Picking a B2B marketing demand generation partner is often looked at as simple procurement – you put out an RFP, review the proposals, and pick a vendor based on price or promises of high volume.
Except you’re not buying office supplies. You’re entering into a relationship that can help define and optimize your demand generation strategy for years to come.
The right marketing demand generation partner can help your team identify new audiences and the best ways to engage with them. You’ll see better conversion rates and higher return on your marketing budget.
The right partnership delivers:
- Meaningful success metrics
- Transparency into campaign performance
- Responsiveness to issues
- Confidence in the quality of results
- Accountability for results
- Strategic opportunity generation ideas for B2B marketing
And it all begins with trust.
Finding a Marketing Demand Generation Partner You Can Trust
Today’s B2B marketing teams face an enormous amount of pressure to justify every dollar they spend. In fact, a recent survey showed that about three-fourths of marketers say they are being asked to do more with less, even though B2B marketing spend is expected to increase a bit over the next year.
So, the pressure is on. You need more than just leads – you need in-market opportunities that you can move to the next stage of your customer journey with confidence. But you also don’t have time and resources to hand-hold your marketing demand generation partner through every step of the campaign. You need your partner to be an extension of your team, not a lead vending machine.
So what attributes make for this kind of trusted partner?
They Do the Work Themselves
The demand gen marketplace is full of agencies and providers that source contracts from other parties. In fact, we’ve seen examples of five or more outsourced providers on a single contract. That can result in pacing delays and dead-end leads versus opportunities.
It also means that even if they deliver solid leads versus opportunities, the provider you work with directly doesn’t really know what’s working and what isn’t. They are just filling an order. They can’t give you real-time transparency into your campaign’s progress, or provide meaningful analysis for optimization of your next marketing demand generation effort. Because they weren’t the ones executing the campaign.
Which leads us to …
They Execute on the Basics
Credibility is the foundation of trust. If your partner can’t deliver on a standard campaign, there’s no reason to think they can take your demand generation strategy to the next level.
They Own the Data
Middlemen and agencies can only deliver the contacts you ordered. They can’t analyze the complete scope of firmographic, demographic, and behavioral data that defines how potential customers react to content and offers. Marketing demand generation partners who own the data and are the ones who are actually talking to prospects – they get the complete picture and can provide the insights you need to refine your demand generation strategy.
They Ask Smart Questions
A trustworthy partner will ask questions about your business goals, such as your growth plans and sales challenges. More importantly, they’ll ask you what you plan to do with the opportunities they deliver. Your team’s next steps should help determine the tactics your marketing demand generation partner employs – do you want prospects who are happy to talk to Sales on the phone, or is a webinar your next big ask?
These kinds of questions are vital to setting meaningful expectations for your campaigns, not only for data quality and contact parameters but also conversion to the next step of the customer journey. Again, it’s all about results.
They Challenge Assumptions
B2B marketing teams can fall into a rut and target the same lists over and over, or repeat the same messaging sequence that worked last quarter. Tried-and-true is fine, but at some point those segments and whitepapers will fatigue. Based on data-driven insights and experience, you want a partner you can trust to challenge your assumptions and scale your business.
They Own the Risk
New approaches bring new risk. To earn your trust, your partner must be willing to commit to monitoring performance in real time, being completely transparent about key metrics, and making adjustments as needed.
Trust is a Two-way Street
We’ve talked a lot about what makes for a trustworthy marketing demand generation partner. But any strategic relationship has to be based on mutual communication.
To get the most from your demand gen partnership, you have to be willing to share insights about your growth plans and challenges. Many B2B marketing teams aren’t comfortable doing this, and keep treating demand generation as a commodity. That undermines the real value you can be seeing in optimizing your demand generation strategy.
You should embrace give-and-take conversations about designing campaigns and hitting your goals. But you have to be willing to pull back the curtain and share information with your demand gen partner.
How a Trust-based Relationship Works
Now that we’ve described the foundations of a strategic marketing demand generation partnership, here’s a look at how they should work in practice.
Collaborative Kick-off Meetings
The best marketing demand generation teams will have senior industry strategists involved in kickoff calls, to look for opportunities to optimize the program. Don’t expect a lot of out-of-the-box suggestions on your first campaign – your partner will be in execution mode at this point, and they won’t have the data-based insights they need to make creative suggestions. But collaboration should be baked into the culture of these meetings from the start. Don’t waste time running through basic parameters. Those are on the RFP.
Clear Expectations with Overall Buy-in
When your marketing demand generation partner understands your real business goals, you can set meaningful success metrics based on performance, not just matching data criteria.
- Delivery Pacing: Don’t accept leads in bulk drops. Inconsistent pacing may point to quality issues and your team will not be able to act on them effectively. Look for real opportunities.
- Conversion Rates: Next-step conversion is probably the most meaningful metric by which to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. The ultimate goal is revenue, of course, but there are a lot of moving pieces between the first sales call and a signed contract. Understanding the desired next step will help your partner deliver opportunities that convert.
- Engagement Metrics: Monitor campaign metrics such as click-through rates, open rates, and time on landing page.
Real-time Transparency and Response
Your partner should offer a real-time reporting dashboard, such as our Byonic system, that provides a quick summary of how your campaigns are moving forward. If you see a problem, you should be able to pick up the phone and get an answer. And your partner should be willing and able to adjust your campaign in-progress to ensure you meet your goals.
In-Depth Campaign Review and Optimization
After a campaign is complete, you and your partner should have an open conversation about what went right, and what could have gone better. Look for new customer behaviors and content response that indicate a fatiguing tactic or a new opportunity. And be sure to include “soft” feedback, like how Sales responds to the opportunities you deliver.
Building a Strategic Marketing Demand Generation Relationship
Trust is hard to come by in the business world, but it’s essential in building marketing demand generation partnerships that help you scale your audience and grow revenue. Find a partner you can trust and develop a collaborative relationship that will help you perfect your demand generation strategy.