In our recent study with Ascend2, we found that only 28% of marketers think it’s very likely that they will hit next quarter’s goals. That’s a lot of uncertainty. If you fall in with your peers here, this blog can help you understand your B2B demand generation strategy performance and pivot for greater success. Here’s how to start evaluating your B2B demand generation strategy:
Do You Need to Pivot Your B2B Demand Generation Strategy?
We’re about halfway through the year—a time when many marketers step back and really take stock of how they’re performing. So, how’s it going? If you aren’t sure exactly what you should be looking at or how you can strengthen your strategy going into the second half of the year, we’re here to help.
Check on how your current B2B demand generation strategy is doing
The first thing you should look at is your paid promotion efforts, like paid social and paid search, to see how everything is performing.
- Look at what’s driving revenue
- Check-in on what’s creating opportunities
- Find where drop-offs between marketing and sales are happening and why
Once you have a good idea of how you’re doing, you can see if you need to make changes. Optimize and pivot your B2B demand generation strategy if these factors are not where they need to be. In order to effectively review all of this, it’s important to have a reporting process in place.
Create your reports
Make sure you have a solid reporting infrastructure in place. Once you build this process the first time, you’ll be able to quickly check-in and review performance at any time. I recommend doing a deep analysis once a quarter to see what’s driving business and how you can shift resources for better results.
To build out reports that give you clear insight, it’s important to start with a few basic filters:
Make sure that you’re not just looking at summary reporting of all of your marketing sources together. This can be useful for a quick check on if you’re winning or losing, but it won’t tell you much about what is working and why. To get this kind of information, you’ll need to separate out by different sources like:
- Paid search
- Paid social
- Direct traffic
- Organic search
- Referral traffic
- Organic social
By segmenting your reporting, you’re able to look at each channel separately to see what tactics are moving the needle. This way you can make sure you’re not making a generalized decision for a lot of different channels that function very differently and that move at different speeds.
For example, paid search produces results through the sales cycle much faster than organic search. This doesn’t mean organic isn’t working, it just takes longer to see the results. You are also able to shift your paid strategy more quickly and easily so it’s best to start here when evaluating your B2B demand strategy midyear.
Next, just like you segmented by channel, filter your reports by lifecycle stages. The stages you should start tagging contacts by are:
- Marketing qualified lead (MQL): A lead that shows interest through interaction like through an email signup or contact form. MQLs are reviewed to see if they are a good prospect before being passed to sales.
- Sales Accepted Lead (SAL) – Leads that a sales development team is qualifying by trying to set a meeting.
- Sales qualified lead (SQL) – These leads have been contacted by sales and they’ve successfully scheduled a meeting.
- Opportunity – Once the meeting is attended and the prospect is going to move forward and continue to consider, then they become an opportunity.
- Customer – This one is pretty self-explanatory. A purchase agreement has been made and they are a closed-won opportunity.
Being able to segment your performance reporting on this granular level helps you see where any drop-offs are.
Next, you have to have solid sales disqualified reasons built out. Some examples of reasons that sales disqualifies leads that you might include are:
- Bad contact data
- Not a good fit
- No applicable solution
- Not interested
There could be dozens of reasons why sales would disqualify someone so having that open communication between sales leadership and marketing leadership and building out those reasons is incredibly important. Otherwise, it’s tough to make decisions from the disqualified lead reporting that you have. This process really allows you to have a constant, open feedback loop.
Find patterns and optimize
Look at the disqualified leads first broken out by disqualification reason and find patterns. Seeing where you can move money away from something that’s not performing well.
Next, look at your SAL or SQL, opportunity and closed-won opportunities reports and check for consistencies in what’s working. You’ll start to see key sources that are commonly coming up and associated with leads moving down the funnel. You’ll basically want to reallocate your budget from what isn’t working to these high-performing tactics.
In other words, look at your sales disqualified reporting first and then cross reference that with your opportunity and closed-won analytics. Take this example: When running your sales disqualified reports, you see high disqualifications from sales around keyword A. Then when you look at your closed-won reports and the rest of your funnel, you see that keyword B comes up in many opportunities. This is a great opportunity to move your budget away from keyword A to keyword B to capitalize on what you know is working.
Reviewing your demand generation strategy regularly is key to keeping your efforts running effectively. Take stock quarterly with the steps outlined in this reporting process. If you’re ready to learn more about demand strategy and expand your B2B demand generation strategy, check out our eBook How to Develop a Demand Strategy.
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