One of the next frontiers for lead generation technology is the need to support marketers’ goals for more intelligently responding to inbound prospect inquiries, like those made to a website, call center or Facebook brand page.
While marketing teams generally exercise care in automating and personalizing direct communications on outbound channels (such as direct mail and email), they are failing to capitalize on a tremendous revenue opportunity but not personalizing inbound communications. The problem is that many of those inbound inquiries are made by prospects that appear to be anonymous because they may not exist in a marketing or CRM database.
Reliance on generic offers and content on websites to appeal to those anonymous visitors are simply not effective for generating quality leads in competitive markets. B2B marketers using a cross-channel approach must ensure messages are relevant and personalized while creating a network of tightly coordinated and consistent touch points. Successful B2B marketers will be able to take advantage of advanced technology that enables them to rotate offers and capture responses and interactivity in order to increase personalization, conversion rates and improve the prospect’s brand experience.
The following are lead generation best practices for B2B marketers to follow in order to avoid customer and prospect marketing fatigue and maintain cross-channel engagement:
Deliver the right message at each contact opportunity with customers and prospects and log offer responses to ensure consistency among channels and improve future propositions.
Leverage email click data to identify and qualify website visitors so that the web content served to them will reflect their previous engagement with the brand.
Leverage inbound contacts to integrate external product catalog details (such as SKU numbers; product availability, price, description; and other inputs) with the marketing database to further refine offer segmentation.
Centralize the storage of the marketing offers catalog (including the use of external product catalogs), proposition rules that depend on criteria and visual representations of each offer.
Conversational marketing technology is an important component of this strategy because it was built to unify inbound and outbound communications strategies by providing a centralized system to track and manage all marketing activity data to generate targeted messaging and the best, most relevant offers based on customer behavior and established preferences.
Lead nurturing can’t be successful or sustainable with a single touch. Marketers need to understand what channels their customers and prospects prefer and are actively using, and align their communications strategies accordingly. The bottom line is that marketers must respect the stages of prospects’ engagement with a brand. Hopefully, lead generation processes will be increasingly automated and map more directly to the customer buying cycle in the future.
Kristin Hambelton is vice president of marketing at conversational marketing technology provider Neolane, Inc. She is responsible for Neolane’s market and brand strategy and operations including corporate communications, demand generation, product and partner marketing, and digital marketing including search and social media. Follow Kristin on Twitter @KMHambelton.