Our B2B lead generation business has changed a lot over the last ten years. Conducting outsourced marketing, sales and research for our clients, we used to focus on quantitative metrics – calls, clicks, conversations, emails/proposals sent, and appointments set. Now we focus on qualitative metrics – decision-maker level, multiple department interest, business opportunity and scope. This produces fewer leads, but of greater quality.
I believe these changes are partly the result of self-educated buyers.
Never before have buyers, influencers and champions had access to more information about suppliers/vendors than they do now. Especially for big-ticket items, much of the decision regarding purchase is made before vendor sales teams are invited to present.
Pervasive and persuasive marketing is critical to success in this environment. Calls and emails will go unanswered or screened. Prospects must learn and understand, generally online, a vendor’s value when the need arises, or the opportunity for sale will be missed. Customer satisfaction is key, also. Poor customer satisfaction will destroy credibility in the mind of the prospect with little searching due to the ubiquity of social media.
Today’s B2B CMO must have a marketing strategy that takes into account the self-educated buyer. A smaller, more solution-focused sales team, coupled with a competent marketing and lead generation strategy, which focuses on prospect education, will yield the results necessary for success.
By Ed Trachier, Founder & CEO of OnTarget Partners, a B2B marketing, sales, and research solutions firm that provides Intelligence for Business. He can be reached at 469-200-4901 or at firstname.lastname@example.org