Why a 360° Approach Is Essential for B2B Demand Generation
Most B2B marketing and sales teams understand the value of both demand generation and lead generation in driving awareness, capturing data, and influencing a buyer’s decision to purchase.
However, where many sales strategies fall short is treating demand and lead gen as wholly distinct activities or simply different stages of a linear sales funnel, rather than two halves of a ‘circular’ pipeline.
Taking a holistic approach to both methods not only makes more sense in today’s business landscape, but also allows marketing and sales teams to engage, nurture, and convert leads more effectively.
To understand how this approach works and how it differs from the typical B2B funnel, it helps to first understand the difference between demand generation and lead generation.Demand Gen vs Lead Gen: What’s the Difference?
Demand generation refers to all brand awareness activities used to attract prospects and grow their interest in your products and services.
Lead generation focuses on outreach and engagement activities to turn prospects who are already aware of your business into hot leads.
Demand generation incorporates digital activities like SEO and social media marketing to raise brand awareness and distribute free content, measuring the intent of prospects to ensure they are relevant and interested in what your business has to offer.
Meanwhile, lead generation involves following up on prospect data over email or phone to engage and nurture them into sales-ready leads.
What is critical for ensuring a successful B2B sales strategy is that you are not only implementing both methods, but also allowing them to feed into one another.The Missing Step
Demand generation activities strengthen the likelihood of a broad set of prospects becoming Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), while lead generation refines and converts these into Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs).
What is often neglected is the process of retaining any colder MQLs to be fed back into the pipeline at the marketing stage, thus exposing them to further brand awareness activities and increasing their likelihood of conversion into SQLs further down the line.
At Pursuit Marketing, we like to refer to this as the ‘360° approach’ to B2B demand generation.
The strength of this approach is allowing for prospects to move around the pipeline multiple times until they are ready to convert – it cycles between demand and lead generation with multiple points for qualified leads to be passed on to sales reps.
This is especially valuable in retaining and nurturing interested prospects that aren’t quite ready to convert either due to timing, budget, or lack of awareness of your brand.
The traditional marketing and sales funnel works in principle; however, the reality is that most leads don’t take a one-time journey through your pipeline, and businesses should always be prepared with contingencies for those leads that require further nurturing into SQLs.
But how exactly should a business structure and execute a 360° demand generation strategy?Creating Your B2B Demand Generation Strategy
Typically, you would start by considering your key marketing channels, assets, and personnel. The campaign messaging, lead qualification criteria, and timeline for executing the campaign should then be agreed upon between those responsible for demand generation and lead generation activities, as well as sales representatives.
Once this has all been established, digital marketing campaigns can be launched, and any telemarketing or email outreach can be prepared.
It’s also vital to establish a strong lead qualification process to validate relevant leads before they are considered sales-ready and passed on to sales teams.
This can include the sharing of marketing assets with sales agents, refinement of call scripts to include key qualifying questions, and a process for sharing call recordings for analysis and feedback.
As the campaign runs, you will find some leads show potential but are far from the decision-making stage at the time of contact.
When adopting the 360° approach, you should be equipped to retain and nurture these prospects for future conversion rather than simply eject them from the pipeline.
This can mean adding them to an email marketing list or asking them to follow your social media channels but can also involve sales agents connecting with them on LinkedIn or arranging a catch-up call for a few months in the future.
All of this is with the aim of keeping the prospect interested and engaged with your brand, company, and sales agents to increase the likelihood of conversion through a future campaign when they have more demand for your services or are in a more suitable position to convert.Putting it Into Practice
The roles that demand generation and lead generation play in your overall strategy will depend on your specific goals, but it’s worth keeping in mind how they can work in tandem through the 360° model to maximise the efficiency of your marketing and sales pipeline.
If this all seems complex to plan and implement, it can be helpful to outsource your demand and lead generation activities to an experienced agency to carry out some, or all of the activities required to ensure only valuable, relevant opportunities enter your project pipeline.
At Pursuit Marketing, this is something we specialise in and have been refining for over a decade.
We help to develop and action B2B demand generation strategies by offering both digital marketing services and sales development representatives under one roof, maximising campaign consistency and ROI while delivering a stream of high-quality, sales-qualified leads for client sales reps.
If you’d like to find out more about Pursuit Marketing’s 360° approach and what we do, visit pursuitmarketing.co.uk.