As a B2B marketer, your bread and butter are leads—you’re either attempting to generate new leads or endeavoring to convert your current leads into clients either by running cold call campaigns or utilizing account-based marketing. Furthermore, once you have those clients, your job is to keep them cheerful and ideally convert them further into being promoters of your products/services. So, where do you keep the information on these leads? The answer is your B2B marketing database.
Hopefully, you’re not keeping track of your leads in an Excel spreadsheet or using that as your database. Excel can be used for some marketing functionalities, including a social media calendar; a blog calendar; or even AdWords tracking. But you shouldn’t utilize it to keep track of your leads. That’s where a customer relationship management (CRM) system comes into play. Once you have your lead data in your CRM system, which you can use to pull lists for email marketing or prospecting.
In addition to the fact that it is important to have a perfectly clean database with top-notch data, exact contact information, yet additionally so you can create targeted segments for a superior possibility of actually connecting with your audience in an important and productive way. There are three main things you need to do to manage your B2B marketing database.
Clean Your Data
While the focus in the past has been on ensuring that all fields are filled out and that the information is up-to-date, today’s marketing landscape demands more from a B2B database. Now it’s basic to integrate data across marketing and sales stages to avoid redundancy and give an integrated, seamless experience to the prospect or client. But on the other hand, it is also important to use automated processes to input the data, parse for what’s essential, and utilize predictive analytics to make assumptions about leads.
That being said, the issue with automated processes is that there’s little human touch included. That is the reason quality contact data is absolutely important.
Segment Your List
Your leads can be segmented in any manner of ways: by job title, location or past purchase. But you really should be focusing your segmentation efforts on where your leads are in the buying cycle for your company’s product/solution. This flow starts with an Inquiry, which is someone who has filled out the registration form on your page. From Inquiry, a lead can become a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), based on a further action the lead took (for example: downloading another piece of content). The next steps from MQL are Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), followed by Opportunity, which can also be known as Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) and is ready for a sales pitch or conversation; and then hopefully the last stage is Customer. You can also go one step further and add in Advocate, which are customers who have shared your products on their social pages or have referred other people who became customers.
Use The Information
Once you have your CRM cleansed and segmented, those leads aren’t going to market to themselves, as nice as that would be. Create separate email marketing campaigns that will be of interest to the various stages of the buying cycles. You can also help move leads through the stages of the buying cycle through thoughtful lead nurturing campaigns to take them from Inquiry to Opportunity and beyond.
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