The Six-Step Intent-based Demand Generation Process
It’s time For a New Approach to Building a Marketing-driven Pipeline
Generating sales pipeline for high-ticket offerings and long sales cycles is one of the hardest jobs in marketing:
- First, you have to pinpoint target companies who may be in-market for what you sell. Possibly, only 2-5% of your available market may be in-market at any given time.
- Then you have to find the key people at these organizations who may be involved in selecting vendors. This is one of the biggest beefs with ABM: “Accounts don’t buy, people but so get me the people.”
- You have to make them aware of why you may be the right fit, get them to consider your solution, and be willing to speak with you.
- Then you have to start a conversation, develop a relationship, and stay in touch with them over the long period they evaluate options.
Problems with the Typical Demand Generation Process
B2B Marketers do the best they can with techniques that have been in use for decades but these strategies are inefficient. Typical demand generation processes don’t work as well as they used as buyers are even harder to find and engage.
- Creating awareness through advertising across the entire target market is highly wasteful, if only 2-5% of the total available market is in-market.
- Lead generation programs through syndicated content or webinars can deliver hundreds of guaranteed leads but if you are lucky 10-20% of these are ever qualified.
- If the BDRs, SDRs are unable to follow on leads quickly, the likelihood of getting a response follows off in a hurry.
Being More Customer-centric
In our book, Total Customer Growth, we propose a more customer-centric approach to B2B marketing that leverages proven ABM principles. Total Customer Growth puts the customer and the buyer journey at the center.
There are four concepts in this model:
- Identify Intent – You identify which best-fit prospect accounts are in-market for your solution
- Engage – You help these prospects conclude that you should be considered and facilitate contact through an orchestrated marketing program
- Convert – You continue to engage the prospect to convert into a sale
- Grow – You monitor customer satisfaction and intent for other solutions, upsell them, and convert them into evangelists for your business, creating a longer-term growth model.
The first two stages are marketing-driven. Taking this down another level translates into a six-step process of building a marketing-driven pipeline.
The Six-Step Intent-Based Demand Generation Process
Our Intent-based Demand Generation Model is an ABM approach to new customer acquisition. Strictly speaking, demand generation focuses on the front half of this process. It’s about finding the right buyers, making them aware and interested in your product or service, and moving them toward action.
Here are the steps:
- Account Selection: Using a “Best-fit Customer” approach, you create a target account list. We typically use third-party intent data to narrow this down further to a narrower list of accounts that appear to be in-market.
- Analysis, Segmentation, and Buyer Circle Contacts: Once you have narrowed the target account list of potential customers down, you segment these accounts into clusters you will market to differently, for example, by size, geography, or other characteristics. Then you create a contact list of individuals who match the likely members of the buyer circle, including potential champions and influencers. We call these High Intent Contacts.
- Targeted Marketing: Once you have a highly targeted list of accounts and high-intent contacts representing your potential in-market audience, it’s time to generate demand. This is principally about using digital marketing to reach them with messages and content (blog posts etc) regarding the problems they are trying to solve. This also includes more solution-oriented messaging. In addition to creating awareness and building consideration, this helps to identify who has a need based on how individual contacts engage with your messaging.
- Lead Generation and Demand Capture: The second phase of the model is converting demand. As you pinpoint accounts and contacts that are responding to your demand generation messaging, it’s time to turn these into leads. You will use a variety of tactics here, including outbound calling, email, lead-generation ads, special offers, webinars, forms on your website, social selling, and more.
- Personalized Engagement: A key part of demand capture is personalized engagement. As you narrow down the high-intent contacts who appear to be most responsive to your messaging, it’s time to double down and amp up your personalized outreach. As you manage a shorter list of contacts, you should dive into their social profiles and understand more about them. Tailor your outreach to what you learn about them. Use social selling techniques to nurture a relationship with them.
- Sales Handover – Eventually, and after a great deal of lead nurturing, you will have a call with some of these high-intent contacts. As you learn more about them, you qualify them and transition the opportunity to the sales team.
This model has several benefits:
- Using ABM intent data, while you may not guarantee that you are reaching only in-market buyers, it improves your odds that you are marketing to the right accounts
- Secondly, it’s much less wasteful as you focus your ad spend on fewer eyeballs. You can use the same spend to break through the clutter and really ram your message home to a smaller group of buyers.
- You are marketing to individual buyers, not just accounts.
- You can tailor your message to subsegments and benefit from the higher effectiveness of more personalized messaging.
- It’s a more collaborative process that keeps sales and marketing in the loop throughout.
- It allows BDRs and SDRs to focus on accounts that appear to be in-market and are engaging with your marketing.
- It’s seamless and more efficient.
- It works!
If you want to learn more about this, Let’s book a growth session and we can explore new to grow your pipeline.
- Check out the book. Here is our page about our book on ABM, or you can buy it on Amazon.
- Check out more posts like this in the Healthtech MarketingLearning Center. It is chock-full of articles, use cases, tools like the ABM Campaign Planning Template, and ideas to get you started on your ABM journey.
- Follow me or connect with me on LinkedIn. I publish videos and articles on ABM and healthtech marketing.