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6 Steps to Optimise Lead Generation | B2B Marketing

Year after year, businesses lose valuable time to ‘bad leads’ that never convert. This is particularly challenging for marketers working for small and medium sized enterprises, who must ensure a limited budget goes the distance. Here are six strategies to help you maximise the profitability of your lead generation activities.

1. Prioritise quality over quantity

Marketers have access to a huge amount of data. But having too much data can be problematic, leading to more questions than answers. When it comes to data, the focus needs to be on quality over quantity: focus on collecting accurate, insightful information to feed your marketing campaigns and make them more effective.

To optimise your lead generation efforts, considering the type of data being collected, and why it’s being collected, should be at the top of your agenda. In a nutshell, there are two classifications of data that your marketing strategies should be grounded in: demographic and behavioural.

Demographic data is vital if businesses are to truly understand their ideal customer profile (ICP). Key attributes could include what the organisation looks like, the size of the business, the industry it operates in, its location, and the people in it from core personas and job roles to seniority levels and interests. This encompasses all the information you need for better targeting and segmentation.

Behavioural information is equally as important. This includes the actions of your prospects and customers: how they are engaging with your business and its content, what channels they are using, and what topics they’re most responsive to.

This combination of demographic and behavioural information provides extremely powerful insights. With it, marketers can take personalisation to the next level, tailoring communications throughout the entire customer journey and ensuring relevant, timely outreach.

2. Grade your leads

It is important to remember that not all leads are created equal. Early identification of whether a lead works for you will enable marketers to focus their efforts on the most profitable areas. Likewise, marketers must be able to determine where in the sales funnel each lead sits – and when is the right time for them to engage with sales. Answering these questions will help assess the quality of the lead at any given time. Quality of leads provided by marketing to sales is a common source of tension between the two departments – something that lead scoring and grading can help address.

To achieve this, sales and marketing teams must first work together on the rules and principles that define a ‘good lead’, ensuring time is being invested in targeting those of most value to the business. Leads need to be graded directly against your business’s ICP. Data can be used to create a direct comparison with the ICP to ensure both sales and marketing teams focus on the most profitable leads.

The next step is to score leads on behavioural information. For example, if a prospect reads a blog, this shows some engagement. If they then visit the pricing page, this demonstrates greater intent and should generate a higher score. If attending webinars, even higher points can be awarded, as this shows commitment.

Grading leads in this way creates opportunities to nurture prospects and guide them through the sales funnel until they’re ‘sales-ready’.

3. Work together and agree key definitions

Needless to say, the relationship between sales and marketing departments can be difficult to manage. However, without a mutual understanding between sales and marketing, the ability to generate quality leads is vastly compromised. Businesses should review whether there is a common understanding and agreement around what constitutes a sales qualified lead, a marketing qualified lead, and an opportunity entering their pipeline.

Both marketing and sales teams are responsible for building this relationship by communicating regularly to ensure a shared agreement on goals and approach, and that consistent language is used across departments. Businesses face being held back without agreed definitions or consistent management of leads through the sales funnel.  To be successful the two departments cannot simply co-exist. When collaborative working processes are properly implemented, value can truly be created and the quality of leads will increase.

4. Track achievements

As a marketer, it’s vital to track everything you do. Marketing should be known as a revenue generator in your business, but for a number of organisations, it’s still perceived as a cost. When cuts need to be made, marketing budgets are often in the firing line but by tracking and demonstrating value, marketing can be a proven and equal contributor. Not only does this build trust, but also has the potential to unlock larger budgets for future activities.

Achieving this means monitoring and tracking the entire engagement process with leads, from their first visit to the website to the final closure. Visibility of when a deal closed, and where marketing contributed to engage prospects and move the opportunity along the sales funnel, demonstrates value to your organisation and shifts perceptions. This helps to improve relationships across departments and drive sales figures as teams collaborate.

5. Learn from testing

Testing is incredibly important as refining your activities will maximise their value. Using A/B testing on email layouts to measure click-through rates, for example, enables marketers to optimise the best email format, subject headers, and sender information. The same can be said for landing pages on your website. Testing relies on data collection: the more information you collect and the more this is analysed, the better the return on marketing activities.

6. Use CRM

From large organisations to SMEs, marketers require access to high-quality data and insight in order to optimise lead generation activities. At the heart of this is a robust CRM platform.

The main driver for a CRM initiative for more than half of companies is to better manage data and gain insights, according to a survey by Workbooks. Yet many are still failing to fully use the technology to unlock its true value, with less than half of CMOs having a framework for data collection.

The right CRM makes it possible to optimise and transform marketing campaigns, segmenting and tailoring communications to the individual needs of a high-value list of prospects based on relevant, real-time data.

Businesses can achieve a single source of truth, consistent processes and efficient customer journeys by using shared tools. Collaborating with the sales team to grade and score leads will increase the chance of closing the deal.

For marketers, demonstrating true value throughout the engagement process will prove essential in progressing as a revenue generator. Investing in the right CRM solution can enable closer sales and marketing integration to transform lead generation activities and ensure the recognition you, as a marketer, deserve.

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