There has been a lot of confusion between demand generation and lead generation for B2B companies. Many B2B marketers use the terms interchangeably and we can understand why. The ultimate goal of your marketing team is to use their marketing efforts to attract prospective customers, identify high-quality leads, and deliver them to your sales team. To do that, you need both strong demand generation efforts and a solid lead generation marketing strategy. One process feeds the other and it can be difficult at times to see where demand gen ends and lead gen starts.
So, it helps to first define the terms.
You get someone’s attention through demand generation and get them interested in what you are selling. Your demand generation strategy to help funnel B2B buyers to your marketing team to turn into leads. Your lead generation strategy is all about turning a prospect or potential lead into a qualified lead.
Demanding generation is the process of creating awareness and demand for the goods and services you provide. Demand generation marketing strategies create brand awareness and educate those in your target market. Demand gen builds trust and creates interest— keys to driving your target audience into your sales funnel.
Lead generation is the process of identifying a potential buyer and using lead gen strategies to turn them into customers. Lead gen delivers relevant content to nurture B2B prospects through the buyer’s journey and turn them into high-quality leads. Lead generation marketing strategies are designed specifically to capture contact information and contact details, nurture qualified leads, and showcase how your products and solutions can solve a customer’s problems.
Many B2B marketers think of demand generation and lead generation in terms of fishing. Demand generation marketing is about throwing a bucket of chum into the water to get as many fish as possible to come to where you are. With lead generation, you are casting your line into the water and landing a fish. Inbound marketing, outbound marketing, content marketing, digital marketing, and other marketing programs would all be the strategies you use to get the fish to bite — from the lures and bait you use to the way you cast to how you hook the fish when they do bite and the net you use to pull them in.
While you can distinguish between the two, in practice you have to do them both well to be successful. Demand gen and lead gen work in tandem and need to be tightly integrated for an effective account based marketing strategy. This tight integration can blur the lines even further.
Traditionally, B2B marketers have focused on building demand generation at the top of the funnel. Randy Brasche, VP of Marketing at Folloze, says that strategy is evolving. “With the long buying cycles in B2B, it is important to maintain strong connections with buyers throughout the customer lifecycle,” said Brasche.
It’s no longer a secret that there have been dramatic shifts in how B2B customers buy in today’s digital environment. Marketers need to evolve their strategies as well. In the aftermath of the pandemic, marketing efforts have shifted. Marketers identified these strategies as their top go-to-market priorities:
- 28% — Better alignment with sales
- 26% — Expanded scope of lifecycle marketing
- 21% — Improve ABM programs
- 16% — Improve digital competencies
A well-designed account-based marketing strategy, encompassing robust demand gen and led gen strategies, fulfills each of these priorities while producing better buyer experience and enhancing marketing efforts.
When you deploy an account based marketing strategy, you can significantly improve the effectiveness of your marketing. Here are some of the ways you can use ABM to improve your demand gen and lead gen approach.
When you are using ABM, you are focusing on a smaller audience. This helps make your marketing efforts more efficient and cost-effective. Using data from past experiences and buyer behavior, you can create buyer personas to model your customers and use this data to generate valuable content to generate interest and demand.
By taking a deep dive into the data you have and the experiences of your marketing and sales team, you can more effectively draw a picture of your customers. Some B2B marketers tend to shortcut this step, but you need to resist the temptation. 92% of the most effective ABM marketers point to research and data as a key to success.
Data helps you find the right targets to use as a filter for the rest of your marketing efforts. You can use the attributes of your buyer persona to frame your content and your channel distribution.
When you are defining your buyer personas, you often find there are different levels for your target audiences. Today, a lot of major purchases are made by buying committees or multiple stakeholders. A company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) might have significantly different goals in evaluating a potential product or service than a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) or Operations Manager.
By segmenting audiences, you can create different marketing approaches for each of the stakeholders with a clear focus on their needs.
No matter how large an organization is, there is still a limit to its marketing budget. B2B marketers must have the discipline to plan their resources for optimal efficiency. By breaking target prospects into tiers, you can identify the segments that have the most potential for success.
As you move further into the ABM sales funnel, you will also identify groups and individual customers that have the highest potential to focus your efforts even closer. This allows you to identify the best leads and deliver valuable, personalized information and balance your available resources for the highest profile accounts. To do this effectively, B2B marketing and sales teams need to work together to identify the elements that make up high-value prospects.
Split your targets into three levels:
- High-value targets: Prospects that have a demonstrated need for your products or solutions, the ability to afford what you are selling, and the decision-making authority to make purchase decisions.
- Potential targets: Prospects that appear a good fit, but their profile may differ slightly from your best customers. You may also lack enough data on targets in this tier to know whether they are high-value. However, they are worth pursuing in some form — even if just to eliminate similar prospects from your future marketing efforts.
- Low-value targets: This group may still wind up becoming customers, but they may be well outside your ideal prospects. As such, you want to limit your investment to low-value targets.
It is pretty logical. Spend most of your marketing efforts on the highest value targets and the least amount of time and money on low-value targets. One of the keys to account based marketing is to identify those with the highest potential and personalize your approach specifically to that group.
Where ABM shines is in the personalization of the marketing you use to attract your high-value targets by optimizing leads with data-driven nurturing.
Using your buyer personas, segments, and tiers, you can create a wealth of targeted, personalized, and valuable information designed to move your prospects through the various stages of the buyer’s journey. The more you can personalize your marketing, the better your approach will be.
Personalization can take different forms. Inbound marketing efforts using an ABM strategy might include:
- Blog posts
- White papers and eBooks
- Case studies
- Social media
- Thought leadership
- Guest posts
- Press releases
- Original research
- Email marketing
Effective ABM strategies can create highly personalized content by deploying:
- Lead flows and nurturing
- Lead management
- Marketing automation
- Data-based decisioning
- A/B testing and optimization
All of these marketing strategies come together to create a better and more sophisticated buyer experience to drive prospects through the buyer’s journey towards conversion.
Using deep buyer insights, sales orchestration, and artificial intelligence, you can create highly personalized and micro-targeted campaigns to engage your prospects. For example, here is how Folloze approaches this process.
Data analysis recognizes and breaks down prospects into high-propensity targets. This eliminates the guesswork out of the process and surfaces recommended actions, such as ready-to-launch campaigns. Based on personalization links, IP matching, identity matching, cookies, and first-party and third-party data, Folloze creates real-time account data to fuel your marketing decisions.
By incorporating first-party data, third-party data, and artificial intelligence, Folloze creates rich, multidimensional account context. Not only does this further identify prospect behavior and interests, but it provides the foundation for intelligent content nomination.
The key to successful marketing has always been to deliver the right messaging to the right customer at the right time. AI will recommend content to automatically deliver the most relevant and highest-performing content. This includes dynamic content that is automatically personalized to your prospects with different imagery.
The Folloze platform tracks engagement across every touchpoint. Marketing and sales teams see which topics generate the most interest and can measure both the impact and ROI of each ABM campaign. AI can optimize delivery based on performance and conversions. This helps you more easily identify the right next steps to drive B2B prospects to the next stage of the buying journey.
Folloze uses a closed loop orchestration process that targets, orchestrates, personalizes, and measures the effectiveness of your personalized marketing. With end-to-end intelligent sales orchestration, you can continue to increase engagement across the entire customer lifecycle.
Each of these stages of the Folloze process works in concert to maximize your account based marketing strategy and deliver the content and marketing messaging design for conversions.
Both your demand generation and lead generation strategies are designed to attract customers and grow revenue. Along the way, however, marketers have different goals for the content they use. So, what do marketers say are their primary goals for the various stages of content marketing?
According to a report in eMarketer, B2B marketers identified these six goals:
- 29% — Boosting sales and converting customers
- 19% — Building relationships with new customers
- 18% — Increasing brand awareness
- 16% — Maintaining relationships with existing customers
- 12% — Earning more credibility through thought leadership
- 7% — Adding SEO value
Effective demand generation and lead generation strategies can accomplish all of these goals.
Recognizing audience behavior signals, analyzing intent and engagement data, and making data-driven decisions to guide your marketing efforts creates more sales opportunities. These are just some of the reasons why 87% of B2B marketers report ABM initiatives outperform all other marketing investments, according to a study by the IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA).
Organizations that embrace marketing and sales orchestration to create better alignment between marketing and sales teams show an uplift in marketing revenue exceeding 200%.
Account-based marketing also helps companies to meet their overall goals. Research by ITSMA also shows the ABM demand gen and lead gen strategies are hitting the mark with what it calls the three Rs of strategic marketing: reputation, relationships, and revenue.
Eight out of ten marketers in the study said ABM has improved their company’s reputation, including brand perception, awareness, and product knowledge.
Nearly three-quarters of marketers report that ABM has improved relationships across multiple high-value accounts.
69% say ABM has improved the annual revenue per account.
The right tech stack with tight demand gen and lead gen integration with your ABM delivers reliable and sustainable results. With Folloze, you can take your ABM to the next level by delivering unique and personalized account-based experiences that scale to thousands of accounts. You can leverage data and analytics to orchestrate highly-targeted sales plays and optimize marketing content for ever-increasing targeting.
Want to learn more about how Folloze can improve your marketing efforts? Contact Folloze today for a demo. Let us show you how we can drive growth across the entire customer lifecycle.