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The Persuasive Power of the Zeitgeist

Why Sales Leaders Should Champion B2B Demand Generation

1bacbebToday's blog post is by Jeff Ogden, award-winning B2B marketing expert, president of the sales lead generation company Find New Customers, and creator of the popular syndicated online TV show Marketing Made Simple TV. Follow him on Twitter at @fearlesscomp.

Salespeople are having a tough time nowadays. It is getting harder and harder to crack into accounts. The time has come for sales leaders to say to top management, “We need a best-practices B2B demand-generation program here ASAP!”

A very recent study by Crain’s BtoB magazine found four areas of concern:

  1. The marketing mix is still not meeting the needs of the sales pipeline.
    Less than half of respondents in BtoB’s study say that their online marketing mix is addressing the needs of sales, and it has been the same for two years.
  2. Brand differentiation is becoming increasingly important, but marketers struggle to achieve it.
    Sound-alike products are a huge problem for sales. If customers cannot see the differences, then sales cannot protect margins.
  3. B2B marketers are not able to effectively target and engage decision makers.
    Only slightly more than 1 out of 3 believes their company is effective at engaging decision makers. So the vast majority are poor at it.
  4. Marketers need better visibility into the value of their marketing programs.
    Measurement continues to be a big issue for companies. They struggle to measure the effectiveness of marketing channels, clarify the need metrics at each state, and are plagued by poor data quality.

Our conclusion is that, in many companies today, marketing is doing a poor job for sales. This is why the time has come for sales leaders to stand up and say in unison, “I’m mad as hell, and I won’t take this anymore!”

Data from a large automation-software firm showed that 1 out of 5 leads closes, whether or not you are lead nurturing; however, what about the other 4 out of 5? The data showed that you can achieve a 300 percent increase in close rates when you nurture these leads. Three hundred percent -- yes, you read that right! Don’t you want a 300 percent improvement on win rates? Would it be nice to get a lot of sales-ready leads from marketing?

It’s time to walk into the CEO’s office and tell him/her, “I want a best-practices B2B demand-generation program in this company!”

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Christine Crandell

Going in and telling your CEO you want a better demand generation program is a great idea. Except that your CEO is unlikely to be able to move the needle on that front.

Lead nurturing, just as lead scoring, is a wishful thinking exercise if it is conducted without context. 90% of B2B marketers and sales people have no detailed knowledge of the customer journey their prospects are on. Given that 80% of B2B buy cycles are completed before the prospect wants to engage with sales. And 97% of initial sales conversations are considered a waste of time by the prospect - context is key.

Context comes from an indepth understanding the steps and tollgates comprising the customer journey lifecycle. Do that - and you'll get your 300% increase AND 20% more revenue. For more check out http://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecrandell/2013/04/05/sales-and-marketing-alignment-begins-with-the-customer/

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