UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION TICK #THINKGROWTH

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1 UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION TICK #THINKGROWTH

2 CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION Page 3 2 COMPETITIVE PROPOSITION Page 4 3 USER PROFILING/AUDIENCE DNA Page 9 ENSURE YOUR BRAND HAS A CLEAR, COMPELLING AND RELEVANT PROPOSITION 4 LEAD GENERATION PREPARATION Page 10 5 SUMMARY Page 14 2

3 1 - INTRODUCTION UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION. TICK. Growing the customer base profitably is a primary and critical objective for many B2B brands, and in today s marketing landscape lead generation is the golden thread between marketing and sales. Yet many companies are finding leads extremely difficult to find, challenging to nurture and even harder to convert. The reality is that without a very clear brand proposition and customer focused content strategy, the chances are you won t only be struggling to differentiate against your competitors, you ll more than likely be attracting the wrong type of leads. As online channels continue to be the primary lead nurturing tools, both sales teams and marketing professionals need to change tactics. In the often complex, multi-layered world of B2B, it s no longer effective to target a single person in a company. In fact, a buyer will be 70% down the buying journey before they are ready to reach out to the seller for a price. Increasingly, buyers avoid speaking to sales people until they ve done the majority of their research. Reaching buyers at an early stage of their buying process is the key role of marketing today and passing buyers over to the sales team at the right time is also key. However, to truly maximise your chance to demonstrate credibility, build trust and gain opportunity, you must first ensure your brand has a clear, compelling and relevant proposition. This is the foundation for any successful lead generation campaign and, indeed, an ongoing relationship with customers. We ve helped many companies transform their lead generation and conversion rates through a brand positioning strategy. We ve created this guide, therefore, in the hope we can help many more companies understand the critical role brand positioning plays in lead generation, and to share some of the techniques we ve developed over the past 14 years as a UK top 50 B2B brand and marketing agency. The tips and techniques we share can be used by a marketer as part of a strategic planning session or can be used as part of a planning session with the wider team. We believe it s vital that you go through this process with an external facilitator in order to provide an objective perspective. This can be a trusted friend of the company or external advisor; the facilitator needs to be external to the day to day running of the business and therefore able to challenge you and your team to answer the sometimes difficult questions to get the most from the process. Why not contact one of our Planners here at Clock to help guide you through the process? UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION. TICK. 3

4 2 - COMPETITIVE PROPOSITION The B2B Barometer survey 1 reveals that up to 60% of B2B marketers say marketing plays second fiddle to sales. 41% of B2B marketers report that their single highest marketing priority for 2013 is to generate more of the salesperson s raw material leads. So B2B companies are sales-led and their marketing is required to deliver sales leads. Yet seemingly more B2B organisations are struggling to generate the quantity of leads they require and even more are struggling to generate the profile of lead they want. Our starting point in this scenario is brand position. Does your organisation have a clearly defined and differentiated brand position a competitive proposition you own? If it does, how well are you communicating this? 1 The Lead Generation and Nurturing Benchmarking Report by Circle Research & B2B Marketing Magazine BRAND POSITIONING WHAT S IT ALL ABOUT? Essentially, branding is how you communicate the space you occupy in the sector you are in and how you operate as an organisation. It should be aimed at your ideal customer and be highly relevant and compelling for them. Brand positioning is not simply what you say you do, it should be authentic i.e. based on fact and should encapsulate everything that makes your organisation tick. It starts with the values you live by and operate within, the vision that drives the whole organisation and the compelling differentiator that matters to customers. DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THE DIAGRAMS IN THIS GUIDE IN LARGE FORMAT AND PIN THEM UP ON THE WALL THAT WAY YOU CAN WORK AS A STRATEGIC TEAM TO START TO DEVELOP YOUR BRAND. THINKGROWTH 4

5 HOW YOU DEVELOP YOUR BRAND POSITIONING Start with visualising the now. Where are you now? What does the market place look like? Where are you going? And fundamentally, why are you different? We use a perceptual map to plot these and capture the strategic vision. This requires the right people in the room; those responsible for company strategy and anyone who has a vested interest in the strategic direction of the business. PERCEPTUAL MAP GLOBAL OPPORTUNITY SME S GENERALIST MANUFACTURING SPECIALIST UK DECIDE ON THE AXIS The first thing to do is decide what should be on your X and Y axis. The example shown here is for a company who operates solely in the manufacturing space but finds themselves competing with companies who are generalists. They are seeking to understand what the global versus UK landscape looks like. So their axis are Generalists and Specialists with global and UK. PLOT THE LANDSCAPE Put actual companies on the map and discuss where your organisation sits and plot this too. SPOT THE GAPS YOU CAN USE THIS MAP FOR PRODUCTS OR SERVICES TOO. IT S A USEFUL WAY TO SET OUT HOW TO POSITION A PRODUCT OR SERVICE IN A MARKET PLACE AND UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO GET IT WHERE YOU WANT IT TO BE. Are there any spaces on your map? On the example shown the space is as a specialist either global or UK. So this is the ideal space for our client to sit in away from the saturated generalist market. Sometimes the strategy can be, however, to sit in a saturated market and disrupt it. If this is your strategy that s fine, just understand who s around you and what you need to do to disrupt that position. 4 PLOT YOUR VISION Draw where you want to be. Do you all agree that is the vision? Often there s some debate when you plot where you are and where you want to be. Now you re ready to start working on the strategy to deliver that vision. The perceptual map is an ideal visual to keep on your wall to remind anyone involved in strategy what position you wish to own. UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION. TICK. 5

6 CLOCK BRAND PYRAMID Using the Clock brand pyramid, start at the bottom. The objective is to understand what foundations the business is built on, in order to clarify the brand essence, i.e. why the brand exists. It s the fundamental reason for the brand s existence and critically, should give a clear direction for the brand that is compelling for employees and customers alike. 6

7 Essentially, to develop a differentiated proposition, you ll need to work as a team to uncover everything you know about: Audience Who do you need to reach? What matters to them? What s their role? Are there influencers to also consider? What s the tier and responsibilities of the decision-maker? What would be their motivations to do business with you and what challenges might you face in the process? Market What do you know about the market, the size of it, your market share, the key players, your competitors, overseas market place. Use the perceptual map to plot the marketplace. Core insight What s the customer requirement that drives a need for your product or service? It s really important here to think like a customer and much more broadly than how your product or service fulfils a need. For example, if the issue you re solving is a product part that makes something work, consider the implications of the larger project failing and therefore what are you really solving? You may also find insight by considering why a customer or sector struggles with a particular challenge that your product or service answers. A core insight is something that helps you focus your brand on, it s a market need that is fundamental to the customer achieving their objective. Brand benefits What are the key motivational reasons for buying? Brand truths Features, attributes and properties that help underpin the promise (this may be the way you do things as much as what you do). Brand promise Summary of what the brand offers and why it s better. Brand values Fundamental guiding principles and beliefs. Brand personality Human characteristics guiding tone, feel and style. Brand essence Shorthand distillation of the brand s reason to exist. There is an art to writing these, every word counts so avoid overly elaborate language. UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION. TICK. 7

8 VALUES WHO EXACTLY ARE YOU? Next you need to define what it is your organisation exists to do, what values define you and what problem you re trying to solve for customers. It s often argued that no product or service is truly unique. However, every company can find uniqueness and differentiation often in their beliefs and value system they operate within. Look inside the organisation by focusing on the why. In B2B organisations there s a tendency to focus on the what (the product or service your organisation makes or delivers), but actually what you do is probably what quite a few companies do. How you do it may be unique to you and therefore offer some competitive advantage, but why you do it the way you do is the driver of differentiation, particularly if you do it better than your competitors. Use the Golden Circles diagram to help you develop your organisation s why? WHAT The WHAT What do you do for customers? The HOW How do you do it differently? The WHY Why do you do it? HOW WHY 8

9 3. USER PROFILING P2P NOT B2B At Clock we believe in P2P - people to people rather than B2B. In business to business, the journey from prospect to customer is usually long and complex; there are numerous decision makers and where the sale is high value or service-orientated, buyers are seeking reassurance by developing trust before purchase. This requires a level of personalisation and inevitably, face to face interaction. The better you understand buyer mindset, the deeper the opportunity for building trust early on. THE BETTER YOU UNDERSTAND BUYER MINDSET, THE DEEPER THE OPPORTUNITY FOR BUILDING TRUST EARLY ON. You should involve people in your company who are involved in marketing, sales and product development in this process as they will all bring insights to help you understand your audiences and their mindsets. Before you start using the audience profile sheets, start by considering the levels of influencer (audiences) you need to reach. For example, you may need to influence the Managing Director, Financial Director, Technical Director and Purchasing Director. Each of these will have different needs, wants and challenges that they are looking for you to answer. You may need to do this for each product area of the business. Once you know the levels of influencer, start working with the audience profile sheet. This will help you to capture deep insights for each buyer s mindset. We find it useful to consider actual customers when doing this exercise as it helps you to think of the real people behind the job titles. You can also use LinkedIn and Twitter to find and benchmark people with the job titles and industries you are focusing on to better understand them. Your sales people will no doubt know the characters and challenges they each face intimately. Work on one profile at a time and start by choosing a name and photo that best reflects the type of person you want to attract. Next, capture what matters to them, what their challenges, needs and wants are in relation to your brand. Pay particular attention to their character and personality as this will help you develop content that suits their mindset. Download the template at UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION. TICK. 9

10 4. LEAD GENERATION PREPARATION IT S A TEAM EFFORT Most companies will be challenged with changing mindsets from using traditional sales and marketing methods to one of a customer-centric lead generating organisation. The culture of the whole company will need to be aligned to maximise success. In particular, all employees should understand the brand positioning, what underpins it and the relevance to customers. Each department and person in it should understand how to deliver the brand promise and the brand behaviours required. You may need content to be generated from many different sources and therefore everyone needs to understand its importance and feel confident creating it. Consider how you can measure success and enourage participation. Ensure everyone has a copy of your completed brand pyramid, brand essence and a copy of the audience profiles so they clearly understand who they are writing for, what matters to them and are fully briefed on the topics they are being asked to create content for. Remember not everyone can write, some people may be better in front of a video or providing information for a writer to turn into content. TRAINING EMPLOYEES ON THE STYLE OF INFORMATION IS KEY TO DELIVERING CUSTOMER-CENTRIC DATA In product orientated companies, technical information will be required. However, training employees on the style of information is key to delivering customer-centric data. 10

11 CONTENT STRATEGY AS ALWAYS, CONTENT IS KING Content is key to the success of a lead generation campaign and you shouldn t underestimate the importance of developing content for each audience profile. Consider the six stages a prospect goes through from needs awareness through to purchase and rationalisation. It s important to remember it s not enough to generate a lead, the role of marketing is to remain connected post purchase in order to generate the next sale and encourage advocacy. Needs Awareness Research Decision Purchase Rationalise UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION. TICK. 11

12 CONTENT PLANNING Your content plan needs to create content for every stage of the buyer journey and to overlay this with the audience profiles to ensure your content is relevant at every stage. At stage four, remember in B2B there will be multiple decision-makers with differing needs, wants and challenges so creating content that answers their individual needs is crucial. Once you ve listed what content is appropriate for each stage, think about where this content can be found. One of the key challenges in B2B is changing team mindsets to see content generation as a key part of their role and not just something that s generated by marketing. By using the brand pyramid, your marketing will be better structured to train internal teams on brand tone, content type and subject matter. DON T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF YOUR BRAND S PROPOSITION Don t underestimate the power of your brand s proposition in developing your content style, tone and type. If you ve truly understood your brand s value to your audience and have well developed audience profiles, your content will be very focused, relevant, and have a consistent message, tone and style that will give the audience confidence and reassurance. Your content plan might look something like this: Stage NEEDS AWARENESS RESEARCH DECISION PURCHASE RATIONALISE Campaign Understanding Expertise Educate Knowledge Process Support Objectives Demonstrate sector knowledge Position your brand as trusted expert Ensure you are found Capture data Demonstrate thought leadership Show best practice Segmented content Help buyer sell internally Demonstrate ROI Build trust & confidence Meet the team Show you value them Make it easy to buy again Encourage referral Types of content Infographics Ebooks Blogs White papers Guides Video Slide decks Data sheets Case studies Industry reports ROI calculators Incentives Process diagrams Client testimonials Thank for the business Ask for referral/ recommendation/ product review Demonstrate next steps 12

13 IMPLEMENTATION Once you have a plan and you have the content ready, you ll need to ensure you have a system to implement it. Ideally, you ll have marketing automation software to help you manage delivery of the content at the right stage, whilst allowing you to monitor success and integrate activity with the sales team. Use the data you capture to fine tune your content and in particular to better understand your buyers mindsets and needs. As the buyer progresses through the stages, you ll ask for their data in exchange for deeper content, this will help you understand what the buyer values as well as providing valuable data. Consider how to share the content with your target audience (the user profiles will help you understand where to find your audience), and multi-layer any online content with offline, such as product literature, PR, speaking events and opportunities to reach people. ENSURE YOUR BRAND HAS A CLEAR, COMPELLING AND RELEVANT PROPOSITION UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION. TICK. 13

14 5 - SUMMARY Before you embark on lead generation activity, start by defining the position your brand is seeking to own, where the value lies in your brand promise to customers and how you ll deliver on it. Invest time to develop detailed user profiles to really understand your target audiences needs, wants and what makes them tick to put customers at the heart of your marketing. Consider what is required to change internally before you start and ensure everyone understands the brand position, values, vision and promise. Focus everyone on understanding the audience and the content required to help move them closer to your brand. THE PAY OFF IS CONSISTENT, QUALITY ENQUIRIES AND LONG- TERM CUSTOMERS Develop a content plan for every stage of the buying journey and consider the decision making layers you will need to influence. Learn from the online data and don t be afraid to change or adapt your content as you progress. Don t underestimate that developing a continuous stream of leads to your sales team takes commitment. It requires a proactive mindset that is constantly seeking solutions for customer problems and recognises the need to share your knowledge and expertise. Everyone in your organisation should use the brand positioning to communicate expertise and develop a consistent brand message. Managing the brand is essential for success as messages can be weakened over time, so internal training and marketing are also important. The pay off is consistent, quality enquiries and long term customers. By attracting the right customer and delivering what you promise you will not only generate leads, but you should also develop brand ambassadors for many years to come. 14

15 Ann Rimmer ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ann founded clock in 1999, with the ambition of building an agency that was as strategic as it is creative, that puts its people at the heart of the business and delivers growth for clients. Ann has over 20 years experience in branding and marketing. As North West head of the DBA (Design Business Association), she champions best practice in the design industry. Ann is a registered consultant with MAS (Manufacturing Advisory Service) and passionate about British manufacturing, speaking at many industry events and working with high growth manufacturers. In 2013, Ann and Clock were selected by Goldman Sachs for their high growth programme, 10ksb, one of only 30 companies selected in the North West. AT CLOCK WE RE PASSIONATE ABOUT DELIVERING GROWTH FOR OUR CLIENTS on twitter ABOUT CLOCK We re a multi-platform, strategic B2B branding and marketing agency one of the UK s top 50 in fact. That means we have a wealth of expertise in the team in a wide variety of sectors and we work on an integrated basis across digital and traditional marketing channels, nationally and internationally. Lead generation, conversion and competitive positioning are core elements of Clock s proven process ClockWise TM. on twitter #ThinkGrowth UNDERSTANDING EFFECTIVE LEAD GENERATION. TICK. 15

16 Clock Creative Communications Ltd The Former Working Men s Club, 60 Square Street, Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, BL0 9AZ. Tel: +44 (0) #ThinkGrowth

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