MK225 – Blog Post #2
Minnesota School of Business
Business Development and Demand Generation in B2B Markets -- Chapter 10
I chose to blog about this topic because recent technological advances allow for CRM Software such as Salesforce to be instrumental tools in lead generation, which will in turn create demand generation.
I also have a personal interest in this process because I work as a business development representative at Minneapolis location of a global software company. My job entails parts of the demand generation process yet I do not handle the sales component of attaining the customer. My duties are:
Brand Ambassador: My ultimate responsibility is to be the brand ambassador for the company I represent. My professionalism, kind manner, and communication skills will make or break the brand image in seconds via phone or email.
Generate Lead Sheet Information: I am trying to attain information from every company I contact regarding current assets software related, revenue, and many other details that will help my company better understand their industry specific software needs and timeline for purchase. The information also details the decision makers and the budget for such investment. If I cannot garner all of the information to my manager’s satisfaction, it will not be forwarded to our sales team until that information is adequate to confirm that it is a lead of value.
Update Salesforce Records: Contact information, web site, locations, et cetera. Most information is old and needs updated because we get to each business approximately one time per 6mo-1yr and changes can occur in that time.
E-Mail Marketing: I send emails to prospects and follow up with prospects via email with information regarding our products. This information is broad and general but will give the prospective business the elevator pitch via pdf. My biggest challenge in this area is to get email replies, which entails creating a call to action, which depends on the email getting opened.
Plant Seed for Change/Evaluation: Most businesses will eventually evaluate their current software versus competitors and new technological advances. Because of this it is one of my jobs to ignite interest and plant the seed of eventual evaluation while attempting to position my company on the ‘list.’
Create Reports Based on My Shift: I create several spreadsheets per day and develop reports in Salesforce to evaluate my efficiency and progress.
Demand generation as discussed on p. 257 of our text refers to the combined efforts to create awareness, generate the lead information, nurture the relationship, and develop a customer in the process.
(Roberts & Zahay, 2013)
The top challenges as discussed on p. 256 of our text in Figure 10.1 show that there is increased concern over developing stellar leads, sufficient volume, adapting to a longer sales cycle, and igniting value in products or services
(Roberts & Zahay, 2013)
The Goal of this blog post is to elaborate on what behaviors and practices can be the most successful in demand generation. I will give five tips based on my research and the text to enhance the quality of leads and the perceived brand image.
Per Figure 10.6 on p. 262, there are numerous online and offline lead generation channels and this list should help to strengthen the lines of that web that pertain to your lead generation goals
(Roberts & Zahay, 2013).
This list is an adaptation based on my experience and two articles I found that attempt to give tips on successful lead generation.
Ø Be Professional, Know Your Customer, Be Creative
This is where your personality and brand knowledge can be communicated to start to develop a relationship with that customer. I find that it is wise to be humble and flexibility is an asset. If you match or mirror pace to a certain extent, you will put yourself on ‘their’ level from the start.
Doing research before communicating with a prospect is an essential part of this process. This way you can go into the scenario with some of the details defined.
Ø Create Customer File by utilizing CRM tools
This could be done with a spreadsheet or by utilizing software that can be run from the cloud such as Salesforce or many others.
Ø Ignite interest and elevate Brand Image
It should always be forefront that lead generators are essentially brand ambassadors in that they can create and ignite interest in others for the product or service their business offers. I find that bringing facts to the table that are relevant to your audience is a very good way of igniting that interest. For example, you would discuss totally different system applications and features with a HR Director versus a Manufacturing Controller.
Ø Content is KEY, Less is More, Creativity Sells
In all my conversations and research regarding email marketing, plus the referenced lists above, I conclude that KISS is a very valid scenario. Keep It Short & Simple. Also, creativity never hurts. Being creative in a subject line or adding one creative detail to your email based on the information available to you can increase your odds of getting a reply or igniting interest.
Ø Agree upon specific qualifications and metrics for measuring results
Having a clearly defined expectation for quality leads and metrics to measure by will ensure that the quality aspect is upheld. This proactive planning will pay off when you evaluate successes and redefine goals.
Per The Business Times, “LEAD generation is the process where businesses proactively create an nurture the interest of a prospective customer. It can always be a challenge to generate qualified leads, and this is particularly so in the realm of B2B marketing.”
I hope that these tips will help you to generate quality leads and support brand image throughout the process.
Bhattacharya, A. (n.d.). Improving B2B Lead Generation. The Business Times, p. 2013.
McDade, D. (2011). The Secret's Out: 9 Steps to Smarter Lead Generation. B to B, 96(6), p. 11. Retrieved March 12, 2014
Roberts, M. L., & Zahay, D. (2013). Internet Marketing - Integrating Online and Offline Strategies (3rd ed.). South-Western Cengage Learning.