If you’re looking to create or improve your B2B inbound marketing strategy, here we look at principles for lead generation in 2020 and beyond relevant to both offline business and ecommerce companies.
Global B2B sales are predicted to reach $25 Trillion in 2020, with around 27% of the transations to be completed online*.
Building B2B sales funnels with inbound marketing offers one of the most comprehensive and long term solutions for allowing your business to compete. Diligently building out buyer personas, researching your immediate competition, creating a scheduled content calendar and a number of mini campaigns to increase leads all form part of the process.
The challenge for B2B product or service providers is to accumulate a steady stream of leads both on and offline, depending on the business model.
Buyers are researching more and more of the information they need to make decisions before speaking to salespeople – it’s estimated around 60% of the buying decision process is completed before first contact.
This often means extensive digital research via search engines like Google, Bing etc when it comes to B2B (more than likely, you haven’t used the Yellow Pages for a while…). They’re also not looking to be sold to, they’re looking to be further educated and to see that you understand their market and challenges.
B2B Lead Generation & Sales Funnels
When it comes to B2B lead generation to get potential customers into your sales funnel, there’s often the temptation to get as many people into the top, in the hope / expectation that some of those will then stick.
The problems with that approach include:
- Focus on quantity over quality means that you might miss out on even getting seen by those perfect customers of the right size, in the right sector, with the right need – especially those actively in buyer mode. You just don’t create the content to bring them in
- You get too busy following up all the leads that you don’t get the time to segment them and give adequate attention to those most likely to convert into paying customers
- Your salespeople get disillusioned by junk leads so they naturally start to lose interest and when the right lead does come in, they are too jaded to follow up with the vigour and enthusiasm that it deserves.
The way to avoid that mistake is to really dig deep into the attributes of your best customers and align those with topics for your inbound marketing content calendar. Thesetopics will include keywords for SEO and perhaps hashtags when sharing on social media channels like LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps Facebook and others.
So the major factors are:
- How to “educate” buyers around the brand without selling to them:
Changing a companies ethos from sales to education isn’t always easy. Many ask why we would do this instead of increasing PPC or adding more salespersonnel. Education breeds. trust, trust builds familiarity and familiarity should lead to an increase in sales. Content based strategies allow potential customers to engage in a non-sales based environment allowing you to demonstrate authority in your field and increase trust.
- Determine the right voice and content:
Determine your voice and content by creating effective buyer personas. These are generic “my persona is a small company looking for legal services”. That persona won’t win you any awards or increase sales. Develop far more in-depth personas and you can succeed more quickly in talking the right language to your perfect customer.
- How to continually optimise the messaging:
To continually optimise your messaging you need feedback that includes data / statistics. There is a huge range of analytics tools and website plugins available to do this, but you also need to understand what is important so that you don’t get sucked into chasing the biggest, flashiest numbers. Don’t make the same mistake as 99& of your competitors!
Want some help with your B2B inbound marketing in 2020?
* Frost & Sullivan research into the Global B2B market