B2B Demand Generation

Bring BANT Into the Future

with TelAffects

Nature vs. Nurture: The Benefits of Account Based Nurturing! (Part 1)

It’s no surprise that we live in a world where most companies have a little more than 30% visibility into their available market opportunities, the average sales rep gives up after two call attempts, and the flow of actionable sales opportunities can’t meet the demands of revenue forecast.

As marketers and salespeople, it’s our nature to look for that next big thing that promises that with less time, less effort and less expense, we will finally get our buyers to raise their hand and say, “pick me.” Over the last decade, B2B companies have been teased by the allure of an automated marketing world, where disciplined outreach and nurtured relationships gave way to a belief that complex humans could be reduced to buying personas and digitally funneled into a purchasing transaction. However, many B2B companies have come to understand that this promise will never be realized. They have come to appreciate that the only way to produce a consistent flow of actionable sales opportunities is to return to some old disciplines that are tried and true.

As marketers and salespeople, it’s also our nature to give these old disciplines a new name. Most call it Account Based Marketing, or ABM for short, but I like to call it Account Based Nurturing. Let’s be clear, this isn’t a marketing automation tool, and it’s not a sales tactic… it’s a long term strategy. If you think about it, “Account Based Nurturing” is a better description of what needs to be accomplished to drive a consistent and predictable flow of actionable sales opportunities. The premise behind Account Based Nurturing is simple. To create a predictable flow of actionable sales opportunities that consistently meets revenue forecasts, you need to be engaged in all the available market opportunities of today, and you need to be nurturing the opportunities that will come tomorrow. Years ago, Cahners Research produced a study that described most B2B markets in a way that I have never forgotten. In short, they said that at any given time there would be about 15% of your target market that’s in an active buying cycle and there would be about 15% that you could forget about because they wouldn’t be in business in the next 12-24 months. That leaves about 70% in the middle, not actively in a buying cycle. However, the most interesting thing that Cahners said about the 70% was that 43% of them would enter a buying cycle within the next 13 months.

Now that might be too broad of an assumption to make about every B2B market, but the basic truth shouldn’t be missed. The only way to predictably and consistently meet revenue forecasts is to be actively engaged in all the opportunities of today (15%) and to be nurturing the opportunities that are soon to come (the 43%).

Let’s not argue about the percents just yet. I think that all of us can say that the above graphic is a fair representation of the challenges faced by every B2B marketing and sales leader today. Those challenges being, how do I find the 15% who are buyers right now? How do I not waste time on the 15% that aren’t going to be around? And perhaps most importantly, how will I know when the 43% are entering their buying cycle? You can now put in your own percentages because I suspect that markets do vary by types of products and service… but the challenges are the same.

The good news is that there are tools, tactics, and strategies that can solve these problems. The bad news is that it can’t be automated. While tools, tactics, and strategies can be synchronized to work in harmony, what’s ultimately required in a sustainable solution is discipline and diligence. Again, it’s our nature to want a quick fix, a silver bullet to today’s problems. But today’s problems were yesterday’s problems, and they will always be tomorrow’s problems.

As we will learn next week, in Part 2 of “The Benefits of Account Based Nurturing,” the buying and selling of products and services within the B2B market always hinges on these three things;

  1. the right relationships
  2. the right message
  3. and, the right timing.

The world is slow to change… and to better understand and appreciate the benefits of Account Based Nurturing and its path to consistent and predictable revenue forecasts we’ll have to learn how the world remains the same.


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