Are your demand generation efforts healthy or on life support? We recently polled several hundred business and sales leaders about their top priorities and pains. Demand generation ranked #1 above all others – by a long shot.
Business sales leaders feel the pain when there’s not enough demand being generated, or when the demand is low quality and unqualified to buy. When quantity and quality are not where they need to be, salespeople end up wasting valuable time on finding their own new opportunities or pursuing opportunities that are unlikely to produce revenue.
Successful demand generation requires close alignment and collaboration between sales and marketing functions, in order to achieve an organization’s goals. Having done this now for over 15 years, I can easily identify symptoms that usually indicate poor alignment. Examine these in your own organization to highlight improvement opportunities.
Self-Assessment: 10 Symptoms of Unhealthy Demand Generation Efforts
- Poor Google search results – Type a few keywords into Google related to the products or services you sell, or the problems you solve for customers. Then, try searching some of your brands. If you don’t show up on the first page, either through organic or paid results, then you are at a huge disadvantage.
- Low web traffic, relative to your competitors – Traffic volume to your website is an indicator of your exposure in the market. It is important to see how you rank, relative to your competitors, to determine where you stand. You can do this for free on SimilarWeb (www.similarweb.com). If you are lagging far behind, then you have work to do.
- Poor web site and content – Buyers judge within a few seconds if a web site is relevant to them. If the site lacks credibility or if information that buyers need is difficult to find, they will probably leave. Imagine that you were a buyer on your site. What information would you want and how easily can you find it? If the buying experience isn’t effortless, then you are at a huge disadvantage.
- Product vs. buyer-focused website – Some buyers come to your website knowing a problem they need solved, while others may come looking for a specific product or service you offer. You need to provide them with multiple paths to establish your relevance. If not, then they may quickly conclude that you can’t help them and leave.
- Neglected blog – A neglected blog is a sign of a marketing team that’s not up to snuff. Think about the message that it sends to buyers. It damages your credibility. Commit and do it right, or do something else that will work, given the resources you can afford.
- Poor online buying experience – Calls to action, phone numbers, and contact forms should be easy to find and working properly. Do you realize that many 1-800 numbers don’t work outside of the US? So, unless you don’t need customers from other countries, don’t offer a standard number. The same goes for mobile users. Make it easy for them to engage with you.
- Positioning is not clear or compelling – Many B2B companies try so hard to be provocative that they become disconnected from what customers want, need, or value. If you can’t describe what your company does in less than a couple of minutes, then you are at a huge disadvantage.
- Poor landing pages and web forms – Landing pages and lead forms must not feel overwhelming or ask for information that most visitors won’t have at their fingertips. Information on landing pages must be relevant to your content offers and calls to action. Look at your web forms and ask yourself if they are relevant to what you want and easy to complete.
- Slow lead responsiveness – The best time to follow up with leads is immediately after they submit a web form – likelihood of contact degrades quickly as time passes. Fill out a contact form on your website under an alias and see how long it takes for someone to contact you. If you don’t hear from someone within 24 hours, or if you don’t hear from someone at all when you’ve asked to be contacted, then there’s a problem.
- Poor lead follow-up – Lead development reps or salespeople who follow up on inbound leads should be well-trained and well-prepared. Following through on submitting a test form, if or when someone does contact you, how would you judge their level of preparation and skill? Did they take time to learn a bit about your business before calling you? Are they asking a few good qualifying questions, or are they launching into a product pitch?
I encourage you to go through this brief self-diagnosis to identify any potential weaknesses and opportunities. Or, if you would like an objective, outside opinion about the state of demand generation in your company, contact us for a discussion on how we can help you.