5 Critical Actions to Simplify Demand Generation
As the buying process and decision-making evolve in B2B and SaaS spaces, marketers are faced with some new and some perennial demand generation challenges. B2B marketers look at an average buying group size of around 7 people even for companies with just 100-500 employees. So, the task of a demand generation leader to build interest across the buyer group can be compared to that of an orchestra conductor ensuring every performer is following the same rhythm. When this has to be managed across the entire target group, demand generation becomes a complex function by itself.
Why is B2B demand generation complex?
At BambooBox, we tried to decipher some of the complexities in demand generation that B2B marketers face today. Below is the list of top 7 B2B demand generation nuances that add to its complexity.
1. Overwhelmingly large number of accounts and contacts
The fundamental complexity for demand marketers stems from the fact that an average B2B company targets at least 4-5 thousand accounts or 25-30 thousand contacts at a time. This results in an influx of massive amounts of data posing a major data science problem.
2. Deploying multiple outreach tactics simultaneously
Companies need to cast a wide net across available channels to maximise their outreach efforts. Multiple engagement tactics are in play at all the times – SEM, SEO, outbound (ABM), social, events, webinars and direct mails. To avoid a trap of diminishing returns, one needs to drive a harmonious coordination across all tactics.
3. Driving engagement across the buyer group
Buying decisions in B2B are made by a committee of individuals with different responsibilities around the same requirement. Hence, it is imperative for B2B sellers to engage and convince all of these individuals through the stages of the buying journey. However, ascertaining the buyer group or demand unit to engage with, largely remains elusive for marketing teams.
4. Engagements need to be timed for best outcome
Gaining the attention of stakeholders over the course of a non-linear B2B buyer journey is a challenge. To drive maximum impact from any engagement, B2B sellers need to align their messaging with the buyer journey stage. It’s a daunting task to understand and monitor journeys for tens of thousands of contacts and accounts.
5. Contacts have channel preferences
Every stakeholder in a buying group will have a preferred channel. One needs to understand what is the best way (or tactic) for a given stakeholder to consume your message or content. The absence of this understanding could not only lead to wasted efforts but also unwarranted increase in marketing spends.
6. Continuous engagement tracking throughout a long sales cycle
B2B sales cycles are long, typically running anywhere between 8-10 months. Add to this the magnitude of accounts and contacts that lie ahead of demand marketers. The process of systematically collecting, processing, and interpreting the engagement signals of a large target group over a long duration increases the complexity of demand generation.
7. Multi-country and multi-product operational nuances
Most enterprises have multiple product or service offerings and operate across different geographies. For every offering and geography, there will be a certain set of nuances that demand marketers will have to tap into. Different outreach tactics, buyer groups and buying journey nuances, and product interest information are some of the variables that B2B sellers need to decipher in order to take appropriate actions for a successful demand generation motion.
A B2B marketer’s wishlist to simplify demand generation
It might seem like there is no end to the pain for B2B marketers when it comes to complexities in demand generation. However, there are certain areas of demand generation that could be strengthened with new systems in place or small tweaks in the functioning. Below we try to uncover some of that from our own and our customers’ experiences.
1. Data enrichment function
Even with great improvements in the data-provider industry, organizations are still relying on manual intervention to induce accuracy to their simplify demand generation datasets. For large enterprises, collating and maintaining data across their wide range of operations is a challenge. In such a scenario, companies need to strengthen their marketing data strategy through a strong marketing ops team equipped with a dedicated system for generating the necessary insights to run demand generation activities. In addition, demand generation teams would greatly benefit from a constant data quality monitoring system that alerts data teams about ageing account or contact data, and contact or persona depths.
2. System-driven ICP determination
A system-driven ICP determination process enables demand generation teams to extract relevant nuances. As an example, you have determined your ICP as retail companies with an annual revenue of 1B. But you have faster wins in apparel and footwear than any other sub-verticals. How would you realize this critical piece of nuanced information? With a system-driven approach to ICP determination, you can unearth such nuances and utilize them to better prioritize accounts for personalization, time your messaging more precisely or identify channel preferences.
3. Intelligent buyer group identification and enrichment
Another case is where without a clear understanding of your buyer group you are unable to determine the stakeholders in a demand unit. For example, you might find that a mid-market organization has just two people in the buyer group (a CEO and a Marketing director), whereas for a large enterprise there might be four people in the buying group (a CIO, a CFO, a CTO and a Marketing Director). Simplify Demand generation teams need to identify the buyer group and understand them better. This will allow them to measure account engagements more effectively and take corrective actions to further the sales funnel. If they are supported by an intelligent system to identify and enrich buyer groups, demand marketers can deliver more effectively on their KPIs.
4. Deep understanding of buyer journeys
Demand marketers need a better view and understanding of the buying journeys of target accounts. With a better data management system that enables systematic capture and interpretation of intent and engagement signals, buying journeys can be accurately stitched and tracked. A deeper understanding of buyer journey not only helps you to prioritize accounts and contacts that can potentially help you achieve your immediate pipeline goals but also in executing stage-appropriate engagements to expedite funnel movement.
5. Ability to personalize at scale
Personalization at the account or contact level might be a massive task for any B2B organizations or demand generation teams to handle. Nonetheless, personalization is needed to signal a strong relevance of the solution with the buyer needs. Additionally, each individual in a buying group will have a set preference of message and channels. So, at any stage in the buying journey, demand marketers must engage all stakeholders with specific messages on their preferred channels. A more realistic approach on this would be personalization at scale where demand marketers are informed of similar accounts or contacts that can be clubbed into a personalization tactic. This converts the pressure of individualization into an achievable goal of driving a more personalized demand generation.
How should B2B marketers usher in a simplified demand generation?
B2B organizations need to develop a robust marketing nerve center that facilitates processing of real-time signals. With a well-designed data aggregation and interpretation system in place, there is bound to be a better understanding of account journeys and buying groups. This will enable demand marketers to strategize and orchestrate personalized outreach and engagement across all stakeholders. This has to be complemented by a strong feedback loop mechanism to learn, unlearn and relearn what works and what doesn’t in making demand generation a simplified function for B2B sellers.