B2B marketers can no longer afford to rely on the lead game. This approach is slowly dying because the value equation doesn’t support the buyer. Savvy companies are abandoning the volume-driven lead approach to techniques that deliver content based on customer needs. The idea is that it’s more important to deliver a great customer experience than it is to capture an email address or phone number, because prospects that visit your website will remember the better experience.
It may sound revolutionary, but B2B marketers should consider how they can serve customers instead of trying to build their lists. Companies that provide free content and experiences are more likely to engage prospects, especially if they can help solve the problem the client is trying to solve.
The best content highlights the major pain points that customers experience and offers ideas for solutions. Educated content is more likely to be engaged with by prospects. This is the moment that you can ask for contact details.
For instance, a blog detailing a potential client’s issues might engage a prospect through search. Once they read the content, you can give them an offer to download a free guide or a white paper on how to improve their business in exchange for sharing their email address or phone number.
Unlike consumer buyers, B2B decision makers spend a much longer time in the buying process. This requires B2B marketers to be patient and play the long game. This means engaging prospects without assuming that they will convert right away. Don’t make buyers feel trapped, instead help them problem solve.
Rethink your metrics and forget about clicks. Instead focus on content. Tag your content according to the customer journey. Track how prospects found your content, how many times they have engaged with it and how they proceed through to conversion.
This approach requires a human touch, as well as a staff that is trained in how to understand data. B2B marketers have work to do in this area. While 34 percent of B2B marketers report that a lack of data skills presents significant barrier to success, only 20 percent of B2B marketers consider data skills a high priority, according to a new survey from Openprise.
Investing in employees with solid data skills and hiring partners that support management, can help B2B marketers overcome these hurdles. According to the report, 72 percent of companies that have taken steps to address data management revealed that they are more likely to achieve ROI goals.
While B2B marketers can certainly improve their data game, B2B marketers excel when it comes to reporting leads generated, identifying where in the buying cycle these customers are and how long the journey is to conversion. Compared with B2C marketers, which often rely on brand metrics that seem top of the funnel to B2B marketers. B2B marketers are more savvy and only mark a campaign successful if the data is there to prove it.
Strategic B2B marketers track how a lead was generated, what content they interact with, what those visitors did once they clicked on an ad and onto a landing page. Understanding what made a prospect make a move, and how long it took to convert or lose the lead, is the core of a solid B2B strategy, allowing marketers to optimize and improve campaign performance.
With the right approach to data, consistent optimization and a willingness to rethink leads, B2B marketers have the potential to target and connect with clients like never before.