If you’re a digital BtoB marketer then you know about lead generation and nurturing. You capture a lead, send her some email offering another webinar, repeat. But Sales departments are more intolerant of un-qualified leads then ever before. The world has changed — your prospects are busier, more mobile and solving business problems in all sorts of new ways. Below are five perspectives on lead generation and nurturing that you may not have thought about. Bottom line — don’t ever stop learning about how your prospects work.
1. Your prospects have zero time for you, seriously, zero.
I’m not kidding. We’re all being asked to do more with less resources and there’s a line of qualified applicants waiting for our jobs. If you’re sitting around reading whitepapers and attending webinars all day you won’t be around much longer. Spend a few hours watching how you interact with brands online. People tend to click trusted links (like on Twitter or Facebook) and quickly assess if they’ll dig deeper. Is the next step easy? I don’t have time. Is this worth my time? Every click, every headline, every offer is assessed for how much time it will take to get value. In this environment, short and easy to scan is the key to success.
2. Your prospects are more likely to go to social media to learn about you than to your website
In a world where our trusted networks are a tweet or linkedIn message away, we’re seeing that many many prospects are looking to their own networks for advice on products and services long before visiting brand websites. In this world every relationship matters. Old customers, existing customers and prospects all need to feel great about your brand because you never know when one of them will be asked their opinion.
3. Your prospects are getting used to watching short videos instead of downloading datasheets
Visit the website of any new software or web start-up and the primary way you’ll learn about their products and services will be through video. This is a direct result of bullet 1. Your prospects are much more likely to take 30 seconds to watch a video — especially on their first visit — than to navigate around your site, find the information they’re looking for and fill out a form to get a datasheet they’ll likely never read. This means two things, 1) you need to be able to quickly make compelling videos of how your products work and what value they provide and 2) your products need to be easy to explain and use.
4. BANT is dead. Think of lead capture as merely opt-in
Try REALLY lowering the bar. Make your first form require only first name and business email. Then focus on targeted communications of high-value offers to get the rest of your needed information. Start with a few forms and test and learn. Facebook and Twitter have completely flattened our expectations around opt-in — a simple click of a “like” or “follow” button now allows a brand to communicate with us. Let’s be clear, these won’t be “sales-ready leads”, you and your team will need to work hard to transform them (nurture them) into real opportunities worth the time of a rep — but with the right resources, expertise and tools you CAN deliver many more and higher quality opportunities to your organization. The next phase will be to abandon forms all together. B2B Marketers of the world, unite! – information abounds, how can we capture essential information from prospects without putting forms in their faces?
5. There are very few “enterprise solutions” any more. With or without IT approval, your prospects are using all sorts of tools to solve their problems
There are many forces causing this shift inside organizations today. Mobility, the ease of creating new product and services, the effort and $$ required to implement and use large enterprise solutions, etc. Regardless, it will become more and more common for your prospects to trial and use a wide range of tools to solve their business challenges. In this environment, competition is fierce and marketing is incredibly difficult.
Here’s a small example — I recently decided to stop taking notes in my trusty rusty paper notebook. It had become too hard (and too time-consuming) to get my thoughts into the digital world where they’re much more usable for me. Generally, I have my laptop at my desk, my iPhone in my pocket and an iPad for working around the office and remotely during the day. I found myself using Notes on my iPad and iPhone and emailing them to myself when needed. At my desk I used Microsoft OneNote. Not “enterprise solutions” per se but certainly “solutions” created by mega enterprise brands.This was a step in the right direction but not ideal. Enter Evernote. Evernote is exactly what I need — a note taking tool with great apps on all my devices that automatically sync as I’m writing. I have access to all my notes any time and can use them any way I need to. It took me minutes to get up and running on all platforms. Since I’ve been using Evernote I’ve shared it with colleagues, friends and in blog posts. I’ve never seen an Evernote banner ad or been to their website to “learn more”. I didn’t watch an Evernote video but I would. : )
So, no matter what you sell and even if you’re working for an “enterprise solutions” company (like me), it’s time to start REALLY understanding your prospects and about how your products, services and marketing can provide real value within seconds at every touch.
Are you living these insights? If so, please share your thoughts in the comments.