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B2B LEAD GENERATION
Marketers from technology companies, facing higher costs-per-lead and often longer sales cycles, tend to approach their lead-generation practices in significantly different ways than do marketers from nontech companies.
According to BtoB's new study, “2013 Lead Generation: Optimum Techniques for Managing Lead-Generation Campaigns,” tech marketers are much more likely to use telemarketing to qualify leads, tend to prefer webinars as a powerful lead-gen channel and overwhelmingly prefer having leads achieve a threshold score before handing them off to the sales team.
They're also much more heavily invested in content marketing—specifically thought-leadership content in print or video form.
“Content marketing is more advanced than any other category to inform tech decision-makers,” said Mike O'Toole, president of PJA Advertising+Marketing, Cambridge, Mass. “Further, tech buyers want to hear from peers, even if they're not in the same vertical. For these marketers, it's all about peers talking to peers.”
BtoB's study is based on an online survey conducted in June and July that drew 282 respondents, 85 of whom represented tech companies.
According to the study, white papers are considered the No. 1 content marketing tool, cited by 72% of tech marketers, compared with just 47% of nontech marketers. Other content types favored by tech marketers included videos, cited by 59% of tech marketers compared with 37% of nontech marketers; webinars (57% versus 45%); and teleprospecting calls (39% versus 24%).
Also, 53% of tech marketers said they use case studies about problem-solving in their lead-gen efforts; only 40% of nontech companies considered such studies important to their lead-gen efforts. Further, 68% of tech marketers provide educational content about problems their own products help solve versus 57% of nontech marketers.
Among other lead-gen differences:
“Getting that view of the truth from sales, from what they see as the initial response all the way through to the close and beyond, is essential,” said Jennifer Horton, research director-demand creation strategies at consultancy SiriusDecisions Inc. “That's why alignment has to happen. If your sales acceptance is 70% and above, you're doing something right. If it's less than 50%, you need to understand why.”
Given the ongoing reliance on content marketing, it's not surprising that tech marketers see this area as holding significant potential in the future. When asked how they might improve their lead-gen efforts in the next 12 months, 64% cited more or better content that shows their expertise versus just 43% of nontech marketers.
Going forward, major differences between tech and nontech marketers were also seen in the need to update websites (52% versus 44%); in improving sales-marketing alignment (51% versus 44%); in using analytics to show marketing ROI (44% versus 29%); and in improving marketing databases (42% versus 35%).
Areas in which tech marketers had less concern than nontech respondents included expanding their companies' social media presence.
While blogging is a preferred lead-gen method for tech marketers—30% of tech marketers indicated that blogs are effective lead-gen techniques versus 21% of nontech marketers—social media marketing overall was not of prime interest.
Only 22% of tech marketers indicated that social media is an effective lead-nurturing method for them, compared with 26% of nontech marketers.
“A lead for me is somebody who has done their research,” said Nikos Karavitis, senior marketing manager at Motorola Solutions. “I'm like that myself; as a consumer, I'll do my research product by product before buying.”
Infographics also held little appeal for tech marketers, with a 22% favorable rating compared with 29% for nontech marketers.
And while tech marketers use content extensively to generate leads, it's not all marketers' favorite lead-gen tactic, according to BtoB's study. Playing into tech marketers' sweet spot is product demonstrations, cited by 47% of all respondents as “very” or “extremely” effective.
BtoB's study is available for download at www.btobonline.com/section/researchreports17.