Inspiring B2B Trends & Best Practices from DemandCon SF 2013


Share on LinkedIn

After attending DemandCon 2013, I thought I would share a few of the notable best practices and key takeaways from the event. Here are 10 takeaways from DemandCon SF 2013 (in no particular order).

1. The buyer doesn’t really own the buying process

All this talk about buyers being in control isn’t quite accurate. They are certainly more informed, but does having access to more information really help buyers? Buyers are overwhelmed; they have access to information, but is all of it really making them more informed and intelligent? Who has the time to pick through all the perspectives and figure out which ones are credible and should factor into a buying decision? Plus, more information demands more depth of knowledge and more specific questions. B2B marketers need to start thinking about the content marketing strategy in terms of how it is relevant and specific to the target audience. More content isn’t better; more of the right content is what drives leads to qualify.

2. Don’t find people, help people find you

It is estimated that about 90% of prospects never respond to a cold call or email. We are no longer in an age of information scarcity, we are in an age of information abundance. But more information doesn’t necessarily accelerate the lead-to-sale; the right information does. Inbound marketing through blogs, webinars, and thought leadership should be used to attract prospects. Marketing is about generating a smaller number of higher quality leads.

3. Align content marketing efforts to empower and enhance the sales process

Align the content focus to the different stages of the buying and sales cycle. During the attention and interest stage use content that educates and informs buyers, like research reports, videos, blogs and thought leadership. When prospects start to engage early stage content they are displaying buying triggers. The content marketing focus shifts to case studies, peer reviews, how-to videos and demos to drive the prospect to take action. Once prospects are engaging with this content it’s time to sell by sharing product briefs and branded whitepapers

4. The average sales cycle is 1-3 months; it can be shortened

According to research from the CSO Insights 2012 Sales Optimization study, the average sales cycle for new accounts is 4-6 months, and 1-3 months for existing accounts. In order to shorten this sales cycle, sales reps need a firm understanding of the buying cycle and the optimal selling approach to mitigate risk and fear on the part of the buyer. All marketing and sales efforts should lead with selling value, and value is defined differently across different titles and functions. Value (not features or functions) elevates the conversation to an emotional outcome and helps reps earn a relationship as a guide through the sales process.

5. In a touch economy, focus on new business leads and customer lifetime value over reducing costs

Superior performing organizations are spending more to acquire new customers while the average organizations attempt to squeeze more out of existing customers and internal marketing budgets. Don’t sacrifice the long-term lifetime value of new customers at the expense of short-term margins.

6. Strategic demand generation is sustainable

Strategic demand generation calls for a perpetual process for lead generation. That means embracing a deep understanding of customer personas for optimizing inbound marketing, nurture marketing, as well as sales and marketing alignment. According to research from Vorsight, the average sales reps believes 70% of the leads they receive have a low probability to purchase. It’s not about volume any longer. Yet if asked how many leads are required, sales leaders will always say “More!” That’s the wrong question, though. Strategic demand generation asks if the quality of the leads that are being passed to sales is sufficient. Do you really understand your customer personas as a company? If you had to write down your customer profile in a PowerPoint slide, could you fit it in one slide? If so, you have work to do…

7. Who is more important? Influencers or Brand Advocates?

Influencers generate awareness for your company. Brand advocates drive community. Both are critical, and you should be identifying and engaging the most influential individuals in your industry.

8. Success in demand generation demands…

Every company is different, and every demand generation strategy will reflect these nuances. But there are a handful of qualities that make GREAT demand generation marketers. They have an intense curiosity and inquisitiveness about marketing results and customer behavior – it’s cool to be a geek when it comes to demand generation. They are never satisfied with anything but analytical support for findings. They are tenacious. It is very likely that senor level managers who don’t know what they are talking about will push legacy marketing tactics such as lead quantity as measures of success. Great demand generation professionals are willing to stand up to these individuals and demonstrate why quality over quantity is the new black in B2B marketing.

9. There are three types of essential media when it comes to demand generation: Paid, Owned, and Earned

Paid, Owned, and Earned media. Paid media is the top of the funnel search engine optimization, search engine marketing medium that generates an inquiry. Owned media is designed to entice leads to provide information through whitepapers, blogs, webinars, and landing pages. Earned media taps social engagement and advocate marketing. Earned media represents the network of like-minded individuals who will influence and champion your products and services.

10. Six Principles of Agile Marketing

1. Responding to change over following a plan. 2. Rapid iterations over big-bang campaigns. 3. Testing and data over opinions. 4. Many small experiments over a few large bets. 5. Individuals and interactions over one-size-fits-all. 6. Collaboration over silos and hierarchy.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Ian Michiels
Ian Michiels is a Principal & CEO at Gleanster Research, a globally known IT Market Research firm covering marketing, sales, voice of the customer, and BI. Michiels is a seasoned analyst, consultant, and speaker responsible for over 350 published analyst reports. He maintains ongoing relationships with hundreds of software executives each year and surveys tens of thousands of industry professionals to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. Michiels has also worked with some of the world's biggest brands including Nike, Sears Holdings, Wells Fargo, Franklin Templeton, and Ceasars.


Please use comments to add value to the discussion. Maximum one link to an educational blog post or article. We will NOT PUBLISH brief comments like "good post," comments that mainly promote links, or comments with links to companies, products, or services.

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here