Who knows what they need?

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One of the most commonly used qualifying criteria for a lead is “need”.  Is there a defined need for our product or solution?  If there is, then it’s a lead.  If there isn’t, then it’s not.

But is that the end of it?  Or is it “not yet”?

The use of “need” as a criteria works in the world of telemarketing better than in other lead generation techniques.  Take search engine marketing, for example.  Google/Millward Brown Digital, B2B Path to Purchase Study, 2014 found that 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search and on average are doing 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site.

Do these researchers know what their need is when they commence their search?  Are they clear on the options available to them?  If they’re 12 searches away from engaging with anyone, it’s unlikely they’re searching for a product or brand name.  In an industry like IT with the sales cycles often being 6 months or more, it’s more likely the eventual purchaser has an understanding of a potential “problem” – something they’ve been asked to investigate, a product that’s coming up for refresh, or some inefficient process that they think should be able to do better, for example.  There’s not a specific, time bound need for technology or a solution.

What there is a need for, however, is information.

The need behind the need

How a seller addresses this need at this time is critical to success in nurturing a relationship with the purchase researcher.

Content should be designed for the purpose of pulling in early prospects who are out there on the web looking for answers.  Interactive content which offers to analysis and advice can be extremely valuable and a great differentiator because few are offering this level of personalization.  The process for the researcher should be simple and unobtrusive and the feedback provided needs to be of high value – to start to answer their questions and construct some next steps for them to follow so that the need for information starts to turn into a need for a product or solution.

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