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The Essential Steps to Sparking New B2B Sales Opportunities

To remain competitive, today’s B2B sales companies need to quickly identify and act on high-quality leads. To truly thrive, companies also need to use data to find and reach their in-market buyers with targeted, timely messaging that addresses their business needs and delivers content to decision-makers who are ready to buy.

Of course, that’s easier said than done, particularly given the layer of complexity that the pandemic has brought to the B2B space. But it’s not impossible. For companies looking to up-level their B2B lead-gen efforts in 2021, here are seven data-driven initiatives that will improve opportunity close rates and lower acquisition costs.

  1. Analyze your customers to understand needs and behaviors.

Successful lead generation starts with a deep understanding of your audience, which means having the right data about your customers and the ability to analyze that data and identify common attributes across your most valuable customer segments. Gaining a deep understanding of your audiences has three key components:

  • Identifying your highest-value customers based on the products they buy, industries they represent, company size, revenue, geography and other factors. This information is the basis for your ideal customer profiles (ICPs).
  • Analyzing your current pipeline and recent wins to identify emerging trends, map the customer journey, and understand your customers’ purchase cycle.
  • Understanding the people doing the buying by performing an analysis of the decision-makers, influencers, and users of your products and services at your top accounts.
  1. Use lookalike models to find and target your best prospects.

Using a robust combination of business and consumer data, lookalike models can help you identify your best customers’ most common attributes and help you create an accurate profile of your best prospects, thus allowing you to create highly targeted campaigns, lower acquisition costs, and boost campaign ROI. Advertising and social media platforms have made it much easier to create lookalike audiences, even if you do not have the capabilities to build models in-house. For example, Microsoft Bing, LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook enable advertisers to create lookalike audiences based on their unique data through a direct audience upload or through a CRM integration.

  1. Leverage intent data to predict which accounts are in-market.

Knowing which contacts are looking for or ready to buy your products is essential to success. Intent data uses predictive analytics to help companies target prospects who are actively researching products in your category. Marketers can use intent data to predict which of their leads, existing clients, or target accounts are in-market and develop targeted efforts to engage, convert, or upsell with well-timed offers, informative content, and consistent, cross-channel touchpoints.

  1. Build authentic connections using consumer and business data about key stakeholders.
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B2B and B2C marketing strategies are beginning to converge, particularly as our work and home lives become more blended. This means it is more important than ever for businesses to use the right data to understand their business contacts as individuals and connect with decision-makers on a personal level.

  1. Identify buying groups to influence purchase decisions.

When developing your lead generation program and defining success metrics, make sure you can identify and respond to activity from an individual lead as well as activity coming from multiple individuals at a company. One person with many interactions is exciting, but any activity from three people from the same company is a much more significant indicator that they are in-market to purchase.

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  1. Build the right content.

Content marketing was once a buzzword; today, it is table stakes for B2B sales companies. B2B marketers need an “always-on” content machine to deliver leads consistently. Creating educational, relevant content by using data to get to know your target audience (as both consumers and business buyers) is essential to success. By combining your first-party client and prospect data with third-party data (such as intent, business, consumer), you can understand your buyers’ needs and craft relevant pieces with the reader in mind.

  1. Target and distribute content to the right person and buying group.

Once you have top-notch content, you need to be able to get it in front of the right people. Effective B2B marketers target leads in many ways: by their role in the buyer’s journey and marketing funnel, by their job title, by their industry, by their behaviors, or by a combination of these factors. With the right targeting strategy, B2B marketers can boost conversion rates. For example, according to Aberdeen, targeting users with content relevant to their position in the buying process yields 73 percent higher conversion rates.

B2B marketers are bringing in more highly qualified leads than ever with a data-savvy approach to lead generation. With audience analysis, predictive analytics, targeted outreach, and relevant content, new prospects are vastly easier to identify and much more likely to convert, which allows marketers to reduce lead generation costs. Providing a robust lead generation program with relevant content that answers buyer questions, addresses their challenges, and nurtures them through the buying process and into loyalty can set your business up as a trusted, reliable partner for the long haul.

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