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As more business is conducted in a virtual environment, best practice companies are learning how to drive lead generation and revenue growth in new ways. Digital marketing is often less understood in the business-to-business (B2B) environment, even though it can function as a key operational driver for revenue growth. Valuable digital marketing in B2B interactions focuses on quality lead generation, which can be used to free up sales professionals that currently spend 60 to 70 percent of their time prospecting for leads.

Qualified Leads and Valuable Data

Moving a marketing qualified lead to a sales qualified lead is a critical step for identifying an actionable target. The customer must fit the profile of the company's target base and be ready to purchase what the company is selling. Many companies struggle with procuring quality data about target customers. Internal or third-party resources often help define a marketing message and determine which key product or service attributes resonate with the target customers. Many lead generation opportunities to drive revenue can be missed when a crisp marketing message is sent to the wrong targets. Sales teams should only pursue a marketing qualified lead if it has a reasonable probability of success. Obtaining the right data can contribute to determining such probability. CRM platforms and social media channels are good examples of locations from which to gather and synthesize important data about customers and leads. The process for producing qualified sales leads can be done more efficiently and effectively when the sales team has the right data and resources.

Targeting Customers in a Virtual Environment

Online sales, social media interaction and other innovative methods improve company visibility and increase customer interactions in a virtual environment, which can help deliver valuable leads to the company's sales team. Many customers prefer to purchase online, which provides an ideal way to generate marketing qualified leads. Virtual lead generation continues to be relevant and impactful for B2B companies, so it is important that target customers who want to purchase a product or service have a tangible way to pursue it.

Focus on the Sales Process

Most companies utilize key stages to structure a sales process, such as identify opportunities, develop qualified leads, and present qualifications. Operational metrics of each activity and phase in the process can provide insight into what sales tactics currently work or require adjustment. Three of the best metrics to predict revenue trends are 1) the volume of deals at the top of the funnel, 2) the length of time prospects are in the funnel and 3) the close rate. An effective sales process is typically understood and practiced by the sales team, contains clear steps that can be measured and improved and provides insights that can be used to train and develop the sales team.

Customer Experience and Net Promoter Results

Customer success can be one of the most misunderstood elements of the sales process. Most companies understand the need for balance between the marketing funnel for lead generation and the sales funnel for revenue growth. However, existing customers can often be the primary source of new revenue. A common key performance indicator is the Net Promoter Score® which identifies if customers are likely to promote a service or product (promoters), discourage others from a product or service (detractors) or remain neutral. Tracking and managing net promoter feedback provides insights into customers' willingness to buy more products or services and the key sources of value the company provides.

It is important for company leadership to promote the use and value of net promoter results in the sales process since customer success is impacted by anyone in the customer value chain.

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