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Moving digital forward: The future of demand generation

The Covid-19 crisis and working from home has accelerated the ‘digital intent’ transformation, forcing B2B sales and marketing into a more digital world through faster adoption of digital technology.

Companies have been forced to look at digital channels and communication techniques that they did not use previously. This has shifted the focus to digital marketing, requiring marketers to become more knowledgeable about their customers and prospects. It also means there needs to be a closer working relationship between marketing and sales.

Providing value to prospects and customers

Marketing and sales organisations have to adapt to the online world and embrace new ways to engage digitally, but do it in a way that’s personalised and relevant, and also delivers value.

As marketing moves from conventional marketing to digital marketing, one of the biggest changes is events. Industry events used to be a way to connect with customers and potential customers face-to-face, building new relationships or solidifying existing relationships to generate demand. Even though the ‘face-to-face’ part has changed, the importance of events has not. As marketers, we’ve had to adjust to virtual events to discuss key industry topics, launch new products, and generate demand for our products and solutions. To be successful at these events and hold the participants’ attention, it’s important for messages to be succinct and valuable to the audience.

Advertising and promotions have also evolved to be focused more online through websites, social media, and email marketing. Developing campaigns targeted towards the right customer at the right time is critical to success. Providing different types of content – long-form and short-form – will help to target these customers and build interest on your company.

All of these changes mean that, as marketers, we must accurately communicate the value of our products and solutions to get those prospective customers interested, and keep our existing customers engaged.

Types of digital communications that are working and why

Content is key – both short-form and long-form. Long-form content, such as whitepapers and case studies, is still an important sales tool. It provides a more in-depth level of information and can provide validation for your product or technology. Short-form content, meanwhile, is important for today’s digital environment to get more information out and do it faster. This form of communication is meant to get the attention of the customer or prospect, creating curiosity so they ask for more.

Many marketers are focusing on video and other media to help create that personal connection to make up for the loss of face-to-face meetings. Adapting whitepapers to tip sheet content, webinars or hosted videos are great ways to engage with customers or prospects.

For social media, creating short video, graphic or even soundbites are a good way to get prospects interested in your company. The goal is to develop awareness and then have them funnel down to your website to get more in-depth information. Once they are on your website, be sure to have a lot of content available that meets the needs of your customers. Also, make sure it’s easy to find on your website.

Sales and marketing working as a team

Marketing’s job is to create demand for sales. Sales then qualifies the leads and forecasts against them.

One of the most valuable ways that marketing can empower sales is through good content. Creating a content library of thoughtful assets helps sales teams engage prospects. Quality content also helps salespeople become thought leaders who add value during the buying process. Creating the right content means that marketing must understand the sales journey and create content that is available and useful. Being aware of your audience and targeting them with the right communication is key to building interest and solidifying quality leads. 

To obtain quality leads, sales should not just be about an individual lead. It should be about the lead as a signal of an opportunity where business happens, and today that happens more with buying groups of five to six individuals. Identifying individuals and buying group members allows marketers to watch the behaviour of buyers that are in market and target them strategically. The key personas in a buying group have different buyer roles and may participate in different stages of the buying decision process. Capturing the buying group and each of these individuals’ behaviours – positive, neutral or negative – allows marketing and sales to develop a strategy that is targeted toward these individuals. This is critical to businesses that are trying to build and maintain successful marketing and sales campaigns.

Marketing technology helps facilitate today’s more digital environment. Utilising an intent-driven, multi-channel account-based demand generation can provide B2B marketing and sales organisations with comprehensive insights into accounts, buying groups and individual prospects who make the final purchase decisions, as well as the tools to successfully act on this information across all channels.

The ‘digital intent’ transformation has forced B2B organisations to quickly adopt digital technology for B2B marketing and demand generation. This means utilising digital channels to accurately target prospects and customers with the right communication at the right time.

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