B2B Marketing: 4 solutions to the most common challenges

The week before Labor Day, hundreds of marketers descended upon Orlando, Fla., for MarketingSherpa’s B2B Summit 2012. Joining them were Pamela Tinsen and Warren Staley, who shared their expertise during free one-to-one coaching clinics:

  • Tinsen is a coach for MECLABS. She works with Research Partners to develop teleprospecting programs where precisely the right people are given the right message to quickly convert them to leads.
  • Staley is a program manager. He develops and guides lead generation program that efficiently and effectively drive revenue for MECLABS Research Partners.

Last week, they gave me a behind-the-scenes look at the most common challenges marketers discussed with them, and both concluded that these discussions validated research from the 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report (free excerpt at that link): 

  • 65% of marketers have not established lead nurturing.“The favorite topic of discussion was lead nurturing,” Staley says. “Even though the marketers we spoke with were experienced, about two-thirds were beginners at lead nurturing.”
  • 61% are sending leads directly to Sales, so it should be no surprise that 61% say lead quality needs improvement.

“It amazed us how many people didn’t have a documented universal lead definition (ULD),” Tinsen admits. “We know the statistics from MarketingSherpa’s research, but to encounter it in the real world is shocking.”

While the specific conversations with individual marketers must remain confidential, Tinsen and Staley agreed to give me a high-level overview of their most common solutions to the issues marketers brought forth:

Solution #1: Understand your customer

“You can’t know who your best lead is until you really understand who is buying from you and why,” says Tinsen.

Staley points out that this knowledge will also help you determine how to move forward with other marketing decisions: everything from setting keywords, to determining which roles and titles to target, to which type of content might be most effective.

Solution #2: Interview customers and the ones who walked away

Find out information, such as:

  • What motivated their purchase
  • How they found your company
  • Who was involved in the purchasing process
  • Their buying cycle
  • What they value about your product, and what they don’t
  • Why they did or didn’t go with your solution

“Lead nurturing, content creation and even list building all hinge on this sort of research,” Tinsen says.

Solution #3: Define your lead. That means talking to Sales

“Everyone we spoke to thought they knew what a lead was for their organization,” Staley says. “Some figured a lead was anyone who filled out a form at a trade show; others had BANT (Budget, Authority, Needs and Timeline) criteria and specific demographic requirements. But none clarified what a lead was with Sales. They just assumed Sales was in agreement, and then they wondered why Sales rejects their leads.”

We’ve been blogging a lot lately on the importance of a ULD (for good reason, obviously). Find out how to develop your own ULD in this quick read: “Why 75% of Marketers Are Experiencing Lead Generation Pain and How to Stop It Before It’s Too Late.”

Solution #4: Know what to look for when you’re building lists

“Again, knowing your customer, who is involved in the buying cycle, and what kind of keywords they first use when they are seeking your solution are all critical,” Tinsen says.

She adds that purchased lists can fill the gaps.

“Not everyone who could be your ideal customer is going to see or respond to your inbound marketing efforts,” she explains. “But, when you purchase lists, you want to find a vendor who looks beyond SIC codes and can create lists by keyword; the results will be more targeted to what you’re looking for.”

Be sure to check out next week’s post right here on the B2B Lead Roundtable Blog to read Brian Carroll’s advice on building lists with purchased data.

By the time the event ended, Tinsen and Staley noted how excited the attendees were to start their Labor Day weekend.

“Not to relax, though,” Tinsen laughs. “They couldn’t wait to start working on everything they had learned at the Summit, and were really looking forward to making a difference for their organizations.”

Related Resources:

Event Recap: MarketingSherpa B2B Summit 2012

Lead Generation: How 64% of marketers starve Sales of opportunity

Marketing Research in Action: 65% of B2B marketers are not nurturing

Universal Lead Definition: Why 61% of B2B marketers are wasting resources and how they can stop

Andrea Johnson

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