Generating prospects in B2B to benefit sales

Lynda St-Arneault – 5 March 2013

The barrier between marketing and sales is becoming more vague, whether we’re talking about an acquisition or customer loyalty management. The integration of sales and marketing operations allows for today’s unrivaled sharing of information. Thanks to tools (CRM, automation of marketing, website statistics, social networks, etc.), developed technologies (mobility, cloud computing, etc.) as well as an adapted and open business culture, these two operations can work together any time in real-time and merge in to crucial steps of certain phases of the sales process.

But before getting to this point so coveted by managers, a good job of analyzing and understanding the different buying processes of customers must be accomplished and simplified. This will help define a company’s own sales processes and needs in content strategy for each step in the buying process.

Once established, marketing can become very strategic and generate qualified prospects, or even self-qualified prospects for the sales force. (It’s understood that the sharing of information and collaboration between sales and marketing are also established). B2B marketing uses as many inbound tactics as outbound when it comes to generating prospects. What’s important is knowing which sources of information are used by targets when they’re in the discovery and consideration phase, and which content or information types they are looking for.

Once it’s been accepted that prospecting work is serious and expensive, it’s natural for the organization to become strategic and to use market research and analysis before doing anything.

In conclusion, I’d like to share with you some of the results of a study entitled “Lead-gen adoption strong but nurturing remains a challenge,” which appeared in BtoBOnline.com in November 2012. Respondents of the B2B survey named some obstacles, both internal and external, to effectively generating leads:

–      Lack of resources (67%)

–      Poor database accuracy (40%)

–      Lack of adequate technologies (27%)

–      Poor communication and processes (26%)

–      Ineffective management (25%)

–      Inability to respond to buyer changes (21%)

–      Unfamiliarity with the lead-gen process (21%)

–      Lack of understanding of customer needs (12%)

Do you feel that your organization is working to reduce obstacles to qualified prospect generation as well as obstacles to the integration of marketing and sales?

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