B2B Sales Lead Generation in Japan

List Building, Telemarketing, Lead Acquisition and Nurturing Solutions for B2B Companies in Japan

Generating quality leads is the most important responsibility borne by a marketing manager, with the outcome directly affecting your company’s bottom line and potentially making or breaking your reputation with management and sales teams. However, lead generation is very difficult to accomplish when there are no qualified local marketing staff to support the process. Identifying prospective customers in Japan and qualifying their likelihood of purchase requires strong local language skills and extensive in-country marketing experience.

We can help you develop and execute a lead generation program to deliver a steady stream of prospects to your sales team in Japan. We also develop and implement nurturing programs to harvest high quality leads in manageable quantities.

Our lead generation solution covers the following areas:

Campaign Planning

In the planning stage, we help you develop a realistic campaign brief (proposal) for approval by management. This involves designing a campaign that is both suitable for the Japanese market and delivers the number of leads you require. Cost information for list development, campaign creation and implementation, lead qualification, and nurturing activity enables you to develop an accurate campaign budget.

The most important factors contributing to the success of a lead generation campaign are:

Target ... The quality of the list used.
Offer ... The proposition you make to the target in order to convert them.
Messaging ... How the offer is communicated to the target.

Optimization of each of these factors maximizes campaign results.

List Development

Due to the niche-like nature of many B2B markets, it is unlikely that you will find a list in Japan already available with the necessary contact information (e.g. email addresses) included.

B2B list development usually involves a two-step discovery process. First, potential companies are attribute screened from various databases available in Japan. Second, telemarketing is used to identify a key person at each company and obtain their contact information (i.e. email address). Telemarketing increases the cost per contact, because it involves trained operators contacting key persons by telephone and offering them something of perceived value in exchange for their contact information.

A hybrid approach to list development may be possible if your target can be extracted from a third-party list such as those owned by various online specialist media. However, you will only receive the contact information of those persons who accept your offer. This approach is useful when it is your first campaign as you can defer the cost of list development and focus on producing a high quality campaign with a good conversion rate.

Lead Acquisition Campaigns

Localization of your existing programs overseas is cost effective, but a certain amount of local innovation and knowhow is usually required for good results in non-English language speaking markets like Japan.

We can adjust your messaging to better resonate with local audiences and modify your offer should you need to target a different type of user. For example, you may have adjust your messaging if the technology or approach you represent is relatively new to Japanese users. This may require you to take a step back and explain concepts which are already accepted in overseas markets.

You may also need to adjust your offer if it is designed to target executives in countries where decision-making is largely top-down. In countries like Japan where bottom-up decision-making is more prevalent, you will probably have to target middle management, which is usually more receptive to a white paper offer than a networking event.

Campaign leads are qualified according to the service level agreement (SLA) you have with your Japanese sales team. Campaigns can be implemented within your global marketing automation tool or in the campaign management tools we use.

Nurturing Programs

When you have developed a sufficiently large marketing database in Japan, we can supply a regular stream of leads to your sales team by extracting leads fulfilling certain preconditions and qualifying them.

A typical nurturing program is illustrated below. Here leads are nurtured and extracted from your marketing database for telemarketing when they respond to a periodic email offer.

Diagram of a typical lead nurturing program used in Japan

Figure: A typical lead nurturing program used in Japan

Campaign Collateral Creation

Collateral used in campaigns includes landing pages, white papers, technical papers, case studies, videos, etc. Where possible, collateral for campaigns should be drawn from existing pieces for localization to reduce cost and campaign lead time. The amount of localization required will depend upon the campaign design and the relevance of the materials to the Japanese market. Sometimes original pieces of collateral are required to bridge gaps in logic or process perceived by Japanese users.

Analytics and Reporting

There is usually no reason to create special metrics or report formats for Japan, unless this is the first country where a campaign is introduced.

Due to the complexity and length of the B2B sales funnel, it is best to break your analytics up into manageable pieces for which data can be collected within the campaign period or business year, whichever is the shortest. The metrics of most interest are:

  • Cost of lead acquisition (e.g. cost of using databases and telemarketing to acquire email addresses)
  • Initial conversion rate (e.g. opens email and clicks on link)
  • Offer consumption (e.g. how much of a video is watched or a white paper is read)
  • Qualification rate (e.g. leads that are qualified through telemarketing)
  • Sales rate (i.e. conversion of MQL to sales)
  • Gross margin (i.e. check whether campaign revenue contribution is positive)

With almost 25 years of B2B marketing experience in a number of Japanese industrial, technology, and services markets, we can help you develop and execute a lead generation program to deliver a steady stream of prospects to your local sales team.

Please contact us to discuss your lead generation requirements in Japan.

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What is a service level agreement (SLA)?

The number of qualified leads provided by marketing is usually referred to as MQL (marketing qualified leads) and the number of MQL accepted by the sales team is referred to as SAL (sales accepted leads) or SQL (sales qualified leads). Marketing and sales agree on what each of these terms mean for every campaign undertaken. This agreement is referred to as a service level agreement (SLA). However, the handover from marketing to sales usually results in some rejection of leads by the sales team.
MQL Example
An example of an MQL is as follows:
  • Prospects that have requested a meeting with a sales person or specific materials related to the one-to-one sales process, or
  • Prospects that satisfy certain criteria such as budget availability, role, authority, acknowledgement of issue, planned purchase period, size of opportunity, etc.

How much time is required to do some telemarketing?

Telemarketing requires a minimum of two weeks lead time. Scripts must be localized, staff trained, and agreement must be reached with the Client on reporting formats, call recordings, etc. Further, call centers usually have work scheduled for some time in advance, so time is also required until sufficient operators are available to commence a project. This is why we ask for two weeks lead time on telemarketing projects.
Telemarketing project length
To estimate the length of a telemarketing project, add another week to compile a final report to the lead time and period of actual telemarketing work.