Last year, Demand Gen Report (DGR) polled marketing executives in the US and found some interesting trends behind the B2B demand generation tactics they used. This year, DGR released their 2019 edition of the survey, and uncovered even more interesting developments in B2B demand and lead generation strategies.
While it was clear in 2018 that marketing’s role became increasingly important in the sales process with management placing more trust on marketers and with the continued rise of account-based marketing (ABM), this wasn’t readily reflected in the budget priorities of B2B organizations last year.
For 2019, however, B2B companies are now starting to allocate a bigger slice of the pie to demand/lead generation initiatives and ABM efforts. Nearly 75% of respondents say their demand/lead generation budgets will grow this year, with 46% reporting at least a 20% increase.
Let’s review some of the key findings from both the 2018 and 2019 editions of the Demand Generation Benchmark Survey Report.
Emails remain the number-one channel for engaging top-of-funnel leads, as well as converting mid- to bottom-of-funnel prospects. The survey also reveals that marketers now increasingly rely on “cross-channel” strategies in order to meet “more aggressive” revenue goals.
Around 70% of B2B marketers say their demand generation budget will grow in 2018. That’s in response to higher sales growth projections for this year, as B2B companies target at least a 30% increase in revenues. As a result:
- 28% of respondents report their organizations set revenue-based quotas for marketers (compared to 23% in 2017)
- 30% of respondents say pipeline influence is the main metric to gauge marketers’ performance (up from 27% in 2017)
- 73% of respondents rank lead quality as the number-one demand generation goal
With marketing increasingly being tied to revenues and in the face of ever-changing buyer behavior, marketers continue to refine their B2B demand generation tactics. Here’s what the Demand Gen Report study finds:
Top B2B Demand Generation Tactics
Findings from the Demand Gen Report study indicate that different tactics work best at different stages of the sales cycle. Around 68% of the polled marketers rank in-person events as the most effective tactic for generating qualified top-of-funnel leads, followed by webinars at 61%. Here’s what the complete rankings look like:
- Live Events (68%)
- Webinars (61%)
- Lead Nurturing (57%)
- Whitepapers (50%)
- Case Studies (50%)
- Videos (37%)
For the top-performing demand generation tactics at later stages in the funnel, case studies outrank other strategies as follows:
- Case Studies (73%)
- Lead Nurturing (63%)
- Live Events (55%)
- Webinars (54%)
- Whitepapers (47%)
- Videos (38%)
Top B2B Demand Generation Channels
Close to 3 out of 5 B2B marketers rank Emails as the most effective channel when it comes to driving awareness and interest in the early stages of the sales process. The complete rankings are as follows:
- Emails (59%)
- Search (56%)
- Website (51%)
- Social Media (44%)
- Online Ads (27%)
- Retargeting (19%)
- Content Syndication (17%)
- Telemarketing (14%)
- Direct Mail (7%)
- Predictive Analytics (2%)
Here’s how these channels perform when it comes to converting leads later on in the sales funnel:
- Email (81%)
- Website (50%)
- Telemarketing (45%)
- Retargeting (27%)
- Direct Mail (20%)
- Search (18%)
- Social Media (17%)
- Content Syndication (11%)
- Predictive Analytics (11%)
- Online Ads (6%)
Among the key takeaways from the Demand Gen Report survey is that marketers shift their preferences for different B2B demand generation tactics and channels at different points in the sales cycle. Search ranks highly (2nd) during the early funnel stages, but diminishes in importance later on. The same can be said of telemarketing, which the survey shows as a better channel for converting opportunities than as a tool for engaging fresh leads.
This indicates that B2B marketers understand when and how to use these different channels. Oftentimes, this involves combining these tools into a single, coherent strategy where each channel complements the others.
At ContactDB, for example, we use a multi-channel approach when doing demand generation campaigns for our customers. We leverage the scale and reach of email marketing to enhance live phone conversations with the target hand-raisers and use social media to reinforce these touch points.
It’s clear that B2B demand generation tactics are evolving, and it’s time for marketers to adapt.