5 Key Questions That Unlock B2B Lead Generation Conversion
Recently I saw a bumper sticker on a slow-moving vehicle on the highway that read, “I am not in your HURRY!” While I respect the slower-paced lifestyle of this driver, it made me think of making another bumper sticker: “I am not in your LAGTIME.” It’s all about perspective. I am not looking to rush you, so please move out of my way. To get respect, you have to give respect. Each of us has our own intentions and behavioral choices, and we need to see things from each other’s perspective in order to communicate and get the proper results. This is a critical principle to keep in mind as a marketer as you consider your B2B lead generation efforts.
When preparing your marketing approach to B2B demand or lead generation, whether in channel marketing or any marketing area, remember that you are trying to create awareness and interest based not only on the merits of your product or service, but also on how your prospect might perceive the product or service from their own value set. It’s also important to keep in mind that you are rarely trying to appeal to an individual, but instead are trying to capture the interest of a team. This team typically consists of several decision-makers, so you have to think of how to get through collectively—on their level, and in a way that helps them achieve their goals.
Here are 5 questions to answer when devising a lead generation strategy that will help you personalize and capture your target customer’s interest:
- Who will consider my product/service, and how does it fit into the larger scheme of their company?
As I mentioned above, B2B lead generation campaigns often have to appeal to a team rather than an individual. So it is important to think of the target team as a facet of the larger corporate picture—position your product/service as a benefit that has helped similar teams achieve departmental goals that align with what your prospects might be looking for when searching for solutions similar to yours.
- How can my marketing come across as solution rather than a sales pitch?
It’s understood that you might want to jump right out there and have your B2B lead generation campaigns start extolling the amazing features and results that using your product/service can bring to any client, but this self-proclaimed praise might not speak to the needs of your potential customer. Of course, you can’t get their attention and have them consider your company as a vendor unless they hear about the wonderful things you can bring to them—but the primary message should be positioned to emphasize how useful your SOLUTION has been for other clients, not how great your PRODUCT is. Your toast-making and butter-churning modules may be the most innovative in the industry, but your story should focus on how your toast and butter is the superior fit for your customer’s breakfast buffet and has helped it become the most successful one in town.
- What influences might be relevant to the prospecting process of my customer?
The influential factors that feed into a company’s or team’s decision to engage with a vendor are both internal and external. Of course, the final decision to reach out to a provider will likely be made by a key individual, but the data and research that informs the decision is often the result of a group effort. Crowd-sourcing is a common approach to business research these days, so positive external opinions, feedback and reviews are important. Your marketing must speak to your audience in both direct and indirect ways. What the public thinks of your company will get back to and sway your prospects’ interest level. Make sure that your B2B lead generation marketing has a two-pronged approach: a) specific beneficial solution messaging that will appeal to your customer and b) widespread corporate awareness and thought leadership that will educate the public about the position and value of your company.
- How can I get my customer(s) to see my product/service as an investment?
Any time a corporate department has to select a vendor for a business need, they look at their budget and view any new product or service as another expense. Money out the door is a cost. Onboarding and ramping up a new product or service is always part of the initial cost, but palpable ROI and revenue growth will offset this expense and provide realized value. For most customers there tends to be more psychological resistance to immediate expenditure (possibility of failure) than potential revenue growth (possibility of success). The trick is to appease this concern and position your offering in their minds as an investment. Backing your offering with success stories and studies that show ROI achievements by similar clients will help get the dialogue going with new leads. They will see your offering as a roadmap to profitability, even if they have to pay a few tolls to get there.
- Who is winning in this deal, and how does it affect their interest and decision?
Without a doubt, if you generate a qualified prospect through your B2B lead generation and your sales team closes the deal, it’s a win for you as a marketer. But how is this a win for the customer? They have selected you as a vendor, and allocated budget to purchase your product/service, all based on an individual decision or group consensus. But how do you get your customer to perceive this as a win for their company? There is much more cross-departmental visibility these days from the management level down, so the decision to go with you as their vendor will very much be influenced the decision-makers’ ability to frame the selection as an achievement for the entire corporation. Make sure that you position your marketing to inform the prospect how your solution not only solves their immediate pain points, but also will have a positive impact on the operations, ROI and growth trajectory of the entire company. If prospects think that your solution will directly affect perceptions of their team in the larger corporate structure, this is added value to them—both professionally and personally.
The primary point of these questions is to get you thinking. Every time you plan a new B2B lead generation effort or marketing campaign, think about how best to position your offering—not from a “I am going to sell this product to you because you probably need it” point of view, but from a “I have a product you might need and probably want me to sell you” angle. Always consider the customer’s perspective. Think about how you can be the best vendor out there—as a solution provider. You will win not because of what your company does, but because of your ability to change the lives of the customers you are trying to get through to. Marketers want prospects to respect their product and see the benefits it brings to the industry, but prospects want marketers to respect their needs and show them how their product can make their professional lives better. Remember: To get respect, you have to give respect.
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