Lead-to-Revenue: Best Practices Online


“Leads from online sources convert to opportunities at double the rate of leads from offline sources.” –Jordan Con

If you’re working on a solid lead-to-revenue process with your team, I would recommend the article that just came out this week by Jordan Con. Jordan talks about scoring the quality of leads from different sources before you try to calculate cost-per-lead (CPL). He also talks about how much more bang for your buck that you get from online lead-to-revenue activities vs. say, event marketing or partner marketing leads. Later in the article, however, he makes sure to mention that once leads are converted to opportunities, it makes little difference where they came from—on- or offline. But I’d like to stay here at the very top of the funnel to share what I have learned about great, digital B2B lead-to-revenue activities that should be top of mind for your team.

Not so long ago, we only had offline marketing. When I worked in Big Pharma for sales teams, it was all about the face-to-face detail experience at the docs’ offices and spending time at the American Medical Association convention. It was about creating expert panels with key opinion leaders (KOLs) in a therapeutic area and promoting the results of their studies. I believe that if you look at these old-school, offline strategies and translate them into digital strategies, you will be well on your way to creating top-of-funnel L2R action.

You’ve only got two minutes – We had to come up with a way for Pharma reps to talk about extremely complex products in two minutes. Yes, that’s all they had time for with most docs. Unless we brought in bagels or lunch, we had to hit the main points in less than two minutes—sometimes in as little as 30 seconds.

Experts say that people clicking through a website are usually in and out (sometimes in mere seconds). Make your L2R messages about your prospects’ pain points; make them short; and offer something of value—quickly—or you’re going to lose them at the gate.

Get in front of your thought leaders – I discussed KOLs earlier— physicians or clinicians doing groundbreaking research in a specific, therapeutic area. We were trying to get health insurance companies to include a new medicine on their approved list for a specific condition, or trying to get physicians to prescribe. These people wouldn’t play unless what you were doing had value for their patients—period.

For your online lead-to-revenue strategy, this means that once you get in front of thought leaders, have something of value to say and don’t be too “salesy” about it. Earned online media, eBooks with deep-dive topics and “meat” from respected analysts of note; and white papers that bring the reader to a new, more profitable conclusion—all of these will reach your thought leaders and move them to conversion more readily.

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Be where they are – I can’t even tell you how much fun we had at medical conventions. In particular, at one former Pharma, we had a great budget and I worked with some really smart, cool people. The culture of this company translated well in this venue because we weren’t there to sell anything, at least directly. Most of the time, we were there as a guest of a non-government organization (NGO) or non-profit for whom our patient message resonated. Everyone I knew at most of the Pharmas I worked at really wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. I know that runs counter to the common stereotype of that industry, but it’s true. And that’s why face-time with our community worked.

So what are the lessons for your online, L2R strategy? Be where your prospects are but don’t be sleazy about it. Research extensively to find their online presence and the channels they frequent. Then, go there for discussion, interaction and to build relationships. Don’t come for the money and the money will come. Be real and be real transparent.

For more about the top of the sales funnel and good L2R practices there, check out Chris Ryan’s eBook about how to use digital and offline tactics to shrink your sales cycle by fine-tuning key components of your go-to-market strategy.

Patty Tomsky

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