“A focus on the upper part of the purchase funnel could be preventing B2B marketers converting prospects to sales." JPC’s Growth and Strategy Director James Mollard reveals a route to a more balanced approach to demand generation.
Despite believing that resources should be spread equally across the four stages of the buying funnel (create, capture, nurture and convert demand), the reality is B2B marketers currently tend to focus more on creating and capturing leads, rather than nurturing and converting them, according to the findings of the recent State of Demand Gen report 2022.
This capture obsession is likely to reduce the conversion rate of hot leads, as less effort is being put into nurturing and converting them. As well as restricting revenue growth, this strategy also wastes the resources dedicated to creating and capturing leads in the first place – so it’s kind of lose, lose! Balancing out time investment across the funnel may generate fewer leads, but should convert more of those you capture into revenue – optimising resources rather than wasting them.
FUELLING FUNNEL IMBALANCE
So why do B2B marketers focus on the upper half of the buying funnel, despite knowing a more balanced approach would be better? It could be that the nurture and convert stages are tougher to execute, demanding more time and effort, while being less open to automation.
It may also be due to the growing popularity of account-based marketing (ABM) among B2B marketers. When looking at the trending demand generation tactics, almost a third of marketers said they increased their use of ABM in 2021, second only to content syndication. When asked what tactic they planned to use more in 2022, ABM came top, with 46% of marketers confirming they would accelerate this strategy over other techniques.
The fact that ABM traditionally tends to stop at the nurture stage of the buying funnel, when leads are then passed over to the sales team, could also be helping to push creation and capture to centre stage. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
LEVELLING UP TO DRIVE SALES
Marketer’s growing faith in ABM as an effective demand generation tool isn’t surprising due to the impressive results it can generate when applied appropriately. The State of ABM 2022 report found that three-quarters of marketers generated a 10% ROI or more from their ABM campaigns, while one in five got an impressive 200% back, with 53% saying the tactic generated more revenue than any other tool.
With such a high degree of trust in ABM’s forensic approach backed by results like these, wouldn’t it make sense to extend ABM programmes across the buyer journey – maybe even further? This demands B2B marketers working closely with their sales team to continue to engage with a prospect’s key stakeholders, creating an ongoing account-based experience (ABX) that delivers the right content, in the right format at the right time to reassure, inform, excite and inspire them. This can include immersive face-to-face workshops and co-creation sessions that help to deepen the understanding of your solution and help tailor it more closely to the needs of your customer.
NURTURING WITH KNOWLEDGE
Key goals of your ABX campaign, according to the recent 2022 Buyer Behaviour Survey, should be to:
- Prove your knowledge of the buyer’s business and their challenges – something 68% of B2B buyers said they look for in a vendor
- Show you understand their market and the latest developments around your solution – which is demanded by 59% of buyers.
Well over half of buyers (62%) want you to do this through high quality content, with 52% wanting you to also use it to build a business case for your solution and show the ROI it delivers. Do this successfully through a well-crafted ABX programme, and you will nurture your prospects successfully through the buying journey to purchase.
Crucially, this tactic can then be extended beyond the sales funnel into customer success management. By keeping the communication channels open post purchase in this way, you remain front of mind, and continue to prove your credentials by adding business value through relevant insight. All of which enhances the customer experience, increasing loyalty, which helps drive retention, up-selling and cross-selling, while building the long-term partnerships that are key to future-proofing
- B2B marketers’ preoccupation with creating and capturing demand could be reducing sales success through neglecting nurture and conversion.
- Spreading time and resource more evenly across the buyer journey should convert more prospects to customers and ensure more lead opportunities are realised.ifications of inaction.
- Extending increasingly popular account-based marketing beyond capture to span the entire purchase funnel can help even out time and resources and improve capture to conversion ratios.
- Pushing ABM further into the customer success phase can drive up-selling, cross-selling and help forge strong long-term customer partnerships.
At JPC, we’ll help you raise your gaze above the sales and marketing parapet, explode the silos and head towards an altogether more holistic company-wide account-based approach. Get in touch if you would like to know more.