In today’s B2B marketplace, there seems to be thousands of ways to touch your target audience and drive demand. Marketing automation, SEO/SEM, social media, webcasting and virtual event technology, mobile apps, mobile marketing…the list goes on and on. With so many tools at your disposal, you need to be strategic in your demand-gen approach and leverage multiple technologies, and services, to get engaged with your target market. In short, you need to take a Multi-Touch approach. Here’s what I believe every strategic demand-gen program needs:
- Think Vertically: I have a background in the B2B publication space where hundreds of thousands of professionals read our content, and we went after sponsors that were looking to get in front of those folks. Yes, that approach is great if you’re looking to appeal to the masses and build awareness. And yes, it can lead to your business getting in front of qualified prospects, that turn into opportunities, that turn into revenue, etc., etc. There’s a time and place for the horizontal angle. However, tailoring your message and offering to a specific vertical, strategic accounts with that vertical, and specific titles within those strategic accounts allows you to trim the fat and not deal with contacts that aren’t within your sweet spot. It also makes you a more efficient demand-gen pro, which in turn shortens cycles (which is huge considering buying cycles are getting increasingly longer across the board) and leads to better bottom-line results.
- Optimize Your Brand to Said Vertical: SEO and SEM need to be a piece of the puzzle, and you need to optimize your messaging to fit your ideal target. Pretty self-explanatory, but you’d be shocked at the number of companies that do this because it’s something to do, instead of using it as a strategic way to touch their target audience. Almost 50% of B2B buyers use search engines as their first source of information when making purchasing decisions. Think about that!
- Get Social: social media isn’t going anywhere…accept it. It needs to be a vital piece of your demand-gen ‘go forward’ strategy. Your target audience is getting a ton of their solutions research via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, etc. They’re asking other users about their experience with products in the marketplace, and many of these same people are connecting with solutions providers directly through social media platforms. To piggy back off of our Nov 19th blog– you have to be concise, consistent and creative in your social media approach!
- Go Virtual: whether it be webcasting or virtual events, they just make sense. They’re more cost effective; they allow you to break down the barriers of geography and extend your reach to get engaged with more of your target audience; and they extend the life of your content. For more meat on the bone, go here and here.
- Pick Up the Phone: I firmly believe that if you get engaged with a person over the phone, uncover a challenge of theirs and the prospect is interested in learning how you can help solve it, that’s going to end up being a much better lead for you to pursue than somebody that fills out a form, downloads a piece of content, etc. The sad thing is, sales reps have forgotten how to strategically interact with prospects on the phone. Solely relying on technology to engage prospects has left markets across the board with a pool of bad sales reps that have bad-average call skills, no concept of how to strategically sell to the C-Level suite, and get ‘stage fright’ when they actually have to get face-to-face to further the opportunity and/or close business. We’re all about leveraging technology to engage prospects (it’s our core business!), but there has to be an offline component as well.
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Jason Stegent is the Founder & President of Elastic Solutions. Email him @ email@example.com