The B2B landscape has, in recent years, faced many changes.
As customers’ needs remain in flux, so do their expectations when engaging with suppliers, service providers, and other B2B companies.
For these B2B companies, this means the lead generation and sales strategies of yesterday are no longer as effective as they once were. In other words, B2B marketers and salespeople need to change up their plan of attack, so to speak, if they want to be able to “woo” their customers - and if they want to have any hope of remaining competitive.
Unfortunately, many B2B marketers and salespeople haven’t yet caught up with the
- Treat lead generation and sales as robotic, hands-off processes
- Fail to clearly differentiate between leads and qualified leads
- Fail to develop or implement strategies for customers within each stage of the sales funnel
In turn, these companies end up wasting time, money and energy chasing leads that more than likely will never end up becoming paying customers.
In this article, we’ll discuss three changes B2B companies can make to improve their lead generation and sales processes.
Let’s get started.
3 B2B Sales Tips to Improve Lead Generation and Conversion Rate
The following sections will discuss three strategies B2B companies can implement when collecting leads, nurturing them through the pipeline, and making a sales pitch.
Let’s start at the beginning.
Defining Qualified Leads
The days of purchasing contact lists and having your salespeople spend hour after hour cold calling everyone on these lists are long gone.
Making sales is no longer about casting a wide net and reeling in any business you can. It’s now about knowing exactly which potential leads have the highest probability of becoming paying customers.
As we said, B2B customers’ needs and expectations are changing drastically. In turn, the average time customers spend mulling over a single purchase has increased. This, then, means salespeople will need to spend more time interacting with individual customers before making a sale.
That being said, it’s essential that B2B companies focus only on leads they’ve collected that will almost certainly convert to paying customers.
To do so, these companies need to define their ideal customers in terms of their:
- Persona, including firmographic and behavioral information
- Interest in the product or service the company offers
- Intent to purchase said product or service
- Budget, authority, need, and timeframe (BANT)
However, marketing and sales teams should be careful not to be too rigid in these definitions. The trick is to determine how much time, on average, teams should be spending on individual leads - then determining which of their collected leads has the best chance of converting within this time frame.
Focus on Authentic Lead Generation and Engagements
Piggybacking off of the last section, it’s also important for B2B companies to focus on forging authentic connections with potential customers while attempting to make sales (rather than going the “hard sell” route).
More and more, B2B clients are looking to engage with subject matter experts rather than salespeople. This is likely due to the fact that so much information about a company’s products or services are readily available on the company’s website - meaning customers have the ability to compare and contrast products from competing companies without needing to speak with a salesperson.
When customers do reach out to a salesperson, they do so to gather in-depth information about the company’s products and to ask questions specific to their needs. They don’t need to be “sold” anything - they’re already pretty close to making a purchase at this point. Instead, they’re looking to determine which company can provide the most value in addition to a quality product.
When generating leads, B2B companies should be focusing on providing value through strategies such as content marketing and social media engagements. After leads have begun showing true interest, sales teams should engage with them on a one-on-one basis - continuing to provide added value throughout.
(Note: Companies can definitely implement automation as needed for the more menial aspects of marketing and sales - but need to be careful not to do so to a point that engagements with customers begin to feel inauthentic.)
Provide Leads with Choices
Although clients within a B2B company’s customer base likely share a number of qualities and characteristics, they each have individual needs, as well.
This means that B2B companies can’t simply adopt a one-size-fits-all approach when offering their products or services. Such an approach can end up in lost sales, wasted resources, and low customer satisfaction. Consider the following hypothetical situations:
- A lead has no need for a number of features offered by a company’s product and does not wish to pay full price for a product they won’t fully use.
- A lead does need most of the features offered, but can’t afford to pay the full price and would be okay with losing some of the features if it means a more affordable product.
In either of these cases, if the company is too rigid in their offerings, it will most likely not be able to close on a sale to either of these leads. If on the other hand, the company was willing to work with these clients individually to come to an agreement on pricing and offering, it would not only increase the likelihood of making the sale, but it would also increase the likelihood of having these customers return in the future.
So, to be clear, when it comes to making an offer to your B2B clients, it pays to engage with them to determine exactly what they need and can afford, and how you can tweak your offer to fit these needs.
The process of generating leads and increasing conversions has changed drastically for B2B companies in the past few decades. Above all else, your marketing and sales teams should be focusing on providing top-notch value to your leads and clients - while also ensuring they aren’t wasting time chasing leads that will never pay off.
Check out our blog for more B2B sales and marketing tips to help your company keep moving in the right direction. And let us know if you have any other tips to share in the comments section below.