Fishing for B-to-B Fortune
Another option is to offer a financial incentive to the sales team to ensure their participation. Either way, you must have good prospect information before you can take the next step.
3. Develop a segmented, data-driven contact management plan. The prospect data you’ve gathered now can be used to build the foundation for a contact management program—a carefully planned series of regular touches with leads to keep them interested, keep your product and company top of mind, and create additional opportunities for them to say “yes.”
Use data to group prospects with similar characteristics—e.g., company size, SIC/NAICS code, type of industry, geographic region or future potential—into segments for targeted communications initiatives. Then, develop a systematic communications plan for each segment that regularly provides prospects with relevant information tailored to their specific needs and interests.
The frequency of contact depends on many factors. Most B-to-B marketers try to reach prospects at least quarterly; for others, a bimonthly or monthly contact is appropriate. A mix of tactics and channels, such as direct mail plus e-mail, can help you keep in touch with busy, hard-to-reach decision-makers.
4. Mail information that helps the prospect make the buying decision. Since you already are in a sales dialogue with these potential customers, you should have a meaningful reason to re-contact them, rather than just add them to your mailing list for future promotions. Commonly used tactics include:
• Newsletters that provide valuable insight into broader industry trends or more specific product usage information, such as new product applications, add-ons or peripherals, or upgrades and enhancements;
• Whitepapers or reports from industry experts that illuminate key issues of concern to prospects or demonstrate your company’s thought leadership in your industry;
• Case studies that illustrate how other customers successfully addressed their needs using your product or service; and