B-to-B Insights: Then and Now
Leads: Quality vs. Quantity
Some things remain the same, though. A MarketingSherpa survey asked B-to-B marketers what their priorities were. Not surprising, the top two items on the list were generating high-quality leads and generating a high volume of leads.
These two items are actually at odds with one another, which creates a problem for the marketer, as direct marketing expert Ed Nash points out. He notes that the greater the number of leads your marketing generates, the worse the quality. Conversely, the higher the quality of the lead, the fewer you will get.
For instance, if you offer a valuable free whitepaper, and all you ask the visitor to your landing page to do is enter a name and email address, you may get a lot of downloads, but you know almost nothing about the person; and, therefore, the lead is unqualified.
Some marketers take the opposite approach, and on their landing pages ask all sorts of qualifying questions before granting the visitor the ability to download the whitepaper. These questions range from job title, phone number, and city and state, to number of employees, application, whether they are shopping for the product, and how soon they intend to buy.
Another unfortunate trend is the lack of buying authority possessed by any individual prospect. B-to-B buying decisions are usually made in committees. According to GlobalSpec, 93 percent of industrial purchases are made by a group.
But when I was a junior advertising manager fresh out of college in 1979, I could spend $5,000 without getting the committee's approval. Now I encounter many prospects whose buying authority is less than $1,000, which means it's more important to sell to every decision-maker involved in the purchase. According to Stevens, B-to-B marketing must have messaging relevant to multiple parties.
To provide some guidance on that messaging, my experience shows the following:
- CEOs are most concerned with your company and its reputation, and they want to be assured you will be here five years from now.
- CFOs want to be shown that the product will generate a rapid ROI and save or make money.
- Plant or IT mangers care that the equipment will integrate into their current infrastructure.
- Plant engineers or IT staff focus on how easy the system will be to use and how it will help them do their jobs better and faster.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.