Delivering a steady flow of leads to your business development team is the number one priority for B2B Marketers. Its a constant activity that if done well creates that all important momentum. Here's what you'll need to define for your B2B marketing plan:
Your business objectives. Is your goal to improve on last year's revenue performance, or hold steady in these turbulent times? Do you plan to boost your margin by top line growth or by managing expenses? Are you going to generate new revenue from a new audience or upsell to your existing clients? Marketing strategy must start with a clear understanding of your business objectives and particularly the financial goals of your organisation.
Who is your buyer? Central to all B2B Marketing plans is the buyer. The individual or set of individuals who are important in the buying process. People buy to solve business problems they face. Their business is in pain, they have too much of a bad thing or too little of a good thing. A good marketing plan has a laser focus on:
- The problem that is most acute for your target buyers
- The problem you are best at solving
If you aren't too sure what the key pain point is for your buyers, try to put yourself in your buyer's shoes and imagine the challenges they are facing. If you feel out of touch, speak to a group of buyers directly, or conduct a quick survey, or even just talking to your sales people or channel can help hugely. Then, honestly assess your ability to solve their problems.
The goal is to create a buyer-based strategy that caters to all their complex needs.
The frequency and volume of your required marketing activity. Decide on the velocity of your go to market funnel (the time it takes a typical buyer to move through all the buying stages from unaware of your firm to loyal customer) by looking at your conversion rates from stage to stage of the buying journey. Understand that your funnel will "leak" buyers at each of the stages. Equally, buyers take time to move through the stages of the buying journey, often many months, even years. Allow for lag and leakage in your calculations. These concepts come from "The Leaky Funnel" a great book by Hugh McFarlane owner of Mathmarketing a g2m Solutions' partner. See their free funnel calculator as well for a great working example of this concept.
What kind of content truly engages your buyer? Content marketing is the petrol that drives your lead engine. By producing content that advances their understanding of their problem, you will create genuine value for your buyer. Those engaged buyers will be more willing to engage with your firm if you have demonstrated your understanding of the problems they face. You have earned the right to help them solve the problem.
Use your business blog as a key tool for creating value, and drawing in buyers to offers of even more valuable content, such as eBooks, Whitepapers, webinars and so on and remember to ALWAYS focus on creating real value when you're marketing through content - product pitches are off limits. Create a content map and outline what kind of content is needed for each stage of the buying cycle. Remember to ask questions and promote interactivity wherever possible. Using social media such as LinkedIn can drive leads.
We have laid out the key steps B2B Marketers need to take to build a lead engine in our complimentary eBook. Please download it for free here:
How does this list compare to how you turn B2B Marketing strategy to action? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.