Convert opportunities to sales
Who is this book for?
4.1 Low hanging fruit
4.2 Ban ‘batch‘n’blast’
4.3 The customer journey, fuelled
by marketing automation
4.4 Repeat sales
4.5 Automate messaging
5.1 Good storytelling
5.2 Your content cupboard and how to stock it
5.3 Developing a content plan
5.4 Mobile and apps
5.5 Social and community
About Ledger Bennett DGA
2.1 The buyer journey
2.2 Demand generation
2.3 The propel methodology
Generating more opportunities
3.1 Inbound marketing – search and social
3.2 Getting found – search
3.3 Broadening your reach – social
3.4 Your inbound toolkit
3.5 Unknown to known
The modern buyer
3.6 What basket?
Who is this book for?
This book looks to pull
apart the motivations
and drivers of the modern
B2B buyer, explore their
relationships with business,
and help you create a
marketing strategy that
adapts to the new modern
This book has been written for the demand creators within a business.
Those tasked with one of the most important functions a business has
– to market and sell its products and services.
We choose our words carefully here as (we’ll explain later in this book)
the traditional roles of sales and marketing have shifted, greyed and
merged. If you are a CxO, or work in the marketing or sales department
– this is for you.
This book aims to explain the changing world of modern marketing,
and explain the techniques and tools you will need to adapt to it.
The landscape is new, constantly changing,
and in some areas uncharted, the tools and
techniques different, the rules redefined. Some
things, however, have not changed. Buyers do
not buy because you’ve chivvied them into
buying. They do not buy because you’ve set-up
your processes and made it easier for you to sell
to them. Buyers buy when they’re ready – in their
own time and on their own terms. We’re in a
In a business context, buyers research the products
and services they believe will help them to meet
a need, to solve a business problem. They do what
it takes to understand solutions and suppliers at
the touch of a button, a press of a key, an open,
online question or two to peers. Because they can.
Like it or not, some of them will be better-informed
than the sales force employed specifically to know
everything there is to know about this or that
product. These prospects are 67% of their way
through the buying cycle before engaging with
suppliers. The power has shifted from the brochurebearing salesman. The power is with the buyer.
Traditionally, marketing would attract leads and hand
them off to sales quite early in the buying cycle.
Prospects would rely on sales appointments, physical
brochures and technical documents to get the
information they needed. Essentially they were led into
the sale by marketing (a little) and sales staff (a lot).
Things are different today. Buyers go online to
source the information they need that will include
other customers’ experiences with the product
or service being considered. It takes a different
approach to marketing, based more on digital
body language (how a prospect navigates pages
of product information online) than traditional
broadcast media ‘push’ strategies.
B2B buyers are 67%
through their buying
cycle before interacting
The buyer journey is a path well-trodden in
marketing. It’s just that, where previously it’s
been a walk in the dark as far as marketers are
concerned, today there are diverse tools to
map and manage this journey towards purchase.
And it doesn’t end there. When a prospect has
become an active customer who has spent good
money with you, these same tools enable you to
enhance your relationship and make more purchases
more likely. It’s that old thing (still holds true) about
20% of your customer-base being responsible for
80% of your sales. The diagram gives you a broad
understanding of what a prospect-to-customer
journey might look like. With the breadth and
depth of analytics available, it’s possible to visualise
exactly where in their journey your audience is,
and what you can do to support or influence their
decision-making at each stage in terms of:
Attract / Engage
Profile / Win
Cross-Sell / Upsell
Renew / Refresh
n Generating more opportunities
n Converting those opportunities into sales
Retaining those customers and growing
We have already touched upon how your customers
have changed. And it’s odds-on that they’ll continue
to change – in their expectations, their needs, their
pre- and post-purchase behaviours – as long as
technology and good business sense open up new
and different possibilities.
It is not just a buyer’s market, but a market in which
organisations are also empowered. No-one can predict the
future, but it doesn’t look likely to be in the sphere of
conventional marketing theory. Buyer empowerment on the
left, you the enabled marketer on the right, and the internet
bang in the middle of the playing field, has changed all that.
Right now your buyers have all the tools they need to
research, understand and make decisions about the products
and services they want to buy without involving you.
Conversely, you have the ability, if you really listen and look,
to understand and to meet their needs more precisely than
you’ve ever done before. It’s down to you to find alternative
ways into their awareness, engaging in conversations at the
earliest possible opportunity, and influencing their decisionmaking that way. Many see it as a buyer’s market, only
successful enterprises see it as an opportunity.
As a marketer today, your role is not to just create leads, but
to create demand. A lead is seen as an opportunity. Demand
is a wholly different thing. Demand signifies a prospect who
has done his background research and who is ready and able
to take the next step. He is open to the possibility of
purchasing from you.
Even though numbers show that traditional sales and
marketing techniques are failing. That buyers are savvy to
double-page spreads and shiny, perfectly-formed pieces of
direct mail. The channels are fractured, the old corridors of
communication blocked. New channels have opened with an
array of tools providing marketers with an unprecedented
level of insight, transparency and measurement.
To run an effective modern day Demand Generation
programme, your enterprise is required to do three things:
n Generate more opportunities
Attracting, engaging and identifying more prospects
using content and inbound marketing strategies
n Convert opportunities into sales
Turning their interest into sales by using personalised
content and marketing automation tools to walk
alongside them throughout their buying journey
n Retain customers and increase their value
Keeping the customer and increasing the number
of purchases by cross-selling and up-selling using
digital marketing techniques
Nurturing leads who aren’t
ready to buy straight
away can increase your
sales leads by 50%.
Propulsion is about movement forwards, about creating
and maintaining momentum. When inbound marketing,
content marketing and marketing automation come
together, when they synergise, they create a momentum
all of their own, a great example of the whole being
greater than the sum of its parts.
Any one of these can be used in isolation. Or two can be used
together. But it’s only when you activate the power of three
that you see the potential in each one fulfilled.
n Content Marketing Our key currency to drive engagement
in the digital environment, how we put fuel in our marketing
vehicle, the glue that pulls all aspects together
n arketing Automation The platform that lets
us do more with less, deliver more relevant, customised
communications at the right time, to the right people
To get the attention of people who don’t know
who we are, or aren’t ready to buy from us.
n Content engine to deliver relevant content
n Asset library
Guidance in content marketing
In modern marketing provide the power they need to increase
sales with specialism in three key areas:
Inbound Marketing How buyers find us and we
continually develop our prospect base, drive audience
insight and optimise performance
People don’t find us, or what they’re looking
for from us, online.
Greater online visibility
Make relevant information easily available
Ask them to give us some information
Giving them the right information at the
right time to move them towards purchase.
n Understanding their needs
n Marketing automation process
n Personalised communications
Traditionally, inbound activity was based on advertising
and reliant on interruption techniques that effectively bought
attention. In contrast, modern marketing means your
audience can find you when they are ready, but you have
to earn their attention. Guides, articles, eBooks, videos,
calculators and digital tools are just a few examples of
content that can help you to earn attention by meeting
your audience’s need for information.
Instead of pushing your message with advertising, in the
fingers-crossed hope that it is timely, your audience now
has more power to find you when they want. The internet
has changed how buyers buy. Trouble is, it hasn’t changed
the way too many sellers sell, driven by self-regard and
corporate ego, selling by telling, not listening.
Companies like this will probably have a website, but they
won’t make it easy for visitors to find the information they
need, or to do anything constructive with it if they do. Their
sales funnel will be emptier than it could be. Data sources
will more than likely be sketchy and unreliable. Visitors will
get no sense of connection when they arrive, and will
probably leave, uninformed and unimpressed.
of business buyers say when
they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you.
source: DemandGen Reports (2012)
To attract your audience from an inbound perspective you
have two main vehicles – search and social.
At its simplest, ‘search’ represents the act of being found when
a prospect looks on a search engine for something they want.
The goal is to be found by your audience when they are looking
for something that you can help them with.
Social media increases your ability to be found through
communities. It enables communities to be the voice of your
company and spread your reach beyond your known contacts,
identify prospects you can actively nurture and even boost
search to begin
of tech B2B
on social sites.
Within B2B environments, search and social are fuelled by
content. Without content, you will have little to attract audiences
with through social media and receive less search traffic. More
importantly, without content, the visitors you do generate will
remain unknown to you.
source: B2B Tech Buyers, IDG websites
We have already seen how 93% of buyers begin their
journey with an online search and 88% click on organic
search results. Organic, search-driven leads even have
the highest lead-to-close rate at 15%. Yet, proportionally
spend is low on SEO and Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
being only 4% of the annual budget.
In order to optimise your website and web pages,
the first step is to identify exactly what words you
want to rank for and be associated with. You should
have a limited set of keywords to optimise your
website for, and a specific for each web page linked
to the theme of article.
source: Hubspot and B2B barometer
People perceive high search rankings as a sign of trust,
credibility and authority. As a result, greater importance
should be placed in active management and optimisation of
visibility within search engines. It is not a one-off activity in
launching web pages with tags and metadata. It is a continual
process with over 60% of page rank now determined by offpage factors. In effect, how search engines view your
website’s relationships with other websites, not just web
pages that you control. These factors include referral links and
social signals and are growing in importance.
like a threelegged race
Keywords are about how your audience will search for
something you can help with, not what terms you want
to promote. Always do keyword research to identify
preferred search terms, not just what you think.
Top tips for on-page SEO
Continually mine, analyse and update
keywords based upon market trends and
n lways write page content to include
desired keywords that prospects will be
looking for – not internally preferred terms
Page titles and meta description should all
be unique – and lead with theme of page
not company name
Page hierarchy is important – place pages
with greater importance higher up the tree
As with traditional PR, leading journals and journalists
carry more weight, more authority. Companies with
unique, interesting stories and news gain more coverage.
The same is true for the Web. So, even if you have good
on-page SEO, leading domains may have more authority
than you and will rank higher for your desired search
terms. Growing authority is fundamental in increasing
organic search traffic. So how do you grow authority?
Authority is given by domains linking to your website. They
pass you link juice. The more authority they have, the more
link juice is passed to you. It is not the number of links, but
the value of each link. In order to attract links from reputable
sources you have to earn it, as they will not want to give you
credit or authority for nothing. Having unique, valuable content
is the most effective way to drive link-baiting.
Similarly with social media, the more people linking to you,
the greater positive impact on search results. Once again,
you must earn this. People will not link your website to
their communities without anything worthwhile to share.
One of the most effective ways of enhancing keywords
on your website and building backlinks is blogging. This
requires continual creation of newsworthy material that
people want to share socially and link to from their
websites. B2B companies that blog have even been
found to generate on average over 50% more leads per
month than non-blogging organisations.
Top tips for off-page SEO
Look to earn links with helpful and
insightful content that people will want
to write about and share
n o not assume people will just find you –
promote your content to encourage links
Always strive for quality inbound links –
1 high quality link is worth more than
100 low quality links
source: Socialmedia B2B
Actively seek link building through
guest articles and collaboration with
Larger, slower-moving or more traditional organisations have
been reluctant within many B2B markets to embrace social
media. Common reactions to using have included: ‘it doesn’t
deliver ROI’, ‘our audiences don’t use it’ or ‘we don’t have
the resources available right now to manage it’. While these
may have been true in the past, the facts of the matter,
available on a multitude of widely-distributed graphs and
charts, suggest we can no longer ignore the impact of social
media, regardless of industry or audience. In addition to lead
acquisition, social media is replacing PR, traditional forms of
earned media, in enhancing brand image, perceived reliability
and thought-leadership. 94% of business buyers state C-suite
social media participation enhances a brand image with 77%
saying they are more likely to buy from a company whose
CEO uses social media. Even 4/5 employees trust your
company more if the CEO uses social media to communicate
Amplifying your message
Social provides a free channel and a platform to
distribute your messages and content, expand your
reach beyond existing contacts, and enables customers
to become third-party advocates and objective, external
brand ambassadors. If someone shares something about
you, you reach new audiences with earned credibility.
Just like word-of-mouth being the strongest form for
endorsement offline, online it is word of the Web.
In complex B2B markets, it’s neither fair nor realistic to
think that engaging an audience via social media will
immediately lead to a flood of sales. The decision
process will involve multiple stakeholders, and will take
place over an extended period of time. In fact, only 27%
of B2B leads are sales-ready when first generated.
The key is providing something people want to share;
a fantastic experience, timely and downtime-saving support,
a great product or a guide. Once again, content is seen as
a driver. However great your product, without content you’re
an empty vessel, unlikely to engage customers and do your
sales potential justice.
Only 4% of B2B budget is spent on social media,
yet 65% of companies have acquired a lead through
LinkedIn, and almost half via Twitter.
Social media provides a flexible, cost-effective, trustgenerating channel to reach new audiences, enhance
relationships with customers and enrich brand personalities.
When viewed like this, who wouldn’t want a piece of it?
Customers have better visibility of you, and you have the
ability to nurture prospects through the buyer cycle.
Marketing now has the tools in place to demonstrate tangible
ROI with social channels, not just click-and-follow metrics.
Prospects acquired, customers acquired and increased
loyalty – all and so much more is down to the intelligent,
creative use of social.
source: B2B barometer and Econsultancy
Search and social
Let’s play ‘Devil’s Advocate’ and say that your audience
isn’t socially engaged right now. Broad adoption of
smartphones (usually company phones) are blurring
the lines of work and personal space.
Mobile and Generation Y
As web sophistication increases, social is seen to play
an ever-rising role in search. 64% of marketers now see
only strong content (82%) more important to search
rankings than social media.
The launch of Google+ with personalised results, and
Facebook search graph only act to demonstrate the
converging mutual relationship between search and social.
Now consider the impact as Generation Y enters the
workplace and progresses to more senior roles with
decision-making responsibilities, and the native digital world
begins to become reality. If social isn’t seen as being
important now, by the time it is, it will probably be too late
to adapt business culture and performance.
82% of CEOs already
acknowledge smartphones as
being the primary device for
Yet already, 9 out of every 10
internet uses on mobile
is a social channel.
Top tips for on-page SEO
Focus on channels your audience
are on. Do not think you need to be
n ave a long term vision and strategy,
and work towards it
Remember social media is about
being social and building relationships
– it is about your customers and
audience, not you
Listen to your audience, offer value
and help where possible
Track levels of engagement and
interaction with your audience
– use this insight to enhance activity
While search and social form the foundation of inbound
activity, the modern marketer has many other tools at
their disposal. Widening the top of the funnel can be
achieved through many channels, activities and tactics,
not just SEO and social media.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Commonly known as pay-per-click (PPC) or paid search
marketing (SEM). Search terms are targeted by your keywords
where you bid against other matching results. Best practice
is to supplement organic traffic and visibility in search results.
Ads are displayed across display networks. Bidding on
placements can be either cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM)
or cost-per-click (CPC). Display ads can be static images,
text, animated flash, video, expandable or even using
A combination of display networks with keyword targeting,
making ads appear on pages matching a defined criteria and
next to highly related content. Bidding and formats are the
same as display ads. Effective in enhancing visibility and
traffic from highly related websites.
Allows ads to be displayed across networks to previous
website visitors based on page tags. PPC format. Highly
effective to nurture buyers through the buying cycle, or drive
repeat purchase. Strong at improving brand visibility to
previous attracted audiences.
Just like offline, sponsorship still has a vital role in shaping a
brand, driving awareness and leads. In online environments
sponsoring a website, report or virtual event all drive
recognition, access to a broader audience and opportunities
for lead generation. Newsletter sponsorship can also drive
traffic and leads.
Social marketing (advertising)
In addition to driving organic and community traffic through
social media, targeted advertising can supplement activity.
LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook all have PPC models. Very
strong targeting capabilities based upon; geo, demo, job,
groups, interests, networks and friends. More stronglydeveloped social communities can enhance targeting
Inbound activity should also utilise offline activity; trade
shows, events, workshops, and exhibitions. While these
may also form part of nurturing and be used within outbound
communications, they also provide data capture opportunities
to identify new prospects and feed the funnel.
Similar to traditional journal advertising in paying for placement,
but in an online environment. Can be either CPM or CPC.
Good for raising brand awareness. Targeting occurs only in the
booking of the website, domain or resource to place the ad.
Slideshare drives three times more B2B traffic than any other
social media site. Although it is effectively a form of content,
it provides a platform to be found across organic search,
social media and within Slideshare. Data capture is also
possible within Slideshare making this highly effective at
acquiring new prospects.
Long buyer cycles, multiple decision makers and
complex channels – it’s common for B2B purchases
to be complicated. Stimulating organic or social traffic
may only have limited impact if these visitors remain
unknown to you, especially with pressure to justify
marketing spend and demonstrate ROI. Even a ten-fold
rise in web traffic may not convince the board of success
unless sales or customer retention dramatically increase.
If someone isn’t ready to purchase but has shown interest
in your company or service, you need to know who they
are in order to help nurture them towards a sale. (Nurturing
is covered in greater detail in chapter 4.) One thing is clear,
the prospect who remains unknown to you is neither
useful nor productive.
An exchange of information which offers mutual benefit
is the simplest way of finding out who they are. The
primary currency you have to exchange for their contact
information is content; eBooks, webinars, guides, demos,
reports and tools are just a few examples.
The level of content should also reflect the level of
customer data required. For a detailed report you may want
full information, but for a simple online tool it may just be
a social @handle. But without something of value to your
audience, engaging and converting a visitor to known is rarely
possible (content is discussed in more length in chapter 5).
Top tips for conversion
n evelop content that is valuable and
of benefit to your audience
n lways consider what content is worth and
where your visitor will be in their buying
journey when asking them to fill in a form
n ptimise conversion of cost per
n se tools to A/B and multivariate test and
optimise landing pages (for instance
Google Analytics Content Experiments)
In the digital age, we’re blessed with analytical and
reporting capabilities that previous eras could only have
dreamt of. In essence, we can determine ‘which 50% of
advertising spend is wasted’ and allocate that to the
most effective channels. We can also monitor, adjust
and refine activity in real-time to improve marketing
performance and get more from our resources.
Although insight from results is only possible after activity,
you should outline from the beginning what data you want to
capture, and why. Look to use big data to improve effectiveness
and improve value. Defined metrics should deliver insight that
drive actions and KPIs should be aligned to business objectives.
Optimising conversions of unknown to known is one thing,
but in order to drive value, optimisation of resources across
tactics and channels should occur. Focus should be diverted
to activities and channels that are most effective and provide
the best return-on-investment (ROI). Analytics into the most
engaging content, formats, times and frequency give the
ability to get more from the time and money invested.
Whilst CPA is an important lead measure to optimise, it does
not always reflect ROI or sales. The lowest CPA does not
necessarily mean highest ROI, or even any revenue at all.
The modern marketer strives for revenue and efficiency. They
need end-to-end visibility of the funnel, revenue and conversions.
Funnel conversion rates should be optimised, from prospect
acquisition, to marketing qualified lead (MQL), to salesaccepted lead (SAL) and finally to sale. Activity should be
focused where it ultimately delivers more revenue, at a lower
cost. Welcome to Revenue Performance Management (RPM).
Top tips for optimisation
n onitor and report on end-to-end
conversions and costs per channel
n rill down into each channel to identify
areas for improvement or key areas that
are performing strongly
Set a benchmark volume and conversion
level for each stage of the buyer journey –
aim to improve every stage, month-on-month
n lose the feedback loop with sales –
seek to better understand the quality
of each lead and key feedback on
customers to improve future messaging
n not be afraid to experiment and trial
new tactics and channels in order to
better understand opportunity
You’ve acquired prospects from
inbound activity, or have an
existing pot of audience contact
data, but now what? Email
exhaustion and inbox overload
have challenged the effectiveness
of email broadcasts. As marketers,
we need to be smart to segment,
increase relevant and drive
engagement on communications.
We need to nurture.
Lead nurturing is the process of building relationships with
qualified prospects based on the insight you pick up from
their digital body language, how they’re moving through their
customer journey towards a buying decision.
It takes account of the fact that buyers propel themselves through
this journey, pulling in relevant information when they need it.
They have been shown to engage with sales reps far later in the
buying cycle than before, but when they do commit to conversation,
they’re far more likely to convert to purchase.
From the perspective of cost-effectiveness and effortsaving, it makes sense to harvest your most engaged
prospects first. These will be those prospects who can
be seen by your analytics to have done much of the
A company’s existing database is often overlooked for one
reason or another, surprising when you consider the value
inherent in it and the current pressures on marketing
Nurturing is the process of providing helpful, relevant
information via emails, blogs, whitepapers, webinars and
case studies amongst others. It helps to retain interest
in your offering and fill in information gaps. Ultimately,
it’s the cost-effective way to ensure that no revenue
opportunity is missed.
A proportion of consumer purchases carry a degree of whim,
personal preferences, peer pressure, or lifestyle choice.
B2B buying is different in lots of respects. There are more
stakeholders, and more at stake, with the decision-maker
answerable to senior management, and effectively putting
their job on the line. There will be a fixed budget, making the
need to quantify the purchase that much more important.
And the business need for the purchase, to operate more
efficiently, productively or cost-effectively, means that making
the right decision is vital.
They’ve searched the market, you included. They’ve looked
into specifics, product details or sector-specific whitepapers.
They’ve registered for webinars, perhaps attended trade
events to get a more three-dimensional look at your products
and talk to your people.
When their digital body language and lead scoring profiles tell
you, engage your telemarketing resources and sales teams,
ensuring they have access to the same information on the
prospect that you do, and that they can use this information
to help convert to sale.
The flip-side of all of this is that when you see prospects
continuing to explore your website or open emails, you
can work on the assumption that lead nurturing will
50% of qualified leads are not ready to purchase immediately.
As the ability to read prospects’ digital body language
has improved, so has the need to ‘batch‘n’blast’ moved
away from the centre of the email marketing strategy.
This technique’s random approach is another example of the
mistaken notion that frequency beats relevancy, and that if
you shout loud enough and long enough, you’ll bully your
customers into buying. Customers aren’t like that anymore, if
they ever were. As we said already, they buy when they are
ready to buy. We need to be present when they are, or
actively accelerate the process in making them ready to buy.
Tools are available that help marketers to closely measure
the online activities of customers and prospects, and predict
which contacts will view which product propositions and
offers most favourably, increasing deliverability and open
rates, and reducing wastage through perceived spamming
and unsubscribes.‘Batch‘n’Blast’ is a suitably random term
for any number of inappropriate and unnecessary techniques
which are, to an extent, a hangover from the technology archive.
In its early days, the novelty factor of email ensured exciting
and successful open rates and responses. Today, misguided
email activity is aggravating at best, illegal at worst. It’s handy
to remember what lead nurturing isn’t, as much as what it is:
Yes it is
big and it
n eneric emails sent randomly to your prospect database
isn’t lead nurturing
Producing an eNewsletter full of company and product
information, and sending to same, isn’t lead nurturing
n iving telesales a list of contacts and telling them to work
their way through it isn’t lead nurturing
Any activity you carry out without reference to prospect data
that’s easily accessible will be lead liquidising, not lead nurturing.
Three key factors distinguish useful lead nurturing activity
from random acts of miscommunication:
You can only provide your prospects with information
appropriate to their needs if you’ve established who they are
and what those needs might be. Segmentation by title, role,
industry or stage in the buying cycle are the vital first steps in
customising your communications for the recipient and
Customer is king
Just as relevant today as always. Use personalisation
whenever possible. Use insight relevant to the customer’s
industry sector and organisational role, obvious but not
always used in practice.
This helps you to build an invaluable picture of your prospect
by gathering useful information every time you interact. Over
time, you give yourself more opportunities to furnish prospects
with the right information at the right time for them.
Dynamic content can include anything from
demographics to products already purchased to
behaviours of related contacts. Whatever it is, it’ll
increase your prospects’ propensity to buy.
A state-of-the-art marketing automation platform covers
end-to-end delivery of targeted messaging once a prospect
becomes known, with appropriate communications
automatically sent to the right audience at the right time.
From unknown to first touchpoint, through to nurturing and
sale, then cross- and up-sell communications, there are
materials and messages you can provide to nurture your
prospect relationships. Historically, marketing has looked after
the first stages of this process, followed by sales, and finally
customer services. Today, with prospects navigating their
own way through the buyer journey before engaging directly,
marketing must adopt more of the responsibility in the process.
Likewise, increased customer promiscuity has resulted in
greater emphasis to retain customers. Developments in CRM
capabilities and integration with marketing platforms have
enabled this to be more streamline. They have also effectively
allowed for timely delivery of cross- and up-sell messages.
Marketing automation enables you to replicate customised,
one-to-one communications on a scale not possible before.
Technology, insight and a certain amount of intuition work
together to deliver relevant, cost-effective communications
that acknowledge the customer journey and maximise your
opportunities to influence prospects on their terms.
Attract / Engage
Attract / Engage
Profile / Win
Profile / Win
Renew // Refresh
Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate
50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.
source: Forrester Research
Your existing customers. They’ve bought into your
product or service, your company and your approach.
In the online world where trust is irreplaceable, you’ve
earned their trust. The 80–20 rule consistently shows
that it’s more cost-effective to drive sales through
existing business than to sell to a new audience.
And yet so often companies fail to capitalise on their
greatest supporters, the existing customer base.
Treat your customer like a new prospect, albeit a new
customer you know some really useful things about.
Use the intelligence gleaned from your original lead nurturing
exercise. Whether cross-selling or inviting customers to trade
up to a higher level of product or service, accessing and
using relevant information is easier when you know
Three areas to concentrate your mind and your efforts
Make sure they receive
a warm welcome
You and your new customer have been through a process
together. By definition, each know more than before about
Thank your customer for their business and make it easy for
them to access support when they need it. Do whatever it
takes to ensure that the delivery process is watertight, that
the order they have made is the order that they receive, that
if it has moving parts, they all move as they should and do
what you said they would. Co-ordinate a process that
introduces your customer to the relevant areas of your
business that they might need, including contact details
should they be thinking of complementary purchases,
now or in the future.
Make them feel special
Where possible, provide information, or a customer
community zone on your website, maybe create customeronly incentives for events, or exclusive customer-only
discounts. You could send them an eNewsletter,
custom(er)ised to accommodate what you know about them.
Find out how they experienced your company, an opportunity
not only to maintain and develop your relationship with them,
but also, potentially, to unearth case study material that can
feed into your lead nurturing activities elsewhere.
Apply what you learn
on an ongoing basis
Communication isn’t rocket science when you consider
how you interact with real people in the real world. B2B
customers have as many life issues as regular consumers
because they are regular consumers. They’re just operating
in a different space with different priorities.
Common sense, supported by appropriate lead nurturing
techniques help you to keep your customer relationships
moving freely and beneficially for both parties.
Top tips for growing customer value
Monitor purchase behaviour and look for
opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell
n rack digital body language for insight to see what
interests them and personalise communications
based upon their interests
Don’t just focus on selling, seek to build a deeper
meaningful relationship and offer value. If you have
content you know will be useful or of interest to
them, communicate it – at worst it provides a further
opportunity for conversation
n e personal, do not think all communications need
to be marketing messages – you can automate them
from individuals with existing relationships
n nable sales, arm account managers and business
development professionals with as much insight on
the customer as possible to help them understand
needs and opportunities
The most successful demand generation and lead
management programmes involve messaging that is
individually customised for prospects at specific points in
their customer journey. Marketing automation software
platforms enable you to personalise your messaging,
increase the efficiency of your processes and maximise
conversion to sales and marketing return-on-investment.
Where historically, outbound meant a scattergun
‘batch‘n’blast’ approach, today you can provide the precise
information buyers need, meeting them at the most
appropriate point in their purchase cycle. The change
is in mindset, moving to a robust, long-term programme
concentrating on filling the sales funnel rather than a shortterm, tactical approach which costs more and converts less.
The sceptical might point to marketing automation and
accuse it of dehumanising the seller-buyer relationship.
And of course there’s an element of standardisation within
the messaging matrices. But the fact remains that marketing
automation enables you to streamline your marketing,
to increase the chances of turning an interested individual
into a committed, sales-ready prospect.
The more processes that can be automated, the more
cost-effective the exercise as a whole. Low-touch or
zero-touch programmes cut costs dramatically, and are
possible when lead scoring, nurture marketing and
data management are automated. This approach is also
self-propelling to a certain extent. The more you closely
target individuals, the more likely they are to respond
favourably, so the more information you get about them
and their business needs, which leads to closer targeting.
When you understand the capabilities of the platforms
available, and combine them with the experience, insight
and intuition of a good marketing team, you’ll start to
question why you’d do it any other way.
Relevant emails drive
18 times more revenue
than broadcast emails.
Top tips for
Clearly signpost choices on digital communications
to help build up digital body language and
Understand your buyer journey and what
triggers levels of interest, engagement and intent
n not think on a campaign basis, focus on
programmes that are discrete and can be
constantly active and running in the background,
triggered only when the required behaviour is met
n not force messages, instead suggest related
information based upon digital body-language
Use dynamic content to further improve
relevance to your audience
source: Jupiter Research
Compelling content is at the core of every successful
modern marketing organisation, the fuel for your
demand generation engine. We have established how
important it is to align messaging to the modern
business buyer and to where they are in their customer
journey. Content is no different. Relevant, valuable
content will mirror the needs of a specific stage within
the customer journey, meeting a specific requirement
and accelerating your programmes.
Key to good content generation and usage is acceptance
of the shift in power we’ve referred to before. With the
prospective buyer undertaking up to 67% of their journey
through the buying cycle before resorting to conversations
with providers to glean information, begrudging acceptance
of the new order isn’t enough.
Many marketers have heard of marketing automation, but the
percentages of those actually using it on a day-to-day basis
doesn’t look great. With the right content coming from the
right areas in your business, you can look forward to using
technology to connect, inform and direct your prospects in
their search for the solution to a business problem.
of B2B buyers viewed multiple pieces
of content from the vendor they
source: DemandGen Reports
From childhood, stories are where we do our learning
(a big clue here: as children, we’re not ‘consumers’ on
one hand, and ‘business buyers’ on the other. Think
about it). Along with our direct life experience, stories
help us to formulate our way of being in the world.
How to balance good against bad, right against wrong,
well told stories engage us and teach us a little more
about others and ourselves.
Timely, relevant, well-crafted content, though, is going to
make them stop to consider what you’re saying. They’re
seeking answers to their business problem. Great content
not only makes an impression on the reader, it gets passed
around, shared, enhancing your reputation and your search
ratings, another example of how doing one thing well in
marketing automation can significantly support overall
improvements in results.
From a demand generation perspective, good storytelling is
central to success, holding your audience, giving them, over
time, the information they’re looking for, establishing yourself
and your business as thought leaders, building brand equity.
And from a marketing perspective, it’s more than just good
copywriting. There’s a degree of altruism in writing content
for an inbound strategy, a willingness to connect at a level
that’s not necessarily 100% focused on the sale 100% of
the time, a need to be purposive but not pushy.
The Web is a noisy place to work, where the louder you
shout, the more distorted and unwelcome your messages,
products and services. Things have changed, and arrogant,
self-satisfied sales techniques are old currency. Yes, people
looking to buy are picky and quick to dismiss these days,
because they can afford to be. It’s their prerogative. They’re
the ones spending the money, after all.
Great content recognises the customer journey and works
with it to fill in knowledge gaps, encouraging the prospect
down the path to purchase rather than coercing them. Good
storytelling is, by definition, interesting and involving. Good
content interests because it prompts identification in the
reader – ‘this rings a bell, this sounds like it could be of use
to me right now’. It involves because it takes the reader
further down their path of enquiry than they were before –
‘yep, I need to find out a bit more about this’.
To nurture a prospect
from lead to sale
6 or more marketing
source: Forrester Research
to stock it
Your content cupboard is where you keep your food for
thought. It’s the place you’ll find exactly what you
require to meet your prospects’ needs based on where
they are in their buyer journey.
It’s always wise to keep an eye on the stock levels in your
content cupboard. By definition, the harder you work at the
overall strategy, the better supplied you will be with relevant,
useful content. And the further you travel, the better you will
become at matching prospects’ information needs with
existing content assets, and developing material that can be
personalised to the individual level and aimed precisely
where that individual is in the cycle.
If you stick fairly close to the rules, contribute to online
communities, listen, properly listen to your prospects and
what business issues they need to overcome, educate and
inform rather than bully, then your content will generate
organically and exponentially. In its Sunday-best, content will
be a compelling combination of facts that differentiate the
subject matter, and a conversational, trustworthy style that
engages and informs in equal measure.
B2B products and services are by nature complex, as are the
channels used to communicate their benefits, not forgetting
the stakeholders involvement in the purchase process.
Given these three facts, it makes sense to keep it simple.
Before beginning a piece of content, have it clear in your
mind what it is you need to communicate, and to whom.
Make a note of the key points you want to cover, and what
supporting elements you want to include. Marketing
automation enables you to paint a clear picture of your
prospect in your mind. Think about the way they’re viewing
their world. What business issues do they face? Historically,
how have you helped to solve problems for similar prospects?
How would your targets’ working lives be different if they
could find a solution to these issues that met all their needs?
Then think about how to present your case. Love them or
hate them, lists, cheatsheets and infographics are useful
allies, enabling you to cover a number of points at once in
an easily digested form. A blog article will be more likely
to focus on a day-to-day business problem, an e-newsletter
gives you the scope to mix product information with
customer stories and industry issues.
Consider who else could contribute to the process.
Members of different teams might offer solutions to
a customer problem from a different angle. Product
managers will make major contributions where
technical input is needed, and a view from the top
could lend credibility to your offering.
Whether writing your own content or critiquing
colleagues’ work, look for a beginning that entices,
entertains, amuses, shocks. From this should follow
substance, a presentation of your story that leaves
the reader more informed than before, and a call-to-action
that’s easy to carry out. This needs thought – it’s where
you’re beginning to barter with your prospect, more
information for more information and a step further
taken towards a sale.
Throughout, look to educate, demonstrate expertise
and back up your story with case studies and rock-solid
product benefits that give readers a reason to stay
with you and discover a little more about how to solve
Great content has become the key currency exchange
system between buyer and seller.
Customers are prepared to barter for relevant content that’s
useful and can help them to achieve their business goals.
Four categories of content
10 Steps to
The trade-off is information they’re happy to divulge about
those goals and about their business issues. It’s more than
likely that, by this stage, they’ll know a certain amount about
your product and/or service offerings, and they’ll have a
broad idea of how you might be able to help.
Your content plan enables you to cover the possible
scenarios efficiently and cost-effectively. If they say ‘x’,
you offer ‘y’. And on and on. Here, marketing automation
is your best friend, giving you the flexibility to respond
accordingly whatever the situation.
– Broadly speaking, content falls under four categories:
Sticky messages and tools
Trigger, drip-based messaging
Usually the call to action from broadcast
content (despite the evidence, don’t
dismiss ‘conventional’ media – it costs
less these days), sticky messages provide
the initial glue that begins to engage
the respondent. Its aim is to convert
anonymous readers into known visitors,
swapping useful information about the
prospect with useful information for
A slightly more technical approach, this uses
marketing automation to push responses out
to prospects based on buying behaviour,
interaction with sales and customer support,
product teams, digital body language, interaction
with sticky content, anything you know at this
point in time. The beauty of these messages is
that they can be 100% unique to the prospect,
reflecting what they’ve done or downloaded,
what they’ve expressed an interest in, or, broadly
speaking, which buyer group they might belong
to looking at demographics and geographics.
This is about contributing to the wider
business community. LinkedIn, Twitter,
Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube –
all offer the chance for you to comment,
make an observation, answer a question,
make connections, have your two-penn’orth.
Get out there, get busy and get a name
for yourself and your business. What you
give, you’ll get back in time.
As we’ve said, broadcast content might
appear to be yesterday’s news(paper),
but that’s exactly why it’s worth serious
consideration. A carefully targeted
48-sheet, a tactical press ad in response
to a current news story, an ambient
opportunity, all have their place –
and stand out all the more – when
the majority are developing their
If we invested our time in keeping up with the speed of
technological change, we’d never get any real work done.
Safe to say that if you think you’re up-to-speed with the
opportunities in B2B marketing as a whole, and mobile
marketing in particular.
More adaptable, portable, functionality-rich and practical,
smartphone and tablet sales outstrip those of personal
computers by any measure you care to suggest.
In the business community, smartphones and tablets enable
a whole lot more to be done with a whole lot less. Sales
presentations, webinars, product videos, animated iPDFs,
the list goes on. The crossover from the workplace to the
home space to the train or the plane is easier than ever
(the next innovation notwithstanding). Mobile usage of small,
multi-talented electronics will only evolve further, as will
the apps and the media consumption they facilitate.
Apps and online tools
Whatever you need to get done in the name of business,
it seems, there’s an app that can help you do it smarter,
slicker, quicker and more cost-effectively.
You need support with administration? Apps are available
that organise your diary across your applications. Access
and adapt your documents, presentations, and spreadsheets
in real-time, wherever you are. There are apps to help you
organise your task lists and prompt you with reminders.
Use location-based apps to pinpoint where your customers
are (and to remind you of where you are, when you’re not
Meeting your needs in the mobile space, and where apps
are concerned, depends to a great extent on your being
able to distil exactly what it is you need to be doing. Then
get out into the market and do a bit of research.
Then (the clever bit) check what you’re doing, and make
a few notes. Go through the process that has brought
you to where you are, and bingo, you’re in the mindset of the
business buyer you’re selling to. Now that’s a really
interesting, educative place to be.
Top tips for
Whenever producing content, understand the
likeliness of it being consumed on mobile
Use mobile and social media to drive buzz,
interaction and word-of-web activity around
physical events to amplify the impact
Support sales with content that is mobile and
tablet friendly helping them to break-up routine
presentations and promote interaction
Mobile is set to trump laptops
and desktops as the ‘first screen
device’ for all internet access
between 2013 and 2015.
Social media, a whole new world of connections
In a B2B context, social gives you the ability to tap into
communities of employees, partners, customers and
prospects, industry bodies, every imaginable group with
a stakeholder interest in buying or selling what it is you
have on offer. It gives organisations the previously
unimagined access to a process of mass collaboration
to help achieve their most important business goals,
address their biggest challenges and improve the
systems, services and tools they use to create and
maintain competitive advantage.
Viewed as a long-term strategic investment, social media
represents one of the most potent tools in B2B marketing.
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook et alia can be used to make
acquisition more cost-effective, in creative ways to make
purchase more desirable, or just plain good sense. With
the advancements in telecommunications social media
can now be accessed from almost any device with an
internet connection, including computers, laptops,
netbooks, mobile phones and tablets.
And with 90% of the world’s data created in the past two
years, the challenge for B2B marketers is to take part, or take
apart (in the nicest possible way) competitors slower to act
on the opportunities available. In terms of what, there are
other documents available that can give you a far better
insight into the benefits of, say, Twitter, or Instagram than we
can here. And you will know which channels your customers
are using, again better than us.
All we would say is that it pays to be open to the possibilities,
creative in the use of them, and customer-focused in absolutely
everything you do. After that, what happens, happens.
75% of buyers use
social media in their
Top tips for
n personal, warm and approachable –
social media provides an environment to
n is not just about you, it is about your audience
n helpful, responsive and transparent to
questions, needs and issues
n eek active communities (not just mainstream
social media) to participate in discussion
n departments can benefit from being
social, not just marketing: HR for recruitment,
technical teams for RD and promoting
thought leadership, Sales for prospecting
and profiling customer
source: Inside View
About Ledger Bennett DGA
Telephone: +44 (0)8458 383883
Ledger Bennett DGA
Tungsten House, Warren Road
Little Horwood, Milton Keynes
Ledger Bennett DGA
1st Floor Centric House
390-391 Strand, London
We are a B2B Demand Generation agency that uses
sales and marketing know-how to help customers
increase revenue by deploying Inbound Marketing,
Content Marketing and Marketing Automation
strategies. Our highly focused Demand Generation
programmes drive our customers’ business
performance, helping them to:
n Generate more opportunity
n Convert that opportunity into sales
n Retain customers and grow their value
Using more measurable and cost effective
techniques than traditional full service marketing
agencies we are able to maximise business revenue
in the modern world where the internet has
fundamentally changed the behaviour of the buyer.