B2B: Your Demand Generation Problems, and What To Do About Them
Demand generation is a perpetual process, not a series of campaigns, says Carlos Hidalgo, CEO of Annuitas and presenter of the webinar “Taking a Strategic Approach to Demand Generation.” Carlos begins with an unsparing account of what B2B demand generation lacks, and then turns his attention to solving the problems.
The strategic (nottactical) approach consists of three macro stages: Engage, nurture, and convert. It involves both prospects and customers, is buying-process-driven, educates and qualifies leads through engagement with both marketing and sales experts, and aims to operationalize and optimize the demand process. (To watch the on-demand webinar and learn how to face the challenges of demand generation, click here.)
Our modern B2B demand generation pain points
A recent Forrester study revealed that 31% of all leads generated by marketing fail to fit an ideal customer profile (ICP), and that demand generation content does not engage B2B buyers. This is largely because 86% of “unique benefits” touted by vendors are not perceived as truly unique, or don’t enough impact to create preference.
Our demand generation content doesn’t support the buying process. 50% of marketers create and use content that educates buyers about their issues and problems, but only 14% align compelling content with the buyer’s journey in a way that tells a story. And, few people have a strategy for content.
We lead with what we want to sell, not what customers want to buy.
We don’t optimize buyer interaction. Buyers themselves still want quality, good bang for their buck, and so on. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is access to information.
What’s really going on?
We’re not really connecting with buyers or supporting their buying process in a value-added fashion.
We’re also not really building a foundation for a continuous and long-term relationship with buyers.
We need to stop selling and start educating, which will shift attention to long-neglected middle-of-the-funnel dynamics. To do this, we must adopt an operations mindset.
Lead management is not generally strong, as fewer than 25% of B2B organizations have defined a lead-to-revenue management process that marketing and sales teams follow. That includes only 5% who claim that every prospect interaction is orchestrated.
The lack of demand process leads to a mid-funnel gap, and a lack of nurturing, which in turn causes negative growth in leads.
The demand process needs three critical aspects. It must be:
Buyer-centric: Aligning B2B marketing and sales interactions with the buyer. You should fulfill information requests and provide marketing content offers and sales education.
Revenue-oriented: Delivering perpetual revenue and maximizing customer lifetime value. This is all about lead qualification. Measure and maximize the prospect’s journey by implementing a qualification model to mirror how buyers actually buy.
Integrated and orchestrated: Implementing demand generation activities in such a way that marketing and sales align, as do technical systems, social media, CRM, and SEO, in order to work together to reach modern-day buyers.
Building blocks for the demand process
The demand process has three stages: Engage, Nurture, Convert.
Engage: Hook targeted buyers via both inbound and outbound channels in dialogue via top-of-mind issues. Outbound engagement is often periodic; inbound engagement is perpetual. Engagement can be improved through targeting and content relevance.
Nurture: Continue the dialogue, moving from top-of-mind issues to potential solution categories to specific offerings in these categories, while progressively profiling and scoring the buyer throughout. Nurturing is perpetual, and is improved through optimization of content offers, program logic, and scoring.
Convert: Leverage profiling and scoring to escalate the dialogue at the right time, identifying and driving purchase behavior. Conversion can be improved with a combination of automation and live interactions.
In quick summary, Carlos says that to achieve demand process success, it’s important to put the buyer at the center; address gaps in the middle of your funnel; and constantly optimize your demand process.
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