I like to do book reviews once in a while on Biznology, and this one was a natural because I know Ruth Stevens and I know her expertise in B2B marketing, so I needed to pore over her book, Maximizing Lead Generation, for tips–and I found them. I have lots of experience as a B2B marketer from my days at IBM and in all of my work with clients at Converseon since I retired from IBM. But my expertise in B2B is as a digital marketer–my expertise in offline marketing is nowhere near Ruth’s–so I got a schooling in more traditional approaches for B2B. But schooling seems like the wrong word, because I always hated school and this book is nothing like a my old schools because it gets to the point. This book does not drone on and on–it is 200 pages jam-packed with practical approaches you can put to work immediately.
I first met Ruth when she invited me to speak at her class at Columbia University and have met her numerous times in the last few years. Her voice comes through when you read this book, which you’ll enjoy, but it is the content that matters. For me, the gems were all in offline marketing, because it is the rare B2B business that can succeed without any offline marketing. But if you already know how to do B2B marketing offline, you’ll appreciate the online marketing techniques that run throughout the book.
Here are just a few of the things that I learned:
- You can qualify sales leads with a simple process nicknamed BANT, and acronym for Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeframe. Ruth actually extends this model if more factors might be helpful to you, but just having a framework to score all of your prospects is something many B2B marketers need.
- Long B2B sales cycles mean that you need a set of techniques to nurture leads. People are always focusing on acquiring leads, which is very important, but the techniques that Ruth shares on moving those leads down the sales funnel are equally important.
- Database management can be simple. Managing customer data has always been a kind of black hole for me. I know how to do it on a small scale, and I have even worked on CRM systems in business, but they always seemed complicated to me, with their attendant gurus. Ruth offers a simple approach that breaks down the kind of data the you need for each customer and what to do with it that opened my eyes.
- Almost all B2B marketers should be staying away from several marketing techniques. Even if print media has worked for you in the past, it is likely not as effective as newer techniques. And broadcast media is even worse. Sometimes knowing what not to do is just as important as what you should do.
There is no way to summarize this book in a review because the jewels are on every page–in the tips and techniques that Ruth shares as part of a larger structure to manage your entire B2B lead process through to a sale. If you are a B2B marketer, don’t miss it.