Malinda Wilkinson, CMO at Salesfusion, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.
In this episode, we discuss nurturing B2B buyers, customer journeys, and the importance of sales and marketing alignment.
Below are a few highlights from our conversation:
TechnologyAdvice: Should businesses spend more time and money nurturing B2B buyers who are further down the funnel or throughout the entire buyer’s journey?
Malinda Wilkinson: Each business is different and has it’s own approach based on what they’re selling and what that buying process looks like. Top of the funnel activities are really important for reaching, engaging, informing potential buyers, and pulling those people into your funnel. It’s also important that you have a really coordinated effort around how you’re going to engage with them throughout that entire process.
If you’re a B2B company with prolonged sales cycles, it’s really important to make sure you continue to nurture them throughout that entire process. I’ve been at companies before with a 12-18 months average sales cycle. So, when you’ve got a situation like that, it’s definitely important to have a coordinated effort between both marketing and sales. Even though marketing has thrown a lead over to sales, they can’t just forget about it. At some point, they can automate that process and help sales out further down the funnel.
TA: What are your best practices for finding the right prospects and bringing them into your funnel?
Wilkinson: The very first step, actually, is identifying who you are targeting. You need to understand and define a qualified lead, their profile, the size of the company, the industry, and geographies that you’re going to go after. Also understand your sales targets for the year and match up your activities to ensure you’re going to provide the right volume of qualified leads to meet those targets.
We look at our conversion rates at each stage of the funnel to understand the volume at the very top that we’re going to need to bring in. You need a healthy mix of both inbound and outbound tactics to really be effective at generating the leads you are going to need.
Whether it’s inbound or outbound, you’ve got to have great content. Your content must be relevant and interesting to get them to engage with you, whether you’re talking to them through social media or doing direct mail. You need a compelling offer to get potential customers to engage with you. There’s just so much noise out there from all the different options available digitally. Great content is just one different way to stand out from the crowd.
TA: In terms of outbound marketing, can you automate something like a direct mail campaign?
Wilkinson: Absolutely, you can. There are numerous ways to do it. But ultimately, we are a digital world. So any type of junk mail we do will point back to a digital asset of some sort. In many cases, we’ve even used personalized URLs and were able to use our own marketing automation to set them up — meaning if I were to send you something it would hopefully be trackable.
For example, if I sent you a direct mail campaign, your call to action would be to visit www.salesfusion.com/josh.
You would get that in your mailbox and we would know exactly when Josh visited the site and downloaded the content. And less sophisticated marketers can still take advantage of this. Even if they don’t go so far as to use URLs, if you just have a landing page and you make your offer compelling enough then you’re going to capture a prospect’s engagement with relevant and compelling content that was of interest to them.
To learn more about how sales and marketing alignment can help you nurture B2B buyers, read our free guide below.