Just found this research on Linkedin and like a lot of research today it uncovers what is wrong with demand generation, and let's look at that and then move on and offer a solution.

The sample is "200+ B2B executives, marketing & sales leaders".

To quote the report "Last September (2020), six months after the 1st lockdown, my co-founder Vladimir Blagojevic and I (Andrei Zinkevich) decided to run market research to figure out what challenges B2B companies face and how they solve them.

Not only were we curious as to how COVID impacted business as usual, we also wanted to know if there were any patterns that would likely remain even after life eventually returned to normal."

One of the comments from the research is outlines as follows

We are seeing this across all industries, one sales leader explained the 2021 situation to me as "we lived off our 2019 pipeline in 2020, no pipeline was generated in 2020.  2021 is desperate, our pipeline is like a desert and all our leadership says is make more calls and send more emails".

This reports goes on to say 

"Through surveying 136 B2B tech companies and interviewing our own customers, we identified the main marketing challenges B2B companies face, as follows:"

This is certainly what we are seeing in the market.  Push marketing, sometimes called broadcast marketing, such as advertising, email and cold calling, just isn't working anymore.  The number of calls from CEOs and Sales Leaders, while that isn't research it backs up the findings here.

The report authors summarise their findings 

Canceled events and tradeshows increased the focus on outbound activities.

Sales cycle length increased.

Content blindness

MQL cost significantly increased. 

Companies experience a high churn rate because of bad product adoption.

I don't think surprises anybody and I know for a fact a tool is not the answer.

What is the answer to our pipeline problem?

A recent article by Catherine Coale, from Telstra Purple caught my eye, partly because it's based on data and not some "gurus" opinion.

Before we get started, I'm going to share two of Catherine's conclusions.

This article and it's conclusions MUST impact your digital marketing strategy and your budget priorities, unsurprisingly it backs up the research above.

These are direct quotes, from her article ....

3. Traditional B2B Marketing is Screwed

Forget product centric messages. Forget gated content on social platforms. Stop broadcasting branded messages in the hope that some of it will stick. Our pilot tells us that hardly anyone is listening anymore.   

The important point there is not about you, it's about the modern buyer, they are not listening anymore.

4. If you’re doing structured Employee Advocacy today, consider reviewing your scope.

Edicts to share company content without putting your people in the narrative is just another form of broadcast marketing. It is not well received on this platform. Attempting to create a single brand voice is also a mistake.

Creating pipeline in the pandemic

This is Eric, he's one of the team at DLA Ignite here is a post that he put up.  We have all seen posts like this, we see them everyday, but people treat social tactically.  You post, because you think you have to or somebody tells you you should and walk away.  Let's talk about this post. 

 Eric's post of his 16 year old son, Austin, on his Birthday got 18,000 views and 165 likes, which is great.

But better still, he got 6 - C-Level meetings, two proposal and one purchase order from this post?  

Let's stop and think about this for a second.  

This post took 10 minutes to create and it got 6 C-Level meetings, two proposal and one purchase order, how come?

Because, all of Eric's post are strategic.  He knows exactly why he is posting it and knows how to monetise it.  There is no "tool" that is going to revolutionise yoru sales and marketing.  

You cannot get 6 C-Level meetings from 10 minutes work from cold calling, emailing, a tool or from advertising.  This is the transformation that has taken place with social.

Just one example of why you need to get your employees and sales team on social, just think of the $ impact to your business?  Especially if you scaled this across your sales team and your employees?

The pandemic has shifted digital selling from being a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have”.

How can you get 6 C-Level meetings and 1 sales from a post on LinkedIn that took 10 minutes? 

How does Eric do this?  He builds relationships with prospects and customers and because they have a relationship with a human, not a brand, people are happy to engage.  Eric is also able to cut through the myrmid of noise that brands keep putting out.  If you are a buyer, where will you spend your time?  Reading an advert that says "buy my product because it's great" or look for the insight and educational content that people like Eric is putting out?

In a recent article, Nick Dangles, co-founder of Kinetic, was asked for his best advice on social selling and he said

“The best advice I can give about social selling is that it’s not about selling. It’s about creating meaningful and engaging content that will resonate with your audience. Approaching social selling with the intent of providing something of value will give much better results than simply pitching your company on social media,”  

And finally ...

Late last year McKinsey and Co reported that its corporate clients experienced on average 7 years of digital transformation in the first six months of 2020 as they hustled to adjust to the global economic COVID disruption. 

Another way to think of that statistic is that if you didn't start transforming your business in those months you are now 7 years behind your competitors!

Where Do We Go From Here?

Just give me, or one of the DLA Ignite team and hour of your time and we can walk you through what we are doing in the form of case studies, what we are doing for other businesses to transform them to digital.  No hard sell, just practical examples.

DLA Ignite is a global business and we understand that a "cookie cutter" approach to digital does not work, we have to take into account local language and cultural sensitivities.  Which is why we have built teams across the globe, that can support you by country and industry sector. 

For more information contact me here, visit our website, or visit our Linkedin company page and contact one of the DLA Ignite team members.