B2B Demand Generation Tactics Your Boss Expects You to Master in 2019
Drinking from a firehose.
That’s B2B marketing in 2019 in a nutshell.
We’ve been inundated with process improvements, strategies, and marketing automation tools – there’s literally no shortage of things we can be doing. But what should we be doing?
Which proven demand generation tactics actually work to increase the metrics that matter to your organization?
Ask a dozen marketers and you’ll get a dozen different responses. Which isn’t helpful when you’re under pressure to deliver a winning demand generation strategy for the next quarter.
So we did what a data-driven company should do – we partnered with content marketing firm Ascend2 to survey the most influential B2B marketers working today. The result? An unvarnished view of what demand generation tactics and priorities deliver an ROI. We learned some things that are slap-your-forehead-say-d’oh obvious, and more than a few things that aren’t so intuitive.
View the full benchmark study or continue reading for highlights you’ll need to know for your next meeting with the C-Suite.
Top Lead Generation Priorities
- Lead Quality
- Lead Quantity
- Improve strategy effectiveness
What’s Obvious: Lead quality and quantity are top priorities. Not at all surprising to marketers currently running campaigns – but it’s refreshing to see the acknowledgement that lead quality wins out over lead quantity. We’ve become addicted to volume, rather than value. And it’s not serving us. B2B offerings aren’t a hamburger, they’re Wagyu beef at the nicest steakhouse in town. Smaller potential customer base, far more valuable.
What’s Not: Improving strategy effectiveness. As they say on Twitter, this is ‘saying the quiet part out loud’. As marketers, we know we can be more efficient, more streamlined with our campaigns. It’s reassuring that almost 4 out of every 10 marketers feels there are improvements that can be made. And that despite the wealth of new processes, tools and tactics that have bubbled up in B2B, there are still fundamentals – [like smarter targeting] – that we know can be performing better than they currently are.
Top Lead Generation Tactics
- Email Marketing
- Content, Video Marketing
What’s Obvious: All of the above lead gen tactics are ones that can be performed successfully at scale. Which isn’t to say that it’s easy to get these tactics right on the first try. Testing and iterating messaging is the best way to see what’s really resonating with potential customers. And even this process can be streamlined – use your SEO campaign to see which keywords generate quality organic search traffic and then incorporate those learnings back into your other strategies.
What’s Not: Email marketing is still a valuable and effective top of the funnel play. Indeed, it’s viewed as the most effective lead gen tactic by a majority of surveyed marketers. That this works so well – despite the volume of messages we receive in our in-boxes daily – is remarkable. Be mindful though. You don’t have limited runway. Keep messaging and [content syndication] efforts focused on how your product or service uniquely addresses your prospects’ pain points. And above all, provide value.
Top Lead Nurturing Priorities
- Increase Sales Opportunities
- Increase Customer Conversions
- Increase Brand Awareness
What’s Obvious: Increasing opportunities and conversions are two metrics that showcase the quality of your lead nurturing campaigns. Proving ROI on your marketing spend is a tricky pickle. If you can correlate your efforts with increases in sales ops and conversions – and ultimately revenue, you’ll have done the heavy work towards winning over your CFO.
What’s Not: Brand awareness. It says a great deal about how competitive the B2B market is that brand awareness is still a top priority of a lead nurturing strategy. Even if your prospects have moved slightly further down the funnel, into a nurturing cadence, you still need to include content that builds trust – don’t assume you’ve already established it.
Top Lead Nurturing Tactics
- Email marketing
- Content, video marketing
- Event/demo registrations
What’s Obvious: Email and [content marketing strategies] are right at home in a lead nurture cadence. Pay special attention to the frequent questions fielded by your Sales and Customer Success teams. They’re good indicators of what information you should be providing in these types of [middle of the funnel] sequences to have the biggest impact.
What’s Not: Event/demo registrations might seem too resource-heavy to be successful at scale, given that they frequently require one-to-one interactions. (If this is the case for your team, consider tactics like biweekly or monthly webinars. They’re less taxing on your team’s time, while still providing opportunities to have Q&A sessions that help move prospects further down the funnel.) That this is a high-priority tactic for leading B2B marketers is a key indicator that the extra time and resources it requires is worth the effort.
Unlike B2C, B2B sales are vastly more complex, almost all of the time. Buyers today are educating themselves online. B2B has the extra onus of buyers needing to please more people/meet specific goals. i.e. if they don’t understand and believe in the utility your product or service is offering, it’s not going to get bubbled up to key decision-makers. No one wants to be responsible for pushing a budget line item that doesn’t deliver as promised.
Before kicking off your next demand generation campaign, get to ‘Yes’ on the following questions:
- Does it provide lead quality at scale?
- Can you prove a measurable ROI?
- Are you answering the right questions as prospects move through the funnel?
- Are you confident in your targeting?