The Best (and Worst) Ways to Follow Up With B2B Leads

By Rachel Foster

Follow up B2B Leads

As a content marketer, you spend a lot of time and money creating content that generates leads.

But what happens after you get that hard-earned lead?

What you do after someone downloads a resource can make or break your sales. Your company could look annoying, even desperate, when you call someone five minutes after they request your white paper. But with the right follow-up plan, you can qualify leads, build trust and nurture relationships. Here’s how …

I recently worked on some copy for a client and needed to download a report to gather background information for the project. Just minutes later, I received a call from the software company’s sales rep trying to sell me their product.

But it gets worse.

It quickly became apparent that despite my situation as an external resource, the rep wasn’t willing lose any opportunity he could squeeze from the call. He tried to push me to introduce him to my client so he could pitch to them instead!

Unfortunately, bad sales follow up calls are far too common.

MarketingSherpa found that 61% of B2B marketers send all leads directly to sales, but only 27% of these leads are qualified. Just because someone downloads a piece of content doesn’t mean they are interested in what you have to sell. In fact, many seasoned IT pros avoid their phones immediately after downloading a whitepaper!

B2B buyers are becoming more self-reliant. They want to do their own research – on their own timeline – and make buying decisions when they are ready. Gartner Research predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85% of their relationships with companies without talking to a human.

Build Follow Up Into Your Marketing Cycle

Since B2B buying cycles can last longer than a year, marketing automation makes sense. Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.

Part of the challenge of marketing automation is that B2B marketers target an average of four different audiences. To be effective, your automation sequences must guide each audience through a buying process that is unique to them.

For many content marketers, marketing automation is still an area for improvement. Only 42% of companies adopt marketing automation and just 9% fully utilize their technologies.

Here are five ways you can improve your follow ups after someone downloads your content, so you can nurture leads effectively:

1. Identify where your download falls in the buying cycle.

To strategically manage your buyer’s experience, you first must identify where they are and if they have an immediate need.

Marketing funnel

Answer the following questions to gain clarity about your buyers:

  • What are your goals for the download?
  • Which buyer persona is your download for?
  • What pain, challenge or goal is this person trying to address?
  • What stage in the buying cycle are they in?
  • What is the next step for your buyer? For example, are they moving to a new stage in the buyer journey?

2. Segment your buyers into lists.

In Demand Gen Report’s <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="http://www.demandgenreport.com/industry-resources/research/2508-the-2014-b2b-buyer-behavior-survey.html" Go to the full article.

Source:: Business2Community