How does your business acquire new leads on business-to-business sales? Most B2B businesses choose methods like direct mail or cold emailing/calling to get in front of purchasing agents, COOs or business owners. The unfortunate reality is that these methods are generally ineffective and costly. Promotional mail almost always ends up in the trash at the admin assistant’s desk before ever being seen by the CEO/COO, and cold emails/calls are so annoying to most prospects they won’t pay attention to you, even if you do make it past the gatekeepers and have exactly what they need.

So, what are your other options for business development? We recently discovered a new tool we have found highly effective called Named-Target Marketing. What is remarkable about this method, is that it first helps you build your target audience and then walks them through a predetermined path of learning about your product/service and company. Then it gives your sales reps a note that it is time to call the lead. Using this method, companies know who you are and why they should care before you contact them.

This method has three steps:

1. Data compiling: Populating the tool with whatever data you or your business might have on your potential leads — whether you have several hundred or several thousand. Most companies generally have data like the lead’s name, title in the company and maybe a phone number. The system then takes that information and fills in the blanks of each target by scouring the web and its private databases to add information such as their direct phone number, where their business is located, their email and what specific devising they use to access the internet.

2. Path buildout: Once the system compiles all of the available information on the individual leads, the next phase is deciding how the leads will learn about your business. Though paths may differ depending on the client, a typical lead path might look like the following: 1) The lead will read an article mentioning your business as an industry leader. 2) The lead will watch a commercial about your services/products and what makes them superior to competitors’. 3) The lead will see banner ad No. 1, showcasing client testimonials. 4) The lead will see banner ad No. 2, showcasing competitive pricing. 5) The client will receive a cold email from a sales rep, requesting a meeting. 6) The client will receive a call from a sales rep, starting the relationship.

3. Pushing the leads through the path: This phase is where this technology really shines. The system begins delivering ads to individual leads based on where they are in the path using 26+ ad delivery platforms/partners, including everything from Facebook ads to banner ads on pages like Fox Sports. These ads are not pop-up ads; they actually replace some of the regular banner ads or video ads you might see from a number of different businesses throughout any given day.

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Let me give an example using the path I outlined above:

John, a company CEO, is a potential buyer. Once the campaign is activated, John begins seeing on almost every website he visits an ad for an article written about his industry. Step No. 1 is set. Once he clicks the article and reads it, the ads shift, and now he visits a video commercial about a company that was mentioned in that article he read a few days/weeks ago. Step No. 2 is set. This continues through Step 4. At Step 5, the system sends a notification directly to a sales rep that this client is ripe for an introduction. He starts off with an email, then calls to set a meeting in the next few days.

John knows your name, offerings and what makes you better than your competitors before the phone ever rings. He is much more likely to accept the meeting and eventually buy your products.

Most of my clients’ first reaction to this new system is that it sounds a little creepy. While it may seem disconcerting, I will offer these two things to those who are hesitant to use this new technology: 1) I believe most of us prefer to see advertisements for services and products relevant to our needs rather than being bombarded with online ads that don’t interest us. 2) This targeted approach is generally invisible to the user and they are unaware the ads they are seeing are focused on them. Rather, they simply notice ads that are highly relevant to what they are looking for or might need.

Regardless of how you might feel about this type of targeted marketing, it is here to stay, and businesses and nonprofits all over the world are using it to greatly improve their position in the market and to grow their businesses.

Timothy A. Zercher is president and CEO of Pueblo-based EasySocial. Zercher can be reached at easysocial.solutions.