The ultimate role of marketing is not only to increase awareness and consideration, but to generate quality sales leads for the sales team. And of course, the role of the sales team is to convert the leads into opportunities that will close quickly and for top dollar. So, if it is marketing’s responsibility to help sales “fill the funnel” or “build the pipeline”, we wanted to dig into some of the most effective ways to accomplish this is today’s B2B marketing world.
In most organizations, a prospect isn’t added to the sales pipeline until there is an introductory or discovery meeting where the sales person has identified the sacred “BANT” (Budget, Authority, Need and Time-frame). This first meeting allows the sales person to understand the prospect’s challenges so they can begin to introduce your company’s products or services as a potential solution to that challenge.
So, if it all starts with the qualified lead… how can the marketing department help the sales team by generating more quality sales leads?
In today’s B2B marketing environment there are three common strategies that marketers use to help the sales teams secure the critical first sales meeting.
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
Of course, content marketing is all the rage these days, and for a good reason. By creating informative and entertaining content and sharing it for free on your website, you build trust and authority with your target market. These are powerful elements that can be used to increase consideration for your products and services. When visitors to your website attribute real value to your content and a well thought out conversion strategy is executed to convert these visitors to sales leads, your website can be the goose that lays the golden egg!
This is the old standard these days. Most businesses have some form of email marketing activity going on. Even though open rates have fallen over the years, email can still pack a punch when integrated with a sophisticated content marketing strategy. The key is getting the prospects to engage with the business so that your sales force can quickly begin to qualify and build a business relationship.
Some will tell you telemarketing is dead. However, it is very much alive and still extremely effective because it is proactive and gets to the meeting faster than just about any other marketing activity. Whether you leverage an internal team for calling or deploy an outsourced marketing firm, you should consider telemarketing.
The most overlooked benefit to telemarketing is that even unsuccessful calls can positively impact your marketing efforts. A voice mail left with a prospect is a private and personalized "radio spot" that can be played more than once and even shared with colleagues. A professional outbound call can make an impact and increase brand awareness for new companies or new products.
As professional marketers, we now know that a multi-channel approach that leverages all three channels' benefits can have a compounding effect on your marketing efforts. There are several other activities and investments that a marketing department can invest in, and each business and market is different. Still, today the above three should be staples for any marketing program focused on lead generation.
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