A quick Google search using keywords like “trends in B2B marketing” easily gives anyone a ton of information on what’s going on in the world of marketing and selling to businesses. But how much of this ‘information’ will actually get to be translated into meaningful insights? We sometimes have to go deep beneath the trends in order to uncover what they really mean. One article entry did exactly this and pondered on the possibility that B2B lead generation could be entering its ‘Golden Age’ right now.
In the article “Lead Generation: Are We Entering a Golden Age?” published on B2B Online, Christopher Hosford explores this fascinating idea by sharing what prominent B2B marketing experts think about developments in smarter lead generation and where these will likely take us in the coming years. These insights are worth taking careful note of as marketing itself is undergoing some rapid and major transformations as we speak. Whether you think b2b lead generation is entering its Golden Age or not, the below-numbered items are still very enlightening simply by themselves:
1. Big Data = Bigger Picture. The availability of more sophisticated data collection and processing tools has enabled marketers to paint a clearer and more detailed picture about buyer behavior and profile. These tools have also allowed marketers to view their campaigns and organizations as a whole on a short-term or long-term timeframe. On the opposite side of the spectrum, marketing audiences themselves consume data and information as part of the purchasing decision-making process.
2. Cycle Synchronization. Big data and marketing automation have made synchronizing the buying and sales cycles more viable and effective. According to Eloqua’s Doug Sechrist, content marketing and other functions are now becoming increasingly tailored toward accompanying prospects/leads throughout their buying journey. Today’s buyers spend an ample amount of time researching and doing their homework, using content delivered through various channels to facilitate decision-making. Brands seen as thought leaders or solution experts acquire not only sales deals but loyal customers as well.
3. Integrated Demand Generation. To support real synchronization between the buying cycle and sales cycle, marketing programs are spread across multiple closely-tied channels. This multichannel approach characterizes most present-day campaigns and is aimed at expanding the marketing reach to the most inclusive levels possible. Business buyers interact with brands through a variety of mediums, and companies that know where and how to reach prospects score the best leads.
4. Marketing & Sales Alignment. Yuchun Lee, VP and General Manager of IBM’s Enterprise Marketing Management Group notes that, unlike the prevalent practices from five years ago, today’s lead generation campaigns foster closer cooperation and coordination with the sales staff. This is seen in the more productive flow of ideas and information among marketing and sales employees.
5. Traditional Channels Enhanced – Not Replaced. Ken Fredman of JPMorgan Asset Management points out that a traditional channel like “old-fashioned telesales” hasn’t lost its luster at all and still proves quite effective, especially when “database analysis and the right offer” are thrown in. High-precision B2B telemarketing is an indispensable component in lead generation and will go on as such, contrary to popular misconception.
Whether we’re really entering the so-called ‘Golden Age’ of lead generation in the B2B space remains to be conclusively established. Nonetheless, we’re really seeing tectonic shifts in marketing today that to assume we’re not moving forward would be utterly false. Regardless of what era we find ourselves in, we have to keep up with the times or risk being left behind.