The first generation of digital natives is reaching senior positions in business. Satisfying their expectations for B2C-like experiences will only become more important over time, as research suggests that Millennials already represents the largest cohort of buyers researching purchases. B2B demand gen marketers understand that this will likely mean a greater avoidance of sales calls and outreach, according to the latest annual State of Demand Gen report [download page] from Activate in partnership with MarketingCharts.
In fact, some three-quarters of respondents to the survey either strongly (29%) or somewhat (45%) agreed that Gen Z and Millennial buyers will avoid more sales calls and outreach in the future. The results come amid an environment in which 8 in 10 B2B buyers wait until they have fully defined needs before engaging with a salesperson. B2B firms may be better positioned to respond to these shifts today than in the past, as the pandemic hastened an expansion of virtual selling models that have proven successful. In fact, according to McKinsey, “omnichannel is more effective than traditional sales models alone.”
What Does the Future Hold?
The Activate study also assessed demand gen practitioners’ views concerning other future developments. Among them:
- Increased content consumption. More than 7 in 10 (72% of) respondents agree that prospects will consume more content in their buyer journey. Research suggests that the more content an audience is consuming, the more likely that audience is to be nearing a purchase decision. In fact, a majority (57%) of respondents agree that they will adapt their lead scoring based on increased content consumption.
- More focus on lead quality. Generating quality leads is already more of a challenge than generating enough of them, research has found. Fully 86% of B2B demand gen marketers believe that they will focus more on the quality of leads rather than the quantity of leads in the future, and this includes a majority (57%) who strongly agree that this will be the case. To determine quality of leads, successful demand gen will require more touchpoints before qualification, according to 84% of respondents.
- Creating demand. Although marketers feel they’re spending about the right amount of their resources on creating demand before buyers are “in funnel,” they may need to devote more in the years to come: three-quarters agree that in the future they will need to reach buyers earlier and before they are in-market.
For more, download the study here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a July 2022 survey of 172 B2B tech marketers and demand gen decision-makers and influencers, 6 in 10 of whom work at companies with at least 1,000 employees.