Demand Generation: The Unsung Hero of B2B Sales Acceleration

Demand Generation: The Unsung Hero of B2B Sales Acceleration

When the demand generation engine is neglected, what happens to sales acceleration? Simply put, it stalls. Demand gen is paramount to driving sales pipeline velocity, remaining the most vital pillar of the sales acceleration formula.

What does this formula look like? And why is demand generation at the heart of it? Read on to discover the role it plays in sales success.

Sales Acceleration Hub

Mark Roberge’s sales acceleration formula

According to Mark Roberge, Chief Revenue Officer at HubSpot, the sales acceleration formula contains 5 key pillars:

  1. Sales hiring
  2. Sales training
  3. Sales management
  4. Demand generation
  5. Technology and innovation

For Roberge, the effective use of technology, data and inbound selling are the keys to accelerating sales. While organizations focus largely on sales formulas, the revenue engine is heavily reliant on the success of the demand generation program which sits firmly within Marketing.

What does Marketing bring to the table?

The following data-driven strategies that Marketing teams reside by are invaluable in their ability to deliver sales acceleration success:

  • Lead scoring – a methodology adopted by sales and marketing teams to determine the value and worthiness of a lead based on their behavior and interest in a product or service.
  • Data visualization – a graphical representation of data and information through charts and graphs to easily understand trends, patterns and outliers in data.
  • Predictive analytics – using historical data, machine learning and statistical algorithms to predict the likelihood of future scenarios occurring, to assess what will happen in the future.
  • Propensity modelling – a statistical method to predict the chances of specific events happening again. Robust propensity models can be built to produce accurate forecasts that predict customer behavior, for example.

These are where the true power lies.

If businesses focus shortsightedly on the tools, people and processes needed to accelerate sales velocity once leads have passed through to sales, they risk missing the hemi under the hood – the secret component in their sales acceleration program. A focus on the demand generation aspect of sales acceleration is long overdue and with it a seat at the revenue table for the B2B marketers that drive it.

By putting demand generation front and center in their strive to achieve sales success, B2B tech companies can expect a reliable idea of the channels and activities driving the most revenue, as well as the necessary levers to create a scalable and predictable sales acceleration strategy.

The 5 pillars of sales acceleration

  1. Sales hiring

This formula characterizes the ideal salesperson for your business and creates a framework to assess their skills. You are then able to incentivize internal recruiters to find the best, high-performing salespeople to fill your roles.

This ensures your sales team is made up of people who align perfectly to your company culture, values, vision and desired characteristics, and as a result are highly motivated to perform well for an accelerated sales process.

  1. Sales training

The sales training formula works by creating a universal training program for sales teams that focuses on the sales process, buyer journey and qualification via lead scoring. It considers the individual skills and attributes of your sales team, providing them with regular recaps of the training program to reiterate both their needs and those of the business.

Having a set sales training program that is reinforced frequently is key to establishing a strong, well-aligned sales team for collective sales success.

  1. Sales management

Manager support to guide and enthuse your sales team is pivotal to gaining every salesperson’s trust and commitment towards your collective goals and objectives. Open and honest communication is key for effective management. When everyone’s aims are aligned, great things can be achieved!

Analyzing how each salesperson is performing at each stage of the funnel is a great way to measure their individual performance while keeping everyone on track. A metrics-based dashboard is advised, as are incentive programs to reward those coming out top. Such a culture of reward and recognition via metrics being met can be invaluable to both company and sales pipeline growth.

  1. Demand generation

The demand generation formula is potentially the component that when built and integrated successfully, has the greatest impact on the overall performance of the flywheel. To grow more effectively, your company needs to provide an outstanding customer experience – which is where the flywheel takes center stage (HubSpot).

What is the flywheel?

The flywheel is based on the notion that the momentum of your satisfied customers fuels repeat business and referrals. Essentially, your business keeps rolling – like a flywheel.

When considering your business in this way, you take different decisions and change your strategy to address the speed, friction and size of what you are trying to achieve and the means of getting there.

The 4 principles of the demand generation formula

These 4 principles combined are highly regarded in their ability to achieve sales pipeline success:

  • Map and monitor personalized buyer experiences for your leads
  • Make inbound marketing an essential component in your growth strategy
  • Position your sales team as thought leaders, moving from cold calling to inbound
  • Determine interest in your product or service offerings by producing a buyer matrix that measures it for every lead.

Are B2B marketers doomed to fail if they don’t acknowledge the role of demand generation in achieving sales acceleration?

Without driving awareness and interest in your organization’s products or services, long term customer engagement, loyalty and ultimately sales velocity will inevitably suffer. It’s the process of effective lead capture and nurture that keeps your clients coming back and new leads becoming aware of your business and converting, so if demand generation isn’t present, sales success arguably won’t ever reach its optimal.

Demand gen enables B2B marketers to:

  • Target a specific set of accounts
  • Build audience intelligence
  • Nurture long-term relationships
  • Generate new business leads
  • Reach and engage new audiences
  • Promote new products or services
  • Build interest around your brand
  • Establish industry credibility.

By prioritizing demand generation and optimizing each stage of the demand generation funnel, businesses can create a seamless and personalized experience for their customers, which is essential for building the momentum needed for the flywheel. This results in positive feedback, referrals, and sustainable growth, creating a self-sustaining loop. It’s why we believe if you want sales velocity, don’t skimp on your demand gen engine – as confirmed by Roberge’s sales acceleration formula.

  1. Technology and innovation

It’s important to appreciate that most technologies adopted for sales teams do in fact increase their workload, so they must be chosen carefully to avoid creating the opposite effect they’re intended for. Technology needs to enhance a salesperson’s ability to do their job well while improving the buyer experience and journey.

Listening to those using the technology – their thoughts, concerns, and what they like – goes a long way in keeping them on board with technology changes and advancements. After all, they are the ones using it daily and so pleasing them is half the battle.

Monitoring metrics such as sales productivity, customer retention rates and Lifetime Value (LTV) can all determine how effective an investment is and whether your technology is encouraging optimal performance when it comes to accelerating sales.

Final thoughts

The unsung hero of sales acceleration, demand generation is arguably the most critical component in Mark Roberge’s sales acceleration formula – asserting a disproportionate impact on the pipeline velocity of sales.

While implementing a streamlined sales process and utilizing the latest sales tech can undoubtedly boost your team’s performance, if you really want to move the needle, optimizing the demand funnel is key.

The sales acceleration formula is critical but remember, sales acceleration really stalls when the demand generation engine is neglected…Sales Acceleration Hub

Rebecca Tebbutt

Meet Bex, Senior Marketing Manager at Inbox Insight. CIM trained and with a wealth of experience driving growth through delivering multi-channel demand generation programs, Bex is passionate about all things digital.
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