Strategy is Key for Improving B2B Demand Generation Results

One of the key factors holding back B2B enterprise businesses is that many companies and marketing departments are lacking a clear demand generation strategy. According to a survey entitled 2015 B2B Enterprise Demand Generation Survey produced by Annuitus, many enterprise companies are depending on marketing campaigns that are dominated by tactical activities but have no strategic plan.

The survey of marketers involved in enterprise B2B businesses notes that although 42 percent have ongoing demand generation campaigns, 11 percent feel that these goals are hindered by a lack of training, resources and strategy. When surveyed, 81 percent of marketers said their top three goals in their enterprise business are quality leads, customer cross sell and volume of leads. Up to 44 percent said that limited resources were their biggest obstacles to a successful demand generation campaign, while 22 percent said they had no defined strategy, and only 8 percent cited a lack of technology as an obstacle to achieving their goals.

When asked about the role of 'buyer personas' or the demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals of the buyer, 55 percent said they use the 'buyer persona model' and 14 percent said they did not follow the buyer persona model. The survey states that the ‘buyer persona’ is an area that B2B marketers struggle with, but notes that demand generation will lack effectiveness if businesses do not understand the make up and design of their buyers.

When developing a buyer persona, 64 percent do listen to sales team recommendations, 53 percent take marketing team recommendations and 57 percent develop a buyers persona based on current customer interviews. Despite the fact that most B2B buying decisions are made by a number of stakeholders with different priorities and restrictions, the survey found that because the 'buyer persona' is generally refreshed just once a year and there are fewer companies developing buyers personas for all those involved, it remains a B2B marketing strategy that is under-developed .

Content marketing is still a growth area for B2B marketers, but again buyer committees are often not being reached by content marketing strategies. 44 percent said their content aligns with their buyers' 'pain points' with only 35 percent surveyed saying they create content to serve the buying committee that considers their 'pain points.' While nearly 70 percent of all content creation is decided by corporate marketing, only 8 percent of sales departments have any influence on content marketing.

When asked how many different marketing tactics (email, social media, direct mail, telemarketing) marketers use, 40 percent said 5 to 7 different channels while only 12 percent use 8 to 10 different marketing tactics.

Meanwhile, although lead nurturing is widely recognized as a key part of demand generation, up to 23 percent of organizations still do not use it as part of their strategy. Lead Management is another key strategy that requires attention and can serves as a great feedback loop between marketing and sales, yet 40 percent of enterprise companies do not have any precedence of lead management between marketing and sales. The most commonly used 'lead stage' is inquiry/contact with 76 percent using this method and 48 percent scoring a lead based on a white paper download, email click, event attendance etc. Currently, 20 percent of the enterprise businesses surveyed have no specific lead routing rules that send lead from marketing to the sales department and 22 percent of companies process leads manually. Additionally, only 19 percent of companies said that the sales department is involved in the design, review and approval of demand generation strategies.

As far as marketing technology, only 20 percent of enterprise respondents said their use of marketing automation was effective. 59 percent surveyed said they use blogging as a marketing application, while 85 percent say they use Google Analytics, Webtrends, etc. While 60 percent surveyed said that the marketing departments are the most invested in the marketing technology, 53 percent said they do not have a dedicated marketing technologist.

Finally, 26 percent surveyed said they review their demand generation KPIs monthly, while 26 percent said they do so when they have time.

The survey indicates that many organizations are slow to realize value from their demand generation investments and may benefit from marketing education and training to carry out complex demand generation. As the B2B buying process becomes increasingly more complex, the survey notes that there is a lot of room for improvement.

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