Unlike outbound business marketing, where companies cast their advertising “net” out on the waters along with every other business, and hope it lands in the right spot, inbound marketing draws customers by offering valuable information, and the opportunity to find out more about your company via online interaction.
Inbound business marketing is more effective in establishing a relationship with your prospective customers, giving you the chance to become a reliable resource for business advice in your area of expertise. Once you have established this kind of trust with people, your company will be the natural choice when they need to make a purchase.
According to a survey by Hubspot, the average cost per lead generated through inbound marketing is sixty percent lower than that of leads obtained through outbound marketing. The survey found that marketers spend an average of $332 on outbound marketing to generate one lead, whereas inbound marketing produces leads at an average cost of $134 each.
Inbound marketing does, however, take a commitment. You will need to not only establish your company’s blogs and other social media channels, but also cultivate and nurture them. But in time, if you consistently serve up information your customers find useful, you will begin to develop a loyal following, and your efforts will be rewarded.
In the meantime, you can jump-start your inbound marketing campaign by purchasing leads from a lead generation company that uses inbound marketing methods and allows you to interact with your prospects, learn about their business needs, and even give quotes for your services. Your cost for these leads will most likely be even less than what you will spend on your own inbound marketing efforts, and will be of the same, or superior quality.
Business to business (B2B) purchases, unlike many consumer products, often require a major decision. Business software, equipment, and services may come with a high price tag, and are typically not advertised in the same way that consumer products are, with extensive outbound campaigns. Business buying decisions are usually based on research materials such as white papers, brochures, web content, and sometimes even a trial offer.
This is why an effective sales process virtually always requires leads. Not lists, not intuition, but good, quality B2B leads. With good business leads, you don’t need to bust your budget on outbound advertising campaigns and then hope that customers will flock to your business demanding your product or service.
The best quality B2B lead is one that is interested in your product or service, is in a financial position to make the purchase, and plans to do so within a specific time frame. Here are, five qualifying questions to help you determine whether a lead is likely to convert to a sale:
Is the lead verified? A high quality B2B lead will be verified by a live phone call to confirm that the lead is contactable and the information provided is correct.
Is the lead qualified? Avoid wasting valuable time conversing with someone who lacks purchasing power or intent. Determine in advance your criteria for a qualified lead and make sure the leads you work with fit those parameters.
Do lead details go beyond company name and size? Information such as the position or title of the contact can be clues as to whether this person has the authority to purchase or can influence the buying decision.
Why did this person submit their information? Intent to purchase is a hallmark of a quality B2B lead. Some decision makers, however, will fill in a form during the earlier stages of research. This type of lead may require a bit of nurturing, but it is a valuable lead nonetheless.
Is there a real need, or are they just after an incentive? Use incentives with discretion. Offering a chance for a free iPad, for example, will definitely increase the number of leads you receive, but then you’ll be faced with the task of separating the chaff from quality leads who are truly interested in your product or service.
Is there such a thing as too much information? Some potential customers will turn away if you ask too many questions too soon. While you definitely need some information—after all, quality information is what constitutes a valuable lead—you don’t want to turn buyers off with an exasperating form that asks for excessive or irrelevant details.
Following the above guidelines will help to ensure that the leads you acquire are the ones most likely to convert into customers.
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