Business to business lead generation is one of the most essential parts of the sales cycle. Utilizing all resources at your disposal will help generate and convert your leads into sales. A crucial part of successful lead generation is the customer journey map.
Not only will customer journey mapping help contribute to successful lead management, but it will also help to improve your overall customer experience. B2B companies rely on customer experience for conversion rates. These strategies will help increase these rates, as well as contribute to customer satisfaction.
Overall, the successful implementation of these strategies and maps will create strong relationships with customers. This will also improve your marketing focus and accomplish your business goals. This article will cover the best practices for B2B lead generation.
There are two major types of business models, Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C). While both of these are centered around sales, each includes different customer journey stages.
In short, B2C companies sell directly to consumers, while B2B companies sell to other businesses. While it seems like B2C would involve more direct interaction with people, B2B sales often involve multiple people throughout the sales cycle. It is important to remember you are not selling to the company, but rather the people who work there.
Because of these differences, the customer journey maps for B2B and B2C businesses follow separate outlines. For B2B companies, the buying cycle can take 1-3 months and 80% of these cycles include up to six people.
The Basics of a Customer Journey Map
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer cycle from start to finish. This strategy takes into account the entirety of a customer, including pains, emotional needs, and actions. By mapping out all of these factors, B2B companies are able to better understand their target demographic and create meaningful relationships with their leads.
The ideal customer journey map looks at the complete lifecycle from the introduction to any post-sale support services, including the engagement that occurs in between. While each one will look different for unique leads, there are a few customer journey mapping tools all will include based on universal experiences.
Touchpoints: All possible client interactions with your brand. These may include advertising, social media, direct communication, and purchases.
Moments of truth: Information regarding which touchpoints impact a customer.
Performance Indicators: Anything that evaluates how customers are responding to touchpoints.
Visuals: Typically, this is either a linear or cyclical illustration of the customer cycle.
Creating The Customer Journey Map
Once you understand the concept of the map, you can begin creating for each of your customers. Begin with the prep work and go through the process one step at a time. These maps won’t seem like a huge undertaking if you have a plan of attack.
Set your objective. Determine what you want to get out of the map to make sure you are including the correct information. Clear objectives will guarantee that the map is beneficial to your sales process.
Next, define the persona and determine the touchpoints. These parts will be crucial in generating your B2B leads. Finish mapping by identifying the performance indicators. Choose ways to best identify how the customer is interacting with your brand.
What is Lead Management?
Before you can start successfully using your customer journey maps, understanding lead management will ensure the conversion of leads to sales. Simply put, lead management is the process of managing throughout the buying journey.
The Lead Management Cycle
Lead management goes through five major steps to help create conversions.
The Lead capture: determining leads and preparing them for the cycle
The Lead nurturing: helping push leads from expressing interest to purchasing
Lead routing: handing off the leads that are sales-ready
Lead reporting: closing the gap between marketing and sales
Important Elements of B2B Lead Management
B2B sales involve a lot of moving parts. It is important to keep track of everything in the beginning stages to have a high conversion rate later on in the cycle.
Lead management involves identifying the people in the process, including your internal team and the contacts of your leads. Determine your internal processes as well. Make sure to decide upon a centralized lead qualification process, as well as have passive marketing content ready for the early stages.
Avoid the common mistakes where lead management can fall short. For example, don’t pass off qualified leads unless they meet all of the agreed-upon criteria. Use cross-marketing for all of your lead nurturing. Make sure to view your lead management through the customer lens.
Creating the map is the first step to making the most out of this sales strategy. Ideally, you will have a customer journey map for each lead. The main objective of this strategy is to properly nurture your leads to convert into sales, as well as improve the overall customer experience.
These should help with introductions, creating brand awareness, and successful education of your product to leads.
Introduction to Your Lead and Starting a Conversation
Using your gathered information, plan the introduction of your brand to the lead. This is the first part of your customer’s journey with your brand, and first impressions really matter. Determine the best first touch and be sure to document all of the following interactions.
From this point, the goal will be to build your relationship while allowing passive content (social media and paid advertising) to further educate the lead about your product.
Once the conversation has begun, the customer journey map plays a role in better understanding the target customer. The data collected by your map provides crucial insights into how your customer behaves and the motivations behind their actions.
To move from a lead to a qualified lead, multiple touches must happen. By being able to place these touchpoints into a specific section on the map, you can begin to see underlying needs and patterns within the customer.
This data is important for providing an excellent customer service experience. Imagine, you’re able to have an in-depth understanding of your lead’s actions. This allows you to predict their movements, choose the best times to reach out, and provide solutions to problems for them.
Customer satisfaction is key to having repeat purchases. Being able to identify the needs of a lead and provide solutions with your product will help create a meaningful relationship that benefits both sides.
Customer journey maps do more than just provide the framework for your actions. These plans allow you to collect data and analyze it to continually improve your sales process.
These maps allow you to track the channels incoming leads originate in. By having this information, your company is able to see which tactics are worth focusing on and which areas need improvement to create engagement.
Data also allows you to trace the path each lead took before converting to a qualified lead. You will be able to see if they responded to a LinkedIn message, interacted with an Instagram post, or visited your website through a search.
By including these paths as they occur in your map, you can begin to understand the customer and utilize this information to best generate new leads. Keeping track of this data allows you to keep an eye on changing trends, so you can shift your focus to channels that provide the most engagement.
Generating New Leads and Discovering Generation Channels
A completed customer journey map provides a clear view of all the possible generation channels. Usually, undiscovered generation channels may get passed over or lumped together with existing ones. By having this map, you won’t miss any opportunities to generate leads.
Along with discovering new channels, these maps may help you generate new leads by providing new touches. All of this can be measured through your data, so you can fully understand what is the best way to create conversions and grow your customer base.
The Importance of the Customer Journey Map
Overall, this strategy should play a prominent role in B2B sales and marketing strategy. From the initial prep work and research of a lead to closing the deal, this map will be there to guide and collect data.
Start as soon as you capture a lead, and continue using the map throughout the customer journey stages. This will ensure that your leads are following the path to conversion.
This article will discuss how the buying cycle and content mapping can guide your lead nurturing strategies to ensure that the customer journey is effortless. This article also includes a few examples of email nurturing content that can help boost the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, convert leads into sales, and help your company understand the impact of content on the buying journey.
Read on or “jump” ahead to these sections to learn more:
Content Mapping and the Buyer’s Journey Guide Lead Nurturing Strategy
Creating lead nurturing campaigns has become one of the most successful ways to transform leads into sales. Both B2B and B2C companies are familiar with the strategy. And 35% of marketers have some sort of strategy currently in place. More than that 50% of companies who have one or more successful lead nurturing campaigns have created more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost than those without lead nurturing strategies.
Over 55% of marketers have said that email campaigns drive the highest ROI of any of their other lead nurturing platforms. As such, email marketing remains one of the most powerful tools for converting leads to sales, advertising, and leveraging insights to boost the customer journey experience. Using lead nurturing email content can help your brand convert leads into sales, ensuring that customers have the most personalized and helpful customer journey content.
The Buying Cycle makes up the broad stages of a customer journey. Personalizing your lead nurturing content to a given customer means ensuring that they are targeted with the most useful product or service options. The Buyer’s Journey represents each step in the process of a potential customer becoming a repeat buyer. The buyer’s journey, also known as the customer journey, is comprised of three core steps that a potential buyer may follow:
Evaluation or Consideration
As the buyer moves through these three steps, your brand must also supplement the buyer’s journey with email nurturing content. This kind of content is crucial for the success and follow-through of a sale from a particular buyer. And therefore, requires careful consideration and planning. Leadboxer’s platform offers a variety of tools that can aid in lead generation, and gather insights so that your company can create the most effective content for each lead.
Content Mapping is one strategy that ensures that your brand is creating the most relevant, effective content for your target audience. The kind of content that is created for a particular content map relies on the sales cycle of your own company, as well as that of your industry. It is also crucial to create buyer personas so that your strategy is well-informed of what your clients needs.
Defining and redefining your target audience, and aligning this audience with the correct buyer persona is crucial to ensure a successful email nurturing campaign. Creating a variety of content assets that differs from competitive brands is one sure-fire way to stand out among current and potential customers. Fostering a customer-driven mentality throughout the brand exhibits consistency and trust with customers who feel they have derived value from your brand’s content and relationship.
Aligning an Email Nurturing Campaign with the Buyer’s Journey
Targeted, customizable, and valuable email campaigns provide a high return on investment (ROI) for inbound marketing tactics. The ultimate goal of email nurturing or lead nurturing through email campaigns is to build trust with customers.
The benefits of email lead nurturing campaigns from a logistical standpoint are that while they do require planning and prepared execution, these kinds of campaigns are ultra-targeted, automated, and timely. Creating unique content for each stage of the buyer’s journey is an email campaign strategy to carry out lead nurturing that converts prospective buyers into customers.
Stage One: Customer Awareness of Your Brand
During the awareness stage, the focus of your lead nurturing content should be on providing information about the customer’s problems, not on your brand’s solution to those problems. Providing information that educates a potential buyer about their problem begins to foster trust in the customer and sends the message that your brand is not just simply looking for another source of business.
Certain kinds of informational content are most appropriate for this stage in the buyer’s journey, and once a client has expressed awareness and interest in learning more, your brand can begin its lead nurturing email campaign. Below is a list of some potential types of content that are appropriate for the awareness stage:
Informational emails: These emails serve to give customers more information about the brand. They should provide information about certain potential problems that a customer might have, based on buyer personas, and other demographics.
Demo Videos, social media, and tip sheets or checklists: Visual cues are crucial for any kind of marketing campaign, and can be especially useful for giving information to customers who are previewing many different products or services. Quick informational facts and product information can be compiled into a comprehensive video, infographic, or social media post.
Stage Two: Evaluation, Deeper Exploration, and Consideration
At this stage, a customer has identified their interest in your brand. And has possibly reached out to the sales team, marketing team, or has otherwise expressed a deeper interest in exploring your product offerings. This is the time to begin advertising your brand’s products and services. But most importantly, specifying how your products can address that customer’s pain points.
Creating lead nurturing content at this stage of the buying cycle is crucial. Because it can determine whether a customer will follow through and convert into a sale, or take their business elsewhere. The goal of this kind of content is to highlight the usefulness of your brand’s products and offerings. The more that a customer values their relationship with their brand, the better the customer journey, encouraging sales conversions from prospective leads.
Having compiled various types of content now is the time to offer more in-depth content that provides a comprehensive look at how your products or services would solve the customer’s pain points. Some appropriate content might include:
Educational Webinars, e-Books, and blog posts: In-depth and long-form content are effective for providing information about how your brand’s products or services can solve the customer’s pain points. Webinars provide space for customers to take in your products and services at their own pace and reach out with questions. While e-books and blog articles can offer more tailored information about specific topics, customer testimonials, and your brand’s insight into various industry problems.
Case studies and Whitepapers: Case studies and whitepapers are effective forms of content for customers who are looking for more data-driven and technical information about your brand’s services and products. Case studies can act as in-depth testimonials and consistently rank as one of the most effective marketing strategies. Using case studies as a unique pillar page to tie in other kinds of content builds customer trust and education.
Stage Three: Purchase and Sale Conversion
During the final stage in the buyer’s journey, customers are ready to take the next step and commit to a brand’s offerings and products to aid in solving their pain points. The content that is most effective at this stage requires the lead to take action and your brand should have already provided information about the lead’s problem. And how your company can best solve that issue.
That being said, there is still a variety of content that can solidify a sale in this final stage. Effective content at this stage can include:
A free Trial or Live Demo: Providing these kinds of interactive content is crucial to showing the customer that your product or service is going to solve their problem. Showing the lead that your brand is the best fit for them is important. A customer is more likely to invest long term when they know a product works well for them.
Consultation or Estimate: Gives the lead an idea of how your services would fit into their budget and company overall and should be used to educate the customer to the fullest about their situation. And help them come to a decision.
Coupon or Product Reviews: Past product reviews can act as “recommendations” from past customers who have experienced similar issues and may provide the lead with the needed proof that your company is the solution to their problems. Coupons or a discount on a certain product or service are another way to demonstrate to the customer that your brand cares about helping them with their problem, rather than just treating them as another sale.
All of these different types of content can and should be used in your lead nurturing email campaigns. By providing potential clients with a variety of content at each stage of the buying cycle, a qualified lead is nurtured from beginning to end and is more likely to lead to a sale.
Making sure that the right kind of content is reaching customers at the right time is important to ensure that customers don’t feel overwhelmed or spammed with content that is not useful. LeadBoxer’s platform can help you create the most effective content for boosting the buyer’s journey. For additional information, contact LeadBoxer for a free demo.
Business-to-business (B2B) sales involve companies selling products and services to other businesses. B2B companies either sell items to another company so they can make their own products or meet a specific need.
The Purpose of a Good B2B Lead Strategy
In B2B sales, you’re likely to deal with several decision-makers within one company. In fact, salespeople engaged in B2B sales will need to work with an average of seven decision-makers. These people include CEOs, sales representatives, board members, and those in the financial and legal departments.
Selling to a group of people is different than pitching to an individual as in business-to-consumer (B2C) sales. The need to successfully make a pitch to individuals with varying perspectives differentiates B2B lead strategy from that required for B2C sales.
Relationship building is essential to both B2B and B2C lead strategies but takes on increased importance in the B2B arena. Here are some elements of a successful business-to-business lead sales and marketing strategy:
Know Your Prospects
Researching those you’re selling your product or service to will improve your chance of a successful transaction. Keep in mind, not every business prospect is a good fit. If you know this beforehand, you’ll avoid wasting time and energy that could be spent on quality leads.
Focus on Building Relationships
Typically, the B2B sales and relationship-building processes take more time in comparison to B2C. In B2B, businesses lose 45-50% of their clients over five years, which is significant and must be addressed.
To avoid losing B2B prospects, building and maintaining long-term relationships through a strong lead nurturing strategy is encouraged. B2B sales bring in more revenue than B2C sales as you’re dealing with companies, not individual consumers. When a B2B client is lost, thousands, not hundreds of dollars can disappear.
Build an Effective Website
Most B2B leads will do thorough research before making a purchasing decision. They will examine your website and social media profiles. Make sure these look professional, and that your website is easy to navigate and clearly states your company mission, background, and includes testimonials from satisfied clients.
Establish a Social Media Presence
Having a powerful social media presence is beneficial in many ways. It can offer your sales and marketing departments the following advantages:
Insight into your competitors and prospects
An avenue to establish credibility
A means for building trust with leads and buyers
Opportunities to reach out to prospects and buyers
According to Marketing Sherpa, 64% of respondents believe email marketing delivers the best return on investment. Email marketing is effective in cultivating relationships with business prospects and in nurturing them through the sales funnel.
As mentioned previously, relationships are a crucial element in B2B sales. Everything in your B2B strategy should revolve around building long-term relationships with business prospects. A strong business-to-business leads strategy will involve both the sales and marketing teams.
Your organization will appear more credible and trustworthy when the marketing and sales teams work together. Companies with a B2B strategy that features sales and marketing alignment are more successful in nurturing prospects into buyers.
Throughout the marketing and sales processes, both departments work together to provide a cohesive, smooth experience for prospects. Marketing produces valuable content at each stage of the funnel while sales provides personal and prompt lead follow-up. Both sales and marketing must do all they can to serve, nurture, and build relationships with each lead.
Market Alignment Goals
Your marketing message plays a big role in the success of your company’s B2B sales. Market alignment is defined as “the process of creating a marketing message that is appropriately aligned, or in sync, with the target audience the message is intended to persuade.” The goal of your market alignment is to deliver the right message at the right time to the right prospects.
This is achieved when you focus on the buyer’s needs rather than on emphasizing how good your company, products, and services are. Knowing your prospects, their pain points, and how your services and products can help, builds trust and a rapport. The early relationship-building formed by market alignment messaging improves the chances of a sale.
To fully understand which prospects your marketing department should be targeting, regular collaboration with the sales team is required. When marketing and sales are properly aligned, customer-centric messaging is incorporated into each sales funnel stage. Marketing can introduce market alignment messaging into content and sales can include it in lead follow-up and nurturing initiatives.
When sales and marketing aren’t on the same page problems ensue. Beyond the miscommunication and contradictory messaging issues that are bound to occur, misalignment can negatively affect the buyer’s journey. This lack of cohesiveness makes it more difficult to convert B2B leads into paying customers.
Issue #1: Poor Marketing Qualified Leads
A common marketing and sales misalignment issue is the failure to produce marketing qualified leads (MQLs) to sales. As a result, the sales team is stuck with poor prospects that do not respond to lead nurturing efforts. In turn, these leads fail to convert into paying customers.
Issue #2: Lack of Lead Follow-Up and Nurturing
Whether prospects are qualified or not, marketers can get frustrated at sales for not following up and nurturing the leads they are given. Once the marketing department hands off prospects to sales, its nurturing endeavors may end.
Issue #3: Poor Marketing to Sales Handoff
When the sales and marketing teams use different lead qualification requirements, the prospect handoff can cause problems. When prospective buyers are handed off from marketing to sales, mixed messaging can occur. Leads are quick to notice the inconsistency and may be hesitant to move forward along the sales funnel.
Issue #4: Lack of ROI Attributed to Marketing
In some cases, marketers don’t know how their lead generation impacts the company’s return on investment (ROI). This can alienate the marketing team and lower the incentive and motivation for your marketers to aggressively seek the new leads your company needs.
Strategies for Meeting Your Marketing Goals
Common B2B marketing goals include producing qualified leads for your sales team, creating valuable, targeted content, and building relationships with buyers. Successfully completing these tasks plays an essential role in bringing awareness to your brand, products, and services. These goals are more attainable when they are S.M.A.R.T goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely).
Here are some B2B marketing goal strategies to try:
Establish MQLs Criteria: Work with your sales team to create uniform marketing qualified leads criteria. Only prospects that meet all of these established conditions should be referred to sales for nurturing.
Track Marketing ROI Contribution: Inform your marketers of how their lead generation efforts have directly contributed to the company’s ROI.
Involve Marketers in the Sales Process: Create opportunities for your marketers to sit in on sales calls and learn the overall selling process.
Utilize Marketing Automation Tools: Synchronize your company’s email and scheduling software between sales and marketing. Using the same program, a singular marketing message can be carried through in follow-ups by the sales team.
Create Unique Content for Each Step of the Buyer’s Journey: Marketers can create targeted content using buyer data, marketing goals, buyer personas, and lead generation strategies. The diversity of content is geared toward prospects in each stage of the sales funnel.
The foundation of your content marketing strategy should be centered around your buyers’ pain points and your company’s unique selling proposition. B2B leads will be more trusting of a company that demonstrates how it is focused on them and the ways it can help them to succeed. Referencing your company’s unique value proposition will make you stand out from your competitors.
Successful marketers build long-term relationships with B2B prospects, generate qualified leads, and help convert those leads into paying buyers. Throughout the buyer’s journey, there are opportunities to meet these marketing goals through content. Your content needs to build prospect trust, establish and reinforce brand authority, and resolve lead queries and concerns.
Your marketing content should provide valuable information to the right prospects, at the right time. The alignment of your marketing message should be adopted by your sales team when they interact with leads. Knowledge of the sales process will help form marketing content for each stage of the sales funnel.
Here are things to keep in mind when building relationships with B2B leads through content marketing:
Create a content library to guide prospects through the buyer journey
Share the content library with your sales department
Your content is for informing and educating, not selling
Keep the buyer at the center of your messaging
Use a variety of content pieces
To attract buyers, there must be sales and marketing alignment. Your market alignment messaging needs to be buyer-centered. There are many opportunities throughout the sales funnel to effectively use content marketing to reach prospects along the buyer’s journey.
Without a cohesive B2B lead strategy and sales and marketing alignment, you risk losing prospects. When your messaging is off, you may get unqualified leads.
Don’t be scared of the technical jargon surrounding Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6). If lead generation is a major component of your company’s marketing plan, then learning about the latest version of the Internet is a must.
Once you understand what IPv6 is, why it’s important to your business, and how to leverage it, you’ll be able to identify and nurture prospects more effectively and responsibly than you currently do. To learn more, read on or jump ahead to these sections:
Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) is the latest version of the Internet Protocol (IP), which is the system for identifying and connecting devices across the Internet. In essence, your device’s IP address is a series of numbers that tell the Internet where to send emails, articles or other content you want to access.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) started developing IPv6 in 1998 in preparation for the inevitable exhaustion of IP addresses provided by Internet Protocol version 4 (IPv4). Under IPv4, IP addresses are only 32 bits. A typical IPv4 address looks like this:
There are only about 4 billion possible 32-bit IP addresses available, a limit the world has long since hit. To accommodate the growing number of devices connecting to the Internet, IP addresses created by IPv6 are 128 bits. A typical IPv6 address looks like this:
Hypothetically, IPv6 addresses can make it easier for marketing and sales teams to track and nurture leads. In reality, there are a few technical factors that complicate matters.
Pro: Better At Identifying Individual Devices
IPv6 addresses are potentially capable of acting as an identifier for each connected device on the planet, which would allow marketers to refine their targeting.
With IPv4, addresses typically describe a group of devices that share a network. For example, a laptop, tablet, mobile phone, and connected TV that belong to a family might be assigned a single IPv4 address. If there are multiple people within that household, marketers are limited in how well they can target a particular individual across devices.
With IPv6, the nearly infinite number of addresses theoretically makes it possible to assign a unique address to each device. Marketers could then associate an address with an individual as opposed to a household, thus making it easier to target that person whether they’re on their phone or laptop. Not only could this help increase conversion rates and customer experiences, but it could also make analytics more accurate.
While this sounds great in theory, there are a few considerations.
Con: Less Stable Tracking Technique
Not every device currently uses IPv6. In fact, IPv4 and IPv6 will likely be in use simultaneously for many years.
As of January 2021, only about 33% of people around the world who access Google have an IPv6 address. In the U.S., IPv6 adoption is just above 44%.
This can create confusion for marketers. For example, a tablet within a household might have an IPv6 address while other devices connected to the same network might share an IPv4 address. To marketers, this would make it appear as though those devices came from two different households.
Con: Privacy Issues
Since IPv6 addresses can describe a unique device, you could make the argument that they can identify an individual better than IPv4 addresses. This would classify IPv6 addresses as personal information under privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
IP addresses were never meant to be a tool for marketers or advertisers, which is why the GDPR regulates how companies can use them. However, as you’ll later see, there are ways to leverage IPv6’s benefits while respecting your customers’ privacy.
How to Take Advantage of IPv6 in Your Business
Don’t let IPv6’s shortcomings prevent you from leveraging this new technology. With the right software and strategies, you can identify individual leads and determine how likely they are to buy from your business.
Use an IPv6 Tracker
There are countless tools out there that help you gather data about leads so you can better target and nurture them. For example, you could collect info about prospects through a sign-up form like this one:
But what if a visitor to your site doesn’t fill out a form? This doesn’t mean they aren’t a good lead for your business. It also doesn’t prevent you from figuring out who are they or how to contact them.
Lead intelligence software like LeadBoxer can track and do reverse lookups on IPv6 addresses. You can see who is visiting your site, what company they work for, and even what their contact info is, all based on their IP address.
Best of all, this capability works right out of the box, so you can start capturing lead data on autopilot.
Create Personalized Customer Experiences
Want to make a stellar first impression? Tailor your website so that it’s even more relevant to prospective customers. You can do this by optimizing pages with content that automatically adjusts based on a visitor’s IP address.
This doesn’t require a ton of leg work or crafting personalized pages from scratch. Consider this example from Quicksprout:
A single element within the copy changes depending upon the visitor’s geographic location. In this case, it’s Corpus Christi. This small detail instantly catches the user’s eye and increases the likelihood that they’ll answer the call to action.
Assess “Hot” Prospects
Leadscoring is the process of assigning a prospect a number between one and 100. The number reflects how likely the lead is to buy from your company. The higher the number, the better the prospect. This saves your sales team time by showing them who they should focus their attention on.
Tracking leads via IP addresses can increase the accuracy of a lead score. When you track a particular address, it’s easy to know which pages a prospect has visited or how much time they’ve spent on your site, which is essential for calculating a lead score.
LeadBoxer’s leadscoring tool is completely customizable. You decide which factors are most relevant to your team and how much weight they carry.
Update Your Privacy Statement
What type of information the site collects
Why this data is collected
How it’s processed, like where it’s stored and for how long
What steps you take to keep the info secure
There should also be clear, easy-to-follow instructions for visitors who want their personal information removed or not collected in the first place.
IP masking with LeadBoxer is easy. Simply go to the datasets overview, click the settings icon, then tick the box labeled Enable Ip Masking.
Of all the technological advancements that affect marketing and sales teams, IPv6 is perhaps the most important one to understand and prepare for. Adoption is ongoing and IPv6 will likely never be surpassed in our lifetime. In other words, resistance is futile.
Fortunately, there are several advantages to using IP addresses in your business. Tracking IPv6 addresses can give you a detailed picture of who is visiting your site and how engaged they are as a prospect. There are also several lead intelligence tools, such as LeadBoxer, that are already equipped with IPv6 address-monitoring capabilities.
There are some downsides to IPv6, such as privacy infringement. LeadBoxer has an answer for that, too. The IP masking feature makes it easy to stay GDPR-compliant, all without sacrificing any of the benefits of address-tracking, like identifying companies or geographic location.
When comparing interest in customer engagement over the last 15 years we see a steady increase in search volume. It’s no wonder, with software companies constantly looking for new ways to view and use data to improve customer engagement strategies and customer experience.
We want to help guide professionals through this ever-changing journey. That is why we put together these trends and strategy tips to help improve your company’s customer engagement strategy through the use of emerging technologies.
Customer engagement is the process of interacting with your customers through the use of different channels and mediums. By connecting with your clients this way you’re strengthening and improving your relationship with them.
Most companies consider the starting point for the customer engagement process as the first interaction a potential customer has had with your business. The process continues even after you have made a sale. Watch best TED talks for sales.
Social media tends to be one of the most popular ways for brands to directly interact with their customers. When done right, it has great benefits. In fact, 71% of people who have a good experience with a brand on social media are likely to refer others to that business.
One way companies continue to create personalized engagement is through conversation in the comments section of social media ads and posts. Companies that do this offer a unique and engaging experience for their customer base, making them more likely to buy from them in the future.
The 4 Types of Customer Engagement Levels
There are four distinct types of customer engagement levels every company should be aware of before crafting their customer engagement strategy.
Contextual engagement means interacting with your customers at the optimal time in the way they want to be communicated with. We can do this through the use of analytic technology that assists your teams in understanding your customers’ behaviors.
A lead generation and management software can help you identify demographic information such as IP addresses, filled out forms, and other website engagements, giving you the context you need to interact with them effectively.
For example, in this photo, we can see the engagement potential clients had with the site. From this, we can engage them with the content they are already interested in.
If LeadBoxer were a potential lead of ours, we would see Eddie engage with us on Twitter, but Wart likes to read our emails. To reach each of them effectively, we would send Eddie a direct message on Twitter and Wart an email.
These are examples of how we use contextual engagement to interact with our customers based on the information we have about them. By focusing on the individual client’s behaviors we can achieve a more personalized customer journey and offer an unmatched experience.
2. Engagement of Convenience
Engagement of convenience is any type of interaction that increases convenience for your customers and allows the company’s software to better understand each customer’s needs. Put simply, it’s when a customer can easily engage with your business through simple channels. Consumers engage with you because it’s easy for them to do so.
An example of this is Amazon’s “one-click” purchase option where purchasing preferences such as payment and shipping address are pre-saved and speed up the purchasing process. Because of the convenience, more people shop with Amazon even if it ends up costing them more.
If you sell products online, implementing this level of customer engagement in your strategy could help you convert leads quicker and make it more likely for them to come back to you.
3. Emotional Engagement
With 95% of buyer decisions happening unconsciously, it is important to consider the emotional reaction of customers. Emotional connections have traditionally been marketed through brand color schemes or imaging. However, consumer awareness has evolved, making it necessary for companies to engage with consumers in a more personalized way.
Utilizing software that tracks an increasing number of data points means increased awareness of each customer’s ideal environment for making buying decisions such as when to buy and how often they should purchase.
By using an emotional engagement data manager, you can create more accurate buyer personas. You can even identify the point where leads are most likely to convert and become long-term customers.
Some of the more advanced software will send you emails when a lead is likely to convert so you can jump on it right away.
And social media is where people go to get information, real-time reviews, and customer testimonials for your business. It is easy for your customers to leave reviews online for others to see.
You must make sure your customers have a good experience with your brand to avoid negative reviews. Being vigilant about your customer experience also helps you avoid losing customers due to a negative experience. It is also important to respond to customers in a polite, helpful manner.
Having positive social engagement is essential for a business to be successful. When you have positive endorsements online, say from influencers, you’re more likely to have a positive online identity.
Understanding how the different types of customer engagement levels help your business will guide you to create an effective customer relationship marketing strategy.
The 4 Must-Use 2021 Customer Engagement Marketing Trends
The first must-use customer engagement marketing trend you need to be a part of is using a customer relations management platform (CRM) that profiles your customers. CRM software enables the profiling of your customers and provides an enhanced understanding of your customer engagement levels.
A good CRM can even tell you how often a customer would like to be engaged and when they would like to be engaged, helping you do better with contextual engagement.
The second must-have in your marketing strategy is a strong mobile-first strategy. Almost half of all online shopping is done using a mobile device. You can’t get away with having a site that looks great on the desktop but does not work on mobile devices. It is imperative for you to have a well-functioning, mobile-friendly website.
The third customer engagement strategy you need to implement is becoming extremely personalized in your marketing messages. Use the potential customer’s name in the subject line or intro in your email campaigns. 82% of marketers have seen an increase in open rates when they use personalization in their campaigns.
It’s simple to set up personalization, especially with email campaigns, and there’s no reason not to include it. You can even extend personalization into any type of advertisement, such as tracking which products people look at on your site, and then serving ads to them later featuring those products.
The last customer engagement strategy you must include is SMS/text messaging. Text messaging open rates are at a whopping 98% compared to just 20% of email marketing. If you are not including an SMS strategy in your plan, you are missing out.
Now that you understand what the emerging trends for 2021 and beyond are, let’s get into how to use these to build an effective customer engagement strategy.
How to Develop & Implement a Customer Engagement Strategy
With up to two-thirds of a company’s profits relying on customer engagement, it’s imperative to create a customer engagement strategy and implement it early. Follow these steps to create your customer engagement strategy:
Define your customer journey map. You have to understand who your ideal customer is and where they are likely to shop.
Identify interaction points—where and how are your customers are engaging with you.
Setup engagement where people want to be engaged. If you post on social media all the time but no one ever comments, you are wasting your efforts. You need to find new channels for customer engagement.
View behavior in real-time. See what your customers are doing as they’re interacting with you, and give them the content that’s most important to them.
Offer personal service. Give each customer a unique and personalized experience.
Watch conversions and non-conversions to see where people are converting and where they drop off to improve the experience.
Take feedback. Ask people how they felt while interacting with your brand or what they think about your brand persona and make changes when needed.
Implement Your Customer Engagement Strategy Today
Now that you understand the current customer engagement marketing trends and the steps you need to take to get started, it is time to create and implement your customer engagement strategy. Be sure to check out this helpful guide to help you build a top lead generation strategy.
Are you serious about getting your strategy launched today? Check out LeadBoxer’s website to schedule a free demo.
You may believe that closing a sale is the most essential part of the sales journey. However, how that journey begins is equally important. It begins with identifying potential customers—the people who are most likely to convert into a sale. Leads are another very important element in the sales process. Although leads and prospects have some similarities, there are many differences to consider. Understanding these variances can help you achieve more success in your sales efforts – lead generation versus prospecting is what we’re going to cover.
Keep reading or use the following links to navigate to different sections:
One of the fundamental elements of prospecting involves finding potential customers who are best suited for your offerings. This process involves understanding the challenges this audience is facing, then finding solutions to those needs.
Essential Sales Prospecting Elements
Sales prospecting techniques and tactics can vary from one organization to the next, but there are some key components to consider.
Ideal Client Profile with Elasticity
Developing an ideal client profile is essential in your sales prospecting efforts. This step involves conducting research into defining your ideal customer. Then, you develop a profile that lists out each of those characteristics.
While it’s vital to build a profile of your ideal client, it’s best to build one with some elasticity. In the podcast Sales Reinvented, The Key to Successful Lead Generation and Prospecting, Bill McCormick asserts, “You’ll want to build an ideal client profile with some elasticity. Don’t be so rigid in your profile that you don’t look outside of it.”
Of course, you want to target prospects who fit your ideal profile, but giving it some flexibility is the smartest tactic. This can lead to developing more prospects, which could eventually result in more sales.
By asking these questions regarding this specific person, organizations and sales professionals can gain insights into whom to target. Knowing this information can lead to making better, more informed decisions in the sales process. And here 4 best TED talks for sales professionals can help too.
Social selling has become an important component of sales prospecting. It involves leveraging your social network to find highly qualified prospects. This is achieved by building relationships and making social connections.
To have a better understanding of social selling, there are four key pillars to consider:
Build a professional brand
Focus on the right prospects
Use insights for engagement
Develop trusted relationships
A professional brand and brand persona show trust. As buyers are selective with the brands they choose, you must position your organization in a professional light.
When it comes to engaging with prospects, you want to be seen as an expert in the industry. Be sure to share relevant industry content with your followers, comment on news alerts, and stay engaged with users.
As 62% of B2B buyers respond to salespeople that connect with relevant insights and opportunities, relevancy and engagement are essential.
According to the information on the graphic above, LinkedIn has a huge impact on sales prospecting and buyer decisions. If you’re looking to boost your social selling efforts, LinkedIn is a great place to start.
“Ditch the Pitch”
A sales pitch has always been a key aspect of any sales process. However, Ben McCormick from the Sales Reinvented podcast urges sales professionals to “ditch the pitch.”
“We have to develop ways we are providing value and insight at every turn so we can nurture someone along,” Ben adds.
Instead of leading with the pitch, you want to focus on nurturing and adding value through every phase of the cycle.
Selling from the Heart
Authenticity is a big factor when trying to close a deal. After all, customers want to trust you and believe your product or service is what they need. That said, you want to focus on how to authentically nurture relationships with prospects.
As you want to move prospects along in the sales funnel, show them you genuinely care. Give them valuable information and insights wherever they are in the sales journey. Remember to never be pushy, don’t pitch right away, and focus more on the conversation.
“Don’t think in terms of closing a sale. You don’t want commission breath. Think in terms of having a conversation,” Bill McCormick adds.
Lead Generation Definition
Lead generation is the process of attracting potential customers to obtain their contact information. The goal is to find effective ways to make someone interested in your products or services. If they do become interested and provide contact information, that’s when they become a lead.
While sales prospecting and lead generation do have some similarities, Ben McCormick from the Sales Reinvented podcast points out some clear differences.
“I see a lead like they’re at the top of the funnel. They aren’t yet qualified, and they may even not be a part of the sales process. But a prospect is someone who is already qualified,” Ben notes.
“All prospects are leads, but not all leads are prospects,” he adds.
Finding highly qualified leads is a vital part of the sales process. Using various techniques and tactics, organizations have developed very specific steps for their lead generation efforts. While this process can vary from one organization to another, there are some key components to understand about generating leads.
It Happens Early in the Process
Bill McCormick points out that lead generation happens in the beginning stages of the sales journey. However, rather than prospecting, lead generation is all about lead qualification.
The process involves quickly assessing an ideal client profile to decide if that person will move to the prospecting stage. Once a prospect, further research is needed to nurture these potential customers through the sales funnel.
Profile of High-Value Lead
Similar to sales prospecting, successful lead generation efforts begin with developing an ideal client profile. However, as you want to convert leads with the most value, it’s best to build a profile of a high-value, ideal customer.
Once you design this client profile, it can help you determine which leads to moving forward and which leads to discarding. Once these leads are generated, the next essential component involves deciding if these leads can become prospects.
Lead qualification is an important element of lead generation. Although many organizations have different tactics, lead qualification involves the characteristics that qualify someone to become a lead.
This process is completed by capturing client information using the following resources:
As seen in the graphic above, the lead qualification phase is a vital part of the sales funnel. This step is when a business decides to move on with a lead, or discard them altogether. If a lead isn’t interested at the time, they can swing back to the marketing phase where further nurturing occurs.
Targeting and Nurturing Leads Authentically
Just like in sales prospecting, authenticity goes a long way in lead generation. After all, no one likes a pushy, insincere salesperson.
As persuasion is a fundamental element of a sales job, there is a way to persuade in an authentic manner. This is done by providing value and useful insights through natural conversation with the customer.
Don’t Rush the Process
Ben McCormick from the podcast also mentions how sales prospecting and lead generation should never be rushed. “Timing is everything,” he notes.
“If we focus on valuable and insightful conversations, the sales will come when the time is right,” Ben adds.
While sales prospecting and lead generation involve many elements, data and analytics are what powers these efforts. LeadBoxer is a platform that assists in collecting and mining data to properly identify high-quality sales leads.