How to increase B2B sales

Many B2B firms have to contend with a high number of competitors, which means they need to find innovative ways to perform Internet lead generation and grow. It can be difficult to stand out in a crowded market, but maintaining sales growth is essential for continued success. While having a great product is key to this objective, your sales team also needs to be able to connect with prospects on a personal level, Larry Kim wrote for Inc. Magazine.

There are a number of ways this can be accomplished, but an online marketing system can offer great support for your team. Here are four steps for attracting qualified leads and gaining more sales:

1. Establish thought leadership

Even small firms without a dedicated marketing team can significantly benefit from implementing a content marketing strategy. This can help brands stand out as thought leaders in their industries, which gives them credibility and trustworthiness. Your ideal customers will do their own research before ever contacting anyone at your organization, and content marketing can position you as an authority in the industry, Kim said. By using topics relevant to the problems your potential clients are seeking to solve, you can create an early connection with them.

Marketing automation platforms give you better access to data, which can facilitate the content creation process. These systems also allow you to see how prospects are interacting with contacts throughout the sales cycle. Social media can help you distribute content to reach a wider audience, but make sure you’re using the same networks as your target customers, such as LinkedIn. This ties into the next point.

2. Know where to look for your target audience

It’s hard to increase your sales number if you don’t know where to find qualified leads. You need to identify the ideal characteristics of customers who are the best match for your products or services, and then consider where this group spends its time online. The more you know about your target audience, the better connections you can form with them. Kim mentioned that acquiring new clients costs five times more than encouraging another sale from existing customers, so it’s important that your marketing and sales budget is being invested to target people who are a good match for your organization.

This is where lead scoring comes into play. Rather than chasing leads who aren’t an appropriate fit for your products, marketing automation platforms can create a score when individuals enter the revenue funnel, basing the designation on their level of interest and match to your ideal customer profile. Having detailed criteria for the characteristics of your target customers can make it easier to find these people and attract new leads.

3. Get a higher number of qualified leads

An online marketing system can help you create actionable metrics and qualify a greater number of leads. Because your sales team won’t be wasting time pursuing cold leads, you can maximize the return on investment of your marketing efforts. One of the tricks to attracting qualified leads may be to cut down on your response time, according to an article by Jeff Kalter for 3D2B. When leads initiate a conversation with a sales rep, they are most likely in the process of narrowing down their options to a few vendors or products. Responding within a few minutes can increase the odds that a qualified lead will convert into a customer. Marketing automation platforms can send triggered alerts to your sales reps so they never miss the chance to respond to inquiries.

In addition, marketing automation allows you to define qualified leads. This can boost alignment between sales and marketing because there is less room for argument about when leads are actually warm. The increased collaboration between these two teams can be beneficial for sales effectiveness. Marketing automation also enables you to pre-qualify leads by generating forms to collect more information. Any time a lead signs up for an offer, such as a free trial, webinar or white paper download, he or she will need to fill out a form to access it. For example, one of the questions can be whether the lead has the budget for your product or not, Kalter wrote. This is an effective way to qualify a lead and determine if the contact is worth pursuing.

4. Improve follow-up procedures

Once leads are qualified, you should never wait to follow up. Contacting them at exactly the right time can improve your conversion rates. Marketing automation helps your sales team make better use of behavioral data. Browsing pricing pages or getting in touch with sales reps are indications that a prospect may be ready to buy. Having more information allows sales reps to make personal connections with leads, and this can further boost their ability to close deals.