Although millennials generally have a stronger fluency in and preference for the use of technology in the workplace, it’s only been due to the COVID-19 pandemic (and the need for high adaptability that it demanded) that they’ve actually seen a widespread professional and preferential transition to virtual technology in business. In B2B marketing, both buyers and sellers have had to adapt their interactions to the virtual realm, a temporary fix that many now agree shows promise. It’s likely that this trend towards doing business virtually will continue even after COVID-19 no longer necessitates it, and that could be because millennials, the most tech-savvy demographic in the workforce today, are also the most influential decision-makers in the current business landscape.
Millennials and Technology
Millennials have always been much more closely connected to technology than have older generations. For the most part, today’s millennials grew up using technology that didn’t exist for the generations that came before them, and their natural familiarity with the virtual world has given them a leg up in the gradual global trend towards the use of technology in all sectors of life.
As compared to gen-Xers and baby boomers, the other major generations in business today, millennials are generally much more comfortable and proficient with technology, simply because of the exposure they’ve had to it throughout their lives. That being said, they also haven’t had all that much influence over business practices in any sector (including B2B marketing) until fairly recently, as they’ve only been coming of age in the business world within the past five or so years.
Though millennials have been proponents of integrating technology and digitalization into the workforce since they first began joining its ranks, it’s only been due to the unprecedented new demands of the pandemic that B2B marketing has made the switch; essentially, the industry has been forced to conduct a global experiment to see just how effective virtual selling can be一 and they’ve found that it works.
With these new changes in place, many may be wondering whether they will remain once COVID-19 no longer necessitates virtual business practices. For those who have been hesitant about the extended use of technology brought on by the pandemic, reverting to the old way of doing things may seem like a much-desired reward after an uphill battle with COVID-19.
Regardless of your stance on the matter, it’s highly unlikely that B2B marketing will revert back completely to what it was pre-pandemic. The issue is complex, and there are many reasons backing this theory, but the one most relevant to this discussion involves the new influence millennials now have over the market and the business sector, and what they’re going to be most likely to do with it in the wake of COVID-19.
Millennials’ Decision-Making Influence Today
The gradual increase in the millennials’ global importance may be easy to overlook, but the current data shows us that 73% of all decision-making, or influencing of buying decisions, in business today is done by millennials, who now also make up the largest generation in the workforce. As to be expected, they also like using technology and virtual communication more so than any other generation, with 41% reporting they actually prefer to communicate electronically than in person.
It’s difficult to facilitate industry-wide change, especially in something as significant as the medium through which we communicate, which is likely why the millennial population was not able to drive this transition before the pandemic necessitated it. That, and the fact that millennials as a group have only now gained influence in the business world as they’ve come of age within the past few years. However, now that the entire B2B marketing industry has been spurred to adopt digital platforms due to the pandemic, it’s likely that millennials, as the critical generation in the role of decision-making today, will have enough influence to maintain this new way of business. Today, they have the numbers, the decision-making influence, and the special interest in keeping virtual business around, and so it’s likely we won’t be seeing a reversion to the old tactics even after COVID-19.
With the influence of the highly powerful millennial generation in the workforce today, it’s likely that the shift to virtual buying and selling in B2B marketing will continue even after COVID-19 no longer makes it logistically necessary. What’s important to take away here is that B2B marketing will look different moving forward and that marketing teams should be equipped to do business virtually with success. What’s more, millennials also hold much of the power in business today, and so, as marketers, having a solid grasp of what appeals to them will be key for future success.
According to research from Gartner, only 6% of chief sales officers (CSOs) report that they are extremely confident in their team’s ability to meet or exceed their revenue goals. This means that for the vast majority of sales leaders, reaching revenue growth targets is a high-priority challenge.
At the same time, the B2B purchasing process has changed entirely in the digital era. To stay competitive, companies must adapt and keep up with their dynamic customer bases as their buyers navigate the digital world on their own terms. But how can companies do this?
The following five factors offer insight into the key elements that impact your company’s revenue growth.
Factor 1: Choose the Right Market Focus
Choosing the right market focus for your company is the single most important factor impacting your revenue growth. It’s essentially the keystone of your marketing and sales activities, the one crucial element that can make or break your revenue growth.
A well-chosen, narrow market focus can result in millions of dollars in the sales pipeline, as well as more high-quality leads each month.
How does this work? A narrow target market empowers you to focus on excelling in a specific area. You can develop in-depth knowledge of your target market that would be impossible to develop otherwise. This increases efficacy and boosts the number of high-quality leads generated by your marketing efforts.
Factor 2: The Sales Process Is the Buyer’s Process
The old sales process is out of date. The tactics that may have worked in the past—like cold calls and mass email marketing campaigns—are quickly becoming obsolete.
Today’s buyers spend only 5% of their time with a given sales representative during the purchasing process, on average. They spend more time researching solutions online, preferring to discover for themselves whether or not a vendor is well-suited to fulfill their needs.
In the new buyer’s landscape, you must meet buyers on their terms—which involves creating highly individualized content to demonstrate what you have to offer your target market.
Factor 3: Align Sales and Marketing for High Growth
To facilitate revenue growth, marketing has to be directly linked to sales outcomes. It’s not enough for marketing to simply generate brand awareness anymore—marketing strategies must result in high-quality leads that are likely to start a conversation with sales.
To align sales and marketing, make sure that your sales goals are the motivation behind your marketing efforts. Uniting sales and marketing with a common goal will change the way you approach marketing, transforming it from a cost center to a revenue generator. Read on to discover how to accomplish this.
Factor 4: Use Intelligent Sales Data to Grow Sales
How do you ensure that your marketing and sales departments are up-to-date and in alignment? The answer is simple—use intelligent sales data to guide your strategies, rather than historical data and experience-based knowledge.
One goal of intelligent sales data is to keep your strategies as up-to-date as possible. You should be responding to industry changes and accommodating new buyer preferences in real-time, not years into the future. This makes intuitive sense—using historical data, you are responding to buyers’ past preferences, not their current needs. Intelligent sales data keeps your strategies cutting-edge. This will keep your company from falling behind.
You can’t fix what you can’t see. That’s what the final factor is all about—to successfully increase revenue growth, you must track the right metrics and use them to build effective strategies for sales and marketing.
Using metrics to manage your strategies will provide you with an objective understanding of how your sales and marketing efforts are performing. The right metrics will expose where you can improve, where you’re already excelling, and everything in between. This is essential to increasing revenue growth.
One key element all five factors have in common is a focus on the buyer. At every stage of the process, successful sales and marketing strategies place the buyer front and center.
This is what B2B buyers expect in the current era. They want to work with vendors who understand their industry and anticipate their needs, preferences, and habits. To put it simply, today’s buyers have higher expectations than ever before. The companies that deliver revenue growth in this environment are prepared to meet and exceed these expectations.
Successful marketing isn’t about reaching the broadest audience possible—it’s about reaching the right audience for your company.
You have a limited marketing budget, which means that you have to maximize the ROI of each dollar you spend. Without a defined target market, you will waste your resources reaching market segments that aren’t the right fit for your product.
The challenge is to target and reach customers who are most likely to convert into sales. You don’t want to waste your money on anything else.
By targeting a narrow market, you can increase your depth of understanding in a specific industry. By offering more individualized information that is relevant to potential customers, you stand out from the competition.
Remember, your goal is to get on the shortlist of vendors the buyer will contact. Buyers want to know that you can offer the right solutions for their specific pain points.
To do this, you’ll need to develop an in-depth understanding of your buyers. Not only do you need to understand their industry, but you also need to understand what motivates your buyers as individuals. This process is also known as persona development, which involves conducting thorough research to create a profile of the types of customers that are most likely to purchase your product.
Let’s make the concept of choosing a market focus more concrete with a case study.
Without a specific industry target, your marketing efforts could draw the attention of companies in any number of industries. Not all of these companies will be the right fit for your product.
In this instance, the client was a digital technology services provider that built digital capabilities for its clients. They provided services to any incoming request and did not target a specific industry. Company executives knew they had to focus on a specific industry sector to execute its outbound strategy, but which one was the right one?
We helped the client analyze its track record to determine which industries were the ideal targets. Then, we conducted in-depth industry research to narrow down the top industry that was worth targeting.
With one specific industry in mind, the next steps were to create content for this industry and generate targeted demand through email campaigns and phone prospecting.
As a result of this digital content strategy, the client generated 16 high-quality leads per month, increased name recognition, and brought 4 million dollars into the sales pipeline. This success story demonstrates the value of focusing your marketing efforts on a specific industry.
The Right Market Focus: Key to Success
With a narrow target market, you can develop your understanding of your target market to a greater degree. You can devote more of your resources to specializing in this industry, to refining your knowledge of their pain points, current and future challenges, and crucially, how your company and its services can help.
There’s a reason that finding the right market focus is Factor 1—it’s the first thing companies should nail when developing a strategy for increasing revenue. It will make your company stand out, and increase the effectiveness of the following factors—starting with the buyer’s process in Factor 2.
Factor 2: The Sales Process is the Buyer’s Process
Does this story sound familiar? A salesperson blindly calls and emails through a list of contacts, hoping that someone will respond so he can convince them to schedule a meeting. On the off chance that he is successful, he will conduct the meeting as follows: First, he will tell the prospect all about himself. Then, he’ll ask the respondent about their company. Regardless of the response, he will then launch into selling his product.
This clunky, sales-centered approach is the old sales process that prioritizes the salesperson’s preferences. There’s a reason this process is ineffective—despite its name, the sales process is not really about the salesperson. Buyers aren’t interested in working on a salesperson’s schedule—they have their own priorities to fulfill, and they appreciate salespeople who anticipate and respond to their needs and work with their schedule.
So, calling it “the sales process” is a misnomer. Your focus should be on the buyer’s needs, desires, and timeline, making it more accurate to call it the buyer’s process.
To fully understand the buyer’s perspective along their journey toward making a purchase, let’s look at the purchasing process from their point of view.
The Buyer’s Process
Today’s buyers start with research. Once they recognize the problem that needs solving, a team member begins looking for answers online. They’ll comb through blogs, articles, industry reports, and other sources, all in search of the best possible solution to the problem at hand. Your job is to stand out amongst this crowded market and make it to the shortlist of vendors they will contact.
To stand out, your content must address exactly what your buyers are looking for. This is where your in-depth knowledge of your target market comes into play (as you already know from Factor 1).
Buyers make the crucial decision of whether or not to include your company on the shortlist based almost entirely on your content. So, you must ensure that your content is highly valuable, relevant to their needs, and surfaces on search results pages.
As you can see from the following infographic, marketers use a variety of content types designed to appeal to buyers at different phases of the process.
Content to demonstrate your comprehensive knowledge of the potential buyer’s needs at every stage of their journey is the key to standing out in a crowded market. This approach works with the buyer’s preferred process—conducting independent research—and provides them with useful information to substantiate their purchasing decision.
Ultimately, the key to building a successful marketing and sales strategy is to focus on what the buyer wants. Your focus on a single target market will shine through your content and encourage readers to set up a meeting. Now the question becomes—how do you ensure that the right people are finding your content? Read Factor 3 to find out.
Start with your revenue goal and work backward from there to determine the targets your sales and marketing efforts should strive to reach. This process will align sales and marketing in pursuit of a common goal: growing revenue.
To achieve this goal, marketing has to deliver the right kinds of leads. It’s not just about branding and spreading the word—it’s about finding highly motivated leads interested in purchasing the product you’re selling, capturing their attention, and nurturing them along the funnel toward sales.
However, for every highly qualified lead that is likely to convert into a sale, there are plenty of less-qualified leads who will find their way into your funnel. Maybe they’re students researching a project, or an HR manager creating a job description—whatever the reason, they’ve come across your content, shared their contact information to download it, and are not at all interested in purchasing your product.
You should choose targeted keywords to filter out as many of these leads as possible, but you will probably still receive some low-quality leads. Now, it’s the marketing department’s job to sort through these leads and separate the promising ones from the rest.
Automation is key in this instance. Your marketing department is busy with strategic high-level tasks, and separating leads manually is time-consuming. Automate the process so you receive more of the job titles you want to receive while minimizing the number of low-quality leads.
The goal is to streamline the lead generation process to deliver the highest quality leads possible to your sales team. To accomplish this, both departments must be on the same page in terms of their goals, progress, and how these indicators will be measured.
Read Factor 4 for more information about automating intelligent sales data to grow sales.
In a post-COVID-19 world, historical data may not be relevant at all. The COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly have long-lasting effects on consumers and companies alike. So, using outdated data to develop your sales strategy will leave you struggling to keep up with buyers’ needs in real-time.
Experts predict that smarter, more responsible, and scalable AI will be key to growing revenue from sales in today’s world. Access to constantly updating information about your target markets and their industry trends will be essential to developing effective sales strategies.
But where does this data come from? Automated sales and marketing tools will provide you with the information you need to develop an effective and dynamic strategy for increasing growth. Automated tools simplify the process of collecting useful sales data, which makes it easier to put this information into action.
Using Intelligent Sales Data: Good Things Take Time
In response to a drop in sales, the sales department might be too eager to make adjustments without taking the time to review performance and properly diagnose the issue affecting sales. A sales diagnosis is key to determine what went wrong and how to fix it.
The data you gather from practices like these should form the basis of your sales and marketing strategy. Rushing into a quick fix without uncovering and addressing the root of the problem will lead to more issues down the line.
Taking the time to implement intelligent sales data tools, interpret that data, and apply it accurately to your situation is essential to developing the strongest possible sales strategy. This is similar to the process of managing by metrics, the subject of the fifth and final factor affecting revenue growth.
To effectively foster growth, you must know exactly what is and isn’t working and why. This is what managing by metrics is all about—to develop growth-minded strategies for sales and marketing, you must track the right metrics in real-time.
Below, you’ll find some examples of critical metrics to track:
Average deal sizes
Average discount given
Quota attainment rate
MQL to SQL ratio
SQL to closed deal ratio
Sales budget per sales dollars
Marketing budget per sales dollars
Metrics like these provide you with crucial information that you can use to substantiate your strategic business decisions. They give you an objective and evidence-based measuring stick to use to foster your company’s growth.
Let’s take a look at a case study that demonstrates the power of metrics in action.
This client was a software vendor targeting the financial services industry. Their goal was to increase the number of clients served and bring in more new business from completely new customers—a crucial challenge for any company. So, how did we go about strategizing for this level of growth?
Measuring the right metrics was key to developing and implementing a sales plan that could double sales from new customers in 12 months. To achieve this goal, all salespeople had a set number of activities to complete each week, including calls, emails, and demos.
The proof is in the results—after 90 days, the company saw a 620% increase in outbound sales calls and achieved 246% growth in the sales pipeline. The result was a 67% increase in the number of deals closed each month.
This level of growth wouldn’t have been possible without regular and accurate measurements of strategic sales metrics. As this case study demonstrates, setting attainable, evidence-based goals for growth is a key step toward building your high-growth lead generation strategy.
Managing by metrics can expose areas of weakness in your sales and marketing strategies, providing useful data detailing what you can improve on. This is crucial to any sales and marketing strategy today.
Through these five factors, we’ve provided a comprehensive overview of the key practices that impact revenue growth in today’s world. This knowledge will form the basis of a sales and marketing strategy that delivers revenue growth now and into the future.
Please contact us with any questions or thoughts. We are here to help.
As potential customers increasingly rely on online research to substantiate purchasing decisions, your content is becoming more crucial to sales growth than ever before—which is why you must efficiently create a high volume of high-quality B2B marketing content to reach your future buyers.
Content Types: Demand Gen vs. Lead Gen
First, let’s establish the types of content you need to fuel your marketing efforts.
Demand Gen Content
Demand generation (demand gen) content is the kind of digital marketing that increases overall brand awareness. This type of content should drive traffic to websites where prospects can learn more about a given brand. With this in mind, demand gen content should be easily accessible and shareable, which means it should not be gated. Your goal is to distribute your content as widely as possible to get more people interested in your brand.
The following are the content types necessary to drive successful demand gen campaigns:
All of these types of content offer relevant information in an engaging and accessible way. They should be entertaining and enlightening at the same time, which requires in-depth research presented with a conversational tone. The most effective demand gen content strikes a careful balance—it is packed with information while still being entertaining to read.
Additionally, content like blogs, infographics, and videos should be shareable, often linking to other content on your website to keep viewers engaged. Remember, the goal at this stage of the process is to generate interest by demonstrating your value to potential customers. Your demand gen content must spark and maintain the viewer’s interest.
Lead Gen Content
After generating interest with your demand gen content, it’s time to turn that interest into action. This is where your lead gen content comes into play. This type of content is used to capture contact information for outbound nurturing, which means it is typically gated. This means that viewers must see the content as valuable enough that they are willing to share their contact information to access it.
However, many potential customers are protective of their personal information. They must be convinced that this piece of content will provide them with a comprehensive understanding of a valuable topic.
Below, we have provided a list of the most important types of lead gen content that you must continually generate to be considered on the shortlist of your potential buyers:
Generally, these types of content are longer and more detailed than demand gen content, requiring more in-depth research than their attention-grabbing counterparts. At the same time, these articles must be engaging and interesting to read. Additionally, remember that these types of content should be informative—and not just a product pitch.
To summarize, demand gen content is designed to provide small chunks of teaser information in an easily digestible format to catch users’ attention. On the other hand, lead gen content builds on that positioning to bring your product closer to the front of mind—as something to really consider in the short term.
Together, both content types should position your company as a thought leader in your entire ecosystem. This process lays the groundwork for sales growth through your content.
Sales Growth Through Marketing Content
Content is a Product
Now that we’ve established the main types of content fueling your B2B marketing campaign, how can we streamline the content creation process to increase sales growth?
The key is to consistently create fresh content that sparks and maintains potential buyers’ interest. However, maintaining a content cadence that keeps up with the demand of your customers and facilitates sales growth can be both challenging and expensive.
Thankfully, by reframing your perspective on content production, you can increase the speed with which you create and publish content—effectively increasing sales growth in the long run.
Think of it this way: content is essentially a product. Here’s why:
It can be designed, made, and distributed for mass consumption.
When completed, it has a significantly greater value than the sum of its parts.
Although it has a limited shelf-life, it can be stored and distributed on-demand.
It has a learning curve—those who do it more will learn how to produce it at a lower cost.
It has an economy of scale—the more you make of it, the less the unit cost.
Knowing this, you can start streamlining content production in the same way that products are manufactured in a factory.
Factories excel at making large quantities of a product at a high level of speed, accuracy, and quality at the lowest price possible. At the same time, factories can make many different products to order using strategies that allow them to make many things out of a small set of fundamental units that can be recombined to make many “products.”
By applying this framework to content production, you can accelerate your demand and lead gen content cadence, drawing in more potential customers in the process.
The Creative Content River
As an example of this idea in action, consider SOMAmetrics’ Creative Content River. The Creative Content River leverages modern manufacturing principles to produce high-quality content at a higher speed and lower cost that is difficult or impossible to match using internal content creation teams.
Through three key phases—designing, making, and delivering—the Creative Content River maximizes content output in a cost-effective fashion, which increases sales growth from marketing in the long term.
Download this white paper for more information about the Creative Content River and how you can drive sales growth through your content.
We can begin gathering data to determine how the solutions are affecting the site and, as a result, reaching business performance targets once you have Identified Site Bottlenecks and done an in-depth study of the Solution Delivery. Follow the steps below to gain a better grasp of all the actions required to properly gather, analyze, and act on all of your data.
We must judge the effectiveness of site updates in terms of the goal: driving the organizations’ KPIs, which can only be observed by delving deeply into the data. When determining whether future adjustments are required, the data points collected from the site will be a powerful indicator of whether a change produced favorable or negative consequences.
Google Analytics is the most basic, and universal data interface for extracting data points for analysis. It features the most extensive analysis of data collected and gives various graphs, charts, and graphics that make the dataset presented very easy to interpret. Many website builders, such as GoDaddy and WordPress, have their own simple data analytics sites. The disadvantage is that these data analytics solutions are quite basic and lack the variety of Google Analytics. A Google-optimized website should use Google Analytics.
Achieving Statistical Significance
Before examining data from updates to your website, it is critical to properly understand statistical significance. A website modification is statistically significant if the positive or negative change in the KPI is strongly related to the adjustments you made rather than random chance or uncontrollable circumstances.
Google Analytics provides an infinite amount of data points, and each website, based on the problems found and the solutions implemented, only requires a few data points to comprehend the changes in website efficacy.
Website developers will connect with industry specialists if they have a better understanding of the statistical significance and data collection methodologies. Our team at SOMAmetrics is fully engaged with clients searching for better and more effective website performance, and we are delighted to give that with the greatest degree of customer satisfaction.
If you want to learn more in-depth about Measurement and Reiterative Testing, click here.
The value of your sales pipeline is the single most important factor impacting your sales growth rates. Therefore, increasing the value of your sales pipeline increases your company’s sales growth rates — it’s as simple as that.
Before we explain why, let’s take a step back and define what a sales pipeline is and what it does for a company. A company’s sales pipeline provides employees with a representation of their prospects’ progression through the sales process toward making a purchase.
With that said, how can a company determine the value of its sales pipeline?
According to HubSpot, sales pipeline value can be defined as “The total value of every qualified opportunity in your pipeline.” Here, the emphasis is on qualified leads — leads that have the right budget to purchase, the authority to make purchasing decisions, and the motivation to purchase your product or service. Qualified leads are valuable because they are more likely to convert into sales than unqualified leads.
Unqualified leads, on the other hand, lack the key characteristics we highlighted above. This means that they are less likely to work with your sales team and move through your pipeline toward making a purchase.
All of this is to say that high-quality leads are crucial to increasing your company’s sales growth rates. To illustrate this point, let’s crunch the numbers.
Sales Growth by the Numbers
If you improve three key factors by 25% — your average deal size, average closing ratio, and average sales cycle — the result is a 73.6% increase in annual sales. The charts below provide a visual representation of this strategy.
Avg Deal Size ($)
Avg Closing Ratio
Avg sales velocity (days)
Impact of Improved Average Deal Size and Closing Ratios
Avg # of Monthly Meetings
Avg Closed Deals/Month
Increase in Sales
Impact of Sales Cycle Reduction
Annual Sales ($)
Increase in Annual Sales ($)
As these charts demonstrate, these relatively small 25% increases add up to a sizable difference in sales growth over time. Ultimately, these charts illustrate that sales growth rates are impacted by a variety of factors, each contributing to the number of closed deals.
However, the keystone to increasing sales growth rates is increasing the number of high-quality leads in your sales pipeline. We’ll go into more depth regarding why this is true in the next section.
High-Quality Leads = Higher Sales Growth Rates
As we discussed above, sales growth rates depend on the number of high-quality leads in your sales pipeline, which means you need more of them to increase your sales growth rate. But how do you attract more high-quality leads without also attracting a ton of unmotivated, low-quality leads?
Never underestimate the impact of your content. Content plays a crucial role in reaching your potential customers — from catching their attention, to directing them to sites where they can learn more about your product, your content acts as the foundation of a more robust sales pipeline.
In part, this is true because buyers today expect to find all the information they need to make an informed purchase through vendors’ websites. Increasingly, buyers prefer using content and self-serve methods to make purchases, rather than speaking with sales reps. With this in mind, your content must provide useful and highly relevant information to your specific target market. This will encourage prospects to see your company as an authoritative resource and to seriously consider making a purchase.
Similarly, because high-quality leads are motivated and have the right budget and authority to make a purchase, they are more likely to close faster, at a higher rate, and at full price. All of these elements add up to a sales growth rate that is significantly higher than one that relies on low-quality leads.
To learn more about the value of high-quality leads and their impact on sales growth rates, download this paper.
High-quality leads are crucial to increasing sales growth, which means successful marketers must know how to attract this type of lead through their lead generation strategies and decision-enabling content.
Why is lead generation so important? In today’s digital-first environment, B2B buyers prefer spending more time researching products online and less time speaking with salespeople, which means that they rely more heavily on content to make purchasing decisions. And this isn’t changing anytime soon—only 20% of B2B buyers say they hope to return to in-person sales in the future.
Plus, buyers want to make purchasing decisions based on up-to-date information. One survey reports that 47% of executives recommend that B2B vendors use more data and research to support their decision-enabling content.
For any company to make a lasting impression on prospects in this environment, high-quality decision-enabling content is essential to capturing leads and nurturing them toward making a purchase. Next, we’ll discuss how to create decision-enabling content to accomplish these goals.
Creating Decision-Enabling Content
Decision-enabling content takes two forms: demand generation and lead generation. These two content types work together to form the basis of your digital marketing campaigns. Generally speaking, demand gen sparks a user’s interest, and lead gen makes that interest more concrete.
Both types of content require in-depth research presented in an engaging style, but each type is designed to appeal to buyers at different phases of their purchasing journey. Below, we’ll discuss the differences between each type of content, and why they’re both important to increasing your company’s sales growth rate.
Demand Gen Content
Demand generation content is the first impression your brand will make on new prospects. Its main function is to increase brand awareness, spark interest, and drive users toward sites where they can find out more.
With these goals in mind, demand gen content is designed to grab readers’ attention as they research a topic related to your company and its products or services. So, demand gen content must be useful, fresh, and tailored to the needs of your target market at that moment.
Here are some examples of content that falls into this category:
With these relatively short forms of content, marketers can introduce a useful idea to the reader quickly and engagingly, thus proving their company’s value and piquing the reader’s interest in a short time. The goal is to engage readers enough that they are interested in reading your lead gen content, which brings us to our next section.
Lead Gen Content
After your demand gen efforts have generated interest among potential customers, your lead generation content steps in to seal the deal.
The goal of lead gen content is to capture leads’ contact information for outbound nurturing. This means that lead gen content must be seen as highly valuable, to the point that users are willing to share their contact information to access it.
This is no small feat—many users are protective of their personal information and wary of irrelevant marketing messages clogging their inboxes. With this in mind, it is crucial that lead gen content not only appears useful, but that it delivers on its promise of providing fresh, interesting, and useful information as well.
Here are some examples of lead gen content:
These types of content are more in-depth than your demand gen content, providing more well-researched and curated decision-enabling information to establish your value to your target market.
Together, these two types of decision-enabling content will draw in more users and generate more high-quality leads to pass along to your sales team. By creating content that is uniquely useful to your target market, you can demonstrate your value to them and encourage them to consider working with you sooner rather than later.
In this blog, we’ve explained why lead generation is key to increasing sales growth, why high-quality leads are crucial to that process, and how to generate high-quality leads through decision-enabling content. We clarified the difference between demand gen and lead gen content and explained why each of these types of content is essential to any marketing campaign.
With this foundation of knowledge, you can increase the number of high-quality leads you generate, which will increase your company’s sales growth rates as well.
The first step to ensuring efficient and optimal website development and SEO is to identify site bottlenecks. With that accomplished, the next step is to implement the necessary changes to address these bottlenecks. Follow the steps below to roll out these ideas in your business plan or implementation phase.
Research Solution Channels
To solve your website’s SEO bottlenecks, the first step is to conduct deep research to determine the most effective method to use. This can include third-party resources, alternative web design, or manual code reconfiguration.
Sometimes the only way to switch to a more optimized website is to modify some elements of web design. For example, Google’s Accessibility tab is very critical of graphic elements, such as elements that have barely distinguishable colors or an overlay of non-images. In this instance, it is necessary to have a graphic designer on hand to support the rollout of graphic changes.
The Next Steps
During the analysis phase, the website development team must work with other internal business units to ensure no significant actions are taking place over the same timeframe as the website changes. Your website needs to be ready to see the first set of changes. It is important that all members of the website team are aware of what changes need to be made, and for what reasons.
To learn more about solution delivery, click here.
There will always be a way to measure engagements and find data on your website’s happenings, regardless of the website building platform used. Identifying Site Bottlenecks and conducting deep internal research on pain points is the first step to ensuring a time-efficient and optimal website development and SEO. By identifying where the site is losing performance/and or user engagement, will also be developing targeted solution delivery.
Google Analytics can be directly connected to any website, allowing a site administrator full access to the website traffic data by audience breakdown, user behaviors, and conversion pipelines. With Google Analytics, a site administrator can find data on which pages are causing site-wide problems, such as high bounce rate, high site drop-off rates, and slow site loading speeds.
Search engines rank websites in order of relevance to searchers by using quantitative algorithms to create the ranking. If aesthetic design impedes SEO ranking, then the aesthetic elements need to be reevaluated.
Google CHROME DevTools
With the plethora of tools accessible to web developers, site administrators, and SEO specialists, identifying site bottlenecks is a mix of deep analytical research from a user standpoint, to simulating test situations. After identifying the key issues within the webpage/website, the next step is to start implementing solutions and testing to see what configurations create the best results.
To learn more about SEO and identifying site bottlenecks, click here.
For a B2B company seeking to increase its revenue, the first step is choosing the right market. Market focus is the single most important factor impacting revenue growth.
There has been a shift in expectations for B2B marketing departments in recent years. Today, nearly 70% of CEOs expect CMOs to lead revenue growth for their companies. In order to facilitate revenue growth, today’s marketers need to increase their understanding of their customer bases and better anticipate customer needs. In today’s world, marketers who fail to work toward the goal of revenue growth will fall behind their competitors.
This means that today’s B2B marketers have to take things back to basics and reevaluate the fundamentals of their marketing strategies in order to maximize revenue growth—and this process starts with defining the right market.
Choosing the Right Market: Broad vs. Narrow
When it comes to determining a target market, many companies make the mistake of defining their market in the broadest possible terms. This might make sense at first glance—one could rationalize that a broader market definition will include more potential customers—but in reality, this is the wrong approach for revenue growth.
With a broad target market, marketing content will have to appeal to a wide variety of individuals with differing needs and motives for purchase. This makes it difficult for a company to demonstrate its depth of understanding of a potential client’s needs and the workings of the client’s specific industry. In addition, with an unnecessarily broad target market, marketers risk wasting resources on customers who are unlikely to purchase the product. In the end, with a broad market definition, marketers will encounter difficulties when it comes to differentiating their business from competitors.
This might seem like a counterintuitive marketing strategy—how can a business be successful by targeting a single customer? It’s important to remember that companies within a market segment are in conversation with one another. By providing solutions to one specific company at the center of a market segment, marketers can simultaneously appeal to other companies with similar needs and goals.
Putting Market Focus Into Practice
To make this concept more concrete, let’s consider an example in the form of a hypothetical company that provides software for the healthcare industry. According to marketing expert Geoffrey Moore, there are three elements of a B2B market segment: industry, role in that industry, and geography. With this in mind, the target market segment for this company could be defined as Hospital Administrators in the United States.
A specific number of potential customers will fall into this category, which can be expanded to include more potential customers or narrowed even further, as demonstrated in the table below.
A. Hospital Administrators in California
B. Hospital Administrators in US
C. Healthcare Professionals in US
Managing value-based reimbursement
Managing value-based reimbursement
Regulations in healthcare
As discussed previously, it might initially seem like a good idea to target the broadest possible market—Healthcare Professionals in the United States—because of its 128,000 potential customers. But it is vital to consider the perspective of the buyer—will this software company provide value to all 128,000 US-based Healthcare Professionals equally? In addition, what messaging and strategies will be effective to reach all of these professionals with varying job descriptions, including Doctors, Nurses, and Hospital Administrators, to name a few?
At this point, the company faces a difficult decision: It can choose to go shallow and wide, or invest exorbitant amounts of money in building expertise in each specific profession. Most companies choose to go shallow and wide, rather than investing in a focused market—and they are ultimately beaten out by companies that choose to go narrow and deep—which explains why the costs of sales and marketing rise faster than revenues.
However, there is another option—companies can choose to go narrow and deep in one segment at a time. This is the best option for increasing revenues.
Evidence has shown that with a narrower market definition, marketers can maximize revenue growth. Instead of burning through resources to compete with hundreds of other software providers, the software company can simplify the marketing process by honing in on Hospital Administrators in California, for instance. With significantly fewer competitors and fewer conferences to attend, marketers can increase the depth of their content and differentiate their company from the competition more effectively. Plus, it is more feasible for sales reps to become experts on the issues faced by this smaller market.
When it comes to increasing revenue growth, choosing the right market is the single most important factor for marketers to consider. With the right market, B2B marketers can use their resources more effectively to increase revenue growth.
SOMAmetrics is a revenue-focused marketing agency, delivering high quality leads that close faster and at a higher rate. Our proven process identifies the best targets, defines the most compelling messaging, and runs highly targeted, digital campaigns—for about 35% of what it costs clients to do internally.
You have an inside sales team who is now working in a distributed manner, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While many companies have employees who work from home, very few have a fully distributed inside sales organization.
The question is how to manage a distributed team and ensure success during the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country all non-essential businesses are empty as their employees have been forced to work from home. This creates several challenges for a call team.
One of these new challenges is reaching prospects—now it is more difficult to reach people by phone, especially if they don’t have VOIP systems that can be set up anywhere. Additionally, distributed inside sales teams are not used to working from home, so it can be challenging to track team productivity. Managers will need to find a way to measure their success and productivity. It’s also challenging keeping teams engaged. Most inside sales team members sit within the same area in an office. They share ideas and hear their team members on the phone. Working from home, making dials day after day, especially when very few prospects answer, can be a very isolating experience. Putting the Covid-19 pandemic aside, sales teams are struggling to achieve revenue goals—they are finding it increasingly difficult to reach people on the phone. In 2018 over 8 billion robo-calls were sent to consumers and businesses. This, coupled with email over-exposure, has made selling more difficult than ever.
Successful inside teams utilize sales fundamentals to ensure that they achieve their revenue targets. I will outline, briefly, these fundamentals. More information can be found in my book “Teleprospecting for Executives who Sell Complex Solutions.”
Successful teams during COVID-19:
Successful teams are driven to success by proven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics. These KPIs and metrics are built utilizing funnel math to determine the number of inbound leads (HQLs or highly qualified leads) that are required to hit revenue objectives. Once the number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) is determined to achieve 3x the revenue objective, managers have the data required to build out other weekly and monthly metrics to achieve the following objectives:
Number of key conversations.
Total HQLs (high quality leads that came from the MQLs).
Sales funnel, per rep, that must be built to hit 3x of revenue target. This can be tracked, each month.
Quarterly revenue target required to hit an annual revenue goal.
Successful teams also track leads through the sales funnel to determine the number of quality leads that are coming into the sales organization. Leads should be given statuses that makes sense to sales. I use the following statuses:
Untouched: Lead has never been contacted.
Pursuing: Lead has been called with no connection.
Contacted: Someone answered the phone, but the person wasn’t the right contact and/or couldn’t move the sales process along.
Key Conversation: The sales rep had a quality phone call with a decision maker or influencer, which leads to a HQL or another call or a demo.
HQL: Rep has qualified the lead and it is ready to be converted to an opportunity.
Disqualified: After 10 attempts, or other issues, the lead has been disqualified. It is good to have disqualified reasons, such as a wrong number, no contact, etc.
Nurture: Leads that aren’t ready to purchase now will be put back into the buyer’s journey.
Teams should ensure that everyone has built a quarterly GOSPA or other mini-business plan that enables them to track their own success. Each manager should meet with each team member weekly to track how reps are doing against their plan. Weekly team meetings should be held to review issues, highlight successes and to train the team. These can be done through any web meeting service.
Managers should hold a daily morning check-in to see how team members are doing during this pandemic. I recommend that these be group meetings. Managers can take a temperature check of team morale, address issues with systems, and determine what each team member has planned for the day (number of demos, scheduled calls, contracts to write-up, etc.). These daily check-ins allow the team to meet as a team and provide ideas on how to work from home and stay engaged, each day. My team members came up with a few suggestions, including using a timer to ensure that reps are taking breaks, eating breakfast and lunch and are exercising; doing deep breathing techniques to stay alert; and stretching regularly to ensure that reps are leaving their chairs, regularly and throughout the day.
Additionally, in a successful team, marketing should be working hard to write content that will attract buyers. Now more than ever, search is the way buyers get their information. Your company should be writing content that makes your company a thought leader in your space, so that HQLs flow into sales.
It is the manager’s responsibility to keep the team engaged and to solve problems as quickly as possible. During this unique period, managers may find that they are in back-to-back web meetings. They need to ensure that some of these meetings are with individual reps and with the inside sales team.
This is not an easy time for anyone. Keeping the team engaged, and providing the tools that they need, will help your inside sales team to meet their objectives and stay in good spirits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The increasingly blurred line between B2B and B2C has inevitably changed the nature of sales, with customers demanding a more personalized selling process. Salesforce’s “State of the Connected Customer” report recently found that 58% of consumers and 77% of B2B buyers believe technology has changed their expectation of how companies should interact with them.
As sales mandates and productivity quotas rapidly change, sales teams often fall short of these rising expectations and are unable to meet their job quotas.1 The easy solution for companies is to replace sales reps. The more effective solution, given the high career turnover rate and cost of hiring a sales employee, is to take measures that increase the productivity of existing sales teams.
Impact of High Turnover Rate On Sales Productivity
The turnover rate for sales representatives has remained much higher than that of other roles.
According to Bridge Group Research, there is a minimum 20% annual turnover for sales talent and an average annual rate of 34.7% per year in the United States; this is almost three times as high as the average turnover rate for all roles, which LinkedIn reports as 13%.2 Further research also suggests that one out of ten B2B companies experience sales turnover rates of above 55%.3
This contrast in turnover between sales and other roles can be attributed to the difference in perspective between the representative and company with job performance, as well as an increasing competitive landscape for talent. SiriusDecisions also lists deficient compensation and lack of connection with leadership as top reasons why high-performing representatives leave their organizations.3
General Costs of Hiring a Sales Representative
This high sales turnover rate means that firms are continuously spending money to hire and replace those representatives who leave. On average, US firms spend around $15 billion a year training salespeople and $800 billion on incentives, only for attrition and other factors to reduce the return on those investments.4
The key to improving employee retention is first understanding the cost of employee turnover.
There are a few general estimations of the upfront costs behind hiring a new sales employee. A report by DePaul University states that it takes an average of $97,690 to replace a salesperson, while SiriusDecisions reports that the average turnover cost of a B2B sales representative can range above $200,000.5, 6
However, the true cost of hiring an employee in 2020 is much more complex with additional hidden costs. Employers must consider the full cost breakdown of recruiting, onboarding, and training employees until they both reach full productivity levels and cover intermediate loss in overall company efficiency.
Hidden Costs in Sales Turnover
Hidden turnover costs come from the time and productivity lost in two places: recruiting, and training and onboarding new representatives.
Businesses are constantly searching the market to fill vacant positions with top sales talent. Recruitment during this period often draws time out from human resources and sales leadership and impacts their respective productivity. After considering commission for external recruitment firms, McKinsey estimates that some organizations spend roughly $15,000 in internal productivity to select a mid-level sales position.7
Companies also suffer costs from supporting a vacant position during recruitment. The average vacancy costs $500 per position per day, meaning that a vacant position itself costs at least $22,000 for the average recruitment period (44 days).7 This number often increases to anywhere between $25,000 to $50,000 when lost productivity and customer dissatisfaction are also considered.8
Training and Onboarding
Once a new salesperson is hired, they often undergo training and onboarding processes to establish expectations and mentorship until they reach full productivity..
CSO Insights research found that 71% of companies take 6 months or longer to onboard new sales reps, while a third of all companies take 9 months or more.2 This indicates that a majority of B2B sales representatives are not operating at full productivity and are unable to sell complex solutions for at least half of their first year on the job.
A majority of B2B sales representatives are not operating at full productivity and are unable to sell complex solutions for at least half of their first year on the job.
companies can spend up to 2.5 times of the average salary just to fill an open sales position
Onboarding also involves time invested by managers, outside trading companies, and co-workers to train new hires. By assuming that the cost of a loss in internal time and productivity is $500 per day, conservatively approximating a salesperson will take 6 months until full productivity, and estimating that an average rep receives $3,400 in training a year, onboarding a new employee alone can cost a business over $93,000.7
Therefore, the total cost of recruiting and onboarding a new sales rep conservatively ranges between $133,000 and $158,000 when considering the upfront and hidden costs. Given that an average annual salary is $60,000 per year for a US sales rep, companies can spend up to 2.5 times of the average salary just to fill an open sales position.
How to Increase Sales Productivity
The data above show that hiring more personnel to increase the productivity of a sales team comes at a significant cost. A more effective solution is investing in efforts to improve the existing sales team’s employee satisfaction and provide better high quality leads (HQLs).
Improve Existing Team’s Employee Satisfaction
Improving the onboarding process and providing digital sales technologies are two ways to improve employee satisfaction and decrease turnover.
According to Forbes, ineffective onboarding is a major reason why companies lose 20% of new hires within the first 45 days and 17% of new hires within the first three months.9 Employees who leave during the onboarding period results in a company suffering training costs at a loss; early employee turnover also contributes to the turnover cycle by increasing the costs of replacing sales talent for a single position.
Instead of stretching the onboarding process to last as long as twelve months, businesses can accelerate their onboarding process by organizing their roadmap into a three month formal timeline. A positive three month training process not only results in 69% of employees being more likely to stay with a company for more than three years, but also leads to reps who drive more sales.10, 11
Providing technology that supports virtual selling can also improve productivity. CSO Insights states that 88% of sales professionals cannot find critical sales material on their smartphones, while 60% of sales organizations experience longer sales cycles from lack of proper tools.1 As a result, one of the top reasons high-performing sales people leave organizations is concerns about ability to meet market needs.
Virtual selling has increased in popularity as technology, transparency, and efficiency play bigger roles in the sales process. Research shows that sales reps build 3.2 times more customer connections in front of screens than meeting with customers in person. Equipping sales people with new software and technology can improve employee satisfaction, reduce costs, and improve long-term sales success.3
A positive three month training process not only results in 69% of employees being more likely to stay with a company for more than three years, but also leads to reps who drive more sales.
88% of sales professionals cannot find critical sales material on their smartphones, while 60% of sales organizations experience longer sales cycles from lack of proper tools.
Sales reps build 3.2 times more customer connections in front of screens than meeting with customers in person.
Increasing the Number of HQLs
A sales person is only as good as his or her leads. When sales reps receive poor leads, the total time and effort they waste in qualifying, engaging, and selling to low-interest prospects is significantly more expensive than the time and money spent in pursuing better quality leads.
Low-quality leads have many hidden costs: wasted time, resources, and human capital. On average, bad lead prospect data costs sales departments 550 hours and $32,000 per representative.12 Assuming the average cost of $60,000 per year for a sales representative, not including additional payroll-related expenses, this means individuals are spending over 50% of their time and payroll working with low-interest customers—for SMEs, this number can often be higher at 85%.
Companies can focus efforts on increasing lead quality to increase the number of annual closed deals. High-quality leads not only increase conversion rates but shorten the overall sales cycle, leading a representative to increase productivity by closing 10 times more deals in a single year. For more information, read our previous article on “The Cumulative Impact of High and Low Quality Leads.”
A study by Bain and Company shows an alarming trend: the cost of sales and marketing is growing faster than revenues. Half of the companies surveyed experienced their sales and marketing costs rising faster than revenues. Ironically, when companies achieved high growth, their costs of sales and marketing, as a percentage of sales, remained flat or even declined.
This study, along with others, proves a fundamental shift in the B2B world: Buyers have dramatically changed how they buy, while sellers continue to sell as they always have.How do sellers adapt to the changing demands and preferences of the modern buyer while pursuing continuous revenue growth?
Through the Five Factors that accelerate revenue growth; these factors are:
This first factor advocates that you select, market, and sell to the right industry segment for your unique business’ products and services. Of all of the five factors, this segmentation and focus has the greatest potential to increase or decrease your revenue growth.
The old selling process is being replaced. Today’s buyers want to work exclusively with vendors who align their selling process to the buyer’s preferences. Buyers prefer to research and reach out to companies that the like. To capture the attention of this new brand of buyers, sellers must align their sales and marketing processes with their buyer’s expectations and preferences.
To achieve high revenue growth, companies should perceive their marketing and sales efforts and departments as intimately linked. If your marketing and sales teams see themselves as a united force, at least 75% of your leads should be directly generated by marketing.
Factor 4: Leverage Intelligent Sales & Marketing Data
With the overwhelming amount of data present in sales, you must be careful to only provide sales reps with intelligent data. Intelligent data is numbers and figures that enable sales reps to be relevant, engaging, and convincing in their interactions with buyers. The targeted capabilities of intelligent data enables your sales team to more effectively speak to leads and prospects, increasing the likelihood of their conversion into buyers.
Factor 5: Manage Sales & Marketing Operations by Metrics
Most B2B companies today track some form of metric, but usually only in regards to sales departments. To generate revenue growth at a faster rate than costs, companies should invest in tracking the performance of their marketing campaigns. Factor 3 informs us that marketing is just as important, if not more important, than sales at generating leads and revenue growth.
In short, buyers are demanding more from sellers. They want a real partner that can ceaselessly add value to their own offering, enabling them to renew non-stop their own competitive advantage. In other words, they want to work with a top tier provider. This is no easy demand—which is why, for most B2B companies, the cost of marketing and selling is growing faster than revenues.
To fully learn how to best leverage these Five Factors to reduce your costs and grow your revenue, download our full whitepaper.
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