[Webinar Recap] Overcoming Demand Gen Resource Constraints: Headcount, Execution, and Budget

Posted in: B2B Marketing, Content Creation, Demand Generation, Marketing Automation | No Comments

April 9th, 2014

[Webinar Recap] Overcoming Demand Gen Resource Constraints: Headcount, Execution, and Budget

B2B marketers today have access to an unprecedented array of tools intended to simplify demand generation processes and make targeting and engaging leads easier. Ironically, the resources required to use these technologies properly can sometimes make marketers’ jobs more difficult.

Marketing automation software is a perfect example. It’s meant to make the marketing process more streamlined and efficient by allowing marketers to target, nurture, score, and collect data on their leads. At the same time, effective use of marketing automation software requires marketers to continuously and rigorously create and optimize content—a time- and resource-intensive process.

In our recent webinar, Overcoming Demand Gen Resource Constraints: Headcount, Execution, and Budget, we offered tips for marketers who struggle to pull together the resources needed to run an effective demand generation program. In case you missed the presentation, we have a quick roundup of some key points below.

Overcoming Three Constraints:

Budget

As the title of our webinar indicates, today’s B2B marketers struggle with three types of resource constraints. Let’s start at the end, with budget.

Marketers often feel that their budget is not big enough to accomplish their goals. This difficulty is due in part to the challenge of allocating the budget appropriately. B2B marketing requires a mix of content formats and channels to reach buyers where they want to be reached, and it can be difficult to calculate the return generated by each piece of this marketing puzzle in order to plan budget allocations.

You can easily determine how much you should spend on marketing in total by working backwards from your revenue goal, keeping in mind the cost of acquiring a single customer. If you know how much revenue you want, how much revenue a single customer will bring you, and how much it will cost you to acquire that customer, you can determine how much you should spend on marketing.

The Challenges of Execution

A second problem that marketers face is the problem of developing and launching content. Even if you’re only creating content for three buying stages (top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel, for example) and three customer personas, that’s already nine pieces of content.

Multiply that number by four formats and you’re up to 36 pieces of content—and if you factor in a monthly newsletter, the number of unique content assets can quickly spiral out of control.

So what can you do about it? In our webinar, we offered three quick tips:

-       Start with content targeted for each buying phase (not persona- or topic-based).

-       Re-purpose, re-purpose, re-purpose! Turn videos into podcasts, podcasts into articles and blogs, blogs into infographics, and so on.

-       Publish an editorial calendar and stick to it!

Headcount

Our webinar concluded with a quick rundown of the skills you need to have on your content marketing team—and note that we’re saying skills, not necessarily people. Even large firms often don’t have the resources to hire multiple full-time employees for content creation, but you do need to ensure you have the following skillsets represented:

-       The one who keeps track of it all, a marketing manager who really understands this world inside and out.

-       The marketing “techie,” who understands the automation process and software from a technical perspective.

-       The Web geek/artist, a designer who knows how to build HTML e-mails, landing pages, etc.

-       The one who makes you look good and ensures visual consistency among all your assets, a graphic designer and art director.

-       Someone who makes you sound good—a strong writer who understands how to communicate with your audience

There’s a lot to consider here, so contact us with your questions about demand generation and content creation. Or visit the Resources section of our website for more great information.

 

Sales Engine   Sales Engine

[Webinar Review] The Six Pillars of B2B Lead Generation – Continued

Posted in: B2B Marketing, Demand Generation, Marketing Automation, Marketing Metrics and Data | No Comments

April 1st, 2014

The Six Pillars of B2B Lead Generation: Part II

The remaining three pillars of B2B lead generation are below (check out our blog post here for the first three):

4.  Integrated Campaigns. Because prospects choose how to engage with your brand—and not the other way around—B2B lead generation hinges on comprehensive, integrated campaigns offering content in multiple formats, through multiple channels.

Some buyers prefer to read white papers, and some are more interested in infographics. Some respond well to email marketing, while others are more engaged on Facebook or LinkedIn. Some are tethered to their laptops, while others do everything from a smartphone. Regardless of the medium, device, or delivery method, your content must be easy to consume, good-looking, and consistent in its message.

5.  Sales Enablement. Sales enablement refers to the process by which you prepare your sales team to go after warm leads—reaching out and converting those who have shown an interest in your content and are already well-educated about your products or services.

These are not the “contact me” leads of old. These leads are good MQLs: they have self-identified as people who are interested in learning about the problems your product or service helps to solve. That does not necessarily mean that they’re ready for a conversation with a sales rep, however.

One of the biggest mistakes B2B companies make is to reject leads simply because aren’t sales-ready. They may be ready eventually, so it makes much more sense to maintain them as prospects and continue to feed them nurturing content until they are ready to engage with Sales.

6.  Analytics. Let’s keep our eye on the prize: sales! Recording and tracking is important to see which parts of your content strategy work best with your different buyer personas. It is important to not fall into the habit of tracking activity without tracking what has become a closed sale.

Whew—that was a mouthful! It just goes to show how complex B2B lead generation really is. Mastering all six pillars is not easy, but we are here to help!

Sales Engine   Sales Engine

[Webinar Review] The Six Pillars of B2B Lead Generation

Posted in: B2B Marketing, Demand Generation, Marketing Automation, Uncategorized | No Comments

March 31st, 2014

The Six Pillars of B2B Lead Generation: Part I

The Internet has provided your prospects with a dazzling array of tools to educate themselves as they begin their buying journey. In some ways, it has made the sales process easier by allowing Marketing to deliver more educated and qualified leads to Sales.

On the flip side, however, the Internet has also made the sales process far more complicated. If you aren’t running a B2B lead generation program that educates prospects while they are shopping, then you run the risk of not being involved in the sales process at all. The question is, what do B2B companies need to build a successful lead generation machine?

That’s a question we explored last month in a webinar called "The Six Pillars od B2B Lead Generation". The webinar was wildly successful, with a high level of enrollment and many engaged attendees asking good, provocative questions. In case you missed it, we’re happy to offer a quick synopsis below, or you can view the recording here.

Brave New World of Online Lead Generation

While the Web has changed all of our lives in countless ways, one of the most significant is that people are more empowered than ever to solve their own problems. By accessing online content—via search engines, social media, or any other avenue—individuals and companies can educate and enlighten themselves.

The task at hand for your business is to ensure that you are running a successful B2B lead generation program so that your brand, content, and company name are all in the forefront of the problem-solver’s mind. A lead generation program will ensure that your company is on the buyer’s list of potential solutions. If your prospects don’t think of you that way, your brand is as good as nonexistent.

As you seek to lead buyers toward doing business with your company, think of the buyer’s journey as a bridge. The bridge is an architectural marvel that requires a solid foundation, or else it will collapse. Similarly, lead gen is an ongoing process that will break if it’s not fully supported. That foundation comes in the form of six pillars—and without all six of them, your best B2B lead generation efforts are going to crumble.

What Are the Six Pillars?

What are these six all-important pillars of B2B lead generation? They are:

  1. Content Development. “Content marketing” is a buzzword today, and not without reason: Your email template may look great, but you need compelling content—videos, blogs, webinars, white papers, infographics, and more—to attract and engage your early-stage buyers. High volumes of engaging content, aligned with buyer personas, are a prerequisite for B2B lead generation. This is your opportunity to engage your prospects before they become engaged with a competitor.
  2. Marketing Automation. Why is this pillar so important? In the past, companies had sales reps who knew the high-probability pain points of their prospects and would ask each prospect probing questions. Based on those answers, the sales rep would manage the sales process accordingly. Today, marketing automation software reacts to prospects’ digital behavior and delivers nurturing content to them, resulting in the delivery of a much more educated lead to the sales team.
  3. Audience Development. It is important to know who your audience is and to ensure that your content that will educate, inform, and delight them. It’s your responsibility to learn about their unique pain points, and to create content that speaks to them without being promotional or salesy. While a natural, organically-grown database is obviously preferable, list purchasing can be an effective way to supplement and build your existing database—just make sure you purchase from a reputable and reliable vendor.

To learn the remaining three pillars of B2B lead generation, check back tomorrow—we’ll be posting them then.

Sales Engine Marketing   Sales Engine Marketing