Are you ready for the digital-first buyer? The 5 tools you need to make lead generation work right now

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Companies that have struggled with the transition from offline tactics to online lead demand programs are particularly at risk for not surviving in the new world.

Marketing CoPilot has compiled the 5 most important tools B2B companies need to survive in these times of significant change.

Chapter 1 - Messaging

Developing a value proposition so prospects choose you

The pitfalls of a weak value proposition are more evident than ever. Customers spend seconds browsing your website. The problem you solve for customers and the way in which you solve it needs to be immediately understood.

Why your value proposition so important right now

Messaging in a time of abundance is different than marketing in a time of crisis. We need to be much more specific and impactful in how we’re going to help. People want clarity. Clarity builds trust.

Right now, what you’re offering may not be very appealing. You need to dig deep and figure out, “How can I help my customers improve their business?”

Value Proposition Principles*

A value proposition is not determined; it is discovered.
It grows out of the needs of your customers.
Avoid a sales driven approach to discussing products or “what you do”
You need the market’s perspective on why it matters.
Always begin by asking yourself this question:
Why should my ideal customer buy from me instead of a competitor?
Compare your claims to the claims of your alternatives/competitors.
Refine until you can articulate it in a single, instantly credible, sentence
* Please go to www.meclabs.com for further explanation of these principles and some great examples of value proposition design.

4 Key questions to test your value proposition

Appeal
How much do your ideal customers desire what your company offers?
Exclusivity
Where else can your ideal customers get what your company offers?
Clarity
Do your ideal customers understand what you are actually offering?
Credibility
Will your ideal customers believe your claims?

Everyone is feeling their way in the digital-first world. Now is not the time to "sell". Now is the time to build trust.

Companies need to adapt their messaging to suit the prevailing mood of the customer. Some of the most important tips for these uncertain times:

  • It’s all about being thoughtful and figuring out how you can help
  • Craft a plan around your value proposition
  • Tweak messaging to that needs to be clear online
  • Think of the questions your buyer is trying to answer

Building a Public Presence

Don’t go silent
Communicate on outward-facing channels like social media at least once a week
Demonstrate empathy and authority
Position your company as an entity that can help your buyers with their problems
Craft a plan
Build a communications plan that reinforces your value proposition often

Every buyer is starting to ask tough questions around how purchases will affect them. Budgets are tight, and buyers need to have rock-solid faith in your ability to deliver. Today, trust is the most important currency you have.

What you DON’T want to do is create anxiety in the mind of your buyer. If buyers have unanswered questions after visiting your website, they might not even contact your sales department. It’s important for your web presence to be clear, concise, and helpful.

4 Questions Buyers Ask

Will this purchase replace me or any parts of my job?
If we do this/spend this, does this take money away from me?
If I do this, do I have the right resources to make this happen?
How does this help me right now?
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If you’re not answering these questions it’s going to be a rough ride. People need to know that you’re going to do what you promise.

Today’s reality is what content marketing was designed for…

Empathy
Sharing
Building trust

There’s a lot of trust being broken. I don’t trust you because I don’t trust myself to make a decision right now. People feel like one wrong decision could make or break their business.

Worksheet #1

What is the #1 thing you can do right now to help your business community?

Develop a new offer

Reach out to clients for special offers

Use your skills for people in need

Can a prospective customer trust your value proposition?

  1. Assess your value against what they are going through
  2. Assess if the evidence you are providing creates trust or makes them more skeptical
  3. Assess if the delivery of information creates overwhelm

This might be the time to slow down the cadence of your social media marketing and focus on quality over quantity.

Your pacing and the way you present your message will contribute to whether you’ll be seen as trustworthy. You can’t be silent, but posts need to reflect the mood of the moment. People are unsurprisingly spending more time on social channels, so high content quality is key.

Worksheet #2

List the top 5 reasons off the top of your head, that someone buys from you…

Because I am better at...

Because I have more...

Because I am specialized in...

Because no one else does...

Because I save people...

Once you have the top 5 reasons someone buys from you, rank them using the following criteria:

Appeal 1-5
How much do your ideal customers desire what your company offers?
Exclusivity 1-5
Where else can your customers get what your company offers?
Clarity 1-5
Do your ideal customers understand what you are actually offering?
Credibility 1-5
Will your ideal customers believe your claims?

Instead of compiling a long laundry list of promises that is exactly the same as what your competitors are saying, get rid of the clutter. “Saves you time, saves you money,” isn’t interesting to the buyer because they hear it from everyone. Maybe there are statements you’re making that aren’t actually very appealing to your customers. No matter what you’re selling, now is an opportunity to take a close, hard look at what you’re doing to pivot and pivot quickly.

Can you find a value vector that will propel you to growth and transformation? Is there something you need to stop doing because it’s not right for this time? Is there something you’re really good at but don’t talk about very much? Maybe there’s a way your business can help customers in a unique and relevant way. This is the time to really dig deep into your value proposition and figure out how to transition.

Worksheet #3

Write down your current value proposition:

Appeal:

Exclusivity:

Clarity:

Credibility:

How might this create anxiety in the minds of your buyers? What might you need to do to adjust the language of your value proposition?

Register for a Value Proposition Workshop the last of Thursday of every month here.

Chapter 2 – Why Content Matters

Develop content that supports your buyer’s journey to choosing you

Companies that have weak content and weak messaging on their web presence will have a hard time creating digital transformation of the sales and marketing functions.

Today’s Reality

74% of prospects choose the company that was first to help them in their buyer journey
People search for perspectives in industry news and trends
Buyers want to see helpful “how to’s” which reflect your company’s vision

Statistics show people will go with the company that provided them with the best information. With everyone working from home, content matters more than ever.

Would your sales and marketing program still work if you had to stop all offline marketing for the next 18 months? Would you still be able to generate leads for your business without any face-to-face contact?

This is the problem we’ll all trying to solve and why content is so important.

COVID-19 has taught us…

  1. People can sell anything online
  2. Anyone can learn online
  3. We can exist online

Regardless of the type of business, you can still reach out and connect with your customers with special offers and helpful how-tos.

Often, there’s a disconnect between what you think is important and what your customer thinks is important. Good content builds trust because it’s that perfect intersection between the two where you’ll find your content strategy.

Before the digital revolution, the sales rep played an important role in the buying process as they were the primary source of product information. Now, buyers self-serve by researching products and services on the web. You have to think about the emotional triggers of your buyer and the keywords that they’re using when they think about their problem.

What you need to get started…

A clear value proposition
A good understanding of your buyer persona
A theme to create interest and an online conversation
Content that does not create anxiety
Conversion points that address the buyer journey

The buyer persona is not just demographics. You really need to get inside the head of your ideal customer to understand what they’re going through. You need to know very specifically what they’re looking for in these 5 areas:

Developing your buyer personas

Priorities
Success Factors
Barriers
Criteria
Buyer Journey

This is a thought-provoking process that can unearth gold. Getting specific about your buyer’s priorities, decision-making process, barriers to purchase, and criteria can help you craft content that speaks directly to them.

Ultimately, you want your content to be capable of stopping someone in their tracks and compelling them to take the next step in their buying process with your organization.

Case Study

A manufacturer searching for a new delivery service because people can’t come to the plant.

Priorities
Get product to customers
Success Factors
Do it reliably and cost effectively
Barriers
No references that look like me or can’t understand options on the website
Criteria
Good sales process; help me understand pricing, terms & conditions, model costs
Buyer Journey
Talk to existing vendors, ask network, web search

Answers

1.Value Proposition:
  • Help you ship direct to customers and cut out the middle man.
2.Home Page:
  • Clear explanation of what you do
  • Clear benefit statement about how your solutions help
  • What someone has to do to buy it
3.First Conversion Point:
  • Offer that qualifies around Value Proposition (not call now, free trial or demo)
  • Example: “Get the guide to modeling new delivery services. Sell direct and make stronger connections with your customers”

Worksheet #4

Document the following based on a person who has bought from you in the last 12 months that you feel was an ideal client.

What was the trigger that brought them to your solution?

What were they most concerned about in making the purchase?

Who/what brought them to you?

What did they want to understand first?

What was their success criteria after they had purchased?

Sample models around pricing and cost help people figure out how this fits into their overall cost of service. At this point you’re not trying to sell them a solution, but build a model that works into their cost perspective of what they need to do.

Do a search pretending to be a buyer. When you walk through the process from their perspective you can start to see how they process information.

Worksheet #5

Write down your value proposition and evaluate it…

Your value proposition

Mark every word you can’t substantiate

Determine who can provide high authority proof (inside and outside of your organization)

What is the statement saying that addresses buyer anxiety?

Create a theme/statement that concludes why this is a good decision

Look to your website content and go through the same exercise there.

Sales Claims Produce Defensive Anxiety

  • Will this purchase replace me or any parts of my job?
  • If we do this/spend this, does this take money away from me?
  • If I do this, do I have the right resources to make this happen?
  • How does this help me right now?
  • What do I need to know to make this decision (and not feel anxious about it)?
  • Does the content I encounter to make my decision heighten or diminish buyer anxiety?

In this environment, you really need to look at your content with a fresh set of eyes and figure out the content you’re presenting to the outside world—does it help? All content today must, must, must…

  • Support the buyer’s journey, not your sales process
  • Help people learn something that diminishes their anxiety
  • Allow them to live comfortably in your business ecosystem until they are ready to buy

Develop a Keyword Strategy

A keyword strategy is an important part to support your content plan. Knowing the words that your consumers use when they are on Google researching their problems allows you to reach them in a timely and relevant way. Having a strong keyword strategy also allows you to align your website content with Google searches and improve your SEO.

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What does a Keyword Strategy do?

Helps you analyze data around themes that people search
Helps you optimize your content
Helps you build out content to drive traffic to your offer
Help you test your content

Make sure you’re following through on your promises. Good content should make sales much easier. What are you offering? It should consist of ungated content, helpful information, authoritative sources, and relevant details.

A content theme will propel you to growth and transformation.

The secret lies in buyer personas.

Register for a Value Proposition Workshop the last of Thursday of every month here.

Chapter 3 – Engaging the Anxious Buyer

How to test engagement

What is engagement? A connection with someone about something. Some people think they are engaging their buyers with an email newsletter, a post on LinkedIn, or a cold call, but these are communication channels, not engagement. The activity needs to be able to encourage a next step.

Engagement cannot happen without...

Clarity
Credibility
Curiosity

Solving the engagement equation in times of high buyer anxiety

A customer cannot be created without engagement. People who want to take their demand generation from offline to online need to stop and think about tactics that create true engagement.

Dump the clutter and confusion. Volume isn’t a good thing. There’s always buyer anxiety, but since COVID-19, buyer anxiety is the highest it’s been in your lifetime. What can you do right now to reduce buyer anxiety?

If social media made us lazy, then marketing automation made us repetitive. It’s taken away personalization and levels of engagement.

These metrics are not measures of engagement

Open rate
Views
Traffic volume
Engagement needs to lead to a next step. Look at your buyer personas to understand what they care about and what their next step is. Remember: your buyer persona consists of more than demographics: it includes priorities, success factors, barriers, criteria, and buyer journey.

Website Engagement

Your website is your #1 sales support tool. You have to have a good one right now.

The main problems with B2B websites

Lack clarity
Lack credibility
Lack curiosity

The most over-used phrase on the web today: “Learn More”. The one-two engagement punch is as follows:

  1. State the problem
  2. Offer a solution

Worksheet #6

Does your website pass the clarity test?

Is it clear what you offer?

How will it make your customer’s life better?

What do they need to do to buy it?

5 Things you need for engagement to occur

A clear message about what you offer (and why it matters to your ideal customer)
A strong call to action
Tell me what will happen if I don’t do this
Tell me what success looks like if I do
Give me three clear steps to buy/engage with your product
Strong Call to Action

What do you offer?
Strong Value proposition
Repeat the CTA

Tell me what would happer if i do not do this

Tell me what success looks like

Spell out a 3-step plan to engage with the product or service.

You have to achieve this immediately —regardless of what you sell. Buyer anxiety is removed when clarity, credibility, and curiosity are created. This is how engagement happens.

You need to create a story that people can engage with. Don’t let the absenceface-to-face selling be the reason your lead generation stops.

Worksheet #7

Go back to your documented buyer personas…

List the problems you solve for your ideal customer.

Brainstorm themes that have nothing to your business and everything to do with them.

Figure out the One-Two Punch.

Outline a revised home page using the 5 steps.

Find your core theme that builds engagement and the required content to achieve a first step in engagement.

Register for a Value Proposition Workshop the last of Thursday of every month here.

Chapter 4 - Generating Marketing Qualified Leads

How does your website convert visitors?

How do we make conversion happen? In the old B2B world:

  • A statement of what we do
  • A sales brochure
  • An ad in the yellow pages
  • A salesperson with a rolodex
  • A few tradeshows a year

Since COVID-19, the line between your buyer and you is complicated and confusing. Educating in a time of abundance is different than marketing in a time of crisis. How do we make conversion happen?

Conversion is...

The point at which a recipient of a marketing message performs a desired action
Conversion happens when someone responds to your call-to-action

Conversion is not a sales qualified lead (SQL). There are many different types of conversions in digital marketing, each of them representing a step towards becoming a qualified lead.

1st point of conversion
After seeing the headline in an email, someone decides it matters to them
2nd point of conversion
They’ve opened the email and scanned the content
3rd point of conversion
After scanning the content, they’ve noticed other content that interests them and they click through
4th point of conversion
They finish reading blog posting and see CTA about subscription, demo or a next step
5th point of conversion
They join a mailing or contact list, or engage with gated content

These steps, and many more, are required to create a marketing qualified lead. This is what builds trust and interest before we try to sell. How many conversion points do you offer on your website today? If the answer is only “Contact Us”, chances are you need to build a better buyer journey

Without an MQL you cannot create an SQL

You need sales and marketing alignment for conversion to work. How do you measure alignment?

  • Level of effort for first interaction to lead
  • Lead to opportunity
  • Opportunity to sales conversion
  • Close ratio

The sad reality...

B2B sales cycles are long and complex with a myriad of stakeholders and decision cycles
Many B2B companies can’t articulate lead definition
Even fewer can define metrics from lead to opportunity and then opportunity to sale conversation and conversation to close ratios

Average lead to opportunity ratio: between 8-13%
Opportunity to sales conversation ratio: between 3-8%

Let’s do the math… traffic sources for a website produce 5,000 monthly visits with a lead to opportunity ratio of 10% and an opportunity to sales conversation of 5%.

Activity that drives traffic:

  • Organic Search
  • Email Campaigns
  • Social Media
  • Paid Advertising
  • Webinars
  • Tradeshows
  • Cold email/calling

Optimistic Conversion Ratio

  • 5,000 x 10% = Interested list of 500 for nurturing
  • 500 x 5% = 25 people for sales conversation
  • With a 50% close rate = 12.5 new sales

The ugly truth...

5,000 visitors with a 70% bounce rate
1,500 relevant visitors
50% don’t go past home page = 750
750 x 10% = 75
75 x 5% = 3.75
Close rate of 50% = 1.875 sales

How many leads do you need a year? What’s your definition of a lead? What’s the close ratio of those leads? You need to reverse engineer these numbers

Tracking Metrics that Matter

  1. Traffic sources
  2. New visitor conversion rate
  3. Return visitor conversion rate
  4. Interaction per visit
  5. Value per visit
  6. Cost per conversion
  7. Bounce rate
  8. Exit pages

These should be tracked on a weekly basis. It will tell you a lot about your conversion rate.

The 3 stages of conversion:

  1. I like your value proposition and I am ready to buy +/-1%
  2. I like your value proposition but I am not ready yet +/-10%
  3. I have no interest in your value proposition and will never buy 60-80%

These should be tracked on a weekly basis. It will tell you a lot about your conversion rate.

Mapping out your conversion strategy is key. If you’re not converting and seeing prospects click through, you may need to go back to the beginning and rethink your value proposition.

Worksheet #8

What is the #1 thing you can do right now to help your business community?

Awareness

Buyer researches options

Consideration

Buyer decides right fit

Convert

Buyer actions a conversion point

Loyalty

Buyer makes the purchase

Advocacy

Buyer recommends to others

Primary
problem
being solved
by Persona

Example: I want to sell direct to customers, not through resellers. How do I get products to market?
Example: I have a number of options from local to global delivery services. What is the right delivery model to use?
Example: I downloaded a guide from your website, “The Guide to Modeling New Delivery Options”
Example: I sign up with you and start using your delivery services.
Example: I love your service so much I agree to do a case study and post testimonials on social media.

Channels

List all the places you are communicating to buyers.
How will you track the channel that performs best?
What are the conversion points you must use by channel?
How will track longevity of an interested party?
Do you have case studies, testimonials and reviews?

Key
Conversion
Points

Key Metrics

Example: Traffic to site and conversion ratio, traffic by source and time on page
Example: % of buyers that provide reviews and testimonials + repeat business

Worksheet #9

Gather up all of the tactics you use today to drive leads...

Ensure you have internal agreement about lead definition

List each lead generation tactic and determine how well it drives a specific action

Ensure you have the action/activity tracked in Google Analytics

Determine where your best conversion rates are coming from and the quality of the MQL you are driving and its correlation to an SQL

Get it all set up in your marketing automation tools so you can track it back to sales

Register for a Value Proposition Workshop the last of Thursday of every month here.

Chapter 5 – Developing the Right Marketing Budget

Are you still marketing?

How has your marketing program changed over the last year?

The honest truth...

In a time of crisis, businesses with a clear message and lead nurturing programs are more likely to survive.
Lead nurturing allows you to communicate directly with existing and potential customers and pivot your message at a moment’s notice.
Lead nurturing also allows you to reach out to your customers to offer a solution to their problem at any time. This translates into much-needed revenue so you can keep the doors open and the lights on.

What are B2B marketers doing?

  • Campaigns delayed by 45%
  • Ad spending cut 25%
  • Marketing research during pandemic not being conducted
  • Customers are still engaging online
  • B2B Companies should not stop communicating

You should not stop marketing. It’s more important than ever to be communicating.

Are you growing or gauging your marketing spend? Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Investing in marketing can drive your business forward.

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation.”
- Peter Drucker

Worksheet #10

The knee jerk reaction is to cut spending on anything that costs money. What is actually costing you money and what is making you money?
  1. Pull out your marketing budget –draw a direct line between task and revenue
  2. Assess your website to see if its is making your money today – what needs to change
    • Content and Message
    • Navigation of Buyer Journey
    • Conversion Strategy/Offer
  3. List all of your marketing technology tools and decide if:
    1. They are helping you make money
    2. They are giving you the data you need to assess lead to sales
    3. Consider a Marketing Automation system

Example

  • FreshBooks -Accounting
  • Harvest –Time Tracking
  • Basecamp –Task Management and Document Storage
  • O365/Teams –email, chat, online meetings, document storage
  • HubSpot –email marketing, landing pages, marketing automation, CRM
  • WordPress –Website CMS
  • Webinars –Zoom
  • LinkedIn –social marketing

Are these tools costing us money or making us money?

  • FreshBooks -Accounting -$$$
  • Harvest –Time Tracking -$
  • Basecamp –Task Management and Document Storage
  • O365/Teams –email, chat, online meetings, document storage -$
  • HubSpot –marketing automation & CRM -$$$
  • WordPress –Website CMS -$$$$
  • Webinars –Zoom
  • LinkedIn –social marketing -$$

Digital lead generation is the future. Get onboard now.

Some companies aren’t going to make it. Some companies are going to struggle. But if you consider these 5 important steps you’ll have the right marketing tools to survive and thrive.

Content you need to invest in right now

Awareness Stage
Evaluation Stage
Conversion Stage
Whitepaper
Customer Case Study
Consultation Offer
eBook
FAQs
Estimate and Quotes
Templates
Plans/Pricing
Various Plans
Tip Sheet
Testimonials
Coupons
Checklist
Comparison Guides
Demos
Educational Videos
eBook
Free Trials
Educational Webinar
Templates and Tool Kits
Blog Posts
Catalogues/Brochures
Infographics
Podcasts
Newsletter
Social Media Outreach
Paid Advertising/Sponsored Content

Marketing Model Canvas

In-House Resources

Current Activities

External Resources

Value Proposition

Customer Segments/Profile (Lead Definition)

Best-Performing Channels

Marketing Budget

Cost Per Lead

Marketing Tools

  • Social (platforms used)
  • CMS (WordPress)
  • Marketing Automation (yes/no)
  • Email (list size)

Current Data

  • Monthly traffic
  • Monthly inquiries
  • Conversion points
  • Lead sources

Revenue Goals

MQL Goals to SQL Close Ratio

Key Tactics

Register for a Value Proposition Workshop the last of Thursday of every month here.

Resources to get you started

YOU CAN’T BE EVERYWHERE

A Common Sense Approach to Digital Marketing For Any Business

In the age of 24/7 internet, there are thousands of ways for businesses to talk to, sell to, and connect with their customers. But, just as the old adage says, less is more.

In You Can’t Be Everywhere, Wiese offers her well-tested insight on how to become a savvier marketer. Through personal stories and no-nonsense advice, Wiese shows how any company can conquer the digital space and craft extraordinary strategies and customer connections. Available on Amazon or marketingcopilot.com

YBCE book2

BUYER PERSONA WORKBOOK

Use buyer expectations to build content that helps buyers choose you.

Get It Here

CUSTOMER SCORECARD WORKBOOK

Start with your customer as the authority on your value

Get It Here