Wednesday, March 01, 2006

B2B Lead Qualification Strategy

Lately we've been asked to many business-to-business lead qualification strategies for our B2B clients. It seems now that we have search optimized their sites and put persuasive copy and compelling offers to download information from their sites, they are realizing that they are getting a lot of leads and they need to follow up with them.

Surprised? No. But this is still a great development. Now they are coming around the full circle of Internet marketing and finally, naturally see and want the next step to automating their sales process.

These are my recommendations for business to business lead qualification:

1. Don't get so caught up in the technology - figure out your strategy first

The technology is secondary and the strategy is primary. When you start planning, you should forget the technology and focus on what you want to accomplish from a sales perspective. Let the technology guys figure out how to do it once you've got the strategy. Of course you need to have an idea of what's possible, but why not assume everything is possible from the outset and then figure out how to do it once you have the perfect strategy. Don't be limited by technology.

2. The theory on creating the strategy is simple:

  1. What do you know about them already?
    They have downloaded something(s)
    Whatever else they told us in the form

  2. What does what they've downloaded tell you about them?

  3. What would you say to them based on what you know to engage them further and deepen the relationship?

  4. What can you offer them in exchange for them giving you some more information?
    Here are some ideas: It could be, a chance to win something or something for free. Something for free could be a whitepaper, a demo, a flash demonstration, a free consultation, a free sample, competitive assessment, benchmarking data, etc.

  5. What sort of information do you want from them?
These are the questions you would probably want to ask in return for giving them something they find valuable:

  1. Was the content useful and would you like something else on this topic?
  2. What is your role in researching or buying our product? (also what's your title)
  3. What is your researching/buying time frame?
  4. Is a budget authorized for this product or service?
  5. How quickly do expect the buying process to be concluded?
  6. Would you like to talk to one of our reps?
(ED NOTE: I must admit that I borrowed the above questions from Manhatten's Marketing Maven, because they were so good I didn't have to rewrite them. Thanks Danny. The articles on the blog great except a few points on how to engage people where I differ)

3. Dynamic Content. Sometimes, people may have downloaded more than one item on the site. Therefore I recommend that you should not send out one message per download because many people will then receive multiple messages. You should instead create one message for every contact, and craft segments of the message that are custom to what they've downloaded. It's like an IF/THEN statement. As each message goes out our server will go through a series of IF/THEN's to craft the message. For example:

Dear {NAME}:

We are following up on your recent download of information on our web site.

[IF they downloaded A, THEN tell them this]

[IF they downloaded B, THEN tell them this]

[IF they downloaded C, THEN tell them this]


As a measure of our thanks, we would like to make a special offer to you....

(your choice of X, Y, or Z) ....
... just click here to receive it**


Thanks,

Your Company


** The link should go to a form where you ask for the new information, and fulfill the offer.

4. Automate the process
In a perfect world, this would have all been done before you started getting leads from the web site so that this campaign would go out automatically to each new lead using triggered e-mail within 48 hours. People will tend to forget quickly what sites they've visited and why. You need to remind them quickly to keep their attention.

But in our imperfect reality, where clients want to see proof that extra traffic will come, and that people will download things before they decide to make a bunch of autoresponders, this the next best thing:

1. You create this campaign and send it out to all of the people that have downloaded something. 2. You take the same campaign, and you implement it as an automatic follow up 24-48 hours after all new visitors sign up on your web site.

What you have accomplished is a single follow up to every lead you've generated so far, and then you send an automated follow up every day, for every new lead, from now till you decide to stop.

1 comment:

Martin said...

I am looking for a product to help me with my ebooks business. I came across this site http://www.digiserveonline.com which helps with "automate digital delivery". I am thinking of subscribing to it. Do you think it is any good?