Those of you who are regular readers of my b2b sales tips know I believe sales AND marketing should be tightly aligned in you want consistent increases in your b2b sales results.
Qualified Leads are one of the most important elements for improving sales results. Why? Because b2b sales people only have one precious thing to trade – their time. If a b2b sales person is chasing every lead they get without qualifying the lead – the b2b sales person loses their irreplaceable time they could have spent on a qualified potential customer.
Therefore, if Sales and Marketing are tightly aligned you will see these five techniques providing the majority of the new b2b sales leads…
Five Techniques to Improve Lead Quality for the B2B Sales Person
- Press Releases
- Success Stories
- White Papers
Let me briefly discuss the importance of each technique.
Keep an up-to-date information flow going to the customers or prospects. In most cases it adds a little personality to the connection since most newsletters include some recognition of the workers inside your company. It also announces trends, new products, useful suggestions and articles on your products and services connected to helping another customer. Think top of mind trigger with a monthly newsletter filled with information a potential customer should be looking to find.
Press Releases –
This one may seem weak to the uninformed, however it is a powerful tool for generating interest especially in new products or services. You can use a press release to introduce a new product, SKU, service or training to customers and prospects. The ones who response with questions or requests for more information are candidates for additional attention in my book. Also, this is great delivery technique for the Success Stories. If writes, magazines and trade associations pick up the success story – well, get ready for new leads.
Success Stories –
Sometimes called case studies, these articles or stories tell how things get done to solve problems your potential customer may have. A success or case study allows the prospect to place themselves in the story line – when they have the same issue – and suddenly they are interested in how you did it. They want to learn more or in some cases a quick decision maker will just call to have you come in to fix their problem – sooner than later. The use of success stories is a powerful tool and appears to get highly qualified leads for you.
White Papers –
Okay, this one is usually prepared by someone outside the sales group since it is usually involved with some research or at a minimum a series of experiences which create an explanation for “why things happen” within a common concept. While this is closely associated with case or success stories it is a little more formalized and thus is used more by the technical people within an organization or the higher level executives who have a need for information to fill in their vision specific how to do it well answers. Also, if you are a consultant or professional, then white papers become more important in elevating your credibility with prospective clients.
The new kid on the block – who today is winning in the lead generation business. Since technology began to take center stage in the world of business and communication, webinars are moving to the front of the line relative to effectiveness in generating leads and new b2b sales opportunities. There are additional benefits such as a lower cost in execution since it is web based. The systems are available to all sizes of organizations with leaders in providing these services such as Go To Webinar and WebEx. The most important thing about this media – content is king. Do not make it only a video sales presentation. Education your potential customers and show your expertise in solving their problems and your results will increase.
Finally, always remember a “warm lead is much better than a cold call.” A qualified warm lead is similar to finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! The qualified lead is the warm lead who is definitely interested in your solutions or offerings. Start your questioning process and learn how you can help them the best before making a sales presentation.
Oh yes, a final final note. As a b2b sales person you are not expected to become a copy writer for your organization. However, you need to encourage the marketing people to create tools – like the five above – you can use to send to both customers and potential customers. Create your book of business by selecting the types of customers you want to sell to rather than waiting for leads or openings. Be proactive and join the ranks of the b2b Sales Superstars.