How to Decide Between Lead Generation vs Demand Generation Services

How to Decide Between Lead Generation vs Demand Generation Services

In this day and age, it’s surprising that quite a number of B2B marketing folks still get the terms “lead generation” and “demand generation” mixed up. Although these two activities remain inextricably linked, they’re not the same thing. That’s why if you’re out on the market looking for lead generation or demand generation services, it’s important that you know the differences between them and find out how to choose which one you need.

Demand generation and lead generation share some similar goals, but successful marketers use each of these to achieve different sets of objectives. According to the Content Marketing Institute, demand generation creates interest on your brand or product, while lead generation captures information from interested prospects once demand has been established. The outcome of demand generation services is increased reach and conversions, while that of lead generation is new qualified contacts available for marketing or sales.

In other words, demand generation precedes lead generation. Demand generation hauls prospects into your sales funnel, while lead generation ensures that these prospects actually make it inside. That means if you’re looking for an outsourced marketing partner, you need to be sure you’re getting the right services. Here’s a few questions to help you find out whether you need lead generation or demand generation services:


  1. What are your present priorities and objectives?

Customer acquisition and brand awareness typically vie for marketers’ time and budget. But achieving either or both these end-goals requires having clear processes in place. What’s more is that these processes vary depending on whether your current strategic situation call for a revenue-oriented or a branding-focused approach (or a combination of both).

If you’re leaning toward customer acquisition, then lead generation activities should probably make up a significant chunk of your marketing efforts. Otherwise, going for demand generation services is most likely your best path forward.


  1. How much does your target market know about your product or solution?

Keep in mind that demand generation services help you create buzz and awareness about your solution or company. It’s the right tool for the job if your target buyers aren’t very familiar with what you’re offering and you need to let your audience know about its capabilities and benefits.

On the other hand, if your target prospects already have a good idea about your product, then they’re potentially ready to proceed toward the next stages in the sales funnel. That’s where lead generation can really help.


  1. What prospect qualifications are you looking for?

Here’s one way to think about the differences between lead generation and demand generation services. Demand generation is like casting as wide a net as possible, while lead generation helps keep only the most interested prospects, setting the rest aside. This is why demand generation tactics often use content that’s freely available (such as blog posts), whereas lead generation relies on gated content assets (such as whitepaper downloads).

Lead generation needs a more specific (and oftentimes narrower) set of prospect qualification criteria. BANT, buyer profiles, and lead scores make up prospect qualifications in lead generation. Demand generation, meanwhile, works with a broader set of prospect characteristics.


  1. What are your target outcomes?

Demand and leads are obviously different things, although you could argue that a lead is what demand looks like once qualified. Unless we’re talking about demand in a microeconomics context, quantifying demand for your product or solution is trickier than measuring lead generation outcomes.

With lead generation, it’s easy to find universally agreed-upon metrics to measure results (e.g., record counts for lead quantity, lead scores for lead quality). For demand generation services, it takes a little creativity to find the right yardsticks to use.

By now, you’ve possibly gotten the impression that lead generation and demand generation go hand in hand. That’s exactly the case. Deciding between lead generation and demand generation services is actually finding the right balance between which initiatives to do in-house and which ones to outsource to a third-party provider. Define what you want to achieve and determine how your current capabilities and resources stack up against your objectives.

4 Ways to Use Influencer Marketing for Faster Fresh Leads Creation

4 Ways to Use Influencer Marketing for Faster Fresh Leads Creation


It sometimes pays to stand on the shoulders of giants to extend your marketing messages’ reach and impact. That’s why influencer marketing is an ideal strategy for speeding up fresh leads creation and conversion. Influencers can help you connect with a larger audience or reach deeper levels of engagement which you’d most likely have a hard time achieving on your own.

It’s quite clear that influencer marketing works. There’s a ton of research that show leveraging the power of influencers does make a huge difference across marketing activities. Social influencers, for example, have been shown to boost traffic by up to 6 times and improve conversions by more than 100%. As a result, around 75% of marketers swear by influencer marketing when it comes to fresh leads creation and building customer loyalty.

In a nutshell, influencer marketing focuses on reaching out to people that your target marketing audience trusts and pays attention to. It starts with identifying the most relevant personalities in your industry or niche. Then, you should narrow down the types of influencers to target (e.g., thought leaders, industry insiders, celebrities, etc.), so that the help you’re getting aligns with your lead generation goals. Lastly, you need to have something to offer in exchange for influencers’ favor. Although most influencer outreach tactics won’t cost you a dime, you do need to let influencers know there’s something in it for them, too.

Once you have all the basics nailed down, here are four ways to leverage influencer marketing to generate and convert more leads:


  1. Build a community of influencers

The more influencers you bring together as part of your network, the better the reach and impact of your outreach efforts potentially become. Having an entire community of influencers to work with means better visibility and deeper engagement, even if a particular influencer has a relatively smaller audience size or a narrower focus.

Maintaining an extensive network of influencers also means you’ll be able to mix and match different influencer types to find the best combination that works for you. Think of it as diversifying your portfolio of influencer marketing assets, so that you won’t end up putting all your fresh leads creation eggs in one basket.


  1. Tailor content aimed at your influencers

In B2B content marketing, the classic content strategy is to put out informative, actionable content assets mapped to the target buyers’ pain points and stage in the purchase cycle. But content intended for B2B audiences typically doesn’t always match what influencers are looking for.

That’s why it’s also important for you to create content not only for your target decision-makers but for the influencers you want to reach out to as well. Influencers actively share content they find useful with their network. Just one well-placed mention from an influencer can take your fresh leads creation efforts to a whole new level.


  1. Make it about sharing and shareability

Speaking of sharing, one crucial area in influencer marketing is shareable content. As we’ve seen above, if you’re able to produce content that resonates with an influencer, then there’s a strong chance that particular influencer will feel compelled to share it. It’s crucial that you publish not only outstanding content but irresistibly shareable pieces as well.

They say that sharing is the currency of engagement in influencer marketing, so you also need to develop a “culture of sharing”. You need to encourage content sharing both internally within your organization and externally among your followers and customers.


  1. Collaborate with your influencers

One way to make your outreach mutually beneficial to you and your target influencers is through exploring opportunities for collaboration. Remember that part about offering something of value in exchange for your influencer’s help? Working together in a campaign or project can sometimes be enough to bring an interested influencer into your fold.

There are lots of strategies to do this: ask your influencer’s inputs for a blog post that rounds up expert advice on a topic, interview an influencer as a guest on a podcast episode, or let your influencer co-host a webinar on your site.

Cultivating relationships with influencers can help accelerate your fresh leads creation activities, but it doesn’t mean results are going to improve overnight. Influencer marketing takes time. But, with the right approach, the time you spend is going to be worth it.

5 Key Qualities to Look For in a Data Gathering Solution Provider

5 Key Qualities to Look For in a Data Gathering Solution Provider

We’re living through some pretty exciting times for data-driven marketing. Recent research from the Winterberry Group and Global Direct Marketing Association finds that almost 80% of marketers agree data is more critical than ever. The same study also reports that 88% actively use list segmentation and that 64% of marketers buy data from third-party data gathering solution providers and database vendors. If current trends continue, then practically all marketers will embrace the data-driven mindset in just a matter of years.

That means more and more marketers will be seeking the services of business list providers to help them fill their demand for rich, targeted data. If you happen to be part of this group, keep in mind that not all data gathering solution providers are created equal. There’s more to choosing a list vendor than simply comparing prices. To help you find the right data company for you, here’s a quick rundown of the things you should look for in a potential list seller.


  1. Data Source

One of the key things that a list vendor needs to let you know upfront is its data sources. Typically, data gathering solution companies acquire prospect and customer information through in-house data mining and/or third-party sources. Oftentimes, data providers use a combination of multiple internal and external sources to find and collect information.

The issue arises when a provider relies too heavily on outside data sources. That’s because data vendors do not exert the same level of control over data quality on externally-sourced data than it does on data obtained through in-house efforts. That’s why you really need to know this right off the bat.


  1. Data Shelf Life

As you know all too well already, data has an expiry date. On average, data decays at a rate of 2% each month. If you apply that to the millions of database records that most data providers claim they have, that’s going to be a huge number by any metric.

That’s why it pays to ask a potential list seller how recent the datasets they’re offering are. You don’t want to use marketing information that’s stale. Bad data will cost you bigtime, not only in terms of poor marketing results but also through significantly lower top and bottom-line figures. Look for vendors that refresh their records at least twice a year.


  1. QA Process

Data quality covers such a broad area that it can be a little challenging for a customer to evaluate how well a data provider’s QA processes are running. Some crucial things to consider are a list vendor’s data cleansing practices, its data validation methods, and the data maintenance technology it uses.

Another key differentiator that sets most great third-party data vendors apart from the rest is the use of manual data verification in their QA processes. Keeping humans in the data maintenance loop ensures that critical pieces of information aren’t left solely to the whims of algorithms and models.


  1. Metrics/KPIs

Just as any other marketing service you’re about to invest in, data gathering solution initiatives should include the relevant set of yardsticks for measuring performance. This makes it easier for you to set objectives and gauge how much the deliverable (list or added prospect details) is contributing to the campaign results.

As a starting point, you should ask a potential data gathering solution partner what deliverability rates to expect. Then, the data provider should also let you know what guarantees it’s making about the initial overall state of the data product along with the actions the vendor will take to fix data issues.


  1. Compliance Practices

Compliance is another crucial aspect you need to carefully consider when working with a list vendor. Depending on the geographic area you’re targeting, there can be an entire minefield of laws and regulations you may need to navigate around. Your list provider should help you steer clear of these potential problems.

While specific regulations vary, some important compliance considerations to think about in general include:

  • Data must be lawfully obtained.
  • Information must be given/acquired based on consent.
  • Opt-out requests must be promptly acted upon.
  • Records must be checked against DNC and DNE lists

You can now confidently assess data gathering solution providers as potential marketing partners. The important thing to take away from this blog entry is to do your due diligence before choosing a list vendor.

6 Firmographic Info to Gather on Your Next Contact List Appending Run

6 Firmographic Info to Gather on Your Next Contact List Appending Run

In B2B marketing, getting to know your prospects and leads better can oftentimes require adding more fields on your marketing database. That’s why contact list appending remains a critical component of a modern B2B marketer’s data management plan. When done right, data appending enables you to paint a sharper image of potential customers, so that you’ll be able to engage and nurture them the right way.

In a previous blog entry, we wrote about a number of tried-and-tested segmentation strategies to boost response and conversion rates. One approach we pointed out was to segment a list based on company-level information. In that same post, we also saw that firm-level attributes should act as your list segmentation baseline, since company details are widely-available and inexpensive to gather on scale.

But a key challenge when slicing a list based on firmographics is that there’s often way too much information you can collect on a company. It can be difficult to decide which attributes to focus on and which ones to ignore, given the dizzying amount of company-specific information available out there.

So, before you kick-start your next contact list appending project with an in-house team or with a third-party provider, don’t skimp on any of these six must-have firmographic attributes (arranged in no particular order):


  1. Job Title

If the fields in your B2B contact list include only the standard first and last names plus email address, then you’re doing your whole email marketing effort a massive disservice each time you reach out.

Job titles are a great way to start coming up with more relevant and personalized messages. Each job title represents an entire set of (potentially) unique pain points and interests you can use to refine your targeting precision.


  1. Role in Buying Process

Knowledge Tree says there may be 7 to 20 decision-makers involved in most B2B buying decisions. That’s a lot of people to reach out to, each with their own priorities, objectives, and interests to look after.

That’s why finding out what role a prospect plays in the purchase process can make or break your marketing campaign’s targeting and segmentation capabilities.


  1. Industry

This really should go without mentioning, but we’ll include this here for good measure. A target company’s industry should sit on or close to the top items on a list of must-have firmographic data.

On your upcoming contact list appending project, you (or your service provider) should match not only the industry name but also the corresponding NAICS/SIC codes as well.


  1. Number of Employees

Knowing a company’s size based on how large or small its workforce is can be an ideal segmentation/targeting route to take for some B2B organizations.

This company detail is especially useful if your solution or product line is geared toward businesses with a specific workforce size. A startup with fewer than 50 employees most likely has a different set of pain points when compared to an enterprise of more than 500 employees.


  1. Annual Revenues

Similar to employee size, a company’s annual revenue helps you objectively classify how large or small your target business is. Annual revenue is a standard field in most B2B prospect lists. It’s usually taken together with workforce size when segmenting or filtering B2B marketing databases.

Many third-party contact list appending companies supply figures for annual sales either as an actual amount or as an estimated range. So, when you choose to partner with a data provider, make sure that the value type for this field remains consistent for each record.


  1. Location

Depending on your targeting needs, geographic location can be as broad as a single field for country/region or as granular as street address. The main idea is to ensure consistency with the location data you or your service provider obtains.

You should also consider appending data on whether the given address refers to the company’s headquarters or one of its branches, unless this information is already apparent on the address field names themselves.

These are the top six types of company information you should be looking at as part of your B2B contact list appending activities. Of course, there are a ton of other firmographic data worth collecting, but let’s save those for a future post or for the comments section below.

6 Actionable Ways to Segment Information Technology Mailing Lists

6 Actionable Ways to Segment Information Technology Mailing ListsWhether IT managers, directors, or CIOs (or all three) make up your information technology mailing lists, reaching out to an organization’s IT decision-makers via email can be a tough nut to crack. IT folks tend to be a well-informed bunch (i.e., keeping up with developments in their field is an unwritten item on their job description). This makes them almost pathologically allergic to sales and marketing efforts that try to “educate” them on a pain point or solution they can figure out on their own.

But with the right message delivered to the right person at the right time and for the right reasons, it’s not impossible to get decent email campaign results with your information technology mailing lists. That’s right. I’m talking about good-old email list segmentation.

List segmentation breaks up your contact database into groupings based on some criteria (more on this below). The main idea is that these groupings (or segments) let you deliver more relevant email messages, so that recipients respond better to your emails. Actual campaign results show that segmented email lists produce, on average, 14% more opens and 101% higher CTRs than non-segmented lists.

It’s a bit surprising (to me, at least) that despite the measurable benefits list segmentation brings to the table, a whopping 42% of companies still avoid using this tactic. That’s according to a DMA report that claims segmentation generated 58% of revenues and 77% of ROI in 2015.

So, there you have it. Segmentation isn’t only good for your email campaigns; it also works well at boosting your top and bottom-lines. Now, let’s go over a few segmentation techniques you can apply on your information technology mailing lists right away. Although there can be hundreds of ways to slice and dice your email lists, most of these boil down to the following:


  1. Start with basic firmographics

I’m sure you’ve come across some fancy ways of breaking lists up. But, in most cases in IT sales and marketing, segmenting lists according to your target prospects’ company attributes can already get the job done.

Information like industry, annual revenues, geographic location, and company size are good parameters to get started with chopping up your information technology mailing lists, especially if you also throw in additional segmentation criteria such as software or technology in use along with the company’s purchase process.


  1. Map emails to sales funnel stages

If you need a bit more precision in your email campaigns, then targeting based on where prospects are in your sales funnel is the logical next step to build on top of firmographic segmentation.

It goes without saying that emails sent to top-of-funnel prospects shouldn’t be the same as emails intended for leads that have been in your pipeline for a while. New email subscribers, for example, are most likely looking for general information about your products and company. They’re usually not yet ready for emails about product comparisons or pricing.


  1. Follow a contact’s clickpath on your site

A clickpath is simply the series of links a visitor follows. It tracks the steps a prospect takes to get what she wants from your website.

How prospects navigate your site can reveal a lot about what they’re interested in and what their intentions are. Leads who have made it to your product pages, for instance, may be expecting a more product-oriented email message than someone who’s only been to your careers page.


  1. Find out what content they’re engaging with

Which of your whitepapers does a prospect download? What topics on your blog does that prospect tend to view? Which of these does she share often?

The content that a prospect consumes can help you craft email messages that are likely going to resonate with that lead. If you’re able to map your content materials with your sales funnel stages, your email list segments will become even more granulated once you include content preferences as a criterion.


  1. Keep track of responses and activities

If you’ve been using your information technology mailing lists for a while, then you’ve most probably already gathered enough data on prospect responses and email activities to identify patterns in how they interact with your campaigns.

Activities like opens, clicks, replies, and opt-outs can let you segment your list according to how engaged or interested prospects are. These interactions enable you to prioritize or reengage stalled leads with relevant messages.


  1. Apply a lead scoring scheme

One way to put all of these different segmentation techniques together is to use a lead scoring system. A lead score quantifies many of the things we’ve talked about earlier and assigns a value to a prospect based on how that lead meets each of the criteria.

For example, a lead scoring system might assign more points to an IT director whose company falls within a given industry, but deducts a corresponding value if that contact just happens to be browsing job vacancies on your site. A lead scoring scheme can give bigger points to prospects that view a certain topic (e.g., bottom-of-funnel content) and smaller scores to top-of-funnel leads. All these points are then added in order to compute the lead score for that particular contact.

Whatever segmentation strategy you choose to stick to, the key thing is to realize that the old “spray and pray” approach at email marketing won’t work on your information technology mailing lists. It’s relevant, engaging emails which are going to get you the right results.

Never One Without The Other: Email Marketing and Email Database

Never One Without The Other: Email Marketing and Email Database

I found articles that say, “Email is Dead” and “Buying an Email List is a No-no” a faux. It’s definitely not the case, not if you know how to make your email marketing strategy a killer and purchase an effective email database.

Email marketing is one of the distinct ways in B2B marketing strategies that enables you to reach not just random people but actual C-Level personas in any business industries. We know that more than just being professional and direct in talking to these people, being informative is also a requirement. For these business minded individuals who needs data-driven information to fabricate logical solutions for their business, you need to educate them how your network is of significance to finding such solutions. This educational approach can be satisfactorily provided by an email. Even now, email marketing continues to expand as it has become the most known channel in prospecting. It has been taken advantage to deliver content creatively. For in email marketing, you can easily present what you want for your client through the content. It is important to note that you have to educate them first before offering them your service right away. You can condense data that you want your client to see. It can make them discern that you are very much involving them with a correct data that would be genuinely useful for them in the future. Also, you can usher them to your business’s website by suggesting it to them in case they need to further check information.

Eventually, you need to acquire an email database. This can be just the right shortcut to extending your network to numerous B2B leads. Buying a B2B email list is convenient than collecting address from a sign-up form on a website or opt-in collection campaigns through an advertising service as it saves time building an email list. This also allows any marketer to rapidly reach many people with information about his service or product, especially demographics that he may otherwise not be able to reach; thus, expanding access to new markets. What’s more is that you get yourself a whole lot of treat like generating response rate, boosting open rates and more if you get yourself a good deal from good email list provider.

Amidst challenges, email marketing continues to be one of the best lead sources for B2B companies and email database is still at large in optimizing the said marketing strategy.

Reminders For Starters In Email Marketing

Reminders For Starters In Email Marketing

What is email marketing? Email marketing involve sending emails like product advertisements, business requests, sales solicitations or donations to potential or current customers.

As a starter in email marketing, sending emails to everyone you just know through LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter might feel off to you. However, know that you are not the only business doing this kind of marketing thing. As an email marketer, you should not be afraid of sending out emails to people whether you know them or not. Email marketers send emails to a wide demographic range of people regarding what they are selling, advertising or promoting. Correspondingly, it is inevitable to get no response from your prospects when you send them an email. Some marketers may think that this is okay, but wouldn’t it be nice to receive a positive response about the email you sent to a potential customer?

So how will you raise the chances of your emails getting a response from your potential customer? Easy. Avoid being considered as a bad email marketer. Here are reminders you need to keep in mind to achieve that.

  • Avoid sending irrelevant emails to your prospects.
  • Avoid sending out two or more emails to the same prospect every day.
  • Avoid sending out the wrong email to wrong prospects.
  • Avoid sending out emails during time off or clock off.
  • Avoid sending emails to uninterested prospects.

Applying these simple reminders when conducting an email marketing can help you raise the chances of having a response and not be considered as one of the typically bothersome email marketer. It is always important to know if you are becoming a nuisance. Be aware of what you are doing and be sensitive about how the recipient may feel. Sensitivity to your prospects’ or current customers’ needs is a critical value not just in email marketing but in the business as a whole.

The Change Occurring in B2B Marketing

The Change Occurring in B2B Marketing

For the past two years, there have been interesting shifts happening in the B2B enterprise like how buying decisions take place and who’s responsible for them.
This was something that the people of Caterpillar noticed when they launched four videos entitled “Built for it” for their brand campaign 6 years ago. They realized that the B2B audience was now hanging out online and is younger. Thus, they embarked on a more human, approachable and significant brand.
We are not oblivious to the fact that B2B’s audiences are online. 89% of B2B researchers take advantage of the internet during the B2B research process. Some may say that this hasn’t been much of a change from 2012. But looking at it deeply, we’ll see that the percentage of people using digital technology remains constant while what’s happening behind the scenes haven’t.
In the pursuit to find an answer, Google collaborated with Millward Brown Digital to conduct a study fielded way back 2014. They surveyed 3,000 B2B researchers about their research, purchase habits and usage of digital technology. At the end of the study, the results debunked a number of widely held B2B marketing beliefs. Also, expressing major connotations for B2B marketing game plans. Here are some of these myths:
Millenials aren’t making B2B business decisions. In actuality, nearly half of the overall researchers count are millennials. The shift in B2B researcher demographic these past few years are dramatic. There was an even mix across age groups in 2012 and age 18 to 34-year-old bracket was accounted for almost half of all the researchers count, an increase of 70%, in 2014. It will be a wrong move not to market to this group.
Not many researchers of B2B use mobile. Mobile usage has intensified. B2B researchers are using it throughout their entire path. According to this study conducted by Google, 42% of researchers use a mobile device during the B2B buying process and 49% of B2B researchers who use their mobile devices for product research do so while at work. Considering this, it’s imperative that you provide them with rich, user-friendly, mobile experiences.
The marketing target should be C-levels. The environment of influencers around the B2B research process has altered. 81% of non-C-suiters have a say in purchase decisions. Marketing only to the highest level means disregarding the people who also need to notice you.

The B2B Consultative Selling Approach

The B2B Consultative Selling Approach

Peoples’ way of buying have dramatically changed over the years. In the past, buyers had to approach the seller early in the sales process in order to research information for their purchase. The buyer needed information and the seller had it. Seller had the power to influence the sale as they come back with more information for the buyer. However, this does not settle well with buyers. Things are different now. Sellers can no longer leverage information since buyers can research their product online, read product reviews, get pricing or even talk to resources regarding their experience with the product or the company service. In fact, a recent study revealed that before contacting the seller, B2b buyers are already at sixty percent to ninety percent through their purchase. With the buyers having the upper hand in the buying process, pressuring them is futile. Correspondingly, with buyers wanting to buy but does not want to be sold to gave rise to a consulting approach. This approach is  more on teaching rather than doing a sales pitch to the buyer. It’s more on listening for opportunities to help, teach and delight the buyer.

This kind of approach certainly bode well with buyers and have been effective. Here are six helpful tips to increase effectiveness on this approach:

  1. Gather information.
    Research is very important element for selling, knowing what you are selling and familiarizing with what you or your company offers in order for you to give a brief introduction to your buyer. Also, research is very necessary for the following five more tips to work.
  1. Ask the buyer.
    Being a consultative line, it is also important that you ask the buyer. Regarding what has been listed, or simply repeating what the mentioned preferred service or product that the buyer wants. Questioning acts as a very handy sales tool.
  1. Listen carefully.
    Once you ask, then you must also listen. This helps you remember what to repeat when asking the buyer and also helps the buyer feel understood and taken care of. Also focus on the points of what the buyer is saying.
  1. Teach the buyer.
    Enlighten the buyer by educating them. What the buyer wants might not necessarily what he or she needs. Avoid mentioning your product or service. You’ll be surprised where the psychological power of reciprocity leads you with this.
  1. Qualify the needs.
    Ensure that the buyer is qualified of purchasing or availing a certain product offered for closing the deal. Use criteria such as GPCT and BANT.
  1. Close the process.
    Now not because it’s about to close, you can become reckless. You can comeback with the 5 other steps to make sure that things are correct and good to go. And simply ask for the buyer if he has anything he or she wants to ask so you can make things clear on the buyers end.