The Gambler - 3 B2B Lead Generation Lessons I Learned at the Poker Table
As the song goes, “You’ve got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, Know when to walk away and know when to run.” The same is true for your business-to-business (B2B) lead generation programs. You need to know what leads are worth nurturing and which ones are not worth the time. The following are three B2B lead generation lessons I learned at the Poker Table.
It’s more about your opponent than your cards
In the movie Rounder’s (One of the greatest poker movies of all time), Matt Damon’s character, Mike McDermott, explains it’s not about what cards you are dealt but rather it’s all about reading your opponents. The same is true in B2B marketing. It’s not so much about your product or solution as it is about the problems your prospects have.
Instead of focusing on your cards or your product, it’s more important to think about who your prospect is, what type of player/role they occupy in the buying process and then design your strategy back from there. Instead of thinking about how you want to force the action, you need to react to how your opponent/prospect decides to act.
Read Your Prospects and Set the Trap
Great poker players have the ability to read their prospects and recognize their tells. Great salespeople have the ability to recognize “tells” that indicate where the buyer’s level of interest is and when, or if, they will be in a position to buy. Great marketers also need to be able to read their customers or prospects tell and be able to react.
By using marketing automation tools, marketers can read their customers buying language and understand if the buyer is in an awareness stage, or if they are discovering what options are available. Buy being able to track your prospect’s digital behavior and what content they are consuming, you will able to determine just what stage they are at. Ideally you will engage with the prospect in one of these two stages before they enter final purchase stage. Marketing automation allows you to determine, track and engage these prospects so that sales and marketing can nurture them to an opportunity to close the sale.
You always need to be that one-step ahead of your prospects and leading them to the next stage in their buying process. The use of marketing automation tools allow you to do this. You can always be providing the correct content at the correct time. More importantly, you can always be using the correct calls to action to encourage your prospects to take the next step in their buying process.
Be Aggressive But Play Smart
As a famous poker player once said: “I’ve never seen a top poker player who called a lot.” The rule of thumb is this: If your hand is worth a call, then bet. If you never bet, you take away a critical aspect of poker: Winning a pot because everyone else has folded. If you think you have the best hand, bet it. You should be betting AT LEAST as much as you are calling.
In business-to-business lead generation if you are always asking for the sale, sending sales messages, when your prospect is not ready to buy, you are going to miss that critical aspect, because when they are actually read to buy, they will have already tuned you out. The same is true for companies that wait for their customers to call them. If you wait for them to call you, it is often too late. Instead you need to be working in partnership with your sales team to always be that one-step ahead. You need to have an integrated sales and marketing process that seamlessly passes leads to sales and enables sales people to quickly and efficiently convert those leads to opportunities. Sales needs to be calling the correct person at the correct time. It is just like the professional poker player who has to know when to call and when to walk away.
Every gambler knows that the secret to survivin’ is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep. The same is true for B2B lead generation. All prospects can become opportunities at some time, it’s just knowing when which ones to nurture and which ones to throw away. 'Cause ev'ry hand's a winner and ev'ry hand's a loser, and the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.
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