Top 5 Challenges for B2B Demand Generation Marketers

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Posted: October 15, 2007 | Modern B2B Marketing

I’m here at the MarketingSherpa B2B Demand Generation Summit in Boston. The opening session was by Sean Donahue, Senior Editor for B-to-B Marketing at MarketingSherpa. In it, he shared the top five challenges faced by B2B marketers. I was especially intrigued by challenges 3, 4, and 5.

1. The Growing Committee

Even at small companies (100-500 employees), the average number of people involved in a decision is 6.8. You need to answer all those people’s questions, and each has different concerns. This means you need to tailor your marketing materials to each of them. In fact, 77% of respondents to Marketing Sherpa’s survey say that targeting the content to their job role makes the content somewhat or significantly more valuable.

2. Use the Right Content at the Right Time

Not only do you need different content for each buyer role, you need to customize content for each stage in the buying cycle. This is also true since different buying roles tend to be more involved at different stages.

3. Getting Landing Pages Built & Tested

Marketers say the top reason why people don’t create landing pages is that they don’t have the time or resources. However, as Marketing Sherpa points out, using and optimizing your landing pages can improve conversion rates by 40% or more. Think about it: getting 40% more conversions for the same spending is a lot smarter than spending 40% more!

4. Being Everywhere

80% of decision makers say that they found the vendor. Does this mean you should give up or cut your marketing budget by 80%? Of course not. What matters today in marketing is to be findable when people are looking. This, of course, means being everywhere they might possibly be when they start searching.

There are two interesting implications to this.  First, it implies lots of cross-media, low-volume campaign all year long rather than spending your budget on one or two big programs. This way you can spread your budget across time period and channels.

Second, you need to focus your efforts where people look – and by far, this means managing your search engine marketing campaigns, especially on Google.

5. Handing Off the Right Leads

Less than 25% of the leads on your website are ready to speak with a sales rep. That’s why the best companies score their leads and then use lead nurturing to build relationships with qualified prospects who are not yet ready to speak with Sales. This means:

  • The ability to dialog with qualified prospects through automated “drip marketing” campaigns
  • Lead analytics to understand and score the prospect’s interests and intent
  • Tight integration with SFA to automate tasks and track sales follow-up

To demonstrate the ROI of lead nurturing, Marketing Sherpa compared the results of all companies versus “best practice” marketers. They found that best practice companies pass only 12% of leads to sales (vs. 17% on average). But, 40% of those leads convert to prospects (vs. 34% on average) and to sales at 20% (vs. 16% average). The result is 9.6 sales per 1,000 leads, vs. 9.2 sales per 1,000 leads – which means more revenue. Also, they save costs as well, since they don’t waste as many high-cost resources like the direct sales channel.

Do you agree? Are these the top challenges on your mind?

Related Resources

Jon (@jonmiller) is a VP and co-founder at Marketo. He is the author of multiple Definitive Guides including Marketing Automation, Engaging Email Marketing, and Marketing Metrics & Analytics. In 2010, The CMO Institute named Jon a Top 10 CMO for companies under $250 million revenue. Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Harvard College and has an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

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