Most Indian businesses think about online directories like IndiaMART, TradeIndia etc. when it comes to lead generation online. However, very few businesses have a data-driven marketing strategy. Out of 25 B2B clients that we have spoken with, only 2 of them have data-driven lead generation strategy.
First, let's understand why online lead generation is important -
Presently most of the B2B businesses (MSME sector) relies on their existing list of “Network and contacts” to generate potential customers. Very few of them use social media and emails for engagement. Most of them are fully convinced that online marketing is not useful to generate ROI. Internet penetration rate is 65% in the top 50 cities and according to estimates, it will reach 80% by 2020. Most corporate offices are located in these top cities. Unless you are selling to only rural markets, it is important you start getting visibility on the online platforms to influence the decision makers.
Okay, how can you approach the digital marketing platforms? You have a functional website, a couple of social media accounts and a small list of email addresses. What next?
Here are the top 3 things that you can do if you are venturing into the digital space after working as a brick and mortar house.
Small businesses already have a list of email addresses. You need to start preparing some good content about your products or services and send it occasionally, say 2 times a month. For example, a cast iron pipe manufacturer can send information about these pipes and their varied uses to their email list. You also have a large number of phone numbers but without email addresses. Use those phone numbers to send links to encourage them to subscribe to your emails by using tools like MailChimp, Google Forms or Typeform (all of them are free tools).
Now you have email addresses and you have got a decent open rate which is generally between 15-30% depending on the type of business. Use Google Analytics to track the number of users coming to your website through emails and SMS. Identify, optimise and iterate your process.
Cost: An SMS generally costs around Rs 0.10 (Promotional SMS costs around Rs 0.40). MailChimp is free up to 2000 email addresses. All other tools are free. This means that you can nurture a ready list of 2000 potential customers and build up a strong relationship as they already know about you and your products.
Now you have email addresses of 2000 valid and interested clients. How can you convert them?
You have a list of potential companies who may get interested in buying your product sometime soon because you know your product or service is important in their business processes. All you need to is to exhibit your product in front of them. Usually, you do this by sending a sales representative to their office. However, this may amplify your operational costs unless you are completely sure that the client has a big contract at hand.
Why can't we target their Facebook accounts? All of us use the app daily ranging from 10-20 minutes on an average. It’s also found that the younger generation is slowly leaving the FB accounts towards their Instagram accounts. That means a good consumer sector is there and they can be targeted with a fair Facebook ad budget. It needs to be understood that a B2B sales cycle takes time and it’s no different even in this case. However, here we have more information about the customer like the company size, company’s brand promotions, and the company’s values.
Similarly, LinkedIn InMail and chat can be used to reach C-level executives and big decision makers and then engaging them with educational or promotional content occasionally.
Although it is not directly a marketing process, a proper CRM and logistics delivery system is necessary for proper delivery and creating an effective marketing mechanism.
A good CRM should provide the following features to its marketing team -
I will also suggest not to go for custom CRM system unless your requirements are quite unique. There is a lot of good CRM system available in the market. Having a good CRM also ensures that your sales team can work more effectively and focus on more conversions.
As always when customers are happy, they are going to refer a good number of prospective clients to you. Besides, you have a good amount of data in your CRM and Google Analytics which can be analysed to study upcoming business trends and opportunities.