Written by Sue-Ming Frauenhofer
Graduating soon with a Master’s degree in Management at UF, Sue-Ming is a Sales Development Representative at The Selling Factory. She is eager to drive results in a business analytics role where she can balance both her creative and methodical sides. No matter what industry, she hopes to serve others through her growth acumen, execution focus, and communication skills.
Photo on Unsplash by Shridhar Gupta
As enticing as it sounds, there is no “one size fits all” tutorial for the B2B sales process steps. Sales success requires careful consideration. planning, and market research. B2B lead generation is a broken down science that allows us to understand and meet the needs of our clientele better, but this process will look completely different when tailored to the industry, product/service, and need of each B2B company.
B2B lead generation is the process of identifying optimal customers for your product or service, and then thoughtfully attracting them to purchase. A purchase or a closed deal is the final step in the process, however, there are many steps and different routes to getting there.
The leads are the main act of the show. Market-qualified leads (MQL) and sales-qualified leads (SQL) are both commonly used terms by sales development representatives for lead generation strategies. MQLs are leads who are perceived to be likely to become a customer, for example by visiting your website frequently, filling out a contact form, downloading content from your page, etc. SQLs are just MQLs who have progressed along the sales pipeline stages and are deemed to be ready for engagement with your sales team.
Outbound sales is one of the most necessary lead generation strategies. Cold and warm calling has been around for a while and still serves as one of the most effective ways for sales development representatives to generate leads. Direct mail and email marketing are also strategies proven to be effective. After all, you are literally taking up space in an inbox that these people will check every day. Even with social media platforms taking over, these lead generation strategies are not becoming obsolete. It’s important, however, to keep yourself updated with the latest trending strategies, as internet communication is constantly evolving.
Social selling is becoming increasingly important to implement and manage in the lead generation process. This could include something as simple as attending industry events. These events will provide networking opportunities, which will allow you to discover your market and cultivate long-lasting relationships with potential clients. Additionally, leveraging social media platforms such as LinkedIn is a great way to make impressions and expand your network. Remember to personalize the message. No one wants to be spammed on LinkedIn with an automated-sounding sales pitch.
The combination of identifying leads, outbound sales, and social selling strategies is known as a sales cadence. Any of these techniques could be deployed in a certain sequence in hopes of a response. Most sales development representatives establish cadences in order to increase the chances of a B2B lead interacting and eventually closing a deal.
The B2B lead generation process often begins slowly and involves a lot of time and attention to detail. Hiring an internal sales team requires a considerable investment in resources, training, and therefore, higher costs. Prospecting is the most difficult part of the sales process steps for people to learn (HubSpot, 2018). Hiring sales development representatives on an outsourced sales team allows them to optimize their time and focus on selling, whereas the B2B company can repurpose their time on other areas of business.
An outsourced sales team can efficiently handle your contact data because they already know how to navigate the sales intelligence tools to find contacts in different industries. The team can effectively target customers with better pre-screening methods and better tracking of leads. Data is fundamental to analytics and forecasting, and without quality data, B2B lead generation cannot be carried out.
B2B companies often make the mistake of automating ALL of the lead generation processes at first. While scaling is important eventually, the beginning stages of the lead generation process should be manual and even grueling at times. An outsourced sales team can manually execute the sales process steps, which saves you time and helps you to understand your target market in a way that you could not do as thoroughly with automation. Opting for automation can result in many unqualified or dead sales that are idle in the sales pipeline stages.
By allowing outsourced sales development representatives to focus solely on selling, they quickly become experts in their role. Successful lead generation improves the sales process steps by making sure your b2b company is engaging with those most likely to buy your product or service. As a result, your conversion rates will increase, building consistent sales pipeline stages. The ultimate goal of this process is to create a predictable pipeline that converts to paying customers. Outsourced sales teams have the right tools and knowledge to help B2B businesses across many industries and efficiently streamline the sales process.
The insights gained from analyzing B2B lead data can be invaluable to decision-makers. Not only can it lead to closed deals, but it can also tell if there are mistakes or errors in their B2B lead generation process and make adjustments as needed. The sales pipeline created through lead generation strategies is useful for everyday decision-making and overall advancement for your B2B company.