As the competition is becoming more complex and diverse, so do B2B customers.
In the B2B sector, there always were several decision makers involved. What is changing is the structure of decision-making units (DMUs). These days there are many more people involved—an average DMU grew from 4 to 7 people in two years.
A DMU typically consists of several people including the marketing manager, the business development manager, the brand manager, etc.. Obviously, each of them will have different needs which your marketing strategy should address.
At the same time, the B2B buying journey is becoming less predictable and more complicated. It is claimed to have become twice as long in 6 years and I am pretty sure it grew much more in 2020 when online marketing has grown exponentially.
So the question arises. How do you generate and convert leads in today’s rapidly evolving marketing climate?
There are, of course, many ways: from re-focusing your services to meet new needs, to creating more content to generate leads organically. And yet, there’s one fundamental step just about every B2B business needs to take care of prior to taking another action:
Optimize your sales funnel.
Here are a few tools that can help:
1. Diversify Your Lead Generation Methods
Have you noticed your old lead generation methods losing their efficiency? You are not alone. If 10 years ago a simple contact form on your “Services” page was enough to get links (provided there was any traffic coming to that page), these days web users seem to be developing web form blindness.
Web literacy is growing, and so do privacy concerns. It’s getting harder and harder to convince your site visitors to share their email with you and agree to getting contacted. Here are a few ideas for you to diversify your lead generation methods:
With Artificial Intelligence on the rise, there are quite a few solutions allowing you to easily create a smart chatbot which will be sending your site users down the sales funnel.
By answering their questions and sending them relevant links, a smart chatbot will always be there where it’s needed, helping your site visitors navigate your site more confidently so they trust you with their contact information.
Appointment Scheduling Software
Some leads may not even need to become leads. Shorten their buying journey by allowing them to become your customers right away, i.e. let them schedule a meeting with you without requesting one.
Appointfix is one of the easiest and most affordable tools allowing you to create on-page CTAs that lets site users schedule an appointment and get confirmed right away:
Somehow people like taking polls and even quick surveys, especially if they expect to see the answer breakdown in the end. This makes surveys a great lead generation method.
AI-facilitated online surveys convert your site users into leads even more effectively by identifying when each individual user is more inclined to engage and which topics will catch their attention.
Traditional Lead Magnets
Content strategy should include diverse content types targeting all different people within one decision-making unit. Normally, a decision-making unit consists of various executives like the managing director, the head of marketing, and of the head of sales.
Naturally each of them will have their own needs from any product. An effective content strategy should address this divergence in organizational and personal priorities of each persona inside a DMU. Customer-facing lead magnets include:
value assessment tools
product brochures, etc.
Visitor Identification Software
Finally, not all site users will entrust you with their contact information. But they can still become a lead. Maybe the timing was wrong, or that site visitor was distracted, or maybe that’s just the wrong player inside this DMU.
While on-site (i.e. “inbound”) lead generation tactics should be your priority, using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter ads will expand your reach and accumulate more data for you, so don’t miss this step! Social listening is another great step to take.
2. Collect and Nurture Leads Automatically
The sales process normally consists of hundreds of micro-tasks performed by dozens of sales people. It is a nightmare to organize and manage effectively.
Luckily, there are new tools coming to the market that allow you to keep things well-organized and streamlined by applying artificial intelligence.
Exceed.ai is one example of this innovation in action. The platform uses artificial intelligence to engage your leads in personalized and contextual two-way conversations based on CRM data, recent actions and nurture stage. In a nutshell, this is a virtual assistant that works alongside your team to independently assist, qualify, nurture and convert your leads.
Where sales reps may give up or simply overlook things, Exceed picks things up and engages your leads with human-like conversations. Once the AI assistant has qualified a lead for a sales call, it schedules the call for the lead with the relevant rep, again, saving precious time wasted on back-and-forth to set up meetings.
Obviously, there will always be a need for human intervention, but Exceed helps to make that intervention more efficient by making those leads better qualified and more inclined to become your customers, thus increasing your reps overall productivity and success rates.
3. Optimize Your Sales Funnel Using A/B Testing
Conversion optimization is a process which is never finished. You will always look for new ways to design your pages and optimize your flow to achieve better results. This is where constant A/B testing and adjusting comes into play.
Finteza is a web analytics solution that makes sales funnel monitoring and A/B testing doable without investing a separate team to do that.
As more and more companies are permanently switching to remote working, the B2B sector is growing fast. This is a good time to start offering services or launching a SaaS project, and with the tools listed above you can also generate leads and convert them into clients pretty quickly. Good luck!