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Mike Lieberman
  December 3, 2017

Insights From The Field: B2B Demand Generation Agency Shares Secrets

Prioritization, Expected Results And Iteration Hold The Key To B2B Lead Generation

Everyone wants more leads, but not everyone knows exactly how to get more leads, and when it comes to B2B demand generation a wide variety of perspectives exist on how to create that steady stream of leads for your B2B company.

It’s also not often that a B2B demand generation agency publicly shares its secrets. However, we’ve found that sharing helps our prospects and clients better understand our unique perspective on lead generation and, more importantly, revenue generation. If other agencies decide to do what we do, well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Here’s how you can drive demand for your company.

Attack Multi-Channel

I had a client who insisted that AdWords was the only way to generate demand and that her intention was to increase her ad spend budget month over month to drive demand for her software product. She insisted to the point where she was spending more than $50,000 a month on AdWords alone.

One of the big changes around marketing is how measurable everything is these days, so we could quickly see if this approach was working, and while it was generating leads, those leads were not turning into sales opportunities and new customers. This pointed to the fact that other marketing and sales upgrades were required.

Rarely does one channel produce the desired results, and in most cases, using or relying on one channel introduces a large amount of risk into the program that can be better managed with a multi- or omni-channel approach to demand generation. While omni-channel usually refers to the devices people are using to get into your funnel, we like to refer to multi-channel as the entrance point for prospects to connect and engage with you.

Whether they search, are emailed, meet you at a trade show, get referred to you, find you on social or receive mail from you, great marketing leverages as many of these initial touch points to drive as much demand as possible. This is how we define multi-channel marketing.

Prioritize Based On Impact And Effort

B2B Demand Generation Agency

If you’re like most marketing teams, you probably can’t do everything you want to do, either because of budget or because of bandwidth and timing. The challenge becomes what to work on.

Typically, people with big titles or long resumes make the decision, but that might not be the best way to prioritize what marketing is working on. Our team learned long ago that the best way to prioritize is based on effort and results.

Now that demand generation has become more quantifiable and more scientific, it’s almost irrelevant who has the loudest voice in the meeting or who has the biggest title. Today, it’s about results, and most of the demand generation tactics we execute all come with a set of defined goals and expectations associated with the program. Shortly thereafter, we rely on a set of performance metrics that tell us, in black and white, what’s working and what’s not working so well.

This means you can prioritize along the same lines. What tactic or tactics are going to have the biggest impact for the least amount of effort? Start with those tactics and that work first. This ensures you’ll pack in as much high-impact, low-effort work as possible and focus on results. Then work on getting those bigger-effort items in that still might produce a big impact but will take more time and energy. This approach is how you optimize your time and energy to produce the best results.

Fail Fast And Run Tests

Regardless of the demand generation campaigns you’re running, you need to identify those that are working and those that are not working as expected. By setting goals before you launch, you’ll quickly know what tactics are on track to meet or exceed the goals and which ones are not. Now you can jump in and run a few tests or experiments on those underperforming tactics to see if any of those experiments improve results.

Don’t be afraid to fail, but make sure you fail fast. By failing quickly, you can adjust equally as fast and get those programs back on track so they produce the desired results. Identifying something as failing in a week is fine, but waiting three months to find out it failed is not fine.

Use Lead Nurturing

When it comes to tactic-specific guidance, lead nurturing is one of the best ways to produce a solid stream of demand-generated leads. It seems obvious, but a lot of companies still look for sales-ready leads out of the gate and forget about (or under-leverage) their ability to nurture leads that came in not ready for sales.

This is especially relevant when you look at cross-sell and upsell opportunities within your current customer base. Demand generation is not only about net new clients. You can also use demand generation through nurturing the current set of leads and pulling them down and out of the bottom of the funnel for sales to take through your sales process.

Make sure your lead nurturing campaigns are personalized not just with a name and company but also based on the issues or challenges identified by your prospect. For example, you can personalize based on the pages they’ve visited on your website or the information they’ve shared via forms. Also try to deliver content as part of your lead nurturing campaign, and make sure that content is in the format that’s aligned to the persona. For example, use video content for creative types and written, research-style whitepapers for analytical types.

This personalization upgrade will improve conversion rates significantly and drive more demand, leads and sales opportunities.

Use Lead Scoring

B2B Lead Generation

All leads are not created equally, and if you’re generating a lot of leads, you’re going to want to have some indication around the quality of those leads. One of the best ways to do this is to work with sales to create a lead scoring model that mirrors their opinion of what makes a high-quality lead.

It’s not always about whether they have the necessary budget or whether they have a specific need. It could be about whether they can make a purchase decision on their own. It could be about the acuteness of their pain, meaning they must decide in the next few weeks. It might be about the fit between your company and their company. It might also have something to do with the pages they’ve viewed on your website or the frequency of their visits to your site.

Finally, demographic information almost always has some role in lead scoring. The company should be large enough to afford what you do or be in the correct industry. Usually, a combination of demographic, psychographic and behavioral attribution goes into a lead scoring model.

The challenge then shifts to figuring out what sales should do and how to follow up on leads based on their scores. This gives the sales team the ability to do their own prioritization, following up first on the higher opportunity leads based on score.

Remove All Of The Labels

I think it’s become obvious that marketers have put a lot of labels on marketing over the past few years. We have inbound, outbound, account-based, email, video, advocacy, content, influencer, social media marketing and more. The labels are a problem for me because you need all of these tools working in perfect orchestration and you need quantitative goals associated with each. It doesn’t matter if you think inbound is a collection of tactics or if demand generation is another collection of tactics. What matters is what produces the desired results.

For example, demand generation has a big focus on lead nurturing. So does inbound marketing, yet rarely do we find that clients want to do both. They seem to be set on one or the other when they really need a collection of tactics from both approaches. Who wouldn’t want to be found when a prospect does a Google search? Even your hardest demand generation proponent knows they need to be working on organic SEO, too. The labels are no longer necessary.

Instead, understand your goals, create a collection of tactics, prioritize those tactics, set attainable goals based on performance expectations from those tactics, and then execute and analyze, adjust and act to dial in the tactics on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. This is how the top marketers deliver today, and if revenue is your goal, add support for sales into that mix as well.

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