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3 Lessons From Online Dating for B2B Marketers

3 Lessons From Online Dating for B2B Marketers

1. Quality over Quantity

In a way, online dating sites revolutionized the concept of “romantic lead generation.” The days of waiting in bars hoping to catch the eye of your next date are a thing of the past. Instead, access to attractive suitors is delivered in bulk with just a click of the “Sign Up” button. Yet, it still just isn’t that easy. Many sites boast about the number of users to choose from, but in reality it’s the dating services, with well researched and proven match making strategies, that are truly successful. It’s not about the amount of matches, it’s about the quality.

According to a recent research study by Ascend2 B2B marketers are realizing this same thing. Of the surveyed marketers, 70% said that improving lead quality was the most important thing to focus on for the future.

So, what’s the best way to improve B2B lead quality? In marketing, and dating, you need to know what you’re looking for. B2B Marketers can select the highest quality prospects by first using data analytics to decipher who their “perfect match” would be. This method, called “Look Alike Modeling,” can be used in both B2B and B2C strategies. Data driven prospect segmentation boosts ROI by giving B2B marketers a clear look at which prospects to target and which they probably don’t have a future with.

Another way to ensure leads with a high propensity to purchase is by using data-mining to find in-market consumers. One positive aspect about an online dating site is the user is reassured by the fact that the other users have already implied interest in romance by signing up for the dating service. In the same way, data mining monitors social and environmental signals that signify a consumers transition to becoming in-market and in search of a specific product or service.

2. Make Yourself Stand out

As of 2015 an estimated 49 million people used online dating services – that’s certainly a lot of fish in a highly competitive sea. A B2B International study which stated the top challenges in 2015 for B2B marketers ranked, “Standing Apart from Competitors,” in the top 3. B2B marketers are constantly looking for ways to shine. One way to accomplish this is employing customer centricity, a concept that is gaining popularity in the B2B marketplace.

Although B2B purchasing decisions are based more on logic than emotion, B2B consumers are still ultimately people who appreciate a positive customer service experience. A research study by Gallup confirms that lower prices aren’t the keys to the kingdom when it comes to building a foundation of loyal B2B customers. The study found that “Fully engaged customers deliver a 23% premium over average customers in share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth.” Gallup reasons that investing in established emotional connections with B2B customers provides the most solid foundation for a company’s sustainability and growth. 

How can you improve B2B customer experiences? At the end of the day, everyone wants to feel appreciated. Personalized outreach can make B2B prospects feel like your most valued client, even if they aren’t yet. Data mining for information pertaining to the prospective client’s business activities are a great way to get the inside scoop on when is the prime time to approach to close the deal.

3. A Successful Relationship Takes Time and Care

Love doesn’t come over night, and neither does a B2B conversion. In the past 5 years the average sales cycle has increased 22%, and since B2B purchasing decisions require more buy in from various parties than a B2C transaction, the B2B sales cycle is much longer. This is another reason that focusing on relationship building with B2B prospects is so important. So, expect a long “courtship” and get ready to woo your B2B prospect.  

Just like a new relationship needs TLC, B2B marketers must establish a strategic lead nurturing campaign to convert quality prospects into loyal customers. Lead nurturing emails sent with marketing automation software is a great way to keep your brand front of mind while providing applicable content that engages the lead in how your services will foster their success. Not convinced? Here are some recent statistics about the impact that strategic lead nurturing can have on B2B companies.

  • Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost. (Forrester Research)
  • Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. (The Annuitas Group)
  • Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (The Annuitas Group)

Sure, online dating might not be the most applicable comparison to B2B marketing, but there are a few rules that can be applied to both. Focus on the quality of the leads you’re generating instead of the quantity, and if the quality isn’t there then it’s time to rethink your lead generation approach. Sometimes the best competitive advantage is based on relationships and customer experience, not the lowest price. And lastly, stick with it for the long haul. B2B cycles can take longer, but often lead to much more loyal partnerships than B2C.

For more tips from top data-driven marketing experts on driving quality leads with data and analytics, download this free ebook.