Why You’re Digital Demand Generation Programs Suck!
Now I am sure, if you are like most, hearing that your hard work in order to create qualified leads sucks is not exactly what you wanted to hear. All I can say is….The Truth Hurts. Now I know you are probably thinking, "What the heck. I have all the leads I can handle.” Perhaps. But I am not talking about simply getting a name, title and phone number, or someone who filled out a form to win the latest hot gadget. I am talking about generating truly sales qualified leads. This is where many demand generation programs suck.
The #1 one job of any B2B company’s marketing department is to produce sales qualified leads. Whether your company sells products online or not, chances are you are using some form of digital lead generation program to capture and nurture leads throughout the sales cycle. The question is “How do you know if your company’s methods and messages are performing as well as they could?”
If you’re like most that question is hard to answer. That is because you’re trying to measure it against other channels or mediums instead of measuring it against how your customers buy. Instead of looking at the process from your customers’ eyes, you look at the lead generation process from your own eyes with your own terminology. Instead of judging where they are at in their buying process, most companies try to assign a level of interest metric that has nothing to do with how your customer actually buys.
Let’s look at how your customers buy, what steps THEY take and how to create a process that maps to it. Often, when you start to look at the stages your customer goes through in making their purchase decision, you find gaps between the process your customers go through and the generation program that your company currently has.
The “No Man’s Land” shows the big disconnect between most company’s lead generation programs and their prospects. In fact, research by The Corporate Executive Board shows that customers aren’t even contacting suppliers until they are, on average, 57% of the way through their buying process. This means customers have already determined their needs, completed due diligence, and have even begun to do some comparison-shopping before contacting your sales representatives. As a result, your opportunity to influence your customer’s decision is already greatly decreased. In fact, customers are pretty much only giving sellers the opportunity to compete on price.
In order to create a lead generation program that really works, marketing now needs to create extended engagement with prospects and nurture them to a stage of sales readiness. This means that, instead of creating content that focuses on who you are and why you are different, you need to create content that helps educate your prospects. Prospects search for different information at each stage in their buying process. Marketing needs to define the interest and needs of your prospects at each stage and generate content that helps address their needs.
The Bottom Line
The customer buying process has evolved much more rapidly than the way most companies sell and as a result, most lead generation programs are out of date. Economic pressures have forced many buyers to become increasingly risk averse and focused on cost. This combined with increased access to information has led to a customer-led sales environment that is being pushed toward a much more transactional direction. While most customers are not really “hiding,” they are using the internet in ways that they change the point where they engage with salespeople. It’s the companies that understand this and address the issue of “No-Man’s Land” in their lead generation programs that can show how their program is working and generating sales qualified leads.
Want to learn more about how to build a lead generation engine that has proven to generate sales ready customers? Check out this free guide.
The Executives' Guide to Building a Lead Generation Engine
Looking for ways for marketing to show ROI? This guide will help you build a lead generation engine that maps to your customers buying process and delivers maximum measurable ROI. Download our free The Executives' Guide to Building a Lead Generation Engine.