Leading Edge speakers focus on buyer's journey

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Keynote speakers at BtoB's Leading Edge virtual trade show last week focused on how b-to-b marketers can use digital marketing and content to engage prospects and generate demand during the buyer's journey. In an opening keynote address titled “Digital Marketing and the Rearchitected Demand Waterfall,” Tony Jaros, senior VP-research at sales and marketing advisory company SiriusDecisions Inc., said, “Digital marketing has a major impact throughout the demand waterfall, regardless of where you are within the schematic.” SiriusDecisions first introduced the concept of a demand waterfall in 2002 to show the alignment of marketing and sales throughout the buyer's journey, and in 2006 it introduced a demand waterfall that was tied into marketing automation and different sales and marketing processes. Last year, SiriusDecisions unveiled a rearchitected demand waterfall based on research with b-to-b market leaders. The revised waterfall has four main stages: inquiries, marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, and the close. “About 50% of all b-to-b inquires come from inbound channels, and that will jump to about 70% by 2015-2016,” Jaros said. B-to-b marketers can use social media, online advertising, SEO, online demos and content syndication to help drive inbound inquiries, he said. During the marketing-qualified lead stage, marketers can use what Jaros termed “small-net fishing” to provide resources to teleprospectors to generate and nurture leads. Some of these tactics include outbound calling, email and other programs that run for a short duration, all supported by marketing automation technology. In the sales-qualified lead stage, lead scoring is important, with account-based lead scoring becoming more important than individual lead scoring, Jaros said. In the closing stage, “Marketing and sales collaborate to create a set of activities that extend to the late stage—it could be an event or a digital ROI calculator to help buyers justify the purchase.” Avaya CMO Mark Wilson, in a closing keynote titled “Truly, Instantly, Deeply: The New Buyer's Journey,” said the traditional marketing funnel is broken. There are three big conversations going on around digital marketing and demand gen, he said. The first conversation is around the buyer's journey. “The sales and marketing funnel we've all grown to love and invest in is flawed in many, many steps along the way,” he said. Wilson said three aspects are transforming the buyer's journey: The ease of accessing information when researching products and services; the ability to connect on social networks with peers who can influence buying decisions; and the “consumerization” of the b-to-b buying experience. The second big marketing conversation, Wilson said, is around Big Data and the implications for marketers, including hiring the right people to analyze the information being collected. The third conversation is around content marketing. “It has never been easier to get a message in front of a decision-maker,” Wilson said. “The challenge is, decision-makers have never been better at parsing out irrelevant messages and poor content.” Since he joined Avaya as CMO almost a year ago, Wilson has put a strong content marketing program into place, including the creation of an editorial team and a publishing team to create and deliver content and new content offerings, such as a 44-page monthly print and online magazine featuring customer case studies and a 160-page guide to enterprise collaboration. In the last six months, Avaya has seen a quadrupling in the number of pages viewed on company blogs, and a 30% quarter-over-quarter growth in social media engagement.
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