B2B Lead Generation


8 Marketing Automation Tips

8 Marketing Automation Tips

Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads. (Propeller)

B2B marketers say the number one benefit of marketing automation is the ability to generate more qualified leads (Pepper Global). They experience these great results because, marketing automation allows you to educate buyers, build trust, and stay in touch with prospects as they search for solutions to their problems. However, while more than 60% of marketers use email to stay in touch with their prospects, only 13% use marketing automation tools so they put in some of the effort but only get a fraction of the results. They also miss out on early stage leads, since marketers using marketing automation generate twice as many leads than those who just use one off blast emails. It’s statistics like these that spurred us to share some of Gabriel Sales’ automation best practices that have benefitted our firm and our clients.

Marketing automation is not necessarily difficult, but it does require a bit of a learning curve and some planning. Here are eight best practices we use that will ensure you’re marketing automation will be used wisely.

Start with a Strategy

Without a strategy, your marketing automation tool will inevitably become an ordinary email tool, blasting one-off messages and newsletters. The process of creating a strategy requires defining your value proposition, targeting your audiences, outlining the buyer personas of your ideal customers and mapping your buyer’s journey to your sales process. This allows you to tell your story, establish thought leadership and build trust with your potential buyers without the expense of sales reps doing this one customer at a time. A DemandGen study found that 95% of buyers consider content as trustworthy (and in some cases at early stages more trustworth then sales reps) when evaluating a company and its offerings.

Framework to Tell a Powerful Sales Story with Simple Messages

A critical part of the strategy will be a series of simple messages that tells your sales story in a way that resonates with your buyer’s needs.  This message framework will anchor your marketing efforts.  This framework  will deliver the right message at the right time based on where your buyer is at specific stages their buyers journey. As the table shows, there are different pieces of content topics and different types of media that work best for certain stages. While educating your potential buyers  about your perspective on challenges they face in the marketplace, who you are, and how you may be able to solve their problems, your content will be organized in a systematic way to help them  understand if you are the right fit to help them solve their challenges .  This builds trust with buyers looking to buy and keeps your brand and your solutions top of mind, for those not yet ready to purchase with helpful educational content.

Use Lead Nurturing to Create Opportunities

On average it takes, on average between 7 and 13 touches by both sales and/or marekting before a sale is made. This does not count the 47% of buyers who want to view 3-5 pieces of content before they even want to engage with a sales rep. (DemandGen). All this takes time.  And if you rely on sales reps to carry the load it can also take a significant amount of money. For those leads that already know about your solution, but aren’t yet ready to buy, lead nurturing allows you to stay top of mind through offering educational and thought-leadership content about industry trends and developments without the expense of a sales rep. Establishing thought-leadership is critical to an overall effective cost of sales percentage, since 96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders which includes the company’s selling solutions that solve their problems (Demand Gen Report, 2016). Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate with educational thought leadership generate 50% more sales ready leads at 33% lower cost (Source: Forrester Research).

Integrate Social into Your Distribution Network

While marketing automation is associated with email marketing, modern automation tools are now easily connected to help you publish your content to additional networks in social media. That said, those channels are merely that, distribution outlets where it exposes your content to additional buyers so you can educate and build trust with your audience in additional areas across the web.  If you make the investment in content it also makes sense to share that content in social media.  Blog articles are leveraged by your automation platform to generate and score leads by educating and building trust.  But since you already have the content you can post it to social media to solidify a relationship with your leads and to make additional buyers aware of your solution.

Use Lead Scoring to Identify Who’s Engaging

Lead scoring is the least used feature by most businesses but it is the most critical for small and mid sized companies to increase productivity and lower their cost of sales. Lead scoring is the ability to figure out where someone is in their buying process and when they are getting actively interested in purchasing.  Lead scoring allows  sales and marketing to quickly flag who should be getting more attention from higher-end sales reps. Lead scoring will generate more revenue because better leads (buyers with high scores that are ready for sales interaction) will bubble to the top and be pritorized for you sales team, allowing your sales team to contact your most potential buyers at the right time. Lead scoring saves you money because leads with low scores that are not yet ready to buy, can be managed and developed by less expensive reps or in some case just by nurturing with marketing automation during their early education stages of your sales cycle. Lead scoring works. 68% of top marketers report lead scoring as the most responsible feature for improving thedirect revenue contribution of their content marketing efforts (Lenskold Group).

Integrate your CRM to Capture Lead Data

Capturing data and valuable information about your buyers is one of the key drivers to help you drive sales.  Marketing automation allows you to capture both key sales and marketing metrics. When you have collected this information in your CRM system you sales reps will have direct access to it.  This allows your sales reps to easily organize and sort prospects by any number of criteria including, points accumulated,  predict location in the sales funnel/buyer’s journey and to see what educational content the buyer has consumed.  This data allows you to sort buyers and then to sell to them more effectively because they will have a jump start on their level of education and business needs.

Use Data to Improve How Your Target Markets

You can learn a lot about your target audience by measuring the people who are engaging with your content through your website and emails.  To better understand the interactions you can split them into two data categories, explicit and implicit. Explicit data tells you who’s volunteered information to you via web forms, events or other interactions such as phone calls. Implicit data measures online behavior such as emails opened, click-throughs, form submissions, and downloads of your marketing collateral.  If an activity is predictive of buying the lead can be scored appropriately and can be highlighted in your CRM.  In many cases you can send real-time alerts to sales reps once a prospect reaches a certain point threshold or if a certain activity takes place. And timing is everything. In some types of sales 35-50% of all sales are won by the vendor that responds first (InsideSales.com).

Keep it Simple

Many SMBs we talk with say they haven’t made the leap to real marketing automation yet because they believe it’s too difficult. And while successful marketing automation involves many moving parts – contact us forms, downloadable assets, social and CRM integration, lead scoring, etc. – it’s important to start small and slow, while always keeping the end goal of the purpose of marketing automation top of mind. And the ultimate point of marketing automation is to put more sales qualified opprotunities into the hands of your closers. Decide on your goals for each campaign and the few KPIs to measure your success and design accordingly. Three simple KPIs to start with are:

  1. Contact volume.Automation helps marketers manage greater lead and prospect volume with more efficiency and effectiveness. So, it’s important to keep an eye on how many contacts, prospects and leads are engaging with your content to better understand where they are in the buyer’s journey and if there are any actions to be taken.
  1. A common goal is to better move contacts through your buyer’s journey and into your sales reps’ funnels, and track progress to identify what content is working and what’s not. Measure how campaigns impact MQLs, SQLs, and unsubscribes: are your campaigns better qualifying leads, improving the marketing-to-sales lead delivery volume, generating deals that are actually interested and helping nurture leads and prospects not yet ready to buy?
  1. Track engagement – email opens, click-throughs, website visits, shares, etc. – to identify the most effective messages and content that moves the needle with your audiences. Tracking engagement also allows you to identify the most active contacts and whether they need attention from sales.

Keeping it simple will only require you to focus on the buyers and purchase influencers you want to engage with right now.  There are all sorts of advanced features and complex segmentation that is possible but this is a distraction in the short term.  When you are just getting started we recommend that you leave the segmentation, tagging, etc. for later campaigns, once you’ve warmed up your audience with your educational, trust-building content.

No matter how you slice it, the move to marketing automation is growing and will be a requirement to compete for sales successfully in the next several years. Currently, 67% of marketing leaders use a marketing automation platform, while over the next two years, an additional 21% of marketing leaders plan to use a marketing automation platform (Salesforce “State of Marketing” 2017). Those numbers are not surprising because marketing automation works and saves time and money for organizations that leverage the technology to their advantage – 80% of marketing automation users saw their number of leads increase, and 77% saw the number of conversions increase by 2X over the first 18 months of implementing a platform (VB Insight “Marketing Automation, how to make the right buying decision” 2015). It’s no wonder, 91% of the most successful users agree that marketing automation is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing across channels (Marketo & Ascend2).

 

About Us

Gabriel Sales specializes in helping SMBs and Startups grow business with modern sales and marketing operations. Our team can augment gaps in your existing sales and marketing operations or we can be leveraged for full service campaigns that include:

  • Integrated Sales and Marketing Strategies
  • Database Research and Targeting
  • Automation and CRM Systems Best Practices
  • Systems Implementation
  • Inbound Lead Generation
  • Outbound Lead Generation and Lead Scoring
  • Sales Qualification
  • Closing

To learn more about how we can help you grow your business (or decide if we are the right fit for you), we invite you to visit our page that details our integrated approach to sales and marketing outsourcing. Or feel free to contact us for free initial consultation and discovery session to see if our approach is the right fit to help you hit your revenue targets.

How to Use Content Marketing and Automation for Consistent B2B Lead Generation

content-marketing-banner

57% of B2B buyers have already made their purchase decision before ever speaking to a sales person (CEB Global).

 

Ask any modern marketer one of the keys to generating consistent leads, and one thing they’ll say – if not the first – is automate your content marketing. Automated content marketing makes it easy for you to send compelling messages at a thoughtful and coordinated cadence. Scoring your buyers engagement with the content allows you to understand your audience and where they are in the buyers’ journey. This process is the most effective way to generate and develop leads without breaking the bank. It also produces superior results because content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3-times as many leads (DemandMetric). Furthermore, B2B marketers say the number one benefit of marketing automation is the ability to generate more and better leads (Pepper Global). Add analytics to your content marketing automation efforts, and you have a good recipe for generating quality leads consistently – 42% of B2B marketing professionals state that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation (BrightTALK, 2015).

In today’s B2B market, buyers research and engage digitally with content through 67% of the typical B2B buyer’s journey before they even consider talking with someone regarding a purchase(Lenati). In fact, 47% of buyers want to view 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016). So it’s paramount for your content marketing strategy and lead gen success to run campaigns with enough content to generate trust with buyers looking for you to:

  • Prove you understand the problems they face
  • Understand what problem your solution solves
  • Understand what does this solution do better than the others
  • Confirm this solution a good fit for their need

Addressing these FAQs that occur over and over again in your sales process can be automated with educational content that discusses industry trends, common pains, different ways to approach various solutions to industry issues, etc. This simple and substantive information that you can share as a thought leader gives buyers the information they need as they move through their buyers’ journey. Not only does it build trust with the buyer, it offers them insight to make an informed decision about solution options. Because in reality most buyers look at sells reps as a necessary evil. Only 29% of people want to talk to a salesperson to learn more about a product, while 62% prefer to consult a digital content (HubSpot, 2016).

Align Marketing and Sales to Improve Lead Generation Efforts

With the multiple moving parts involved in the modern sales and marketing machine, both departments must work together to generate leads, educate them, and move them towards a purchase decision. Marketo finds that companies with an aligned sales and marketing strategy are 67% better at closing deals. Having an aligned sales and marketing process that works well for generating leads is critical to any firm’s growth. With alignment, both entities understand the target audience, the sales cycle, the appropriate content to send through the proper channels at the right time. The coordination of sales and marketing bridges the communication gaps that otherwise stifle messaging consistency and lead qualification collaboration. By bringing marketing and sales together and making us more effective as a team, we can build a stronger program to meet advisor needs and achieve business results.” – Mary Rosai, Senior Vice President of Institutional Services Marketing, Charles Schwab (Marketo).

Create Authentic and Subtantive Content, Score It and Automate It

If you talk to any modern sales and marketing professional these days about content marketing and how they approach it, you’ll most likely hear four things in common. Think of them as “the four pillars,” of content marketing:

  1. Tell simple, direct and compelling stories
  2. Be insightful and helpful
  3. Leverage data when possible to back-up your claims
  4. Offer advice without hard pitching your solution

In this day and age, B2B buyers are squeezed for time, so they’re interested in useful, and simple to consume educational content that is easy to access and digest. Case studies, white papers and educational blogs helps buyers compare their efforts, challenges and pains with their peers and/or justify their investment. 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on their purchasing decisions (Lenati). The most tangible way to link your business to B2B buyers needs is to show how you solve problems better than your competition.

Marketing automation allows you to share your educational and thought leadership content along the buyers’ journey to develop trust and stay top of mind with consumers that are not quite ready to buy. Automation tools allow you to score leads according to the value of the content their engaging with, allowing your sales and marketing team to predict their readiness to buy based on the content they consumed. In a recent survey of companies leveraging marketing automation with quality educational content on a a regular basis 80% of users saw their number of  converted leads increase, with 77% seeing the number of sales conversions from those leads increase (VB Insight).

Summary

B2B lead generation is one of the top sales challenges facing many SMBs that want to grow their sales revenue. Generating a consistent flow of quality leads is critical to be competitive in the market. Telling simple stories in a systematic way and executing content marketing campaigns using modern sales and marketing operations is crtical to any business that wants to consistently grow their sales funnel in todays buyer driven market. Implementing the right strategy, lead generation techniques, and technologies to allow your sales team to focus on selling to qualified leads, while your marketers focus on sustained and consistent lead generation efforts will improve your sales results and help you meet your revenue targets.

About Us

Gabriel Sales specializes in helping SMBs and Startups grow business with modern sales and marketing operations. Our team can augment gaps in your existing sales and marketing operations or we can be leveraged for full service campaigns that include:

  • Integrated Sales and Marketing Strategies
  • Database Research and Targeting
  • Automation and CRM Systems Best Practices
  • Systems Implementation
  • Inbound Lead Generation
  • Outbound Lead Generation and Lead Scoring
  • Sales Qualification
  • Closing

To learn more about how we can help you grow your business (or decide if we are the right fit for you), we invite you to visit our page that details our integrated approach to sales and marketing outsourcing. Or feel free to contact us for free initial consultation and discovery session to see if our approach is the right fit to help you hit your revenue targets.

B2B Content Preference Report: What your B2B buyer consumes before making a decision

B2B Content Preference Trend: “A typical firm with 100-500 employees, involves an average of 7 people in most buying decisions” (Gartner Group).

In today’s B2B marketplace, time-starved buyers are using digital content to research solutions for their current pains – 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally (Sirius Decisions). So as a modern marketer, it’s critical to understand your B2B buyers’ journey and then to create educational and thought-leadership content around each buyer stage. Content is critical because 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get learn about new solutions from company articles versus a advertisements or cold callers (B2B PR Sense Blog).

So, B2B content preference tells us what types of content are B2B buyers looking for to learn about solutions? Understanding the answer to this question is key to sales success  because  57% of B2B buyers have already made their short list for purchase decision before ever speaking to a sales person (CEB Global).  

So as content marketing continue to increase in importance and becomes more competitive – 90% of B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions (CMO Council) – and we move full-speed ahead in 2018, we wanted to look back at the trends of 2017 to gauge where we should concentrate our efforts according to the research performed by Demand Gen, in its 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report.

We sifted through all the data and pulled out our top 5 B2B content preference statistics for 2017-18 – we’ll keep it short because as the report states: 34% of buyers have less time to devote for reading and research on purchases than last year.

1. 78% say they prefer case studies because it allows them to benchmark themselves against their peers and study real-world examples of a potential solution.
B2B Content Preference

2. 71% prefer content that’s easier to access – 62% want more benchmarking data 87% of buyers give more credence to industry influencer content.

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3. Email remains the channel most buyers employ to share content, while LinkedIn remains the leading social network.Picture3

4. 97% of B2B buyers prefer prescriptive content that recommends a formulaic solution.Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 2.08.45 PM

5. 95% of buyers said they are willing to share their name, company, and email in exchange for the following content types:

  1. white papers (76% said they will share information),
  2. E-books (63%), webinars (79%),
  3. case studies (57%)
  4. third-party/analyst reports (66%).

They’re less willing to register for asset types such as:

  1. podcasts (19%),
  2. video (19%)
  3. infographics (24%)

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Summary

Content is the most effective way to educate buyers about your solution and ignite meaningful conversations. It is important to share relevant and educational material. And it is important to share that content consistently and at the right time. Great content organized in a way that creates a memorable experience keeps your buyers engaged and allows them to easily choose the solution that makes sense for them. Delivering content in a calculated and coordinated process allows you to educate and build trust with prospects and move them through the buyers’ journey and into your sales funnel at the same time. And the modern B2B buyer prefers receiving content digitally before engaging with a sales rep. Content can help sales reps sell faster because 63% of consumers need to hear company claims 3-5x before they actually believe it (Edelman Trust Barometer).

 

About Us

Gabriel Sales specializes in helping SMBs and Startups grow business with modern sales and marketing operations. Our team understands B2B content preference and can augment gaps in your existing sales and marketing operations or we can be leveraged for full service campaigns that include:

  • Integrated Sales and Marketing Strategies
  • Database Research and Targeting
  • Automation and CRM Systems Best Practices
  • Systems Implementation
  • Inbound Lead Generation
  • Outbound Lead Generation and Lead Scoring
  • Sales Qualification
  • Closing

To learn more about how we can help you grow your business (or decide if we are the right fit for you), we invite you to visit our page that details our integrated approach to sales and marketing outsourcing. Or feel free to contact us for free initial consultation and discovery session to see if our approach is the right fit to help you hit your revenue targets.

 

“What is Lead Scoring?” Whitepaper

Why Lead Scoring is Critical for Your Sales Team’s Success

In 2016, we witnessed the near universal embrace of content marketing, with 93% of B2B “marketers” claiming that they have at least tested content marketing in some part of their sales and marketing efforts. Buyers now complete two-thirds of their purchase journey online before ever contacting a vendor or seriously engaging with sales.  Your sales team needs to track that digital conversation!

This whitepaper will help to demystify the most basic areas of how to use content marketing, email, reps and automation tools to drive more sales ready leads. It will also help you answer the following questions for your specific sales process:

 

  • Can lead scoring generate more sales qualified opportunities?
  • What will I need to budget to score leads?
  • Will it work for my business?

Topics include:

  • What is lead scoring?
  • Why does lead scoring matter?
  • Will content marketing, lead scoring and marketing automation work for my business?
  • How to decide if your business is ready for lead scoring.
  • The basics of a lead scoring program.
  • The ROI you should expect from a lead scoring campaign.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Difference Between B2B Demand Generation and B2B Lead Generation?

As an outsourced B2B demand generation and sales outsourcing company, we are frequently asked by customers, what is the difference between demand generation vs. lead generation when the goal for both is to increase revenue and drive more sales for a company? There are many definitions, so here is ours:

  • B2B Demand Generation is the integrated marketing and sales machine that gets sales qualified leads to the sales rep and then helps to close with sales content marketing. B2B demand generation’s job is done when the deal is closed.
  • B2B Lead Generation is the measurable output of the machine. B2B lead generation’s job is done once that lead is moved from a marketing qualified status to a sales qualified status.

As a sales outsourcing and B2B demand generation company, we have been fortunate enough to work with some tremendous innovators while building parts or all of their high velocity sales machines. Below are some of the best practices and tactics Gabriel Sales recommends and tips from some of the thought leaders we work with:

How Outsourced Sales and Marketing Qualify Leads

How Outsourced Sales and Marketing Qualify Leads

Over the past several years, the lines between sales and marketing have been blurred. This is especially true when it comes to qualifying B2B leads. As an outsourced sales and marketing company, we see both good and bad B2B lead qualification processes. And with the new digital buyer, we believe that the most successful path to qualify leads is now a combination of sales and marketing working together to get the most from your sales and marketing budget.   We believe this is one area where considering an outsourced team may make sense. Here is how outsourced sales and marketing qualify leads.

Call B2B Leads Immediately

We all know that there are huge advantages to following up immediately. Buyers have short memories, so you need to strike while the iron is hot. If a call is made instantly after a webinar or a form fill, the buyer may not be ready to buy, but they will be more likely to answer a handful of initial qualification questions about time frame, budget, and why they’re interested. The added bonus is, if the buyer is ready to start evaluating vendors, the first several vendors to reach out will be at the front of the line and the likelihood of getting on their short list increases dramatically.

It is also important that when you get and inbound lead or generate an outbound lead, you immediately drop it into your marketing automation platform. This will keep you top of mind and allow the buyer to learn more about your company (and brand your company) on their own time – not on your caller’s time.

An outsourced sales and marketing company can provide the staff to help you stay on top of all inbound leads.

Understand who you’re qualifying

Do your homework. Research shows, only 2 out of 10 callers take the time to do even a minute or two of research prior to making a qualifying call. Take the time to understand whom you’re qualifying and what the company does.

This is especially true when calling senior executives. The more you demonstrate your knowledge about their company and industry, the more likely they’ll share information about their needs and challenges.

An outsourced sales company will already have the necessary tools and the trained staff to make researching the buyer easier and more cost efficient.

Be Smart About Whom You Call

Building a buyer persona and an ideal customer profile is now critical to getting the most out of your marketing and sales budget. If you hit the mark targeting the right industries and companies,  you’ve already qualified for the first level of fit.

Calling is the most expensive part of B2B lead qualification, so you need to focus on buyers and influencers most likely to buy. Today, you absolutely need to separate the buyers most likely to buy, so you can focus your time on these buyers first, and the easiest way to do this is to use your marketing automation platform to score the buyers most engaged with your digital content.

Outsourced sales and marketing qualify leads faster because they will have a blended team in place that can target correctly, acquire databases faster, and have the automation best practice expertise to help you use your marketing automation to score leads more effectively.

You No Longer Need to Qualify Immediately

BANT is dead. If a potential buyer doesn’t have the budget and authority immediately, it doesn’t mean the lead is dead – it simply means it may take more time to qualify. If a prospect has the need, you can now drop them into your automation campaigns, and over time, as their interest starts to grow, the timeline and budget will start to appear.

Not to state the obvious, but new leads need to be prioritized, but only 10% of qualified leads convert into immediate sales. Granted, there is tremendous gratification in that, but 90% of your B2B leads now take time to develop, which often requires a combination of continued marketing and occasional phone calls. Keep leads in your system until they opt out.

About Gabriel Sales Outsourced Sales and Marketing

Gabriel Sales build modern sales and marketing operation for small businesses and startup.  We use best outsourced sales and marketing practices and modern sales and marketing to qualify leads and run intergrated sales and marketing campaigns to build a consistent flow of quality leads.

Repeatable Outsourced Sales Process

 

To learn more about our outsourced sales and marketing  and decide if this may be the right approach for you please visit our new approach to outsourced sales page.