Qualification of leads is very critical to sales effectiveness and business success. One of B2B marketing company’s key challenges is to identify leads that provide the best opportunities for the sales team.

According to a recent study by Gartner, “up to 70% of sales leads are not properly leveraged or are completely ignored, thus wasting marketing program dollars."
The sales enablement process helps sales teams to deliver value to prospects at the right time. However, there is one important aspect to identifying leads that can help sales teams to qualify prospects and focus efforts in the right direction – lead scoring. Lead scoring helps to rank prospects based on many factors.

Uses of Lead Scoring
  • Lead scoring helps to align sales follow-up to the right person, thereby accelerating the buying process.
  • The process of scoring even helps bridge the sales marketing disconnect. This is possible because both teams can work effectively based on feedback from each other regarding the prospective customer.
  • The best thing about lead scoring is it helps to prioritize sales follow based on the sales readiness of the prospect.

With robust marketing automation applications, leads can now be automatically scored and prioritized based on their website activity, interest and intent. Based on lead scoring, marketing teams can differentiate between leads that are sales ready and those that are not. Accordingly they can pass on the sales ready leads to sales and focus their efforts on lead nurturing for the others.

Marketing automation software can provide the following benefits to lead scoring process.
  • It allows sales and marketing teams to define the parameters for a 'good' lead in advance, based on which it then classifies all leads.
  • It monitors every click and keystroke, to understand where the visitors are in their buying cycle and which of them are exhibiting key buying indicators.
  • The scoring rules use the right combination of implicit and explicit information about a website visitor to determine their identity and quality.
  • The website activity data that is accumulated over a period of time and when combined with a company level view can become a powerful tool in qualifying leads.

Automated lead scoring process makes sales more efficient by helping them focus on the hottest leads first and get to them with a relevant solution in real time.

Read on - lead management software, lead nurturing best practices
Today's globalized business world is not just technology enabled but is also  turning mobile. The large number of smartphones and tablets sold across the world, is a proof to this. Such a technological evolution has paved way for development of large number of software applications that would help end users with ease of  performing various job functions and also ensure business continuity. However, this also introduces the organization to significant factors that needs proper vetting before initiating  development of mobile application solutions.

The demand for more  flexible, reliable, secure  and integration  with the other applications has paved way for mobile application developers and the mobile market to expand exponentially.  The applications developed for the mobile market helps people and companies fulfill the task with ease. The mobile phones which have today become more than a communication device, have replaced the computers and laptops with their easy and anytime anywhere access mode.

Wikipedia defines mobile application development as the process by which application software is developed for handheld devices, such as personal digital assistants, enterprise digital assistants or mobile phones. Organizations around the world always want to reachout to their  customers on time. Use of smartphones helps organization  interact with their customers instantly. Leading service providers have facilitated the development of  customer-centric mobile applications for various platforms.

Mobile application developers have worked to design and develop a number of application to perform activities such as transferring funds,  shopping, playing games,   finding locations and much more. However, these applications being developed for different platforms, involves incorporating strategies and tools to enable the mobile application tun into functional applications.  Further, these applications are made available to the end-users either as a preloaded versions or are available for downloads as per customer requirement, making mobile application development companies climb the growth chart. Further, with a large number of android phones and hand held devices, these organizations also ensure efficient android application development.

The enterprises involved in such product engineering has a clear focus on location based services,  mobile media streaming, messaging and synching.  The mobile  application developers are also equipped with deep understanding of domain knowledge.  The customer-centric development of mobile applications for various platforms has facilitated the successful deployment of these  applications in GPS, social networking, maps, game applications, payment gateway, shopping cart etc. However, making  web applications accessible on different leading mobile platforms, helps organizations attract and retain  customers and  increase profit. The cross platform  development reduces any technical barriers.

Related Links: product engineering , mobile app development
Today Product Lifecycle Management is considered as an important business strategy. But before going further, let’s first understand the term, Product Lifecycle Management (PLM). As per Wikipedia, PLM is the “the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from its conception, through design and manufacture, to service and disposal. PLM integrates people, data, processes, and business systems and provides a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.”

Thanks to globalization, today’s business environment is competitive, fast paced and highly volatile. This has made PLM an essential tool that helps organizations to deal with the complexities and engineering challenges of new product development for the more demanding global competitive markets.

To survive in this fiercely competitive business environment, enterprises need to introduce new, better and profitable products into the market quickly. Success comes to those who know the pulse of the market and is able to figure out future demand of products. Hence, those products that are sure to perform well in the market must be introduced swiftly while those that are underperforming must be withdrawn completely without fail. This can be done if and only if the enterprises have complete control over the lifecycle of products.

Though the different stages in the life of a product vary according to the product and the industry, normally there are five stages in the life of a product namely development, introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. An understanding of the product’s lifecycle helps enterprises to understand the time to introduce and withdraw a product, its demand, its position and finally its success and failure. Thus, effective management of a product’s lifecycle helps enterprises to reap benefits. For that, enterprises require state-of-the-art product lifecycle management solution that overcomes the challenges of working across a distributed environment to deliver high-quality products while accelerating timelines and reducing development costs by up to 30%. The following are some of the advantages of using effective PLM tools.

·         Enhance product quality

·         Ability to identify quickly potential sales opportunities and revenue contributions

·         Reduced waste

·         Savings through the reuse of original data

·         Savings through the complete integration of engineering workflows

PLM thus allows enterprises to attain efficiency in the product development process. This efficiency leads to time management, cost savings, and quality enhancement.

Related Links: agile product life cycle management, product engineering
In B2B marketing it is important that only high quality enter the Sales funnel because only then there will be sufficient sales-ready prospects emerging from the bottom. So, the first step is to identify only those who may have a need for the company’s offerings and develop targeted messaging that will inform and guide them back to the website. In case the prospect is not ready for sales, but is interested, developing the buyer interest has to be done slowly and steadily.

Marketing Funnel
While the Sales Funnel shows how large volumes of leads entering the system get narrowed down as time goes on, the Marketing funnel is a measure of investment versus return and defines the lead generation stages and processes involved in this journey of translating marketing effort into economic results.

In the traditional Sales Funnel, which is basic and is focused on showing the transformation of leads to customers, a company drives various marketing campaigns to bring in interested Leads. Then, Sales takes over to find opportunities (purchase intent). The Leads that show interest are sent proposals and quotes and if the offerings meet their needs, the prospects, who have so far traversed the funnel, become the new customers for the company.

Today, websites play a crucial role in lead generation because of the huge role Internet plays in buying decisions. Determining the source of the visitors, their level of engagement with the content on the site, their reaction to different calls to action on the site and their interaction with the company (via form fill or request form before the sale is made) became qualifiers for B2B marketers, which decided if a Lead is worthy of entering the Sales Funnel.

Until now Marketing has always been considered as a cost centre, not playing an active role in primary lead generation efforts.  However, the entry of Marketing Automation platform have ensured that companies are able to measure the ROI for their marketing activities, and marketing can stake a claim on part of the revenue.  ‘Marketing Qualified lead Rate’ is a relevant measure for marketing efficiency and success, both from a marketing initiative perspective and from marketing’s ability to effectively screen out low potential contacts.

While using marketing automation software is a good move for B2B companies, content creation also plays a crucial role. For an online company, marketing does not end with a detailed campaign management program. The real marketing challenge lies in creating content strategies that will ensure readability and sustain interest in the company or product. Therefore, developing compelling, innovative and dialog-based content should be the key goals while devising content strategies.

Also read on - lead nurturing best practices, lead management system
The enterprise mobility market is expected to grow dramatically due to the rapid adoption of new technologies that enable businesses to connect with their workforce, customers and suppliers from anywhere at any time. Let’s look at some of the enterprise mobility market predictions.

• By 2016, there will be 1 billion Smartphone/tablet consumers. Moreover, of the 1 billion, 20 million will be at the enterprise level. As far as mobile applications market is concerned, it will reach $55 billion. By 2015, mobile workers will account for 15% of all the global workers across different verticals such as healthcare, retail, manufacturing, transportation, chemicals, and petroleum. (Forrester)

• By 2016, 50% of the enterprise email users will depend largely on a browser, tablet, or mobile client instead of a desktop client. This point to the fact that by 2015 mobile app development projects aimed at Smartphones and tablets will exceed native PC projects by a ratio of 4:1. (Gartner)

• By 2017, Global Enterprise Mobility Market would exceed US$ 173.9 billion. “Growing mobile worker population, emergence of sophisticated mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones and introduction of several novel business applications will drive the market for enterprise mobility over the next few years.” (Global Industry Analysts (GIA))

• The IT spending to reach US$ 1.8 trillion in 2012 with 20% being related to the mobility segment. (International Data Corporation (IDC))

• Global location-based services platforms revenue to grow from $560 million in 2010 to $1.8 billion in 2015.(ABI Research)

• By 2016, there will be 3 million health remote monitoring users. (Juniper Research)

Hence, to capitalize on enterprise mobility, businesses and ISVs must build applications with the following characteristics:

• Intuitive and user-friendly
• Support heterogeneous mobile environments (i.e., devices, OS, carriers, etc.)
• Integrate with backend systems
• Easy to install and manage
• Meet stringent corporate security policies

Enterprises can develop mobile applications by partnering with global leaders who have their own Enterprise Mobility technology centers. These innovation labs design, develop and support cutting-edge enterprise applications on a wide range of mobile platforms such as iPhone, Android and BlackBerry in verticals such as
• Healthcare
• Retail
• Finance

Their capabilities include:
Advisory Technology

• Overall Assessment
• Build Enterprise Mobility Roadmap
• Mobile Platform & Device Rollout Strategy
• High Level Architecture
• Backend Integration Strategy
• Middleware Selection
• Device Management
• Security Considerations

Architecture, Engineering & Integration
• Mobile Native Client & Mobile Web Development
• Backend Integration
• Middleware & Device Management
• Platform & Device Porting
• Testing

Professional Services & Support
• Deployment
• Customization
• Additional Platforms & Device Support
• 24x7 support

With enterprise mobility market showing an upward trend, enterprises must focus on mobile application development projects.

Related Links: nearshore development services, android software development
Social media is an efficient medium to promote company product and services in the B2B marketing scenario. Top social media sites used for B2B marketing are Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Listed below are the six important steps to devise a social media marketing strategy for your B2B marketing automation campaign.

1. Determine your target audience
Find out social sites where your target audience segment is active. Establishing this will help in creating targeted messaging for them.

2. Become a member
Join social media sites and be an active participant by following groups and actively sharing useful content to read. Other ways of engaging target audience would include activities such as polling, voting, releasing research reports, etc.

3. Develop content
Developing quality content and sharing it with your target segment is the best way to show authenticity.  Sharing of content like best practises, guides, etc., can get people to talk and discuss about it. SEO optimize content so that it caters to readers who use search engines often.

4. Start a Corporate Blog
Thought leadership content can be converted into blogs and shared in social media sites. Blogs are a great way to communicate new releases and updates. It also helps to prove that the company is a leader in its industry segment.

5. Utilize mobile services
Today’s mobile technology enables users to connect to social media networks from anywhere. Provide content sharing options such as SMS and email, which will enable prospects to access your content anywhere, anytime.

6. Track social media performances
Social media marketing needs to be tracked on a regular basis to make sure that the active participants are nurtured at the right time. Metrics vary depending on the site chosen and the content shared in it. Some of the metrics include number of posts, number of responses, number of inbound links and conversion rates.

Some important DO’s of social media marketing are:
  • Share valuable and genuine content so that prospects are convinced of the value behind the link.
  • Designate teams that exclusively monitor and respond to social media responses.
  • Personalize responses, offers, propositions based on industry, professional level of prospects, geographical locations, website activities, time taken to respond, number of responses, etc.
  • Provide valuable and genuine responses/solutions since it will viewed, clicked, read and analyzed by a larger set of audience who will judge the company’s brand image based on it.

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