Your company has invested lots of time and resources into improving its content, marketing, social media, and more; however, despite the increase in traffic, you’re still lacking lead conversions. This is a problem that many B2B marketing managers are facing and the root cause is usually having trouble securing the right leads. It’s great that your company has traffic and interest, but neither of which is going to put more money in your pocket. It’s time to evaluate some proven measures that you and your organization can implement to ensure that your B2B campaigns are successful.
B2B Sales Cycles
Before you and your company can be offered a solution, the first step is to evaluate the B2B sales cycle. After all, it’s impossible to provide a great customer experience without setting up that experience in the first place. Let’s examine what B2B marketing truly is.
B2B differs from B2C in that your team isn’t attempting to change one person’s mind. The sales cycle of B2B features numerous people of influence that must be taken into account and become convinced that changes need to take place. If your team fails to convince just a single member, then you have failed as an organization.
B2B can be frustrating for some people due to the decision-making process usually taking so much longer than B2C. B2C decisions usually take just a few days at the most; however, B2B decisions can sometimes take many months before an agreement is reached. There are pros and cons to this. One pro is that your team has more time to deal with personalizing and re-targeting; however, due to that long-range timeframe, there’s simply more time for things to spiral out of control and for your company to lose out before a deal can be made.
There is a widely-held stereotype in the business community that B2C campaigns are all about appealing to the customer’s emotions; whereas, B2B campaigns take emotion out of the equation and the focus is exclusively logic and reason-based. This is all completely false. Though emotions are not generally the primary motivating factor whenever the decision to buy has been made, it still plays a role and it would be foolish to think otherwise. For example, a recent study concluded that fifty percent of buyers are more likely to make a purchase if they believe that they can personally gain from the transaction. Though there will never be as much emotion in B2B sales as there is in B2C, businesses should not forget that it plays a role in any type of transaction.
One last notion to keep in mind is that B2B conversion rates are never that high. It doesn’t matter what industry your business is in, you’re just never going to see the same high conversion percentages that you might have seen during B2C campaigns.
Here are some tips to improve your company’s B2B campaigns:
Develop a Better Nurture Program
Studies have concluded that only twenty-seven percent of leads are positioned to make a sale when the leads have first been brought about. This means that a whopping seventy-three percent of your potential buyers are simply not ready to make a purchase. This should not come as a surprise, due to the average lead to opportunity timeframe being eighty-four days long, which is a very, very long time. Don’t panic about this, but more importantly, don’t sit back and wait. You can’t assume that all you need to do is wait a few months and then jump in to make a sale. That is the wrong game plan to have when it comes to B2B sales.
One of the biggest buying motives, whether in B2C or B2B, is trust. Your B2B prospects have to trust you, otherwise, they will take their business elsewhere. Put yourself in the shoes of a company considering making a B2B purchase. Would you prefer that a company completely keeps its distance from you for months, or would you prefer that the company provides you advice, guidance, and does all it can to ensure your success? All businesses should go with the ladder and remain proactive in keeping in touch with potential B2B customers. This what’s known as lead nurturing. It means to, well, nurture your leads.
Lead nurturing has been proven to be a great method for not just increasing your volume of sales, but for improving Average Over Value numbers. Here are some results of recent lead nurturing studies:
-emails featuring lead nurturing get four to ten times as many responses compared to email blasts
-eighty-two percent of prospects believe that lead nurturing is extremely valuable
-businesses that focus on lead nurturing improve their sales totals by fifty percent
-leads that have been nurtured are willing to spend forty-seven percent more than non-nurtured leads
-once lead nurturing occurs, fifteen to twenty percent of leads that aren’t ready to make a purchase will change their minds
One of the biggest lessons you should learn from the above statistics is to remember that quality is more important than quantity when it comes to B2B sales. You’ll never have a large quantity of sales if you’re not delivering quality care, and you should deliver that care by nurturing your leads; however, don’t assume this is easy. Nurturing is known to be way more difficult to implement with B2B compared to B2C. This is due to the decision making process taking so much longer. This is why your marketing efforts must be personalized and stay very consistent.
Get High Quality Leads
The quality of your leads matters more than anything else, including how many of them you have. It’s truly better to have ten high quality leads than ten thousand low quality leads. But how do you go about getting high quality leads? Well, for a long time, many marketers have been utilizing the BANT system. This places prospects into four different categories:
Budget: Can your prospects afford what you have to offer?
Authority: Are your salespeople in contact with the decision maker?
Need: Does the prospect have pain points or something that needs to be fixed?
Timing: Are your salespeople aware of how soon the prospect will need a solution?
BANT is definitely not a bad way to go about qualifying your leads, but it has become slightly outdated. Marketing has continued to evolve since BANT was first being implemented by businesses.
Instead of BANT, many businesses utilize the CHAMP method:
The key differentiation between BANT and CHAMP lies in the order in which questions are asked. The first step a salesperson takes when using CHAMP is asking the prospect what problems he or she is having. This is to quickly determine if a fast solution can be offered.
Many people have found CHAMP to be better suited for marketing in the 21st century. Reasons for this can vary, but the main concept to keep in mind is that CHAMP quickly addresses the prospect’s pain points. This is absolutely crucial when it comes to persuading prospects. You can’t have an effective message that addresses your prospect’s needs if you don’t even understand what those needs are. This is why you should focus on CHAMP strategies and give BANT a rest. Remember, you company needs to always be in the process of nurturing prospects.
CHAMP is Not the End-All
Though utilizing CHAMP will help your company identify targets, it will not necessarily increase your conversion rate. The only way to go about increasing conversions is to personalize the messages that your prospects read.
Remember, CHAMP is just the first step, and you can take additional steps by strengthening the information you get from CHAMP with statistics. These statistics should include relevant information such as:
-Priorities: What are your prospect’s main priorities? Can your team reconfigure the messaging to apply to these priorities?
-Planning: How does your solution correlate to the long-term goals and needs of your prospects?
-Potential downsides: What are the main risks that your prospects will be taking? How can you assure them that they have little to worry about?
Remember, the more data that your company compiles, the easier it will be for your salespeople to identify quality prospects. CHAMP won’t create data for you. Your team will still need to build data on its own.
Only half of the battle is making your messaging effective and working towards finding quality leads. The second half is ensuring that your messages arrive at the correct time. Doing so will speed up your selling process very rapidly. For example, there’s really little point in making the effort to start up a nurture campaign if the prospect has recently decided to do business with a competitor.
A common solution to this problem is to take advantage of life-cycle events and utilize auto-triggers. For example, if the prospect downloads a free PDF off of the company website, then they are enrolled in an email campaign that correlates to the subject matter of the PDF. Though this strategy sometimes works effectively, it assumes that the prospect will take action—and for that action to occur—you better have a great landing page, call to action, ads, etc.
Fortunately, the powers that be in technology have created behavioral tracking for companies to utilize alongside their nurturing campaigns. This allows campaigns to automatically take effect when accounts show an interest in your services. That’s why you need to personalize your marketing efforts as much as possible. Ensure that your marketing team leads are working hard to make their messages as personalized as possible.
Get Your Departments in Sync
Businesses usually consider their sales and marketing departments to be separate entities. Though this is understandable, it’s recommenced that your company fill the gap and allow the two departments to work closely together. Each has crucial knowledge that the other needs, so why not join them together? Sales must provide crucial data that marketing needs and marketing must provide quality content that sales needs. It’s that simple. No matter how your company chooses to handle bridging the gap, any effort to get your marketing and sales departments working together is well worth it.
All B2B lead conversions are hard to deal with. That’s just the nature of business. But your company has to maintain composure and not just work harder than the competition, but work smarter. This means: