Why Building Trust is Essential in B2B Lead Generation
In B2B lead generation, trust is a crucial ingredient. Unfortunately, it’s also something that’s missing from many marketers’ tool kits. In order to turn leads into close won opps, you need to build trust. No one does business with someone they don’t trust.
Every time your marketing team creates a piece of content, or one of your sales reps talks to someone, they should focus their attention on establishing trust with your prospects. Why? Because the B2B sales cycle is always long and complex. To manage it effectively, you will need a solid sales lead process. And when trust becomes a focal point, you’ll stand a much greater chance of forming a strong business relationship from the beginning, one that can endure the twists and turns of the sales cycle. Prospects are more engaged throughout the sales cycle when they are dealing with reps they trust. This means they are more likely to stay in the funnel and are more likely to close.
And it’s not just you, the seller, who needs trust. Think of it from the buyer’s perspective too. Often, their decision to work or buy from you will bear the weight of their reputation or even employment. As such, they need to be reassured that they’re making the right decision. B2B companies typically have less of an emotional draw to their customers, which is detrimental to reinforcing consumer decisions. If marketers want to generate more purchase-inclined leads, they will need to form stronger connections.
Trust Leverages Finite Numbers of B2B Leads
Unlike most B2Cs, where new customers are more readily available, B2B leads are harder to encounter, which is particularly true for companies with niche or big-ticket solutions. In this scenario, the number of potential leads is small by default, making each opportunity that much more important. The additional complexity of B2B is that there are more stakeholders who have to sign off on a purchase decision which makes for more decision makers with whom trust needs to be built.
When you focus on building trust, the needs of each prospect are being cared for, establishing a bond that streamlines all future interactions. Building and maintaining trust will also keep you top-of-mind with leads that aren’t ready to make a purchase for months or even years. Marketing automation tools will come in handy here, helping to nurture leads at least until they are ready to commit.
When it comes to B2B marketing, there are several ways to build trust with your target audience.
Building Trust With Content Marketing
The internet is overflowing with content, most of which isn’t that great. You can set yourself apart from the clutter and your competition by becoming a known and trusted curator of great content. Whether it’s company website blogs, social media content, or even engagement on LinkedIn groups, your content will often be the first point of contact with prospects. And as we all know, first impressions matter.
If you are known to share relevant, smart, and useful content, breaking news, industry trends and insights, then that content doesn’t even need to always be original. If it’s of high value and quality, you’re already building trust with prospects.In looking to address their problems and help them in their decision-making, people will start following your Twitter feed and LinkedIn profile. What more can you ask from your leads?
So, how can you use your content to generate trust?
- Teach – Look to create relevant content that educates both your audience and your sales teams. Don’t focus just on your products and services but rather more on industry best practices. Develop buyer personas, and aim to answer their questions at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Teach your audiences about new business processes and tools, as many small to medium-sized companies may often feel less competent in one area or another.
- Inspire – Trust and inspiration go well together. Aside from educating your prospects, also look to inspire them. Tailor your messages so that your audience will feel inspired to act on your advice. Also, help them acknowledge their strengths, weaknesses, and resources. Empathize with their wants, needs, and insecurities by creating content that speaks to those issues.
- Become a Thought Leader – Work diligently to develop a reputation as a thought leader and expert in your respective industry. Aside from keeping up with the latest industry trends, you will also need to provide your take on the situation. Look to create more in-depth content in the form of an eBook, case study, or a white paper. Have your content published or redistributed by widely regarded, authoritative sources. If writing isn’t your strong suit, consider hiring a content marketer or service provider like Strong Social or Sales Lead Automation. These types of providers not only build out quality content, they also optimize it for SEO performance and offer other related services to help you deliver your content to the right people.
Another way of building trust with content is to share it with prospects during meetings. Printed content in the form of infographics, case studies, product sheets, or other timely content that is relevant to the customer’s problem will work to support your sales pitches in an appointment setting. If your sales team conducts most of their business on calls, content can be sent to the prospect before or after calls. Choose content that works to mitigate common objections and answers key questions specific to where a prospect is in the sales cycle.
Building Trust With Referrals
Referral marketing is rooted in the relationships companies have with their customers. It works with different types of social proof like customer testimonials, case studies, and reviews on websites such as g2.com, clutch.co, or social media. Or it can be something more complex like implementing an employee advocacy program, for example.
Aside from peppering your website with positive reviews and testimonials, you can also use customer referrals for your B2B telemarketing strategy. Referrals help turn dreaded cold calls into warm calls and also create a commonality for the rep and the prospect that is rooted in trust. Not only does this set the relationship on the right course, it also moves prospects along faster through the top of the funnel.
Engagement can happen over social media, on your company’s website, or even during events. Combining telemarketing with event marketing will not only help you build your telemarketing lists, but it will also offer you the chance to meet your prospects face-to-face. There’s no denying the fact that people will trust you more this way than if you’re calling them seemingly out of the blue. Having a presence at events allows prospects to put a face to a name, removing the mystery and it’s close associate, suspicion. Click To Tweet
Public speaking engagements and opportunities are a great way to build trust and to be seen as authoritative in your field. Many people tend to be fearful of public speaking. In fact 25% of people report being scared to speak in front of a group. However, there are ways to get over this fear like seeking smaller speaking opportunities first and then moving on to larger scale events. You can even seek out a local public speaking class or your local Toastmasters chapter to really refine your public speaking skills. Next, put yourself out there by volunteering at local industry associations. Often you will meet people who are conference chairs or sit on the programming committees for events. In most cases these chair people not only help recruit speakers for their events but also introduce their speaker. These introductions and connections provide you with speaking opportunities that expose you to potential clients in the audience and offer great content potential when recorded and shared.
If we take a moment to think about it, lead generation is not about cold calling, flooding inboxes with emails, or stuffing the sales funnel with everyone who is remotely interested. It’s all about establishing trust, one person at a time.
If you want to learn more about lead generation best practices, subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest delivered to your inbox.