Advice on finding the low hanging fruit – and building a long-term demand generation pipeline.
Many of our clients tell us the sales and marketing tactics they previously relied on are producing lackluster results these days. The usual email blasts, gated content and cold calling just don’t deliver leads anymore, and they’re wondering why. The reason behind this is simple: the way B2B prospects buy has changed significantly over the past couple of years. They don’t want to be sold to. Don’t believe it? This is what research from Gartner has found:
Data points to demand generation as the key to long-term success:
Buyers don’t want to talk to a sales rep during the purchase process.
A whopping 72% of B2B buyers would prefer a rep-free buying experience. This makes it more challenging than ever to have meaningful interactions with the people they need to be talking to at your company.
More people are weighing in on the decision to buy within a company.
These days, the average B2B sales process involves 11 to 20 individuals from the prospect’s side. That’s a lot of people to convince. And it’s no surprise that 70% of sales reps cite access to stakeholders as their top sales challenge.
The amount of touches required to turn a prospect into a lead is increasing – and it’s a LOT.
On average, it now takes 66 activities to book one qualified sales meeting. Blasting emails and leaving voicemails 66 times won’t get the job done. Highly targeted, focused content that builds brand awareness and trust is more important than ever to win over prospects.
Buyers’ increasing preference for marketing channels that bypass a sales rep is changing the way we approach marketing. Tried-and-true lead generation tactics are evolving into something more effective: demand generation.
This shift puts companies in tune with the buying journey in a way that isn’t contrived, but natural. A successful demand generation approach meets prospects where they’re at in the buying process. It builds brand awareness, then loyalty and trust, so that buyers will come to you when they’re ready to buy.
But I need leads now!
Demand generation helps you plant seeds for future growth. But what about the short game? This approach won’t generate immediate leads to help you meet current sales goals. We’re not recommending that you ignore the other 95% of your total addressable audience to throw all your efforts into lead generation. But we get that the struggle is real and immediate if you’re falling behind on revenue targets. So how do you find the low-hanging fruit, those 5% who are actually in market? By focusing your marketing campaigns on the middle and the bottom of the sales funnel to capture existing demand.
MIDDLE OF THE FUNNEL
BOTTOM OF THE FUNNEL
Companies at this stage know they have a problem and they are trying to determine what the solutions are to address it.
Companies at this state have done their research and know how they want to solve their problem. They are ready to evaluate a short-list of vendor options.
|What Prospects want to know at this stage:
||What Prospects want to know at this stage:
So how do you reach this elusive 5% of in market buyers? One way is by creating content that’s relevant to them and then using it to drive leads through highly targeted email campaigns. Here are some examples of effective middle- and bottom-funnel content:
- Product demo videos – show prospects how to use your product in a visual, compelling way.
- Use cases – help buyers understand when to use your product by providing specific examples.
- Case studies – build credibility with a persuasive success story from an existing client.
- Competitor comparison guides – show prospects why your solution stands above the rest.
Once you start creating this content, we recommend building out a “Product Insights” portal on your website. Then you’ve got a destination for product information where you can drive traffic, and you’ve also made it easier for your website visitors to find the information they seek.
Here are four specific campaign types that we find effective to engage (or re-engage) with middle-and bottom-funnel prospects:
Stalled pipeline campaign
Goal: Re-engage with stalled leads to keep the connection alive.
- Identify opportunities in the sales pipeline that have stalled or gone dark.
- Focus content on bottom-of-funnel assets and messaging to overcome common objections.
Website visitor campaign
Goal: Maximize prospect engagement with content.
- Re-engage previously interested prospects.
- Leverage your marketing tech tools to identify known prospects who visited a demo landing page or other high-intent content but didn’t convert.
- Promote your product insights portal to these individuals so they can dig in on their own to learn more.
Identified intent campaign
Goal: Uncover in-market buyers
- Leverage intent data technology (such as 6Sense for example) to identify companies with triggers that indicate they could be in-market for your products or services.
- Create spear emails designed to look like one-to-one communications from a sales rep.
- Promote middle-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel content.
Funnel stages nurture campaign
Goal: Stay top of mind with prospects.
- Develop content for each stage of the funnel (Awareness, Consideration, Decision).
- Include specific triggers designed to move the contact to the next stage based on their engagement level and type of content they demonstrate an interest in.
While email campaigns are a great way to get targeted content in front of your audience, you should never rely solely on them to drive leads. You should look at an omni-channel approach to your marketing. For example, you can also use digital advertising to reach those who aren’t yet on your radar but should be.
- You can drive these prospects to your Product Insights portal for relevant content.
- For those that view high-intent content from your portal, use retargeting ads as another touchpoint to engage with them.
- Then, continue to stay in front of high-value prospects for the next three months with additional relevant content.
A word of advice on gated content on your website and in digital ads: don’t use it! You want to make it as easy as possible for your prospects to get the information they’re seeking from you. By making them complete an online form, you’re just putting up an obstacle that makes it harder to do so.
When you’re building a demand generation engine, it’s important to create strategies around both demand creation and demand capture. But too many companies put all their energy into capturing leads right now. While there are many ways to build demand capture, don’t overlook longer-term demand creation strategies, otherwise you’ll find yourself in the “we need leads now” fire drill again and again.
If you’re looking to build or enhance your own demand generation strategy, we can help! At GrowthMode Marketing, we’re experts at helping our clients drive growth with demand generation activities that get results. Contact us today to learn more.