B2B marketers

Leads are the heart of a business’s operations, for arguably obvious reasons. Even so, most businesses need to work on lead tracking and management. Some companies even treat lead generation and management as an afterthought.

If you’re struggling with lead acquisition, here are a few questions you need to be asking:

How Can We Deliver Messages To Influencers?

Who are you contacting in an organization or is your message getting to the right person? In B2B sales, the person at the front desk is almost never the person you need to speak with, write to, or write for. Yet, many messages are dropped off with a secretary or rank-and-file employee in the hopes that they will act as your delivery person. Bad idea!

If you can connect directly with decision-makers within your company, you stand a much better chance of getting the sale. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to go right to the CEO. Often, it’s a purchasing agent or CFO that makes the important buying decisions in a company. Target these people with your communications.

Use press releases that are delivered through channels they are most likely to read, address correspondence directly to them in direct mail pieces you send out, and connect with these influencers via LinkedIn, Facebook, or other social media sites.

How Do We Stay With Prospects Through The Buying Process?

Staying with your prospects throughout the buying process is important. There’s an old saying in sales that “people buy when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell.” Yet many salespeople have fallen into the trap of always being “on” to try and force a sale. It never works.

Smart businesses use lead tracking and sales management tools. For example, this mortgage software helps bankers and mortgage professionals track their leads from conception/opt in to the sale/closing without employing high-pressure sales tactics.

When you’re following a lead, and maintaining low-pressure contact with them through newsletters, emails, white papers, and other information-based contact, you create top-of-mind awareness. You become a thought-leader and the “go-to” person when they are ready to make the sale.

You’d be wise to follow suit.

How Can We Better Communicate With Customers In A Way That Reduces Risk For Them?

When buyers perceive a risk, or an undue risk, in doing business with you, it creates resistance to buying. So, your job is to reduce that risk, lower a prospect’s defenses, and then earn the business. While there are many tactics for reducing risk, like offering a guarantee or “risk-free trial,” the principle of risk reduction is to offer more value than the cost of doing business with you.

That’s really what stops people from buying. When your offer almost feels “cheap” to the prospect (regardless of the actual price), or the cost of doing nothing is greater than the cost of doing business with you, there’s very little reason not to move forward.

What Can We Offer Today That Will Cause Prospects To Engage With Us And Eventually Buy?

Unless the prospect is ready to buy right now, you need lead generation pieces that keep prospects engaged with you over a long period of time. Sending a prospect a whitepaper, for example, starts the conversation off with non-sales material.

At the same time, it opens the door for a sale, since the whitepaper outlines a problem, a generic solution, and leaves the door open for your company to fill a need (the solution).

Author Bio: Robert Holmes is a small business marketing consultant. He enjoys posting about what he has learned on the web. His articles can be found on many small business and marketing websites and blog sites.

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