Lead marketing is the lifeblood of B2B marketing. It is highly dependent on quality market and business information that drives marketing decision-making over where and how to devote resources for maximum ROI. However, many companies don't really know how to obtain or use such crucial industry and company information to constantly fuel and improve their lead marketing efforts over time. In this article, we'll show you how.
Getting leads isn't as simple as putting out some advertisements or emailing a bunch of people, though. In fact, 61% of B2B marketers worldwide consider lead and traffic generation the top marketing challenge their companies face (StartupBonsai).
The general situation for B2B marketing has given rise to many challenges over the years--some perennial, and some acquiring greater prominence due to the COVID pandemic. Your company may have experienced some of the following yourself recently:
In a world still grappling with COVID-19, the difficulties have only become greater, as sales teams and their companies are often unable to engage in any of the more personal face-to-face contact and business information collection that helps develop leads, cement relationships and close deals. For example, with so much of the world's workforce now working from home, traditional office cold-calling has become a waste of effort.
As a result of the lack of physical interaction, even food hawkers in Singapore have been forced to go digital to keep their sales going. How much more so for companies! The need for digital solutions not only to support sales efforts, but also compliance processes and credit risk management processes, has grown unprecedentedly urgent. In this digitally-reliant world, there is a strong requirement for companies to shift to data-driven lead generation to succeed or even survive.
However, many companies rooted in a more traditional, hardcopy-driven lead marketing system face challenges in digitising their systems, databases and processes practically overnight, and catering to the New Normal of remote working, without the requisite corporate DNA to embrace and understand how or where to implement these changes.
Knowing who to target so you maximise your chance of not only getting leads, but getting useful, profitable ones, is the first challenge any B2B firm will face.
However, many companies do not adequately understand the profile of their ideal customer or market and do not know how to derive the customer insights they need to flesh this out. This understanding of the customer profile can only be properly derived from the database of customers. Unfortunately, this valuable key asset of a company is often under-rated, and in many cases, even neglected. Often customer profile knowledge resides in the individual salesperson.
That leads to the second challenge: building and maintaining the data you need to derive the insights needed for successful lead marketing campaigns and sales activities. Such data comes from internal and external sources. Internal past sales records, data and sales activities from CRM, delivery records, payment records etc forms part of the internal data. This must be enriched or supplemented by quality data from 3rd party external sources, such as ACRA Bizifle or company profile data from professional information providers.
Collecting and building a valuable customer database first starts with deciding what data to collect. More importantly, this database must be sufficiently maintained to ensure integrity of the data so that insights derived are correct to avoid the “garbage-in-garbage-out’ results.
Performing data driven analytics to gain insights of your customer can be the next challenge, but even simple pivot tables in Excel format can tell you something about your customers from a simple Excel spreadsheet. Further applying analytical tool to the data can optimise the outcome of gaining good insights for effective lead-marketing work. Once set up, you are good for multiple target marketing campaigns.
With companies worldwide devoting an average of 53% of their marketing budget on lead generation (SmartInsights), getting returns on that big investment is of crucial importance, and that depends on whether you can ultimately convert the lead into a customer.
Conversion requires careful cultivation of customers, and the meeting of their needs. However, this can only happen if companies are alert to every insight and opportunity that arises during the cultivation process.
Many companies are challenged by the inability to ply any internal insights gained from contact with a lead back into their general data, which could further inform and fine-tune their marketing efforts, not only for this lead, but for other similar leads in the future. This means that any given sales process could arguably be more productive and profitable still, with the right tools and technology.
B2B lead marketing is not so much about volume, as about quality. But quality requires refinement of your lead generation techniques, by understanding your past efforts.
Post campaign analysis will further give insights to on-going lead marketing efforts, helping you to refine the approach and support the continual improvement of the customer database for future lead generation campaigns.
As a key company asset, the customer database must constantly be cleansed, updated, and enriched by both internal and external 3rd party resources.
The challenge of customer conversion is perennial, due to its subjectivity. However, with regards to the other challenges of lead marketing, both business information, and the technology used in obtaining that business information, can be applied to produce exponential results in both your marketing effectiveness and efficiency. Indeed, 57% of B2B marketers become "more effective and productive at delivering positive ROI through their work." (ComboApp)
Let's look at how a leading business information solutions provider like CRIF BizInsights can integrate business information and technology into every stage of the lead generation process, allowing you to supercharge your organisation's B2B marketing.
The first step in any lead generation effort will come from identifying target industries and companies, finding who matters and how to contact them, and also understanding what they do, what they need, and therefore how to pitch what you're offering to them.
Business information, in the form of company and people profiles obtained through searches on official registries such as ACRA in Singapore, can provide a trove of data that helps you to find such insights.
The kind of marketing lists available for companies to buy and use on the market today has gone far beyond the traditional inflexible "name, email and telephone number" list arranged purely by industry.
Many companies are unaware that business data providers like CRIF BizInsights today are able to support a far more innovative, targeted approach, with customised searches and ever-improving official databases that now permit more parameters for marketing list customisations, such as age of business, industry, paid-up capital, location, or revenue size. By drawing on a wider range of sources as well besides company registries, these providers are also able to provide more unconventional types of data such as credit or financial information as well, to create more ways to classify and segment your target market.
Such advanced search capabilities can also be deployed to expand your existing customer base by searching for look-alike companies based on the characteristics of your current customers.
Often, the problem companies have is not that they don't have marketing data to use--it's either that their existing information is patchy and outdated, or that they have no system to process the information and utilise it, or that the system is labour-intensive and inefficient, limiting how much marketing can be done.
This can be solved through the application of modern database solutions that help you construct and maintain business information databases that ensure your customer and lead qualification lists are always up to date, easily accessible.
With such a database, every bit of data you gather can be fed easily into your next marketing effort, refining your direction, targets and effectiveness even further with every campaign you do.
Besides internal data from internal documents from sales, namecards, CRM, delivery data, payment data, external sources are key to building a quality database. Quality here means that the data must be accurate, comprehensive, timely and consistent. Incomplete addresses or missing data like industry segment, customer names, products purchased, volume, and contract value data can cause misleading insights and reduce the integrity of the database, rendering it ineffective and casting doubt on the insights derived.
Companies usually do not have such internal data expertise or resources to maintain a quality database. This is where professional business information companies or even direct marketing service providers can help.
Companies that have official and comprehensive coverage of all companies and businesses from ACRA are ideal providers. They usually have strong digital data search and extraction capabilities and service. Some of them has structured reports like:
This means that these business information providers use ACRA data to fabricate such reports and as such can search and extract digitized demographic or corporate profiles data and financial data to help you build, enrich and update your customer database.
Being digitised also means that they can provide the latest data to you in format like CSV or EXCEL format for you to upload into your database or build a database from very easily. Official ACRA licensees like CRIF BizInsights, can support such lead marketing and business data needs. Generating and buying marketing lists through these accredited providers can save you hundreds of man-hours per campaign, in addition to providing you more accurate and tailored information that has been pre-sifted, instead of raw data that you need to key into the internal system to analyse.
In addition, these business information providers can also give you a way to integrate business data searches directly into your marketing system through APIs that automate and enhance your search speed and capabilities.
With business information procured faster and arriving ready to use instead of in a raw form, you can then more easily upload to existing database, or CRM solutions to derive insights and apply it to your lead generation and conversion efforts, identifying pain points, matching products to needs, or knowing how and who to communicate to.
Business information and technology remains integral to lead marketing even after the end of a campaign. With an up-to-date database, the internal data and insights you have obtained from contacting and cultivating leads, can be combined with the business data you have obtained from official sources, such as ACRA.
A robust database capable of crunching the numbers, cross-referencing data, and presenting information clearly and usably in various combinations will permit enrichment of top-level insights with the granular detail derived from particular interactions with specific customers.
The additional data points such interactions provide (even for leads that do not become customers), cross-referenced with the information you already have, can help your organisation derive new understandings of entire market segments and customer categories either through corroboration or contrast. This enables you to finetune your targeting and messaging for the next campaign, engage existing customers better, and perhaps even re-engage and convert previous unsuccessful leads.
As mentioned, database maintenance is key to lead marketing. As long as you have an up-to-date database capable of storing, updating and easily providing such business data and insights on demand, a simple marketing list today can become an increasingly powerful lead marketing bible the more you build on it. To do this well, a 3rd party business information provider with ACRA data domain knowledge and technical skills will be an important partner in your lead generation work.
Through access to a wide variety of whole-of-market data, business information providers can help you focus your targeting, inform your marketing efforts, and help you make crucial business decisions, to ensure the seeds planted through lead generation and other marketing methods have the most fertile possible soil to grow.
However, to gain a competitive edge ahead of others, you should work with providers who also have the technology and knowhow to automate and enhance the effectiveness of your information collection process.
CRIF BizInsights, which is a technology-driven information provider with custom data capabilities to serve innovative information users with API and custom data sets as well as traditional reports, spearheads this in Singapore
By helping you to manage your commercial risk and maximise returns using up-to-date and accurate business and credit reports, as well as grow their business using our marketing solutions. CRIF BizInsights’ goal is to provide high quality, and official data with global coverage through efficient information access tools at competitive prices, so you can rest assured that your marketing needs are fully met.
It's time to take your lead marketing to the next level!