Abroad sampling of industry reports — with which our experience dovetails nicely — indicate that lead quality is either replacing, or has already replaced, lead quantity as a top priority for B2B firms spanning industries, company sizes, and more.
When marketers were asked the most important metrics for demand-gen performance, lead quality was number 1, cited by 58% of respondents. That figure, notably, was double the 29% who cited number of leads in the study by Copper and Outfunnel. Emphasizing the key point, quality is twice as important as quantity.
The second most important metric is “outbound marketing success,” cited by 39% of respondents.
For many marketers, as well as partners they hire to generate leads, lead quality encompasses:
- accurate, verified contact information
- behavioral, intent or related data that makes clear where those prospects or customers are in the buying process
- data that augments information submitted by the prospect, such as purchase history, technology usage, and social media profiles
With the quality bar set so high, brands are placing emphasis on rigorous qualification at the time of capture, but they’re also taking measures to further qualify leads post-capture. This includes telequalification, used by 39% of marketers, and appending data to records, used by 16%, according to Activate Marketing Services.
In HIPB2B customer engagements, we increasingly find customers are looking for multiple touches as a requirement in their programs. Think of that as a mini-nurture and another indicator of the lead-quality focus.
These trends, of course, are being driven by the need to stay in lockstep with their sales organizations on lead quality.
ABM Delivers High ROI, Boosts Revenue
If there’s such a thing as a dominant tactic in demand gen in 2021, ABM would certainly be a lead player in the conversation.
Numerous studies of demand gen marketing support the large-scale move to ABM, due to its ability to deliver targeted leads of high quality. A couple of data points for perspective:
- Investment in ABM continues to rise, with ABM budgets increasing by 40% from 2019 to 2020, according to Demandbase.
- 75% of marketers report higher ROI with ABM than with other marketing tactics, according to the ABM Leadership Alliance.
Investment and experience in ABM are translating to stronger results. For instance, of those firms reporting a return of 2x or greater, 34% have had a full ABM program in place for over two years, while 75% have had one in place at least six months, Demandbase finds. A more detailed breakdown of ROI is in the chart below.
You may be surprised by just how expansive these reported channel mixes are. But at HIPB2B, we have had considerable success with prospect outreach via LinkedIn, followed by email outreach, then phone or video as the customer’s interest and engagement increases. While we developed and refined this model of using three+ channels pre-Covid, customers’ increased preference for digital contact only increases the velocity and results we can achieve.
Email: Still a Marketing Bedrock
Email provides reliable delivery, excellent tracking, and compelling opportunities to personalize. But you probably know all of that.
Here’s something you likely don’t know: email offers an eye-popping 4,200% ROI, or $42 in return for every dollar you spend, according to CampaignMonitor. It’s an extremely affordable, highly profitable contributor to your multi-channel strategy.
Once researchers complete their post-Covid analyses, we expect they’ll be reporting even higher ROI because email has actually become more valuable, and more engaging, in the past year: 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months, Hubspot finds.
Engagement is highly desirable, of course, but when it comes to lead quality and ABM campaigns, conversion is even more important. Email is a premier performer here as well. DemandGen Report finds email ranks highest among channels in driving early stage engagement (cited by 53% of marketers) and late-funnel conversions (51%).
As for types of content, video has become more valuable than ever, helped in no small measure by the fact that so much of business communication now runs on video. One of the great appeals of video for B2B and B2C consumers is that watching and listening to people can be far more engaging than text-based content; the best video is delivered in short, punchy snippets, thereby appealing to those whose time is quite limited (that is, most or all of us).
This probably explains why blog posts without a video get 92% less traffic and 24% less shares than those with at least one video, according to SEMrush.
Video content provides great engagement metrics (time spent with the video, how far in a visitor watched, if they clicked any embedded links); that detail in general goes deeper than other formats such as PDFs or e-books, and that measurability gives marketers a strong capacity to measure ROI.
Think of video as a major contributor – one type of content that stands out in multi-touch campaigns that feature a range of assets and asset types. If your content inventory does not include video today, it certainly needs to be added in the year to come.