Any number of surveys, polls and research studies year after year continue to show that generating high-quality leads is among the top three challenges faced by B2B marketers. In my opinion, it’s the number 1 challenge for a majority of B2B companies.
For a member of the C-Suite, this is a perplexing situation to be in. It’s usually the same questions to grapple with:
- What lead generation processes should we change?
- What B2B marketing channels will deliver the right results?
- Is social media right for us? If yes, how do we get it right?
- How will we measure ROI?
- Should we or should we not increase the use of marketing and sales automation?
- What B2B marketing functions should we outsource?
- How do we bring down the average cost per marketing qualified lead?
- How can we increase conversion?
All of the above are very pertinent questions and the answers will vary for each organization. What that means is that if you are a CMO at a B2B company, there is no rule book for you to turn to. And yet, a very simple, common sense approach using these 5 surprising qualities can make you look like a demand generation superstar.
1. BE HUMAN.
We talk to our phones (and they talk to us). We talk to our tablets and computers and navigation devices (and yes, they also talk to us). On the personal side of things, certainly, life is simpler. But are we getting carried away with automation? I think many of us are. It’s time to ditch the vanilla approach and have real conversations with prospects. Recognize that social media is a tool to amplify your marketing efforts and help you establish profitable, long term relationships. Don’t make the automation mistakes that will turn you into a robotic failure.
2. STICK WITH THE PLAN.
And of course, that means you need a plan. In the days of traditional marketing, direct mail and telemarketing, we always had a plan. So what in the world happened when social came around? We got all excited and tossed demand generation strategy out the window. And then we cry that “social media is so freaking hard”! It is still a whole new world with social media and it is ever-changing. Every day there is news of another start up, a new social network, a new tool – so in this new world, there are NO rules. No doubt you’ve got to be creative, but remember your foundational strategy. And at regular intervals, keep looking at the results. For as Winston Churchill said, “However beautiful the strategy, you must occasionally look at the results.”
3. GIVE PEOPLE OPTIONS – SIMPLE OPTIONS.
I recently attended a web conference where they showcased the success of using forms with optional fields. The panelists also examined some pretty hefty sign up forms that they whittled down to make them simple yet effective. This goes back to being human. We’re all busy – so are your prospects. Keep things simple. Give them enough information AND give them a choice. Do away with all required fields and give them options instead. You will be surprised how many people actually fill in the optional fields if what you are giving away delivers significant value.
4. GIVE YOUR BEST STUFF AWAY.
As B2B marketers, we (stupidly) think we must protect our best offer by making sure we get what we want from our prospects and customers in exchange. There is no need for that. Lead with your best information first. You can’t go wrong. Gone are the days when you could entice prospects to check out something and then say “oops – you need to fill in the form” to view it. This sounds counterintuitive but once you stop “selling” and actually give something of value, it makes prospects want to know more about you. If you have been to a wine tasting event that you still remember, think about how the best wines were put out for tasting first. Not the cheapest, not the most common, only the very best ones. It’s the same reason big band singers open a concert with one of their most popular songs. That’s how they keep the crowds on their feet wanting more and more.
5. JUST DO IT.
We discuss. We commission studies. We analyze results. We discuss some more. We brainstorm next steps. Then we freeze! This scenario is so typical, particularly of large organizations where analysis-paralysis plagues the board room. You need to keep up the momentum for demand generation and ensure a steady flow of quality leads that can be worked through to conversion. Get your Nike shoes on and Just Do It!
Any suggestions or comments to make demand generation more effective for B2B marketers? Let’s discuss this on my blog. Plus, you can enter your email to download our complimentary Playbook for Demand Generation.
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