The downside of sales hustle and automation

Are your sales reps hitting the phones and sending more cold emails? To drive growth, the mandate for sales organizations is to make more calls, send more emails. Sales reps are hustling and using automated tools to move faster. But sales hustle and automation have a downside: they can hurt customer experience and push people […]

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10 Most Popular B2B Lead Generation Blog Posts of 2017

10 most popular B2B Lead Generation Posts

January is a time for new beginnings.

To help you launch into a great year, I’ve compiled a list of the top ten most popular and shared posts on the B2B Lead Generation Blog in 2017.

This following list was compiled based on aggregate social shares across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and views.

The list starts at number 10 moving up.

#10: How to Improve Lead Routing to Skyrocket Sales 

lead-routingHave you intentionally optimized your sales lead routing and assignment process? If not, you could be losing sales, and marketing ROI not see it.

For example, LeadData’s new report, The State of Lead Management, based on a survey of 527 B2B sellers and marketers found an average 25.5 % of marketing-generated leads get assigned to the wrong account owner.

Did you catch that? Over 25% of marketing-generated leads get assigned to the wrong person. In this post, you’ll get 7 tips to increase your lead generation ROI by improving how you route leads.

Read about How to Improve Lead Routing to Skyrocket Sales Results

 #9: Getting sales enablement right to increase results

sales_enablement

Sales enablement is intended to help raise performance, but a lot of efforts have backfired due to departmental silos. And now there’s growing gap between what salespeople need and what they’re getting to improve performance.

So how do you get sales enablement right?

I interviewed Dave Brock (@davidabrock), author of the Sales Manager Survival Guide, also CEO of Partners in EXCELLENCE. Dave’s brilliance is his focus on practical simplification.

Find out how to get sales enablement right to increase results

#8: How to do lead management that improves conversion

Have you looked at your lead management approach from the perspective of customer experience? If not, you may want to start now.

Here’s why: According to Forrester, top performers convert 1.54% of marketing qualified leads to revenue. This means almost 98% people who start the customer journey are lost.

Find out 5 areas you need to focus on to improve lead management and increase conversion.

Read more: How to do lead management that improves conversion

#7: Seven Tips to Boost Lead Nurturing Email Results

People aren’t looking for a reason to read your lead nurturing email messages, they’re looking for a reason to delete them. Think about it.

Marketers rely on email as the top lead nurturing tactic. And according to Econsultancy email is the best digital channel for ROI.

Read 7 Tips to Boost Lead Nurturing Email Results

#6: Stuck on words: how can marketing connect with customers better?

customer connectionHow can marketers better connect with people we hope will become our customers?

Why? Because the trust gap between marketers and customers has never been bigger.

For example, this survey by Hubspot showed that only 3 percent of buyers surveyed consider marketers and salespeople trustworthy. Yikes.

It starts with the words we use which ultimately affects how we think and act towards others.

Read Stuck on words: how can marketing connect with customers better?

#5: How customer-hero stories help you connect emotionally and sell better

customer-hero storiesJust 13% of salespeople produce 87% of revenue in a typical organization according to the Sales Benchmark Index.

You may be wondering: what do the 13% do differently?

They connect emotionally with their buyers.

I interviewed Mike Bosworth. If you don’t know Mike Bosworth already, he is a thought leader in the B2B sales/marketing space.

Read more: How customer-hero stories help you connect better

#4: New B2B Persona Research from Salesforce and LinkedIn Study

Getting the right content to the right people continues to be a challenge in B2B marketing and lead generation.

Salesforce analyzed more than 15 million data points, spanning a four-year period, from two of the most massive B2B databases: Data.com and LinkedIn.

The results will surprise you.

I interviewed Mathew Sweezey (@msweezey). Mathew works with Salesforce and is the Principal of Marketing Insights to talk about the report, B2B Personas: Targeting Audiences.

Check out the New B2B Persona Research from Salesforce and LinkedIn Study

#3: Lead Nurturing: 5 Useful Tactics to Get More Opportunities

Lead-Nurturing-TacticsLead nurturing is one of those things that’s easy to talk about but hard to do.

Find out how to apply lead nurturing to help advance leads through three stages of your lead generation funnel to get more qualified opportunities.

Learn 5 tactics you can use immediately to improve lead-to-customer conversion.

Read more: Lead Nurturing: 5 Useful Tactics to Get More Opportunities

#2: Why customer advocacy should be at the heart of your marketing

Customer advocacy marketing programs help you increase revenue by improving customer acquisition and retention (and they’re also your best source of leads).

I interviewed Mark Organ (@markorgan). Mark is the Founder and CEO of Influitive, and he’s been a thought leader in the space of sales/marketing technology and customer advocacy.

Read about Why customer advocacy should be at the heart of your marketing

#1: Who should own lead generation for a complex sale?

Who should own B2B lead generation: sales, marketing or both?

You might be thinking, “isn’t the answer obvious?” It’s not.

Let me explain.

Sales and marketing don’t do a great job of lead generation because they both believe it’s the others job.

I asked the 19,830 members the B2B Lead Roundtable LinkedIn Group about this topic. In this post, you’ll get a ton of actionable tips.

Read Who should own lead generation for a complex sale?

Conclusion

The single biggest issue for B2B revenue growth remains lead generation: increasing lead quality and quantity. This analysis into the most popular posts gives a glimpse into what subjects readers found most relevant.

Additionally, this list shows that increasing conversion, understanding customer motivation, managing and nurturing leads better, and improving sales performance are topics on the minds of readers.  At the same time, connecting and building trust with buyers has never been harder.

That’s why we need to go beyond rational-logic based marketing to understand how our customers feel. Empathy is not just a “soft” skill, it’s an incredibly powerful tool to understand customer motivation and increase lead conversion. I’ll be sharing more about how we can connect with customers better using applied empathy.

The post 10 Most Popular B2B Lead Generation Blog Posts of 2017 appeared first on the B2B Lead Blog.

10 Most Popular B2B Lead Generation Blog Posts of 2016

The year 2016 is quickly coming to an end and the holiday season is a time for reflection and preparation.

I’ve compiled a list of the 10 most popular and shared posts on the B2B Lead Blog, chosen by marketers, just like you, to help you get ready to have a great 2017. My methodology was compiling the aggregate social shares across Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google+.

1. The Biggest Contributor to B2B Revenue

Dave Green interviewed Trish Bertuzzi (@bridgegroupinc), author of the popular book, The Sales Development Playbook.

For the majority of B2B companies with complex sales, marketing-generated leads rarely account for 50% of revenue and often it’s often much less.

To keep valuable field salespeople productive, many of the more innovative sales and marketing departments build “sales development” teams including Oracle, Marketo, HubSpot, HP, and  Salesforce.com. Just to name a few.

Read  The Biggest Contributor to B2B Revenue

2. How Empathy Will Grow Your Sales and Marketing Pipeline

We have more channels and more content marketing than ever before, but it’s become harder actually to connect with potential customers.

Empathetic Marketing is about moving out of our self-thinking and into the mind of our customer, thus, moving away from me-first, business-centric thinking to customer-centric thinking and speaking to our customer’s motivations.

For example, Slack (currently the fastest growing start-up in history) practices empathy in their marketing, product design, and is part of their core values. Additionally, IBM is gearing up to become the world’s largest design company. In the course of their boot camps, IBMemployees are learning how to apply empathy to connect better with colleagues and clients.

Read How Empathy Will Grow Your Sales and Marketing Pipeline

3. Better Social Selling: An Interview with Jill Rowley

Jill RoleyDo you want to get better at social selling or help your sales team do the same?  If not, you should. Here’s why. B2B marketing has gone through a modernization to align better with how people buy.  Now it’s time for sales to step up.

I interviewed Jill Rowley (@jill_rowley), Chief Evangelist and startup advisor for #SocialSelling. “…we’re long overdue for transformation, a modernization of the way we sell…,” Rowley said.

Read the Interview with Jill Rowley on Better Social Selling

4. Tips On How to Use LinkedIn for Better Lead Generation

As a follow-up to this popular 2015 post, How to Use LinkedIn to Generate Leads, I interviewed Susan Tatum (@susanptatum), Partner at The Conversion Company. I met Susan through following her writing on her blog and her work in the LinkedIn community.

I see sales and marketing people trying too hard to automate and template-ize their actions, focusing on quantity and not quality. They’re approaching LinkedIn like an email blast campaign, and this is not what the network is about – Susan Tatum

Read the Tips on How to Use LinkedIn for Better Lead Generation.

5. Six Metrics That Will Give You an Edge and Your CEO Clarity

Do you know what CEOs want most from B2B marketers?

They want clarity about marketing results. And they expect their marketing leaders to provide clear metrics and be accountable to meeting their numbers just like their sales.

MarketingCharts cited a recent report from Regalix which stated, “The majority of senior marketers are using basic marketing analytics tools such as web analysis (91%) and spreadsheets (80%)…”

Find out the 6 B2B Marketing Measures that Will Give You an Edge and Your CEO Clarity.

6. Four Ways You Can Humanize Marketing and Build Relationships

We need to stop treating our customers like objects and treat them like people. So how do you humanize your marketing? According to the CMO Council, “Only 20% of marketers are able to predict the next best action for their customers.” Additionally, Forrester Consulting discovered, “65 % of marketers struggle to employ emotional marketing as they turn to automation to improve customer engagement.”

Humanizing marketing is about applying this truth from neuroscientist Antonio Damasio who said, “We are not thinking machines that feel; rather, we are feeling machines that think.” At its core, marketing is about building relationships. To do that we need to build trust. By following the suggestions in this post, you’ll make a huge improvement in how you connect with your customers.

Read about Four Ways You Can Humanize Marketing and Build Relationships.

7. How to Use Trigger Events for More and Better Leads

Using trigger events with your account based marketing and selling can help your sales team be more efficient and effective.  Why?

You’re putting the law of inertia to work in your favor, and that can help shorten your average sales cycle.

Also, you’ll spend more time connecting with people who have the motivation to actually buy what you have to sell.

Find out how identifying the key events helped one company win more sales and increase conversions by 400%. And learn 3 steps to determine which trigger events are most important for your Account Based Marketing (ABM).

Read more: How To Use Trigger Events for More and Better Leads.

 8. Five Ways to Immediately Boost Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

What are the five ways you can immediately improve your account-based marketing (ABM) and selling? I was interviewed on CRMRadio.today by Jim Obermayer (@SalesldMgmtAssn), founder of the Sales Lead Management Association and the Funnel Media Group.

Learn the five ways to improve account based marketing and selling immediately.  In the interview, we talk a little shop about the fundamentals of account-based marketing, what’s new (and unchanged) in the world of the complex sale, and how empathy marketing is the way forward.

Read about Five Ways to Immediately Boost Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

9. Fast Growth Marketing: From 0 to 500,000 Users

In this interview, you’ll hear from Jim Fowler (@fowlinator), founder of Owler on what he’s learned about expedited growth. Owler – a free competitive intelligence platform – rapidly went from 0 to over 500,000 users and they’re on pace to exceed a million users by the end of 2016.

Find out how Owler acquired so many active users so quickly and learn the lessons discovered along with the way to help you with your 2017 marketing strategy.

Read about Rapid Growth Marketing: From 0 to 500,000 Users

10. 16 Proven Ways to Getting Better Leads Now

Marketers spend a lot of time and effort doing inbound marketing, but they often struggle getting those leads to convert into pipeline opportunities and, eventually, customers after they hand them off to sales.

In this post, I’ll share proven ways get better opportunities from your lead generation. There was so much to share, I split this post into two parts

Read 16 Proven Ways to Getting Better Leads and Opportunities Now (Part 1) and (Part 2)

Honorable mentions:

How Giving Useful Ideas and Secrets Builds Trust

Three Questions to Align B2B Marketing, Sales, and Strategy

Conclusion

As you saw, this analysis of the most socially shared posts provides a glimpse into the topics readers found most relevant in 2016. The issues of lead generation and account-based marketing continue to be big in 2016 and for a good reason. Every marketing touch, conversation, and social connection, is centered on developing relationships.

Also, these posts show that 2016 was the year of the customer and being buyer-centric. When you’re in the trenches, it’s easy to get caught up in marketing acronyms, martech, data, and analytics. What readers showed is that demand generation, B2B marketing, and sales comes down to connecting with people. And this personal connection comes down to one idea — empathy.

I look forward to continuing to bring you useful information, tips, and insights in 2017.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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