these changes by introducing more B2B inbound marketing techniques.
A word to the wise though, there is no magic bullet when it comes to B2B lead generation. The methods briefly discussed in this blog should work with and supplement your traditional activity, making it more successful. Only fools rush in after all.
With over 20 years of business, sales, and consulting experience SMS is capable of serving many market sectors. We provide the field level support needed to generate results and grow your business. Other companies may provide appointment setting services; whereas SMS will partner with you to grow revenue.
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