It’s the classic squeeze. How do you strike the right balance between tackling low hanging fruit, targeting in-market buyers, and building a demand generation strategy that gives you a long game?
In this episode, our conversation is about the readiness of buyers in your total addressable market. The vast majority aren’t ready to buy. If that’s the case and you’re spending most of your time on short term lead gen marketing, what strategies can move you toward demand creation? How do you avoid getting caught in the “we need more leads” fire drill? Listen to insightful ideas, real examples, and pragmatic possibilities from experts who know the drill — but have answers that get you out of a vicious cycle.
[00:00] Show intro
[00:23] Low hanging fruit: The 5% ready to buy
[01:42] Marketing during “recession/not a recession” times
[05:38] Focusing on middle and bottom of funnel
[08:40] Kicking up leads when you need them yesterday
[25:54] Buyer intent triggers
[27:52] Key takeaway
The Demand Gen Fix is hosted by GrowthMode Marketing. Visit www.growthmodemarketing.com to learn more about us.
Hey everybody, it’s Jenni from GrowthMode Marketing. You are listening to The Demand Gen Fix the podcast where our team of GrowthModers and our guests discuss the ins and outs of demand generation and why we believe it’s the key to long-term sustainable growth, especially in HR tech industry.
Hello and welcome to The Demand Gen Fix podcast by GrowthMode Marketing. I’m back again today with Erica and Deanna, and today we’re going to be talking about the low hanging fruit. I’m sure that most organizations have used that term here and there. We know that we as a company at GrowthMode Marketing suggest and recommend that you build your demand gen engine out, which includes being very patient and it does take time. So we realize that in most instances, we need leads now. And so, there’s going to have to be some sort of a strategy in order to get to those leads while you are building your demand gen engine and letting it simmer out there and working on the 95% of people that are not actually in market to buy. But what about those 5% that are in market to buy? How do you get to them and what are some strategies and ideas to grab that low-hanging fruit? So, we’re going to talk about that today. We’re going to talk about the challenges and a little bit of the solutions and how to handle that situation when sales is knocking at marketing’s door and saying, hey, I need leads now.
That’s a common problem. I don’t think anyone in marketing will say, that doesn’t happen to me unless you’re in an organization where you’ve done a tremendous job of creating demand in the market and the leads are just pouring in, which that’s a whole different issue and that’s a great problem to have. But I think you’ve got to get creative to drive leads because you’ve still got to meet your revenue targets. But it’s challenging because quite frankly, the odds are stacked against you when you’re prospecting and you’re trying to uncover those leads because as Jenny said, the vast majority of companies in your total addressable market or in your ideal customer profile are not in market to buy today. And that is a very frustrating thing for marketing and sales people. We need to close business now, but if they’re not ready to buy, you’re not likely to convince them if you’re selling this HR technology that has a significant cost to it. During a recession, which some have argued is coming or we’re already there, a lot of companies are pulling back on spending and that number could drop from only 5% of companies being in market to buy to only 1% of companies being in market to buy, which means you’re now looking for that needle in a much bigger haystack trying to find those individuals. There’s some other challenges certainly that come with it too.
We talk about this statistic, but 72% of B2B buyers would actually prefer zero interaction with a sales rep during the purchase process. So that’s something you can’t ignore. People want to be able to do that research and have that information in the content at their fingertips throughout the buying process, you know, and it’s taking an average of 66 touches with any given prospect before they’ll actually raise their hand and want to engage with your sales team. I think that’s something else that we just can’t ignore as, as marketers and sellers, we need to understand that these types of things are all contributing to the fact that yes, you need to focus on that long game, you need to start generating demand in the market, but at the same time, it’s about balance because we understand that there are also situations where you got to focus on that short game, and there’s going to be times where there’s a fire drill and you got to, you know, focus on we need leads now. But keeping in mind that some of these statistics show you that you need to be, you know, you have to have balance and you have to focus on both the short and long game.
I’ll throw a couple more statistics out there. This one’s from Gartner, 70% of sales reps site access to stakeholders is their top sales challenge. I don’t think that’s surprising to anybody. And then some recent research that came out from Role Works was they talked to marketers and sellers and 89% say that the quality of leads are now harder to come by and 83% find it difficult to engage the entire buying committee. So a lot of challenges stacking up, you know, in trying to uncover leads who are in market now. But that doesn’t change the fact that as an organization at times you may find yourself looking at it and saying, what about the short game? We need leads. Now it’s a reality and we’re not recommending by any means that you ignore the other 95% of your total addressable audience to throw you all of your efforts into lead gen defined leads now. But we get that the struggle is real and it’s immediate if you are chasing aggressive revenue numbers or falling behind on revenue targets. So you’ve got to find that low hanging fruit who are actually in market. And that means looking at campaigns that are focused on middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel.
Middle of the funnel, we’ve talked about it before when we’ve talked about building out your digital footprint. We’ve talked about the three different sections of the funnel per se, and the middle of the funnel is the consideration stage. When a company knows they have a problem, so they’re starting, they don’t necessarily have the details yet or whatever, but they’re starting to put feelers out there to see what kind of solutions might be out there to solve the problem. So at the stage, you want to make sure that you have your solutions out there so that you know how you can solve a problem for this company that’s looking for it. Also, you know, as a company, you should be looking at your competition, making sure that you know who else out there has the same kind of solutions. And because eventually you’re, if you get to that short list, you’re going to have to prove to why you are better than them. So you really have to know like how the options that you offer compared to other companies in the business,
I think it’s important to call out that at this stage, you know, middle of the funnel, this is like the consideration stage and it’s about casting a net to find those companies that are out there looking, they haven’t necessarily narrowed in on, oh, I needed an HCM platform. They may be looking at it at a broader sense to say, what are the different types of HR technology solutions out there that will solve this problem? So maybe it’s a, it’s an HCM platform, but maybe it’s a different type of technology or platform that’s out there. So they’re just kind of looking at it in a broad sense, I have a problem or I have a challenge that we need to overcome or an objective we need to achieve. How do we do that? And so they’re, they’re looking at all of the options right now, and they haven’t necessarily narrowed it down.
Whereas when you get to the bottom of the funnel, that’s the decision stage. And at that point, I would say you’re spearfishing to find the ready to buy. Now prospects and companies at this stage, they’ve done their research and they know how they want to solve the problem. So, they may have said, we need an HCM platform. They’re ready to evaluate a short list of vendors. It’s important to know that and to understand that. They’re much closer to the sale or the decision on who they’re going to pick and how they’re going to solve this problem. And so, what they want to know at this stage, it’s now longer like what are the different technology options out there and who offers it? It’s what are the core features of technology solutions? What differentiates competition from others? What’s the pricing? What’s your experience level? Who have you worked with? Like all of the things that they’re thinking about as they’re evaluating and making that final purchase decision.
Let’s talk a little bit about some ideas for kicking up lead activity in addition, again, in addition to sort of that longer term demand gen approach that we hope is going on in the background, but we realize that there’s time, there are times where this is going to come up where it’s like we need leads. Now the sales team comes, looks to marketing and says, Hey, we need you to do something now. We don’t have time to build out a campaign over the next six to eight, 12 months. We need them yesterday. So let’s talk about some of the ideas that we have for kicking up lead activity in a more immediate fashion.
People are really into videos right now, so video demos are great, use cases are very common and you know, really prove what you can do as far as what your software does and how it has affected case studies, especially because you’re giving proof as to how you’ve helped another company in the same situation. I really like to see competitor comparison guides. I use those a lot when I go online and just kind of, you know, where you can see across the board like these are all the things that each competitor offers, how much it costs, you know, again, how many years they’ve been in business. Maybe it even says like other companies that they’ve worked with. I think that’s a really nice way to be able to make a decision and then especially if your company can stack up. And then of course sales enablement tools are always a good tool as well.
Really good examples. I think the key point here is create content that is relevant to high intent buyers. Meaning if I am making a decision whether I’m going to purchase solution A or solution B, that’s the type of content you want to create. You’re creating all that content because quite frankly you need the content in order to create campaigns to get in front of prospects. And a side note here, which I recommend to organizations, is to really think about how can I create a product insights portal on your website? And the way I think about this is, you know, like you go on to Netflix and you see all these options and you could choose to go, you know, watch this series or that series. What if you had a portal on your website that was for somebody who is looking and researching and making a decision about purchasing that wants to go deep?
And so they’re coming in there and they’re looking at content and maybe it’s sorted out into like videos, sales briefs, use cases, case studies, infographics, like all those things so that they can come and engage with that content and get a lot of information that they maybe don’t want to spend time talking to the sales rep about, so that when they are ready to raise their hand and say, okay, let’s talk to a sales rep, they feel like they’re well enough informed that they’re more in control of the, the buying process and not feeling like they’re being pushed into your sales process.
Your point about building all that product insights portal is really that solidifies the fact that you need to build this kind of decision type of bottom of the funnel content in order to build a portal like that and to be able to have enough content in relevant content to fuel that, you know, portal and give somebody the ability and the power to go to your site and do all that research on their own. You know, we can all put ourselves in a buyer’s shoes and say, if I can get to a page on site that makes it very easy to dig into all of these different areas as I’m trying to make a decision that much easier to say that’s who I want to go with than when you’re picking apart different pieces of somebody’s website and you’re really trying to dig into information on that particular product or solution and you can’t find it or you know, you got to go to YouTube to see this, but then you can go and read this competitive comparison guide on their website and then you got to go here to see and it, it’s all about that experience too.
And I think the easier you make it for somebody to dig deep, the better off you are in doing something like that Product insights portal.
It’s great for both the customer and for your company because not only are you making it easier for them to access all of your information and all of your content, but then you have them coming to your website and you know who they are and you can then target them and look to them and say, oh look it, they’re, they’re really engaged in this content, let’s send them more. Let’s reengage them. Let’s re-target them. There are so many options. Once you know who they are and what they’re looking at, that gives you a lot more insight onto how to go after them in more marketing types of ways, which I think, you know, there are all kinds of different ways you can do that. I think that email campaigns are a really good way to work the bottom of the funnel.
You create all this content, you’re probably there right now. That’s great, I hear what you’re saying, but that doesn’t drive leads for me. Fair. You know, it certainly helps with SEO, but how do you get out there and how do you make sure that they’re coming to your site to dive deep into that content? And to your point, Jenni, that’s where the email campaigns come in as one of the first places we would look at. And I think there’s a few different types of campaigns that you can really look at, depending on what information you have, what marketing technology tools that you have, but where you could try to move the needle for leads that are perhaps closer to being ready to buy and just going out there and doing a cold email blast. The first one that we often recommend to clients is a stalled pipeline campaign.
So the point of this is to overcome objections with currently stalled prospects. So think about those leads that have been passed over from marketing to sales that marketers we’re shooting there. We’re like, Ooh, that’s a good one, that’s a good one. You’ve got to move that one forward. And then we’re getting frustrated because we’re looking at the sales pipeline and those opportunities are not moving forward or moving forward at a snail’s pace. Are they even falling out of the pipeline? I think there is an opportunity to build campaigns to continue to try to reach out to those people and reengage them to move them forward in the funnel. The goal is to keep that opportunity alive for sales and to help them with touchpoints to continue to stay in front of those contacts. And I think one way that you can look at the content that you’re creating for those com campaigns is we know they’re interested in bottom of the funnel assets, but also what about messaging to overcome common objections?
Yeah, that’s a really good example Deanna, and I think that’s kind of going back to the idea of a low hanging fruit. That’s one where I think it’s very common that if you, if we bring this up in a conversation with a prospect or a client of ours, it, they think about it and it’s like, yeah, you’re right. We do have stalled pipeline prospects who just, that they were handed over to sales and no idea whatever happened with it, but they fell out and were, you know, sitting sales is essentially sitting on a bunch of stalled prospects or leads and in the meantime we could be nurturing and engaging with those prospects. So that’s a really great opportunity to kind of hit the low hanging fruit and reengage with those people that at one point either RA rose their hand, they wanted to, you know, have a conversation or they came in through a different initiative and there was some sort of engagement there. Otherwise why did you pass them to sales? So trying to reengage some of those people who at one point you saw some intent,
It happens all the time where people will fill out a requested demo form for example, and then they will never respond in scheduling that actual demo. And it’s like, what, what, what is going on here? I, you raised your hand, you said you wanted to talk to us and now you’re unresponsive to us. I think there’s also a lot of situations where companies, you know, they’ll have a conversation or two or maybe three with your sales reps and the sales rep is moving it along and doing everything they can and then that person just goes dark and it’s the most frustrating thing for sales reps, I have no doubt about that because they’re like, this person, this company had a genuine need. They seemed genuinely interested in what we have to offer. I don’t understand why this went dark. And so, if we can help them in any way, you know, with marketing campaigns to just stay top of mind with that prospect until they pop back up or remind them it does work.
And we can tell you, even at GrowthMode Marketing as an agency, we have this issue too. And I’m always surprised when a month or two has passed and I reach out to someone that I was convinced was ready to move forward to out their demand generation engine and they just go dark on me. Not all of them will respond, but some of them will respond and they’ll be like, I’m so sorry, I meant to get back to you. We’re ready to have that conversation again. This is one area where you can immediately look at to see like, can we kick up any more work?
Another way to look to drive leads through email campaigns specifically. Another example would be looking at your website visitors and sort of, you know, looking for those people who you know who they are. Typically if you have a marketing automation platform or other marketing technology in place where you can identify these prospects that are visiting certain pages that you may see higher intent. So one example would be they, maybe they visited a demo landing page or they downloaded a piece content, they maybe never converted, they didn’t fill out the form to schedule a demo, but you can see these types of activities that they’re doing on your site, you can track where they’re going and what they’re doing and you can see someone went to that demo page and then they decided they didn’t want to be contacted. So thinking about things like that, when you have these technologies in place and you have that information and that data to back it up and start to look at who’s engaging, where you can build out campaigns where you’re trying, you’re really targeted at re-engaging prospects who at some point were showing that interest or who are showing higher intent interest in different types of content or different solutions that you offer promoting things like your product insights portal that Deanna mentioned and kind of gave an example about earlier, but starting to promote things like that where you feel like this person is sort of middle to bottom of the funnel and you can see that interest and you can gauge their intent and start to continue to reengage and feed them different content around those same topics ultimately with the goal to get them to convert at some point.
So the goal here really is to maximize your prospect’s engagement with the content that’s going to move them forward and that’s going to get them to the point where they do convert and reach out and raise their hand that they, they’re ready to talk to sales. So another way to really just look at with the data I already have and the work I’ve already done, how can I identify some of those higher intent prospects and drum up some, some more interest and hopefully some more leads there.
I think there’s an opportunity if you can see what they’re actually looking at on your website. And let’s go back to Erica’s example of they went to the requested demo landing page. They didn’t fill out the form, but they went to that page for a reason, right? First thing I would do is trigger an email nurture to them that shows them a series of videos that gives insight like a preview into your technology, like a video demo because you want them to see that. Especially like we hear from clients all the time, you know, when you have HR technology or any type of software platform, it’s very common to hear, oh, we just need to get them to the demo because when they see the demo, that’s how we sell people. We have a high conversion rate from the demo. It’s like, well yeah, because if I’m willing to see a demo, I’m probably bottom of the funnel in market ready to buy. Those are the type of buyers you always want to be targeting and that you want to, you know, get them there with all your demand gen activities. But just imagine, you know, if they’re not willing to give you their contact information yet, they’re not quite there. But if it’s true that when they see a demo, it convinces most people to buy by the hell when she put video demos out there for them to be able to see, to see if they’re going to raise their hands because what you said is true.
We’ve talked about it before, but you know, there’s certain content that you just don’t want to gate. If your content is great and you really think it’s going to move the needle, then put it out there for everybody to see. Don’t gate it. Don’t make people jump through hoops to get to it. Let them see it and let them make their choice. If you’re backing your product, put your content out there so that your customers can see it, it’s going to get you farther than putting up barriers between them and what you can do.
The common push pushback that we’ve heard people say on that front where they’re like, oh, we couldn’t do that. You know, they feel like they’re, they’re airing, they’re dirty laundry for competitors to come in and pick apart. I have news for you. If your competitors really want to see your content, see how your product works, get inside there, they can, it’s not that hard to the system, right? Like they can put in a fake email address, they can ask their, you know, their wife to go do it, they ask their prospects sometimes to show us or you know, clients that they work with that go to a different organization that have it. Like there are ways that companies if they really want to, are able to go in and do that. And so, if you’re censoring yourself because of that, I think you kind of have to weigh the, the pros and the cons and if the pros of more people see your demo, even a light version of your demo and more people convert, you probably need to go that route.
So another way to drive leads through email campaigns that we, you know, have recommended to clients and we continue to recommend as another way to just kind of meet that more immediate need is uncovering identified intent type campaigns. So uncovering prospects who are in market to buy using intent data. So leveraging intent data technologies like 6 cents to identify companies who are currently showing different triggers that are indicating that they could actually be in market to buy for your products or services. So these are different triggers, like some that I can think of are if a company recently went through a merger acquisition, that type of organizational change may trigger intent to think through some of these solutions or make changes within the company looking at different things that people within those companies are searching or engaging with. Looking at things there like within a company that you feel like is, has a high intent, there are different activities trigger that indicate they may be in market to buy.
Again, looking at some of that intent data technology, whether you have that in place or you consider putting something like that in place and then really taking that information and that data and using that with more sort of spearheaded camp email campaigns that are designed to look like more of a one-to-one communication from a sales rep within your organization. So looking at some of that data, I identifying who these people are within the organizations and running a campaign that really looks like a personalized interaction from somebody on your team from a rep directly to that prospect and really that personalized outreach hoping that you’re going to get in front of them and spark some conversation and get them ultimately like everything else here to, to raise their hand and want to talk to your team. This is really an opportunity to promote sort of middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel content.
So at this point you’ve identified that intent that someone has to buy that they may be in market to buy, and you start to promote that middle and bottom of the funnel content that we’ve been talking about where people are at the point where they’re considering solutions for their problem and they’re at the point where they are, you know, doing research in order to make a decision and determine what companies or solutions are out there that can help be a solution to these problems that they’re having. And I think for this one, the goal really is to ultimately uncover companies that are actually in market to buy and that are going to be, again, more that low-hanging fruit, showing that they’re taking different action where they have an intent and they’re going to be hopefully a hotter lead or prospect that you’re reaching out to and engaging with.
I’m sure. What are the questions that listeners have who aren’t using intent data today is, okay, so one, what exactly, you know, should we be looking at from an intent data standpoint as far as triggers and two, what are the technologies out there? I think we could do a whole, you know, six hour series on talking about those things. There’s a lot of different intent data technologies out there, you know, Google it, you’ll find them. So, we won’t go into that today, but addressing the question of, you know, what are intent triggers that’s going to vary depending on who your ideal customer profile is. And you know, as part of doing an ideal customer profile exercise, what you’re trying to find out or what are the buying triggers in their organization? What are the organizational structures in their organization? You know, you’re looking for all this information that helps you define like, here’s what the ideal fit, best fit type of company for our solution is that we’re going to market and go after.
And that will dictate what those actual buying triggers and intent data would be. So it’s not going to be the same for everybody. I think it’s going to be this for XYZ company and this for ABC company. You know, like it, it’s different per company, but a lot of the technology, like 6 cents for example, they give you all these filters and all these different things that you can look at. So when you bring those technologies in, you basically determine like what are the triggers that indicate a higher probability that they might be in market to buy now or very soon. And it gives you that information. It’s not a perfect science, but it gives you a little more insight to try to go after leads and, and building a content campaign around that can be very effective if you find the right triggers to really focus on and do.
And with that, I’ll, I’ll say, you know, we’re kind of running short on time here. There are more types of campaign ideas and even talking about digital advertising and retargeting that we could get into. We don’t have time to do that today, so we’ll earmark that for another episode. But you know, the key takeaway here is when you’re building out your demand generation engine, it, it really is important to build strategies around both demand creation and demand capture. And what we were talking about today is demand capture. And I think too many companies put all their energy into capturing leads. Now we get it. You’ve got a pipeline to fill, you’ve got revenue goals to meet. While there are ways to build demand capture, like just don’t overlook the demand creation strategies so you don’t find yourself in the we need leads now, fire drill again and again because it is a vicious cycle and anybody who’s been in it, which is most marketers and many salespeople, it sucks if you’re always chasing the number and always trying to find the leads. So, you know, there, there, there’s your advice for the day. Demand generation will help solve that problem, but you’ve got to do some of the demand capture in the meantime until you get there. And we get that.
Thanks for joining us on The Demand Gen Fix, a podcast for HR tech marketers brought to you by GrowthMode Marketing. We sure hope you enjoyed it. Don’t forget to subscribe from more perspectives on demand generation and B2B marketing strategies. Plus give us a like, tell your friends, we’ll see you next time.
At GrowthMode, we combine the unique discipline of growth marketing and the evergreen principles of traditional marketing to develop integrated strategies and measurable programs that help businesses drive growth where it matters most to their vision. We help our B2B clients focus on their specific goals and ensure that their investment is aligned with their broader strategic vision.