By Ed Pierce, President of ITA Communications. Fleet.
As mentioned in last month’s ‘A Call to Action,’ there are an average of 8.2 key stakeholders involved in business’ decision-making process, making it harder than ever for sales and marketing to contact and effectively communicate with all the key stakeholders.
MQL and SQL
Research has found that engaging prospects is the biggest problem facing B2B businesses, closely followed by finding sales-qualified leads. Solving these issues begins by determining the difference between a hot prospect and a cold lead.
Developing qualifying questions will allow your marketing team to ‘score’ a lead’s sales readiness based on factors such as the industry and size of the business, geographic location, and previous engagement with your brand.
A Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) who has indicated interest in what a brand has to offer is more likely to become a customer than other leads, and they’re more likely to be receptive to a sales pitch than a normal lead. Still, they have not made the step into a sales conversation yet.
A Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) is a contact that is ready to talk to a sales team. This lead has expressed enough interest in a product or service to move into the sales process.
The Importance of Lead Scoring
Lead scoring gives you the basis for helping both marketing and sales identify contacts who are most likely to buy their product or service while weeding out unqualified leads. It helps sales teams focus on the most important opportunities, close more deals, and better understand who they are reaching and how to find more contacts like them.
To score a lead or deal, assign numerical values to important and revealing data points. For example, the source or status of a lead can be a good predictor of the lead’s likelihood of becoming a qualified lead. You combine these variables into a formula that produces a score that can then be tracked based on their place in the buying cycle.
Now that hot prospects, or SQLs, have been identified, a company can begin crafting the content to keep them engaged. First and foremost, remember to sell the story before the product. Businesses buy products that either save them money or make them money. Content should focus on the value proposition for the prospect’s company.
Engaging prospects with a great story is important, but the goal of any piece of content should be to move a lead through the sales funnel and become a customer. Beyond storytelling, content must explain what makes the product valuable and stand out from the competition.
Measuring The ROI
B2B marketing strategies typically span multiple marketing channels — both online and offline, making measurement of each channel’s effectiveness of each channel difficult. Start with Google Analytics, LinkedIn, CRM, and marketing services company and media tracking.
When measuring ROI, it’s important to identify the right KPIs for the brand. While one brand may value email click-through rates, another brand may put more weight behind the number of completed online forms or surveys. A tip from marketingprofs.com: assess existing customer actions and behaviors to determine which KPIs are most likely to result in a sale.
I invite you to contact me with questions, ideas and experiences in dealing with buying cycle at companies you have worked for. Reach me at 215-839-1306, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org