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B2B Lead Generation Tips & Buying Cycle Notes

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[Editor's note: This post is our continued dissemination of content from this week's  SearchEngineStrategies San Jose search marketing conference, where aimClear had 3 correspondents providing our readers notes and articles. The following is from our friend and blogger-associate, Todd Mintz:]

It’s not always just about sales…it’s about leads first! This SES San Jose panel offered insights into generating copious amounts of high-quality leads for your business, to generate revenue at the bottom of the sales funnel.

Moderator Jeffrey Rohrs is Vice-President, Agency & Search Marketing, for email marketing firm ExactTarget. He joked that the “session is the only obstacle between us and the cocktail hour.” The first speaker up, Patricia Hursh, was President of SmartSearch Marketing.

Patricia ‘s Tips for B2B Search Advertisers:

  • Reach prospects early in the buying cycle;
  • Advertise in “The Tail”;
  • Include branded keywords;
  • Prequalify clickers;
  • Focus and align ad copy;
  • Create very specific landing pages / microsites
  • Test pages continuously;
  • Offer multiple action options;
  • Simplify registration forms;
  • Turn web inquiries into sales leads.

Notes From The Buying Cycle
Selection Phase: Buyer searches to validate top candidates. Buy keywords specific to brand, products & features.

Collectively, the phrases in the “tail” often account for more traffic than the head plus the leads are more qualified. Tail phrases convert best especially 3 and 4 word search phrases. One needs to measure the entire search history of a person who ultimately converts on a branded term…the earlier searches are from non-branded searches.

Ad copy: needs to address your specific target audience and pre-qualify clickers. Ad copy needs to be aligned with the search query and copy should be modified across the buying cycle.

Test page elements: extremely important. Recommended elements to test: Page layouts, images, benefit statements, action triggers, names and descriptions of downloadable assets, registration form placement, and registration form fields (required and optional).

Track/Improve results. Offer action options. Secondary options can really help increase lead generation.

Registration forms are typically too lengthy…should try to test simplified forms.

Should implement a lead qualification process.

All conversions aren’t leads. A typical conversion hierarchy:

  • All conversions reported by search engines;
  • Valid inquiries (verified by SmartSearch);
  • Accepted inquiries (qualified by client);
  • Inquiry subject to follow up process;
  • Sales Leads.

The next speaker, Barbara Coll, was CEO of WebMama, a search engine marketing firm focusing on B to B clients.

Search Enterprise & The Sales Force
Marketing Goal: Fill the pipeline with qualified, high qualified leads. Most Sales Reps don’t think “A” leads come from search. In order to get Sales buy-in, trust must be established (which can be done by a trial / download or a demo) A prospect who establishes trust is an “A” lead. Sales Reps tend to cherry-pick leads.

Search needs to drive potential customers through High Priority, High Trust Lead Generation Channels. How? Optimize for more than the home page & product category pages; Point paid search clicks at aggressive lead generation pages.

Make search leads “A” Leads—Force it into the A lead bucket if it is a high converting paid search word (ignore other rules for bucketing); can’t treat all search traffic the same; educate the reps by showing them the paid search numbers; check to see what the reps are following up on when the search leads come in.

Review Sales Success Measures: Close Rate; Time To close; Average Selling Price; Quarterly Quota.

Feedback Loop into Search Buys & Site Optimization. Challenge: Low End Priced Products; High End Enterprise Products; Who gets more of the attention?

Upsell; Final Revenue Numbers; Company Goals; Quality of Store Experience.

The final speaker, Adam Goldberg, is Chief Innovation Officer for Clearsaleing, an advertising technology company.

Starts with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Wrong metrics = Wrong decisions. Cost per lead isn’t necessarily a good metric to follow nor is Cost Per Acquisition. The ultimate metric to follow is profit.

Shows picture of advertising ecosystem.

The web can generate phone leads as well as web leads.

Phone call tracking: Place on your site a number and make sure the customer rep gets that customer link ID and enters it into the CRM. No reference ID? Get them back through the website through an email which is connected to a sale.

Last click fallacy (Multiple Step Purchase Process):

  • Problem recognition;
  • Information Search;
  • Evolution of Alternatives;
  • Purchase Decisions;
  • Purchase.

Every ad responsible for the acquisition of the customer should get credit for the sale (perhaps even equal credit)

Todd Mintz is the Director of Internet Marketing & Information Systems for S.R. Clarke Inc., a Real Estate Development and Residential / Commercial Construction Executive Search / Recruiting Firm headquartered in Fairfax, VA with offices nationwide.

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