Don't count leads - drive pipeline

Tips to driving an effective lead pipeline

Post-pandemic, marketing leaders face a new world of lead generation and creative channels to integrate into their marketing strategies. But how are they investing differently now, to not just generate leads, but drive an efficient pipeline for their sales team?

With further budget cuts on the horizon, there's no better time to evaluate your marketing investments to ensure you’re not missing out on those quick wins; whether it’s brand reach, customer, engagement, or ABM lead generation. And with exhibitions, conferences, and summits back in full swing - where do you start with your event strategy?!

Of the 150 marketing leaders from B2B technology vendors that Rela8 Group works with – here’s some effective ways in which they are allocating their budgets at different stages of their pipelines:

Brand awareness

Brand awareness stage

The lowest cost-per-lead segment of your funnel, typical activities include:

  • Content marketing: Whitepapers, podcasts, eBooks, and more – content is king. Investing in content production is key to driving demand-generation and interest into your brand. The best content pieces are produced alongside a thought-leadership style discussion or event.

  • Virtual roundtables – criteria-based prospects: With no geographical restraints these can be held anywhere, in any time zone, with low risk. These are super effective when done well, and are used to:
  1. Launch into new markets: There’s no better way than getting 6 prospective customers from a criteria of company type / region / job titles, to help you understand the pain points that your solutions can solve
  2. Guarantee pre qualified leads: These are low-risk marketing spends with guaranteed pre-qualified leads
  3. Gain real, honest insights from your customers: Carefully chosen discussion points can angle the conversation so you get the insights you need in order to nurture your prospective customer. Understanding how your solution can solve their real everyday problems is golden - because every business is different!

  • Small/medium sized summits: Summits are great for high-level networking and brand awareness with green-field accounts criteria-matched to your business needs. Often these events offer breakout sessions for you to engage directly with a smaller targeted group of prospects. These offer easy follow-up with a manageable load of pre-qualified leads to further fuel your pipeline.

  • Exhibitions: Great for mass brand awareness to a wider criteria-based audience. Some provide 1:1 meetings, otherwise be sure to take time to sift through your lead capture data post-event to find your relevant hot prospects.

Next up... demand gen!

Demand generation
Demand generation stage

The mid-range cost-per lead segment of your funnel, generating targeted, pre-qualified leads from your key-accounts- list.

  • Virtual roundtables (named accounts): An ABM activity with intent data or from a specific target accounts list. 1:1 follow-up post event - when done well these results in 70% conversion rate. Best ROI is usually over a campaign of 4-6 events.

  • Private dinners breakfast briefings: The power of face-to-face never fails, and these intimate business discussions over a 5* dinner takes the experience of your prospect one step further. Whilst usually restricted to major cities, the higher effort from attending delegates correlates to higher intent and conversion rate. Use these in conjunction with virtual activities for an effective multi-touch campaign.

Next up... nurture!

Nurture stage

A hugely important stage, and no better way than to nurture opportunities than face to face. This stage is all about creating memorable experiences to leave lasting impressions in the minds of your prospective customers.

Granted, these activities are associated with a higher cost-per-lead, but when used alongside intent data and surging accounts, these are guaranteed to influence and accelerate opportunities – giving the high rate of conversion. Some great examples are:

Investing in giving your prospective clients a memorable experience has never been more important. Memories last, and lead to solid friendships with your customers, whilst emails get deleted and forgotten in seconds.

And finally... the opportunity and conversion stage!

Opportunity stage

Like above, experiential activities such as a track days and Wembley experiences can also be used effectively for:

  • Closing open opportunities

  • Reaffirming relationships with existing clients for repeat business or upselling

  • Used as part of any “Land & Expand” projects or after M&A for cross selling

Some marketers forget about this segment and leave it to the sales team to close – but it’s harder to win back an opp once it’s lost. So make sure your marketing efforts assist in closing deals right to the end.

Want to see some of these in action? 

Check out some case studies from B2B tech vendors – you may get some ideas for your own campaigns >> VIEW CASE STUDIES GALLERY

To summarise...

When marketing teams are faced with rising lead targets, it’s vital to engage with every stage of your lead funnel to accelerate and allocate budget accordingly, and different stages drive different cost-per-lead. Or to put it shortly:

  • Be strategic with your data: identify your segments for each stage of your sales funnel, carefully selecting your key accounts, high intent data, or criteria prospective customers

  • Set out a clear budget, and make sure the agency you use ensures honest, measurable outcomes

  • Multi touch points are better than one: campaigns that drive the highest ROI involve multiple touchpoints which drive a new lead to your conversion point

  • Work with the right events agency who have the expertise, resource, and the right network of Technology Leaders and decision makers to connect you with: Without this, your campaign may not generate the ROI you’re after.

  • Be creative – some of the best campaigns include experiential activities which have incredible ROI >> check out some case studies!

These lead generating activities have proven to drive significant ROI for businesses and accelerate sales funnels quicker than using digital and traditional marketing activities alone. But don’t be fooled – these require dedicated teams, huge amounts of time, and the knowledge behind the processes to take an event attendee from being a delegate to customer.

Choose a trusted events agency who can take away the time and pressure off you which successful event campaigns require. Rela8 Group is trusted by over 150 B2B vendors worldwide, with ongoing campaigns to drive their lead generation requirements. Check out the range of events and lead generation services we offer here >> DISCOVER BESPOKE EVENT CAMPAIGNS

If you want to get in touch then give us a shout