B2B Content Marketing Guide, Part 6: B2B Lead Enrichment for a Better Sales Handoff
This is part 6 of a 6-part series on B2B content marketing. Part 1 explores why content marketing is essential for B2B. Part 2 covers audience research, followed by part 3, which explains how to create content. Then part 4 covers paid media strategy, and part 5 organic strategy. Lastly, this part reviews the crucial importance of the marketing-sales handoff.
Once a campaign has launched, you need to ensure processes are in place so incoming leads are appropriately handled and result in sales. This includes streamlining B2B lead enrichment and the marketing-sales handoff.
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B2B Lead Enrichment for a Better Sales Handoff
First, Make Sure Everyone Is Using the Same Terminology
Getting a lead through the marketing funnel through to the sales funnel can take time. Sometimes you’re lucky, and a lead immediately wants a demo, and that’s an easy handoff. Sometimes it takes time to get them sales-ready. No matter what the marketing funnel looks like, ensure everyone is on the same page when talking about leads and the B2B lead enrichment process.
- Inquiries: This is anyone that comes to your website and converts. It’s an okay metric to track (and is important to understanding the quality of organic traffic), but don’t focus your efforts here, focus on bringing in . . .
- MQI: This is an inbound inquiry that can buy or influence the purchase of your product. These leads may need to be enriched depending on the form length to be useful for the sales team (more on that later).
- MQL: This is someone who not only has the ability to purchase your service but has indicated some interest in doing so. This may entail asking for a demo or downloading multiple pieces of content. What qualifies as an MQL will depend on your organization and goals, so make sure anyone working within marketing is on the same page. This is usually where the handoff begins, but marketing doesn’t always take a back seat at this point.
- Opportunity: Similar to MQL, the definition around this will depend on your organization and goals. Usually, the sales team has taken a look at the lead and assigned a predicted value for closing that sale and a predicted likelihood that they are to close it.
You may use B2B lead enrichment terms differently – and that’s totally fine – all that matters is that they are being used the same way by everyone within your organization and the partners you work with.
Then, Complete B2B Lead Enrichment (And Use Terminology Appropriately)
Generally speaking, sales tend to follow up with the most obvious leads, but sometimes the leads generated by marketing aren’t obviously appealing. That’s why enriching leads with useful information must be completed before the lead is handed off to sales. This makes it easier for sales to complete more personalized follow-ups and close more deals. This process transforms a spreadsheet of random-looking Gmail addresses into a list of clearly qualified leads.
Data Needed for B2B Lead Enrichment
Certain data elements provide the most valuable insights and improve the handoff for effective follow-ups:
- The individual and their position, including their professional title as well as their level within the company (manager, department head, C-suite), to understand what products or services will best suit their needs.
- The company they work for, including the number of employees, general size (profit, number of locations, number of customers), and industry to prepare salespeople to answer potential questions like pricing or implementation time.
- Information to help promote your product, like other similar customers, compatibility and integration capabilities with the solutions the prospect uses, and an understanding of the customer’s current solution to help you explain how you do it better.
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Terminology + Enrichment = Teams Working Smarter, Not Harder
Once B2B lead enrichment has been completed, the handoff between marketing and sales becomes much smoother. In many cases, we think working closely with sales is one of the best ways to ensure marketing success. They can provide insights about the quality of leads coming in and the questions they are asking to inform the strategy. Supporting sales with this data gives them the information they need to modify their follow-ups for more successful and personalized interactions.
The number one reason leads never result in sales is that too many get disqualified or ignored without any additional research. Enriching leads does take some work—but it is ultimately worth it.
Don’t Forget About Lead Nurture…
Once leads make it to sales, they aren’t always completely done with marketing—especially with products/services with long sales cycles. So, you want to stay top of mind for people who may have to get higher-up approval or just need time to get their budgets in order. Lead nurture programs involve sending a series of emails offering relevant content to segmented groups based on their spot in the funnel, the product they are interested in, or the industry they work for.
Our clients find that lead nurture increases sales conversion rates from content leads by 2-3X.
You Did It!
Whew, that was a lot (especially if you read all 6 parts). But, to be fair, we never promised it would be easy. Content marketing for B2B takes a lot of time and work, but it pays off in the long run. Ultimately, figuring out what works best for your company will require a lot of testing. Try a bunch of combinations of platforms, CTAs, and content types to see what resonates best with your audience. Once something works, replicate it! (But don’t forget to keep trying new things.)
If all of this seems overwhelming or too much work, we can help.
glassCanopy provides start-to-finish content and lead generation for B2B organizations. We specialize in enterprise software, IT infrastructure, and cybersecurity. We can help you with everything, including:
- Strategic development
- Content creation
- Comprehensive campaign design
- Ad placement and media buys
- Continuous optimization
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