The business to business (B2B) world is driven by leads. Unlike with business to consumer, where products have a relatively low cost, are often supported by considerable advertising budgets, can be displayed in shops or showrooms and bought on the spot by one person, the business to business world involves products and services that command a high price, are not backed by advertising, can only be viewed on the web or in brochures, and where the buying process involves several people, negotiation, and even a trial period.
Businesses to business leads form a key part of the sales process. A good business to business lead can help bypass both the lack of mainstream advertising and of a physical shop by answering some key questions up front:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Are you interested in my product or service?
- Can you afford it?
- When do you want to buy it?
This doesn’t of course guarantee that a sale will actually take place, which is why business to business leads are valued at far less than actual sales. There are, however, several recommended boxes to tick, in order to make a good business to business lead one that is far more likely to convert to a sale:
Have you asked the right questions? It’s crucial to decide exactly what you need to know in order to move to the negotiation stage without wasting your time talking to someone who for instance can’t afford what you’re selling.
Have you asked too many questions? Whilst some information is crucial to make a valuable lead, too many or irrelevant questions may discourage potential buyers from completing a form and they may go elsewhere.
What is their job title? Contact details are obvious, but job title is also important. This can help you define whether your contact has purchasing authority or if you will need to talk to their boss as well.
Are their details correct? Often it’s an error, sometimes it’s intentional, but either way you should have automatic checks in place to save time once data has been submitted.
Are their details correct (part two)? A proper business lead should also be properly qualified, not just by automatic checks, but by an actual phone call confirming all the details provided.
Why have they filled in the form? A good business to business lead is one where the person or business concerned is intending to make a purchase at some point. Some people will however fill in a form simply as part of early stage research. That’s not to say that they don’t represent a lead, but it’s a different type of lead.
Is an incentive involved? Incentives are great for increasing the number of leads acquired, but the quality of those leads will not be the same if people are ‘encouraged’ by incentives. A good business to business lead is one filled in due to a business need and nothing more.
Every lead has potential, but by following the above guidelines you are more likely to acquire good business to business leads that convert well to clients.