16 Proven Ways to Get More & Better Opportunities Now

When I’ve talked with marketers about their B2B lead generation results, I’ve heard statements like, “We’re generating a ton of leads, but they aren’t converting” or “We need to increase quantity” or “We need to generate more qualified sales leads.”

Marketers spend a lot of time and effort doing inbound marketing, but they often struggle getting those leads to convert into pipeline opportunities and customers after they hand them off to sales.

16 Tips to Get More Opportunities from Demand Generation

1. Create a universal lead definition. 

If you are trying to measure lead generation and you don’t have a universal lead definition (ULD), which is an agreement what the word “lead” means, you won’t be successful. This point is particularly the case opportunities, 16 Proven Ways to Get More & Better Opportunities Now

in high-growth organizations, where the number of leads is growing all the time. Without a ULD, salespeople will have a tendency to focus on the companies they already know and relationships they previously had and ignore the others. They need to keep their numbers up and don’t trust uncertain leads to move the needle.

To get past this, you have to sit down with the sales team and ask, what are the major things that you need to know for you to feel that something is viable?  These are the key points of information that sales often want to know about a lead:

  • Role in the organization
  • Their role/authority is in the buying process
  • Their motivation
  • Stage of investigation

It’s important to remember that the first definition process is iterative. It’s not a one-and-done thing. Revisit the universal definition and make changes. And be asking questions, including “are we asking the right questions?”

Check out Intro to Lead Generation: How to determine if a lead is qualified

2. Use empathy in your marketing 

When you’re in the trenches, it’s easy to get caught up in marketing acronyms, data, and analytics. What you need to remember is that, ultimately, your lead generation comes down to connecting with people.

This personal connection comes down to one idea — empathy.

Learn about the importance of putting empathy back into customer interactions

Read more about Why Marketers Fail at Customer Empathy and How to Fix it

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3. Leverage inside sales 

The phone is the gold standard for qualifying most leads. I’ve found that you could e-mail, do web profiling, lead scoring, and measure all these touch points. But in the end, if you want to know something, you need to pick up the phone, talk to someone, and engage them in a conversation. Also, if you plan on doing account-based marketing (ABM), this is key a requirement.

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4. Follow-up about potential customer’s motivation first.

One of the mistakes I see in lead handoff is that sales will notice that someone downloads a whitepaper. Then they do a follow-up call and want to set up an appointment. Nope. That’s not going to get you anywhere. You want to be able to engage them in more of a discussion rather than trying to make an immediate qualification.

To do that, you need to ask a question that helps you understand their motivation: What question were you hoping to answer by downloading our white paper or what motivated you to download our white paper? The next question is, was that you were asking the question, or was that someone else in your company asking the question? The goal is to be a trusted advisor or a relevant resource to your audience until they move to the point of being ready to talk about initiatives or a project.

Instead of trying to sound interesting to others, be interested in them.Click To Tweet

5. Start re-engaging your old leads now.

Consider going back to your 3-month-old or old leads and re-engage them in some meaningful way. My research has shown that about 70-80% of leads marketers opportunities, 16 Proven Ways to Get More & Better Opportunities Now

generate end up getting lost, ignored or discarded.

Rather than continually struggling to find new leads for the sales team, marketers must develop a lead re-engagement process that requires the sales team to return slow or unwanted sales leads to the marketing team. The key is looking back to your past marketing activities to find the gold lost in the sales pipeline. If you want to make a difference in this year, go back to review the leads you generated last year, and there’s a lot of opportunities there.

Check out Fresh ideas to Reignite Stalled Marketing Qualified Leads Fast

6. Learn what is lead nurturing.

What is and isn’t lead nurturing? A silly question, I know, yet it’s one that marketers often answer incorrectly. This concept of lead nurturing is more nuanced than it seems. Lead nurturing involves providing prospects with relevant and valuable information and helping them on their buying journey and adding value regardless if they ever buy from you. This specialized treatment is much more likely to result in a conversion than sending out generic promotional emails.

Learn the exact definition of lead nurturing, and read some examples of what does and doesn’t make the mark.

Lead nurturing is consistently sharing relevant and valuable content with viable prospects. Click To Tweet

7. Filter content by role and by the stage of the buying process.

Executives get a lot of similar content. But if you can demonstrate that you’ve done filtering on their behalf, you can get through to them. I’ve found that readership will up significantly by sending one targeted piece to leads rather than a generic newsletter targeted to everyone.

Begin by asking your sales team:

  • The questions do your customers ask most often?
  • What are they likely concerned with now?
  • How likely issues are they facing?

opportunities, 16 Proven Ways to Get More & Better Opportunities Now

Find content — such as articles, blogs, and white papers — that addresses these issues. Pass this content by your sales team, and ask them whether their customers would value it. As much as you can, repurpose content. For instance, white papers can be transformed into articles and articles into blog posts.

Once you’ve determined who they are, you need to support a continuing conversation. For example, if you have a Webinar, you send them a follow-up email with more information and then call to ask, did you find that webinar helpful? Did it bring up other questions?

8. Connect with leads frequently and relevantly. 

To remain relevant to people during the nurturing process, you have to be consistent. My threshold for consistency is to reach out to leads at least once a month. Different marketers have different thresholds, but I would say that quarterly isn’t enough to be remembered—there is just too much noise in the way.

For more tips read 6 Ideas to Create More Relevant Lead Nurturing Emails

8. Nurture longer-term leads frequently and relevantly. 

To remain relevant to people during the nurturing process, you have to be consistent. My threshold for consistency is to reach out to leads at least once a month. Different marketers have different thresholds, but I would say that quarterly isn’t enough to be remembered—there is just too much noise in the way.

For more tips read 6 Ideas to Create More Relevant Lead Nurturing Emails

 9. Educate and help with your lead nurturing. 

Most case studies and whitepapers have a sales edge to them. That won’t work for lead nurturing. The content must be educational and helpful. One partner worked with an outside publisher to develop educational Webinars and brought in some editorial support to help them develop some thought leadership pieces that didn’t focus on products or sales.

Share information that sticks with them. Give your potential customers educational content that helps them grow as an individual or a company. Here’s a nurturing litmus test: Can prospects benefit from the information you provide, regardless of whether they buy from you?

Read more on stop cold calling and start do lead nurturing

Educate and help with your lead nurturing. Share information that sticks with them.Click To Tweet

10. Work with influencers to benefit from the halo effect

Most marketers try to generate all the content they send to leads themselves. But third parties can do that work for you and, more importantly, validate what you are doing in the marketplace. opportunities, 16 Proven Ways to Get More & Better Opportunities Now

Meanwhile, linking to third-party media articles costs you nothing. You don’t need to get permission to send hyperlinks to items that you think are relevant. It helps to personalize the emails. For example, you could write, I saw this article in IndustryWeek that I thought you might find to be relevant based on our last conversation. Having precise profiles of the different leads means that you can automate that process.

Read how the halo effect drives lead generation.


11. Build trust and connection from a single voice. 

Remember that people pay attention to who is sending them emails. Anonymous general [email protected] email addresses may save money and be scalable, but they don’t build connections. The re-engagement or nurturing process has to start with a human being. You need to have a person behind the email and the phone call. And it should be the same person. Our goal is to build the relationship through people to the point to where the lead is sales ready and then hand that link off to the next person.

Customers pay attention to who is sending them emails. People buy from people, not companies. Click To Tweet

4 Steps to Do Lead Nurturing That Helps More Customers Buy

12. Market to their role, not their title. 

It seems like everyone is a vice president these days. You need a quick process to identify the person’s function and role in the company rather than going the by title. With a partner, we developed a method for determining a contact’s role and function in the enterprise based on a series of conversations. Unless you do that, you don’t have a way to segment them accurately and send them the right content.

13. Nurture accounts/organizations, not just people. 

It’s important to have a technology platform that supports account-based marketing so that you can track all activities with all leads inside an organization. Especially with B2B, selling happens at a corporate level and a business unit degree in addition to an individual level. You need to be able to track interactions to be able to determine the program of selling the entire organization.

A football team wouldn't skip the huddle between plays. Neither should sales and marketing. Click To Tweet

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For more read 4 Steps to Do Lead Nurturing That Helps More Customers Buy

14. Create a clear connection between marketing and sales. 

The point at which marketing hands a lead off to sales isopportunities, 16 Proven Ways to Get More & Better Opportunities Now

like a relay race: It’s important to keep moving fast without dropping the baton. At one partner, we got sales to commit to contacting all leads within 48 hours if they had the following three things:
  • The sales lead conforms to the universal lead definition
  • Confirmation that the lead wants to speak to a sales representative
  • Qualification information for each lead

It’s important to document the process so that both sales and marketing can track all steps and evaluate the process objectively

How to Improve Marketing Qualified Lead Routing Results

 15. Begin marketing and sales “huddles” to gauge progress.

opportunities, 16 Proven Ways to Get More & Better Opportunities Now

A football team would never think of skipping the huddle between plays. Sales and marketing should view their work together in the same way. They need to talk frequently about what’s happening with their leads if they want to see ROI. It’s important to close the loop on every lead and to discuss ways to improve the process. In my experience, sales and marketing should huddle on leads at least once a month. Here are some questions to ask:
  • How many of the sales leads we’ve given you in the past two weeks are active?
  • Have you talked to them and are you moving forward?
  • Are you celebrating wins together?

You need to feel that you are all part of the same team. When that happens, you start seeing improvements at all levels. For example, one partner had an administrative person at the meetings enter information about leads into the CRM system as people were talking. And soon sales began to see why they needed to capture accurate information about leads in the system. If they do it, they know that nurturing will happen on their behalf.

A football team wouldn't skip the huddle between plays. Neither should sales and marketing. Click To Tweet

Closed Loop Feedback: The Missing Lead Generation Huddle

16. Bring your passion for creating a better future for your team.

Building clarity around the lead process helps build your passion for making a difference in your organization. It creates closer ties between marketing and sales and helps sales do its job better than ever before. You will begin qualifying leads in a disciplined and rigorous way. And that brings a significant improvement in revenue generated from marketing.

Read more on Where’s the Passion in B2B Marketing?

31 ways to improve marketing sales alignment quickly

 

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