Sales & Marketing

B2B Lead Generation: Buying Stuff is Easy; Fixing Problems is Hard

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SaaS marketing products like Marketo, Hubspot, Eloqua and the like are very, very easy to buy. Give them a credit card, they give you a login. Done. The transaction can be completed in minutes.

It’s actually way too easy, I believe.

It’s a lot like dieting. Most everyone wants to do it but promises don’t match reality.

You’ve seen the advertising images of a thin person after dieting, holding the waistband of the baggy pants (now several sizes too large) with the accompanying message:

“25 Pounds in Only 2 Weeks! Scientists discover rare weight loss wonder herb. Clinically Proven Fast Weight Loss! Rapidly Melts Away Belly Fat!”

“Scientists discover rare weight loss “Wonder Herb” – I’m sure you don’t buy that. You know full well that there’s no “Wonder Herb” in dieting. Dieting is hard and arduous. Watch “The Biggest Loser” to see how hard it is.

Unfortunately, there’s no “Wonder Herb” in B2B lead generation and marketing either.

Want to hear what it’s really like to buy marketing automation? Read an actual user story in Marketing automation—lower your expectations.

The author, Liz McCellan writes, “Don’t get me wrong. I think marketing automation is a smart tool to invest in, but I want to give some candid advice about setting the right expectations.” She goes to compare marketing automation to becoming a parent – everyone congratulates you, but you are in for hard work. One recommendation: she urges you to set realistic dates – and then add at least six more months.

Liz makes a great point in her article. What does your software purchase do toward fixing your company’s problems with generating quality sales leads? Absolutely nothing! (This is not a knock on products from companies such as Marketo, Eloqua, Silverpop, Neolane, and Pardot. They are fine products from solid companies.)

The only way to REALLY fix your lead generation challenges is to do a lot of hard work – the diet and exercise, if you will – which we summarize in these 10 steps.

Are you ready to do what it takes?

  • Craft deep buyer personas– a deep understanding of prospective buyers and concerns.
  • Define your keywords – the words buyers use to search for solutions.
  • Agree on the common definition of a leadand identify key trigger events which drive decisions. (So sales will get fewer, better leads.)
  • Map content to the buyer personas and buyer variables(using keywords) (So you can take buyers on a journey and you do well in search)
  • 5. Fill in the gaps with new content (using keywords) (No gaps in the journey.)
  • Optimize the website, blog and social mediabased on keywords (so you rank well in search.)
  • Design lead nurturing campaigns in a Problem to Solution story-telling format using your content. (Earn trust till they are ready to buy.)
  • Using the agreed lead definition, agree on the behaviors and demographics that indicate buying propensity (lead scoring). (Remember, we need fewer and better leads for sales.)
  • Create metrics to measure the effectiveness of your programs. (So we can refine it over time.)
  • Deploy everything in your new marketing automation software.

Notice that the real use for the software you bought is in Step 10?

Unless you are ready to invest in those 10 steps using internal and/or resources like Find New Customers, you will never really fix your problem with sales lead quality.

What do you think? Is buying software a panacea for fixing real problems in most companies? We love your comments and sharing.

Jeff Ogden is president of Find New Customers.

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