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How B2B Lead Generation Is Like Dating

b2b-marketing-like-datingEvery relationship needs nurturing so it can grow and prosper – especially at the beginning.

…When you see each other across the room, on a blind date, or on a dating site profile page (although looks can be deceiving).

Similarities with building personal relationships as well as business relationships are staggering. And the steps you take and the questions you ask can work or be a dismal failure in both circumstances.

So it’s best to create a plan and execute that plan with conviction, purpose and a visualize a positive end result

Looking for the Perfect Mate at a Bar is like Professional Networking

  • What bars/venues will your ideal mate be hanging out at? What networking groups or events will your ideal client be connected with? Dive bars attract a certain clientele (more blue collar, working class, younger). Wine bars attract a certain clientele (more white collar, higher salary, etc.). Probably 95% of the people in any bar will not be a match. Is your ideal client going to be at the networking mixer anyone can get into? Or do you need to go to higher-end events where attendees are more qualified? Higher costs for the event or networking group, or a specific type of group typically means the more serious the networkers are about meeting the right people.

Looking for the Perfect Match through a Dating Service is like LinkedIn Marketing

  • Services like eHarmony, Match.com and Its Just Lunch can be a more efficient use of time since these services help you narrow down potential suitors with ideal qualities matching what you are looking for. LinkedIn does the same thing…Allowing a prospector to narrow their search by industry, company size, title, seniority, geography, past positions, etc. The prospector may then InMail a prospective client with a targeted message that is tailored to their possible needs based on these demographic qualities.

Friends who slowly become more than Friends is like Email Marketing

  • When you first met him or her, you never thought of them romantically then all of a sudden a switch goes on. Over time, the relationship becomes stronger and more intense and next thing you know, you’re dating! Same idea with email marketing…the ultimate lead nurturing tool. Meet someone at a networking event, collect their card, and invite them to subscribe to your firm’s email newsletter, or send them more information about your product or service. Each month you continue sending quality thought leadership content. You have built up enough credibility with the consistency and relativity of your offerings, and now they want to engage with you when they need your product or service, and eventually hire you.

Meeting by Fate is No Strategy at All

  • It truly is a miracle to be at the right place at the right time and somehow find the one you fall in love with. Miracles happen once in a lifetime. To find the right suitor, you really need to think about what you value to meet a person who may have the same values, hang out where your dreamboat would hang out and frequent places where you like so that you can find someone with similar interests. It’s the same deal with marketing…don’t rely on luck to find clients. Have a determined strategy to generate ideal client leads. What do your clients value? Where do they network? What is their profile (company size, title, industry, area, etc.)? What marketing tactics will get their attention?

Courting

  • Personality Fit? When dating, you must determine if your potential lifelong mate has a similar sense of humor, values, and life goals as you do. This is the same with B2B lead nurturing. As you generate web leads and nurture a lead from a general inquiry to a closed long-term relationship, a firm must have a series of questions to ask the prospective client to determine if the prospect is a good personality fit. Do they have realistic project expectations? Do they act in a professional manner? Are they respectful? How a prospect acts as a prospect is the best predictor of how they will act as a client.
  • Industry Fit? In the courting stage, you determine what type of job your potential mate has. Blue collar? White collar? Military? Professional? Does he or she prefer the country or the city? A firm must ask questions like this to a prospective client. Typically your firm has more expertise, and works better with certain industries and job titles. You can identify and know the challenges, processes, personnel, etc. for certain verticals. You also may work better with a larger company vs. a start-up. Be honest with yourself upfront to determine if your firm is the best fit for an industry.
  • Budget Fit? In the courting stage, determine if your potential mate has the same financial goals, makes a similar amount of money, has similar money values and expectations, etc., and if not, will this be a potential area of contention and discourse? In B2B lead nurturing, it is a MUST to figure out if a prospect is a budget fit within the first hour. The last thing you want to do is spend hours upon hours on a client that is not a budget fit. The time for the money discovery is now.

Proposal

  • Not every prospect from your website or who calls into your firm will fit your ideal client profile. The “courting” lead nurturing stage will determine if the client can be proposed to. Just like in dating, it takes numerous meetings to determine if someone can be a lifelong partner and can be proposed to for marriage, and if there is the possibility of an acceptance. With B2B lead nurturing, we need to think the same way. You should be interviewing the prospect as much as the client is interviewing you.

Gaining Commitment

  • When a man proposes to a woman, he essentially outlines his commitment and their lifelong plan. In B2B lead nurturing, the proposal stage must be as specific as possible. In your proposal, you are building a case of credibility so your intended is confident that they can commit. In your proposal, outline all steps in the process, provide testimonials/references, highlight exact pricing so that there no surprises after the client commits.

Happily Ever After

  • You put a lot of time into your “business life”, and since we are not robots, we bring ourselves and our values to our working world. Every prospective hire has to match with the culture of your firm, and prospective life partners have to be a good match with your personality and values – if the right connection is not there, it not work. Wouldn’t you want that same fit with prospective clients?

Use the tools, conduct your discovery, make the commitment and then, your business life can be an abundant, fulfilling and successful as your personal life!

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