To survive in competitive B2B marketing environments, organisations need to keep adding a steady flow of new leads and opportunities to their sales cycle. However, too much emphasis on closing leads can be damaging to a brand. It places a priority on ‘getting the lead’ rather than identifying and meeting genuine customer needs. Anyone who has ever worked in a 1980’s sales office will remember the hard closes, the boozy lunches, and the old sweats who broke sales records but managed to wreak havoc misselling. No one wants a return to those pushy days, but how can you maintain a growth trajectory without ….well, pushing?
Be your own B2B marketing outsourcer
In-house operations can take a lot from the way B2B marketing outsourcers work. By measuring output and looking for continuous improvement, each call placed to a decision maker will benefit from enthusiastic learning and solid data about what buyers want and how best to meet their specific need.
The best teams will be the ones that focus not on the leads, but on creating a deep and meaningful interaction with buyers instead. The basis here is twofold; you’ll only ever get an enduring lead in B2B marketing where the buyer has a relevant need. If there’s no need, there’s no lead. And persuading someone to have a quote or meeting is unlikely to change that, so why not nurture the best quality interaction until the buyer is truly ready to come to the table.
Creating clear objectives and goals is the single best way of ensuring your team is working together, with a shared, long term mission in mind. Set milestones and benchmarks to measure achievement against. Catch people doing a good job and set some systems in place to continually plan, act and review progress. Make sure the objectives you set are tested for achievability so they are the right goals, not easy, but not backbreaking either.
By setting goals unrealistically high, managers will get instances of ‘overachievement’ but they’ll be unreliable. More importantly, when sales teams are pushed too hard to get sales, their hunger can annoy potential customers, often causing them to avoid working with a business. Professional, career B2B marketing folk don’t tend to stay with organisations that propagate these kinds of over-goal-seeking behaviours, as the adrenaline eventually causes burnout. It’s important to identify aspects of the company culture that promote these behaviours and take steps to ensure they are removed or at least tempered by changing bonus structures perhaps. Experts at events company Lincoln West explain that burnout is a state of emotional and mental distress caused by high-pressure, prolonged stress. They add that it’s a much more common occurrence than you might think.
With every dial, we want to get a lead, or a sale, market share in other words. However this will not happen, it’s simply unrealistic, so we settle for something that offers us some potential instead. We call this mindshare, when someone thinks about your business in a positive way, but doesn’t buy. Market share can only really be gained by winning mindshare, efficiently and regularly. Every time your team pick up the phone to a potential buyer, your communication should aim to build positivity in the mind of a buyer, so that yours is the brand that comes to mind when they are thinking about purchasing a particular product or service. The trick here is to be polished and timely in your communication. Ask about a potential review and the best time to speak again. Listen carefully to their response to your open questions, and maintain your database histories well. So every record is a work in progress.
At Blue Donkey, we’ve developed some powerful routines that help us maximise the number of B2B marketing leads we produce. At the same time, we’re making sure each contact made has a magic of its own, even when it’s not generating a lead for the short term. By building an army of advocates in this way, one by one the propensity of your prospects to become committed, and high spending clients profoundly increases with each week’s work. Not a hard-close in sight!