Over the last four years when asked about their biggest marketing challenges, marketers have listed generating quality leads as one of their top two challenges. Year in and year out, marketers are struggling with how they can generate quality demand and in so doing, have an impact on their organization’s sales pipeline and bottom line revenue.
In order to adequately address any challenges, you must get to the root cause of the problem; in this case, it is that most marketers take a very tactical approach to their demand generation. A 2012 study by Forrester Research showed that of 26 various tactics that could be used by marketers, more than 75% of them were using 15. This statistic exemplifies our greatest challenge – how to move from a tactical campaign approach to a Strategic Demand Generation Program approach.
What is meant by “strategic demand generation”?
- A perpetual process – not a series of campaigns
- Engage, nurture, convert
- Prospects + customers
- Buying-process-driven – much different than your sales process
- Educate + qualify – helping the buyer make more informed buying process
- Marketing + sales activities
- Operationalize + optimize
- Designed to drive sustainable revenue and maximize Customer Lifetime Value
This strategic approach and mindset to demand generation is the only way that B2B organizations will be able to connect with this new, modern buyer that exists today and as a result, generate the quality leads they need.
It is in fact the “disruptive buyer” that has caused this change that we are seeing in organizations today. According to various studies, anywhere from 50-70% of the buying process is completed before a buyer interacts with a sales person. However, vendors have been caught flat-footed in response to this change, and fewer than 25% of organizations have any kind of defined “lead-to-revenue” process. Clearly there is a large disconnect between the buyers and B2B vendors.
In order to close this gap, marketers need to adopt an operations mindset in terms of their demand generation – the foundation for this is taking a demand process approach to your demand generation. Demand process is:
- Buyer-centric – aligning your marketing and sales activities to your buyer and their purchase path
- Delivering perpetual (“perpetual” is the key word) revenue and maximizing customer lifetime value
- It is then taking these joint approaches and operationalizing your demand generation activities . . . treating the sequence of engagement, nurturing and conversion of B2B buyer demand into revenue as a series of steps, i.e., as a buyer-state-conversion process – that can be both managed and optimized
This is the new approach that organizations must adopt if we are going to be successful in connecting with our buyers and close the gap that currently exists between their buying process and our sales process.
I hope you will join me on August 15th when I will present these concepts and go deeper into how to make the shift from a tactical to a Strategic Demand Generation approach.