If you’re tasked with generating leads for your company, then you know just how difficult it is to cut through the clutter. Today’s buyers are savvier than ever, and getting their eyes on your content is no easy feat. According to Nielsen, U.S. adults spend almost half of their day consuming content. That’s a lot of competition for someone’s attention.
So what’s a marketer to do?
As a general rule, your B2B demand generation strategy is going to be specific to your company's direction and the services you offer. However, we found a few universal do's and don'ts to follow when determining your direction and for driving better sales and marketing alignment.
Do's of B2B Demand Generation
Headwork Before Footwork
Step one of any successful demand generation program is taking the time to map out your strategy. This means having a solid understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish and how it aligns to your overarching organizational strategy. To get started, set up a meeting with sales and marketing to understand what success looks like, how to track marketing’s ROI, what opportunities to focus on, and what support sales needs to reach their targets.
While it might be tempting to skip over this step-in favor of generating leads asap, failing to do the headword before the footwork can result in lackluster results and wasted time and money. To make sure that everyone is on board, make sure to document your strategy. Not only will this ensure that everyone is on the same page, but it will also make it easier for you to select what tactics and channels you should invest in to yield the highest return.
Organize Your Leads
When developing your new strategy, you need to create a clear, automated lead scoring model that will boost sales productivity and strengthen your sales funnel. As you work with your sales and marketing team, be sure to optimize your funnel with the proper lead scoring thresholds. Properly defining what would make a lead an MQL versus an SQL makes for a healthier, more efficient funnel.
Having clarity on how leads move through your marketing funnel is essential for improving sales and marketing alignment. It’s important to be aware of when to pass your leads from marketing to sales to ensure that communication between you and a high potential lead is never dropped. Consistency and communication are key when establishing an effective relationship between your sales and marketing team.
Leverage Buyer Personas
People search the internet for answers. If you can create unique content that will address your audience’s pain points, you’ll establish yourself as a trusted source of information. To make sure that your content is easily found, consider improving your SEO by utilizing a backlink strategy. For example, you can share links of your blog when helpfully answering questions on forums and on social media.
Being a trusted source of content is a priceless quality when focusing on B2B marketing. But to be considered a trusted advisor, you must make sure that your focusing on the solution your product or service offers without coming across too sales-y. Securing yourself as a trusted advisor rather than just a logo that pushes "Get your quote today,” on every page will attract more leads and ultimately establish your company as an industry thought leader.
Be on the Right Channels
Take some time to analyze your buyer personas to figure out where your audience goes to find information. This will help you focus on high potential prospects rather than just guessing and hoping your ads get seen by the right people. Google and LinkedIn Ads are the most common places to start. LinkedIn Ads tend to be more costly than Google Ads because of their ability to target people by firmographic data and by job title.
Don't stop with the basics; think about potential content syndication partnerships that are popular places for your ideal personas to gather information. The more specific your channel targeting is, the more specific audiences you'll gather, which will make your spend worthwhile.
Once you’ve written, proofread, and know where you’re going to publish your content, it’s time to make sure that the world sees it. While simply publishing it on your website or company LinkedIn page may be your first thought, consider a few other outlets as well.
For example, look into guest blogging on another website. Many companies have a “write for us” section where they accept relevant blogs to feature on their website and social media outlets. Just because they may not have a guest blogging section doesn’t mean they are closed off to the idea. Read our post about content amplification if your blog posts are struggling to gain traction. Using a combination of efforts (digital ads, content syndication, forums, etc.) is best for optimal results.
Optimize A/B Testing
A/B testing is a great way to assess the performance of a web page, ad, or piece of content. It helps you identify opportunities to optimize your content to increase conversions and direct traffic back to you. When deciding it’s time to perform an A/B test, make sure that you are focusing one element to test like the copy or the color of your CTA button.
By focusing on one element at a time, you gain better clarity into what works and what doesn’t. If you introduce too many variables into your experiment, it becomes harder to tell what changes attributed to your content’s success or failure.
Don'ts of B2B Demand Generation
It’s easier said than done, but you cannot have sales be your motivation for moving prospects down the funnel. A pushy sales team can make leads skittish. A properly aligned marketing and sales team means that the top of funnel is where the marketing team and the product or service will do most of the footwork.
At the end of the day, a prospect’s driving factor has to come from within. The marketing team is there to drive awareness for your business solution. Their goal is to show the prospect the value your solution provides and why your solution is not only the best one but worthy of being evaluated. Once you set up a healthy foundation built upon your product or service, you’re able to allow the sales team to work their magic.
Random Acts of Marketing
Let's face it; we've all fallen prey to shiny object syndrome. It can be extremely difficult to resist the allure of jumping into a new tool or tactic, especially when it seems like said tool or tactic will solve all your problems. However, there is no silver bullet strategy.
Before you decide to try out something new, take the time to figure out how the tactic aligns with your goals. Ask yourself if advertising on a particular channel makes sense for the buyer persona you are trying to target, for example. When you have a clear understanding of how a particular trend or tactic will help you achieve your goals, you strengthen your lead generation program and increase the success rates of your efforts.
Cast a Wide Net
Generating leads isn’t about the quantity of leads you can acquire; it’s about the quality. This is where personalization and segmentation come in. At its core, personalization and segmentation are about creating stronger connections with your leads surrounding more specific and targeted messaging.
To be successful in your efforts, a marketing automation tool is key. This will help you hyper-focus your efforts so that you’re talking to the right people at the right time with the right solution to solve their specific pain points. Remember, five highly interested prospects will mean much more to you than 20 moderately interested ones with no intention of converting.
Ignore the Foundation of Content
Optimizing for search should be at the foundation of your marketing strategy and the motivation for your content. Ignoring best practices just to save time or cut corners will end up hurting you in the long run, affecting your SEO ranking and lowering your domain rating.
To make sure that your SEO strategy is up to par, regularly conduct website and content audits to identify gaps in your content and work towards removing bad backlinks negatively impacting your domain rating. By taking the time to ensure your website is working for you and not against you increase the chance will ultimately help potential clients find you faster! If you’re looking for quick tips to get your SEO back on track check our post "Getting SEO Back on Track - Starting With Backlinks," as a good first step.
Want to dig deeper on building a better demand generation strategy?
Check out our guide, 5 Keys to Unlocking Demand Generation Growth.