If market demand was a fixed commodity, attracting new business would require only that you create awareness and build interest around well-known needs. Companies who see their marketplace in this way often subscribe to a “lather, rinse, repeat,” approach to pipeline management – focusing marketing dollars on prospects already well-along their purchasing journey, identifying qualified opportunities, but paying little attention to the world of prospects who do not yet see their needs as urgent.
Though closing business right now is an ideal that everyone can appreciate, it’s a perspective that, taken in isolation, ignores the reality that it is in your power to create market demand. It takes a keen focus on both sales and marketing fronts to look beyond the current need for leads and build demand that continues to feed a hungry funnel over time. It can make sense to turn to innovations in demand generation designed to develop, rather than fulfill, the market need. Surprisingly, this often requires that you narrow, rather than expand, the world of suspects that you are targeting.
It starts with focus – which is a big challenge in some industries, particularly, in technology related businesses and in B2B marketing, because these types of businesses often sell their solutions broadly and then deploy them quite differently through onboarding and professional services that tailor solutions for different types of use cases. This means that what is relevant to one segment of buyers is often irrelevant to another.
So, how do you know whether increased focus can help your demand generation efforts? Here’s five questions that will help you diagnose whether narrowing your focus can help:
If you answered “yes” to two or more of these questions, it’s likely that your sales funnel challenge has as much to do with market development and focus as it does with the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns to capture inbound leads. As I said at the start of this post, the great news is that you can exert influence by deploying a market-based strategy that causes certain classes of prospects to develop faster. First, you’ll need to understand where and how you want to focus and truly commit to that as a leadership team. It will require that marketing, sales, services, and support march to the same direction and follow the same KPIs, and that the CEO and executive team are all bought-in and perceived as leading the change.
As it turns out, deciding where to focus is the easy part. I’ll provide some ideas around that part of the effort in my next post and follow that with other related thoughts. Until then, I think blogs are best when they are a two-way dialog, so let me know what you think!