Demand generation is the critical space between sales and marketing — an area that’s often challenging to navigate because marketers and sales leaders are often pursuing different goals. While marketers seek to ramp up visibility and nurture audiences through the conversion funnel, sales teams are focused on closing deals.
At every organization, the goal is for these two puzzle pieces to complement one another. But sometimes, there’s a mismatch between the two sides — for instance, marketing may send over leads that are the wrong fit, and sales teams may try to jump on prospects who are too high up the funnel. This lack of cohesion can frustrate potential customers and make it easy for them to move on.
A great way to improve your demand generation program is with real-time personalization – technology that can help you engage with potential customers in a relevant, personalized way. Here are a few subtle tactics that can make a dramatic impact.
1. Better segmentation
When evaluating B2B products, prospects are often looking to solve an immediate problem — which means that they’re making purchasing decisions fast. Marketing and sales teams need to be armed with information and ready to respond with relevant information.
Compete, a division of Millward Brown Digital, recognized this challenge within their own organization — that customer teams needed a way to access customer data faster. Instead of relying on weekly reports, Compete integrated real-time customer data and insights into its CRM. These capabilities have helped the company create a system that segments its database by account status level and product usage.
Compete’s account managers can now identify areas for upsell and situations in which customers are likely to churn. Better segmentation has helped their team lift retention rates by 26% between 2011 and 2014.
2. Targeted onboarding
Technology is becoming increasingly important, and people have very little time to navigate steep software learning curves. That’s why it’s important to set the tone ‘right’ with a strong onboarding program.
SaaS and B2B companies are dependent on strong relationships. That’s why your customer-facing teams need to make your company’s onboarding processes as easy as possible by ensuring that users have the helpful resources that they need at exactly the right moment.
Real-time targeting can help achieve this goal. Take a look at the following example from Compete.
Rather than blasting audiences with an email that’s easy to overlook, Compete sends PRO users a webinar memo ‘in the moment.’ These messages are free of distractions and can be programmed to help customers learn about something very specific — they can also help in walking new customers through a multi-step onboarding program (like the video below).
Sending customers an email-based onboarding series is less effective. When they’re not actively using or thinking about your app, they’re more likely to overlook your training materials. Instead, target them in the app when they’re already learning and exploring.
3. Programmatic listening
Remarkable experiences are built on close connections with customers. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to what your customers are telling you — implicitly and explicitly — so that you can respond accordingly. Real-time targeting and feedback loops can help.
As an example, cloud-based platform solutions provider Endurance International Group created a system for gathering valuable insight and feedback through the use of targeted surveys. Better data has enabled the company to create richer segments and gain a deeper understanding of its customer base. The company also utilizes this information to communicate and engage with its customers in context at different stages of their lifecycle— which includes real-time up-selling opportunities.
With this approach, Endurance International Group has been able to improve conversion rates by 4-5x compared to one-size-fits-all email campaigns.
Strong demand generation programs are built on relationships — and strong relationships are based on fine-tuned targeting. Amplify your demand generation program by listening more and responding to your customers with personalized answers to their questions. These seemingly subtle adjustments, as demonstrated by the examples above, have the potential to yield impactful outcomes.