Traditional B2B Demand Generation
Businesses that sell complex products or services to other businesses have been evolving their demand generation techniques for many years. Executives have taken tremendous care to align each sellers’ sales collateral to the right personalities in the buyer’s organization. Executive sales representatives engage to guide (and to wine and dine!) their buyers through what can be a complex and lengthy technical buyer’s journey.
Many of these demand generation programs have been in place for years, and the reporting and analysis of these programs is mature and well understood. Nobody expected that a major disruption in the world economy would change the rules for B2B demand generation, but 2020 has proved to bring exactly that type of paradigm shifting disruption.
B2B Demand Generation Disrupted
Towards the end of Q1 2020, and seemingly overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the rules for most B2B demand generation programs. Sales reps can no longer meet their top prospects for a power lunch. Major industry trades shows have been cancelled or become virtual, eliminating important in-person sales opportunities. On top of that companies themselves have been distracted for the last few months dealing with the pandemic’s impact on their business and managing their communications to current customers and prospects.
Digital to the Rescue
Over the last three months, Boston Digital has observed a tremendous increase in clients and prospects looking to evolve their digital demand generation programs. Every company has been affected differently by the pandemic and we are working with our clients to deploy strategies that are uniquely designed to fit each case. However, here are a few common principles to follow as you consider taking your demand generation digital:
Aligning Content to Buyer’s Journey – At the outset, it is very important to inventory and align a company’s digital sales and marketing content to the different sales stages and buyer types at a prospect’s organization. Many organizations will discover that they have an enormous amount of content assets they can use in digital demand generation, while others will discover they need to invest in new content creation. It is important to understand where there are holes in your content story and if you have the creative resources on hand to fill them.
Digital Execution – Digital provides many execution opportunities for the demand generation marketer. As we have learned from many industry analysts, today’s B2B buyers dictate the buying process, and may at times wait to engage a live sales rep until after they have completed their background industry research. To engage these buyers B2B marketers need to align their digital sales tactics and content to the buyer’s journey, which usually starts with the seller’s website. The seller’s website needs to serve the company well, since the larger ecosystem of digital marketing tools will also push a prospect to the company’s website. Everything from paid media campaigns to email heavy ABM programs ultimately provide links back to the company website. A holistic digital demand generation program allows the website to serve its role as a hub of activity, while digital execution channels like media, email, social, blogs, etc., are all tightly coordinated and linked to the website.
Measurement and Refinement - One of the best parts of digital demand generation is the opportunity to quickly test, measure and refine tactics. When campaign data is available quickly, it allows you to send timely alerts to your sales reps or to trigger email streams containing follow-up information. The ability to efficiently test and measure your digital marketing strategies makes it possible to try out new techniques on pilot audiences, then roll-out the best tactics to larger audiences. By having reporting, measurement and analytic systems in place to help you guide and evolve your demand generation strategy you are able to make continuous improvements to your demand generation machine.
The Future is Digital
Every company is different and as a result of the pandemic every company is assessing their unique digital ecosystems. While some sectors have seen a significant uptick in activity because of the pandemic such as life sciences or healthcare, other sectors are experiencing strain. However, unharnessing the power of digital demand generation is a good approach for any company looking to grow quickly in this “new normal” and pivot their B2B demand generation to meet their buyer’s needs.
Ready to get started on your B2B demand generation plan? Contact us today.