Today’s B2B marketplace is a fishpond filled with opportunities. Of all the potential buyers swarming in the water, it takes time and creativity to grow a minnow of an opportunity into one heavy enough to tow the line, while avoiding tales of “the one that got away.”
Today B2B marketers have to take a leadership role in lead generation – it’s not good enough to provide names on a list, you’ve got to create a conversation and hopefully, a relationship for success. In other words, you’ve got to generate and manage demand.
So, what does it mean to be a demand generation marketer? Check out these four attributes that the best demand marketers share:
1. Demand marketers focus on the entire revenue cycle. Instead of defining the funnel in terms of sales, demand marketers think in terms of revenue. The cycle begins with anonymous possibilities swimming in the market and ends with a fish in the net. But in between, each lead gets specific targeted attention. The revenue cycle is made up of eight stages:
• General awareness (of your industry)
• Names of potential prospects
• Engaged prospects – those who’ve responded to your messages
• Prospects and recycled prospects who need to be nurtured in their decision making
• Marketing qualified leads – they fit the profile of someone you believe will want to ultimately buy your product
• Sales qualified leads – sales picks up the ball, contacts the prospect and continues the conversation marketing started
• Sales opportunity – the lead temperature has risen from lukewarm to hot
Marketing’s influence is especially critical in the first six stages where buyers are morphing from prospects to leads to opportunities. This is where offering quality content is critical. Buyers in each stage have specific informational needs and it’s your job to provide it to them.
However, don’t think that you have to own all the content you provide. You can create a worthwhile email by using a study or recent research, commenting on it and offering it as a resource to your prospect.
2. Demand marketers help qualify lead readiness. Throughout the cycle, marketing qualification is constantly changing based on numerous factors.
By using such characteristics as: demographics, knowing the source or offer that generated initial interest and understanding buyer behavior, lead scoring can give a clear profile of how interested your leads are and how much attention you should give them.
Once they’ve become marketing qualified, they can be handed off to sales for further actions. If sales development doesn’t believe leads are ready to move to sales, they can be returned to your fish tank for further nurturing.
3. Demand marketers use marketing automation. With the advantages of marketing automation, you can send personalized follow up to those who have expressed an interest in your company.
In fact, with each new interaction prospects have with your company, marketing automation can provide progressive profiling where new fields are added to registration forms on subsequent visits to help clarify what kind of a fish is nibbling at your bait.
4. Demand marketers use forecasting for credibility. By using metrics to track conversion rates of time and by type of lead, marketing can provide an opportunity forecast that will help sales understand how many leads will be generated in coming months and quarters.
When you show that marketing is a revenue generator rather than cost center, you become a trusted member of the lead management team and you build marketing credibility within the company.
The phrase demand generation says it all. You are out to not just swipe a net through the water but collect the potential bites with highly targeted bait. It’s a process that will not only streamline your lead generation efforts but also drive your company success with improved ROI, the best catch of all.