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The Garden of Lead Gen

How to create a fertile environment and harvest inbound marketing leads

At the B2B Summit, I shared best practice tips on how marketers can develop a ‘pull’ approach to attract customers who are actively searching for products and services.

A purchaser is typically 57% through their decision making by the time they engage with a company’s sales team. So influencing behaviour at an earlier stage of the process can drive a good quantity of high quality leads.

Here are ten ways B2B marketers can increase their yield of inbound leads:

1. Know your landscape – get digging!

It is so important to have a good understanding of your environment. And this can only be achieved by listening to what potential customers are saying. Research, analysis and marketing segmentation all add up to give you a clear picture of where your customers are and what they need.

2. Invest the time – they won’t grow overnight

Inbound marketing is rarely a quick-win strategy. It takes time to earn trust and nurture social relationships.

3. Nurture to bloom and beyond

Customers themselves can act as a powerful inbound marketing engine. Look for ways to build and harness advocacy within your customer base. At its best, brand advocacy can see customers recommending your solutions to their peers organically.

4. Be an all-weather Gardener – be always present, or use the automatic sprinkler

If you’re only a nine-to-five social media player, you could miss out on valuable interactions with international markets. Most social management platforms allow you to schedule posts so you can time and automate your messages. If your biggest market is the US, you can time your posts to appear whilst you’re sleeping. Make sure you have a good understanding of trending topics and customers’ pain points so you can plan content and timing effectively.

5. Be helpful and talk – do it like Prince Charles

Whilst automated activity has its place, there is no substitute for the personal touch. A vigorous social media presence is rooted in conversations and altruism – aim to become a go-to point of knowledge and information. In time, you will reap the rewards.

6. Give them something they want, but can’t get elsewhere – make the neighbours green with envy

Providing exclusive content that is genuinely useful will make your contacts feel valued and keep them coming back for more.

7. Host the best garden party: facilitate communities and information exchange

Don’t be afraid to hook people up with each other – even if there is no immediate or obvious benefit to you. If you appear well-connected, influential and altruistic it will all add to your social credibility and attractiveness.

8. Make it shareable  -  get the bees pollinating for you

If you’re producing high-value content, people will want to pass it on to their own contacts. So make it easy for them – and it will also help to extend your own network.

9. Earn it – get green fingers and get Chelsea Flower Show winning content

Develop a wide range of valuable content over appropriate platforms to ensure maximum reach and relevance. Don’t forget good old-fashioned blogging: it is still the number one method for increasing traffic to a business’ website.

10. Make a service level agreement with sales – just the sweetest honey

Organisations with a formal sales-marketing agreement spend on average 40% less per lead. So define your responsibilities, and find new ways to ensure marketing delivers the very best leads – such as weeding out unqualified ones. 

 

There are a lot of synergies between sales and inbound marketing. Any sales person will tell you that the better they understand what makes their prospects tick, the more likely they are to make a sale.

This is equally true of social media strategies. Ongoing listening and genuine two-way interaction builds an understanding of decision makers’ demographics, their roles, the challenges they face. Establishing a clearer picture of who they are and what they need at an earlier stage narrows down the prospect pool, makes content creation and seeding more effective, and increases the likelihood of a profitable sale.

It’s all about finding more effective ways for sales and marketing to work together to get that honey in the pot.

www.mzl.com