Every year the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) conducts a survey called the Customer Acquisition Barometer. It’s an extremely valuable analysis of what works and what doesn’t in the hunt for new clients.
This year’s Barometer prompted me to list my top 10 tips for improving customer acquisition…
1. Don’t underestimate the value of Human Interaction
According to research I conducted in 2012, just over 68%* of B2B sales involve some form of Human Interaction (HI), either a phone call or a face-to-face meeting. Interestingly, 89% of new purchases required HI (even for order values as low as £146). So the benefit of HI in winning new business is clear.Learn more: What's the impact of HI on average order value?
2. Use channels that make prospects feel valued
Consider the following example. It’s your birthday. Friends congratulate you in different ways. Which friend makes you feel more valued?
- Simon visits you at home
- Heather gives you a telephone call
- Peter sends you a birthday card
- Sally sends you a text message
- Raj sends you an email
Note how the feeling of being valued is related to the method of communication.Learn more: Which channels make buyers feel valued?
The top two channels were Field Sales (58%) and Telemarketing (24%) – they make Managers feel most valued and both have HI. The score for the remaining channels were Direct Mail (14%), Mobile Marketing (2%) and Email Marketing (1%).
3. Email response is falling, but it’s still the most effective tool
Numerous research surveys from the DMA and B2B Marketing magazine have identified Email as the most effective tool for outbound marketing (see Chart I). My personal experience is that a combination of Email and Telemarketing really scores.Learn more: How to improve email response rates
Chart I – Popular versus effective channels for customer acquisition
4. Post them a letter – there’s less competition on the doormat
Direct mail is back in fashion. Why? Because it’s effective. Costly, but effective. While email remains the most effective tool, it’s true our Inboxes are full and response rates are falling. Direct mail is visible, tangible and more valued by prospects than email.Learn more: Getting the most out of direct mail
5. Don’t believe everything you read about social media
Social media has a role to play – but it’s perhaps not the most effective tool for B2B customer acquisition. The DMA’s Customer Acquisition Barometer found that social media was ranked 8th as an effective customer acquisition tool (out of a list of 9 – see Chart I).Learn more: Where is social media most effective?
6. Lead scoring identifies the prospects worth pursuing
For many B2B marketers their target list of prospects can number 10,000 names or more. It’s impossible for you to keep track on all them and know which are most valuable, active and real decision-makers. That’s where lead scoring can help.Learn more: A practical guide to lead scoring
7. Get your sales team to love data
In my experience, sales teams see the benefit of accurate prospect data but struggle to add to it or keep it fresh. Yet they are in the best position to add valuable insight (a prospect launches new products, or hires more staff, etc) and update data (new job titles, or checking email addresses, etc).Learn more: A sales executive's first date with data
8. Content is king
The phrase ‘content is king’ has been around for some time, and it’s still true. Great content enables you to engage earlier in the buying process, positions you as an authority but most importantly it delivers qualified leads. ‘Qualified’ because the subject matter of the content gives you a clue about the prospect’s pain point.Learn more: A live example of the power of content
9. Relevance is ruler
If content is king, then relevance is ruler. You may have the best report, the best infographic or the best webinar invitation, but if it’s not relevant to the audience you are wasting time and resources. Worse, because you are seen as irrelevant they may unsubscribe, unfollow or refuse to take your next phone call.Learn more: 3 steps to making your message relevant
10. Understand the DNA of your good customers
Examine your good customers; check the size of their company, the sector where they operate and other demographic information. Then analyse how they originally engaged with you and which department was your entry point. Now you understand the DNA of a successful sale you can predict the prospects that are most likely to buy.Learn more: Beginners guide to predictive marketing
* B2B Buyer Survey, Marketing Graham 2012 n = 108