B2B Lead Generation: Align Sales and Marketing Early
In a finite market with a limited number of customers, building relationships with prospects early and often is the smartest approach to B2B lead generation.
And your sales people, not marketers, should be cementing those relationships.
It's doesn't matter that they're not ready to buy.
If they're a target account, don't let your desire to know if they have budget, authority, need, and a timeframe, deter your effort to engage.
B2B lead generation requires more patience than ever before. There's a limited number of customers out there. You can't afford to wait until they have budget to build a relationship, because by then it's too late.
Buyers are more than half way through the purchasing decision process before they want to talk to a salesperson. So you better dig your well before they get thirsty.
Once budget has been approved and the need is fully understood, chances are that whoever helped them get up to speed has already earned the role of preferred provider.
Now you have no other way to compete but on price, and who wants to play that game?
Lead generation for B2Bs is less about funnels and more about relationships.
To generate more revenue, you should start with the relationship between your sales and marketing department.
Cause you can't always be selling if you want to make friends. You have to always be helping.
Sales should be intercepting and engaging with prospects 18 months out, before they've determined a need, before they've secured budget and before they've made a short list.
Seamless organizations make it easy for customers to transition from prospect to opportunity to customer by erasing the seams between sales and marketing.
If you want to provide a seamless customer experience, your organization can't have seams between sales and marketing.
Marketers need to make it easy for salespeople to leverage their knowledge without squandering their time. They need to get better at messaging by collaborating regularly with frontline sales.
And sales needs to get better at marketing by getting salespeople involved in webinars, podcasts and other thought leadership content marketing initiatives.
Marketers should be on the look out for sales people who present well. And they should be looking for opportunities to tack content creation onto existing events.
Record existing sales presentations and keynotes. Repurpose webinars as podcasts.
Focus on giving sales people a way to speak once and be heard everywhere.
Leverage paid, earned and owned digital media to reach the right stakeholders through the right channels.
If you want to super charge your B2B lead generation efforts, get sales and marketing working together and build relationships with customers early and often.