Getting Demand Generation Right: 5 Things You Need to Change

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a friend of mine who is considering a career change. He has an MBA in journalism, and is currently a teacher, but was thinking he should take his skills and talents and get into marketing.

During the conversation we discussed the ways that B2B marketing and B2B marketing staffing have changed due to the new approach buyers take to purchasing. When I mentioned this, he quickly agreed and then said, “But you go to some of these websites and it’s like they are marketing like it was 10 to 15 years ago!”

Unfortunately, my friend is right. While the way B2B buyers buy has changed significantly, many marketing and sales departments are struggling to keep up. As I have said before: B2B marketing organizations have to stop doing different things, and truly do things differently. And if you can’t do it yourself, it’s time to find some specialized demand generation recruiters to find someone who can do it for you.

Guest Post by Carlos Hidalgo, CEO and Principal at ANNUITAS

Here are 5 things that B2B Marketing and Sales teams need to do differently in order to meet the needs of today’s modern buyer:

1. Attitude Adjustment: Shifting Your Culture

I have the good fortune of getting to speak to many B2B marketers both at events and in the course of my job. One of the things I hear from marketers most often is exasperation: There is too much to do; they feel like they are not gaining ground; and, overall, they seem defeated.

If marketing organizations are truly going to set a new course and do things differently, there needs to be a shift in the organizational culture. Marketing leaders need to enable, train, and give their teams permission to be bold in driving strategic initiatives. And they need to remove the cultural mantle that says sales is marketing’s customer. Without a true culture change, any permanent change will be virtually impossible to achieve.

2. Getting Strategic with Campaigns

According to a study conducted by my firm, ANNUITAS, almost 60% of B2B marketing organizations execute at least 11 campaigns per year (with 49% running 15 or more). These campaigns typically focus on one or two content assets and run for a number of weeks or months. They end, and then it’s off to launch the next campaign.

While this has been the norm for marketing departments for years, buyers do not buy in a start and stop, tactical fashion. Buyers move through their buying cycle perpetually and, therefore, our programs need to map to that.

B2B marketers need to develop strategic programs that are “always on,” with content mapped to a buyer’s purchase path –content that will Engage, Nurture and Convert that buyer. Making this change takes time and effort, but it’s a change that is desperately needed. 

3. Align Your Goals with a Customer-First Mindset

More has been written about marketing and sales alignment than perhaps any other B2B topic. However, the problem still exists in many organizations. Rather than try and align marketing and sales departments, these two groups need to collectively align around the customer and develop a buyer-centric approach to marketing and sales.

This means that organizations need to understand who the key buyers are (there are typically multiple stakeholders involved in a B2B buying process), what pain points and challenges these buyers are looking to address, the issues that are pushing them into a purchase process, the discrete steps they take to make a purchase, and, of course, their content consumption patterns and preferences.

As marketing and sales work together to discover this information about their buyers and develop a demand generation strategy, they will begin to naturally align and drive better results