Let’s face it, B2B lead generation is an entirely different beast than its consumer counterpart.
There is almost never a “one-size-fits-all” approach that works well in marketing and unfortunately, many marketers try to rinse and repeat strategies by shoehorning target markets into existing campaigns. Your strategy must begin and end with your target — and that’s why utilizing B2B and B2C strategies interchangeably can invariably mean lack luster results and wasted money.
Sure, your B2B prospects are also consumers, but their buying patterns and needs are vastly different than those on the consumer side. For starters, where the consumer purchase is often impulse and status driven, the business sale is longer and research intensive. This means, relationships and brand equity are much more important in the lengthy business sales cycle, as you have to ensure that your brand is top of mind down the road when your prospect is ready to purchase… often months later.
Lead generation is all about providing something of value to your prospect to entice them to enter their personal data. But, a cold lead who knows nothing about your brand is unlikely to surrender that information. And, once the content has been consumed, the chances of that lead turning into a sale without proper nurturing and brand building are slim. You’ve got to utilize brand awareness strategies in conjunction with lead generation practices to maximize your ROI and drive those conversions:
- Position yourself as a thought leader first. This means utilizing a solid mixture of gated content and non-gated content. Often savvy B2B prospects will want to see that your brand knows what it’s talking about and understand the value you’re bringing well before they surrender their personal information and get barraged by sales team phone calls.
- Save your company-specific content. Once you’ve got a prospect in a workflow, don’t throw your case studies and buyer guides at your prospects in the first step. Save your hard sale, company driven content for later on in the sales funnel and focus on providing high-level solutions focused content up front to build trust.
- Build your brand internally. It’s counterproductive to run lead generation campaigns if the sales team that’s conducting the follow up doesn’t know how to properly speak to your brand benefits. Ensure that your team is on the same page and understands what your brand stands for. This way, your message will be consistent at every touch point along your customer journey — building trust with your prospects and driving up your conversion rate.
The secret in B2B lead generation is identifying appropriate ways to create a bond, make them remember your brand and generate trust. You can’t effectively generate leads and maintain a positive ROI if you aren’t also utilizing brand building tactics and nurturing those leads throughout the funnel.
Want to hear more from Matt about branding? Check out our interview with him.