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As a B2B marketer, your bread and butter is leads—you’re either trying to generate new leads or trying to convert your current leads into customers. And once you have those customers, your job is to keep them happy and hopefully convert them further into being advocates of your products. So, where do you keep the information on these leads? The answer is your B2B Marketing database.

Hopefully, you’re not keeping track of your leads in an Excel spreadsheet or using that as your database. Excel can be used for some marketing functionalities, including a social media calendar; a blog calendar; or even AdWords tracking. But you shouldn’t utilize it to keep track of your leads. That’s where a customer relationship management (CRM) system comes into play.

Once you have your lead data in your CRM system, which you can use to pull lists for email marketing or prospecting, there are three main things you need to do to manage your B2B Marketing Database.

Clean Your Data

As new leads go into your database, you should evaluate them. We all know that to get access to a white paper, research report or other piece of gated content, people will put down anything as their contact information on the registration form. Having cleansed data in the past, I can’t tell you the number of times I had to remove “Mickey Mouse,” “Bill Clinton” and “Don’tPutMeOn YourCallList” from the potential leads. I’m pretty sure our former president wasn’t interested in a storage technology white paper.

Segment Your List

Your leads can be segmented in any manner of ways: by job title, location or past purchase. But you really should be focusing your segmentation efforts on where your leads are in the buying cycle for your company’s product. This flow starts with an Inquiry, which is someone who has filled out the registration form on your page or has had their badge scanned at your trade show booth. From Inquiry, a lead can become a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL), based on a further action the lead took (for example: downloading another piece of content). The next steps from MQL are Sales Qualified Lead (SQL), followed by Opportunity, which can also be known as Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) and is ready for a sales pitch or conversation; and then hopefully the last stage is Customer. You can also go one step further and add in Advocate, which are customers who have shared your products on their social pages or have referred other people who became customers.

Just how clean is your data? Identify where your data requires attention, allowing you to choose which areas to improve.

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Use The Information

Once you have your CRM cleansed and segmented, those leads aren’t going to market to themselves, as nice as that would be. Create separate email marketing campaigns that will be of interest to the various stages of the buying cycles, including Advocates. You can also help move leads through the stages of the buying cycle through thoughtful lead nurturing campaigns to take them from Inquiry to Opportunity and beyond.

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This post first appeared on B2B DATA SERVICE, please read the originial post: here

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