How to Convert Your B2B Leads into Customers
Recognising the different stages in the b2b sales process can help you gain new leads and convert them into business….
1. B2B Prospects
A prospect is a company which could buy your product or service, but that you’ve never contacted before. This doesn’t mean every other business in the country is a prospect: just the ones which might actually have the need for your product or service, and the resources to pay for it. Prospects should be the target of your direct marketing and field sales activities. They can be identified and gathered in a number of ways, and are usually managed in a prospect list or database.
2. B2B Leads
A lead is often confused with a prospect, but is in fact a prospect that you have had some contact with: either by them contacting you, or you approaching them directly using field sales, telemarketing, or direct mail. Leads are often managed by the sales team, whose job it is to try and convert the lead into a customer as soon as possible.
3. B2B Customers
The most important conversion your sales process needs to achieve is from Lead to Customer. It may only be a small one off or sample order, but they are still a customer, and your relationship with them has changed forever. Now you can focus on building a relationship through your customer service team, and regular communication using direct marketing, service calls and newsletters. You also need to get the valuable second and third repeat orders which are the sign of growing customer loyalty.
4. B2B Clients
Clients are customers who buy your product exclusively from you, and not from anyone else. In other words you have become the sole supplier. For some businesses such as accountants and banks it’s normal for customers to become clients from the start. For others, converting a customer into a client can take much longer. But it can be worth the wait. Clients will usually buy more frequently and are also a great source of recommendations, referrals and testimonials.
Integrating Direct Mail into Your Marketing Campaigns
Carried out in isolation, marketing activities just don’t have the same impact with the target audience. Here are some examples of how you could use direct mail alongside, before or after other marketing communication activities to achieve a greater effect…
Before you exhibit at an event or exhibition, send out targeted invites to your stand to your own list of contacts and prospects, or rent a mailing list of previous visitors from the event organisers.
After you come back from the event, use direct mail to follow up on your new list of stand visitors, leads and prospects.
Push new traffic to your website by mailing a list of prospects, without having to worry about losing potential visitors to natural or paid search listings of your competitors. This strategy works equally well for gaining b2b leads online as it does for gaining b2c ecommerce sales.
Use direct mail to follow up on inbound telephone enquiries you may have received as a result of above the line promotional activities such as press advertising or public relations.
When you are running a sales promotion or incentive campaign, make sure you also promote it with a mailing to potential or previous customers as well.
Before you start a field marketing or telemarketing campaign, do a mailing first to soften up your prospects, open doors, and also give them a chance to decline receiving a sales call.
Likewise, after your telemarketing or direct selling campaign is over, follow up on lukewarm prospects with another mailing.
Remember AIDA for Your Direct Marketing
Any marketer would do well to remember the AIDA mnemonic:
A= Attract; Attract your target with colours image or words
I = Interest; Engage your target by capturing and maintain his interest
D= Desire; Make him want your product or service
A = Action: Tell him what he needs to do to get it
Remember AIDA – it will serve you well!
How to Write Direct Mail Letters that Sell
What tricks are used by professional copywriters to create direct mail letters that really sell?
Hook Your Reader
The first line of letter is vital. Your opening gambit should be short and precise, with a time limit to create urgency with the reader. Good headings should be short and clear, and go easy on alliteration and superlatives.
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How to Make Direct Mail Greener
If you use direct mail, you can reduce the environmental impact of your mailings and make them greener, by following some of these tips:
Check Lists Against the Mailing Preference Service
The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) allows consumers and businesses to register their wish to limit the amount of direct mail they receive.?? Simply checking your data lists will ensure that you do not mail those who have opted into the MPS, and so avoid unnecessary wastage.
Clean Your Mailing Lists Regularly
Cleansing your list will ensure that you are targeting a more specific audience.?? Improved targeting reduces the risk of “Junk Mail”.?? No business wants their mailings to be perceived as “junk”, and a targeted approach can reduce unnecessary costs to your business and an unnecessary waste of resources.
Review the Format and Design of Your Mailings
Could you mailings be simplified? It is important to review your mailings and consider whether your message is being sent in a powerful yet environmentally friendly way.?? Pages and pages of information are often preventable, and can actually deter the recipient from reading the mailing. Similarly, are you sending information that includes avoidable inserts? Regularly reviewing the content of mailings can both minimise the environmental impact and also ensure that your business is producing effective content.
Recycled or Recyclable?
Can your mailings be sent on recycled paper, it is important to remember that “recycled paper” can mean anything from 100% recycled to 1% recycled! If this is not something that you could consider, can your mailings be recycled? A small proportion of mailings are not recyclable.?? Staples are acceptable for recycling, but some glues used in binding for example, mean that the whole mailing will be rejected for recycling.
Implementing these simple steps can enable your business to minimise its environmental impact, reduce direct marketing costs, and improve the targeting of your mailings.