Growth Hacking
Dec 3, 2021

How Demand Generation and Account-Based Marketing Work Together to Form The Double Funnel

Tori Stroup

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Demand generation and account-based marketing are two of the most critical marketing strategies for many B2B businesses. And today, most B2B companies are already using at least one of these strategies, if not both, in their day-to-day marketing mix.

If this sounds like your business, it’s time to switch up the way you think about the sales funnel and how you’re marketing to prospective customers.

Bringing together these two marketing strategies into one double funnel will provide you with the visibility you need to expand your reach and drive higher sales and revenue.

So forget about the singular funnel you’ve become so familiar with and replace it with the double funnel.

Here’s a look at the topics covered in this article:

  • Defining and dissecting the demand generation funnel
  • Defining and dissecting the account-based marketing funnel
  • Discussing the double funnel and how these two strategies fit into it

Demand Generation vs. Account-Based Marketing

Before fully understanding how the double funnel works, you need to have some foundational understanding of two different B2B marketing strategies.

Those strategies include demand generation and account-based marketing (ABM).

Many companies are already using both strategies in their everyday marketing efforts, but it’s essential to know the differences and how they can work together.

A more significant percentage of companies are already using a mix of both demand generation and ABM to reach their customers. That means that most businesses are already set up to start thinking about how these two strategies can work together to increase sales and revenue. Image courtesy of Demand Gen Report.

When done right, you can run both demand generation and ABM marketing campaigns parallel to one another to build a comprehensive B2B experience – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

First, let’s take a look at each marketing strategy individually to understand better the differences, similarities, and benefits of each.

Demand Generation

Demand generation is a data-driven marketing strategy that is designed to build awareness and increase interest in a company’s offerings to anyone and everyone. This type of marketing strategy focuses on making your products desirable to potential customers and encouraging them to complete a purchase.

When thinking about the tactics that fit into a demand generation strategy, think about everything you do from start to finish.

It encompasses every touchpoint throughout the entire purchasing journey, from awareness to considerations, all the way through to the customer’s final purchasing decision.

While demand generation builds brand awareness and increases website traffic, one of the main goals is to increase the number of leads you’re filtering through to your sales team.

The benefits that come with integrating demand generation into your marketing strategy include better-qualified leads for your sales teams, increased deal sizes, lower cost per lead, decreased cost to convert leads, and less lead leakage.

The Demand Generation Funnel

Your demand generation strategy can easily fit into the traditional sales funnel structure.

You can think about the standard sales funnel when thinking about demand generation. Each touchpoint with a prospective customer helps move them closer and closer to becoming a qualified lead and being passed off to the sales team to close the deal. Image courtesy of The Pipeline.

Many of your marketing tactics are meant to drive awareness of your brands and products. These may be things like education articles, social media posts, infographics, or whitepapers. All of these things attract new visits to your site and help them to solve a problem at hand.

From there, your content should become more and more interesting to your audience to drive higher user engagement. Each touchpoint should continue to move someone through the awareness and interest stage towards the middle of the funnel.

Once the potential customer has moved through a series of touchpoints, they will eventually be identified as a qualified lead and passed on to the sales team. At that point, they move even closer to the bottom of the funnel towards a completed sale.

Overall, demand generation marketing moves prospects and leads through the standard sales funnel process.

Account-Based Marketing

On the other hand, ABM is a marketing strategy that focuses on a highly-targeted list of accounts that would benefit from the products and services offered by your company.

This strategy is much more focused, and while you may have a smaller list of leads, the quality of those leads will be much higher. That’s because you’re targeting specific customer groups that you already know will be interested in your products and telling them why your products are better than the competition.

The tactics used in ABM aren’t drastically different from those used in a traditional demand generation strategy.

You’re still creating content that helps your customers to generate awareness and drive customers down the sales funnel towards a purchase. It can just be a more targeted and personalized approach when done with ABM.

ABM can provide you with a number of benefits, including better internal alignment, improved optimization, increased efficiency, higher engagement and retention, short sales cycles, higher average contract values, and more.

The Account-Based Marketing Funnel

It might not come as a huge surprise that the ABM sales funnel looks slightly different from the demand generation funnel. They are two very different marketing strategies, so it’s only fitting that they have their own funnels.

The ABM funnel starts with identifying your key accounts and determining what content will resonate most with them. From there, you can create a highly personalized experience from start to finish that gives them the information they need to make an educated purchasing decision. Image courtesy of Impact.

The ABM funnel starts by identifying key accounts rather than attracting anyone and everyone with a wide net. This allows marketers to develop content and have conversations that are very specific to their wants and needs.

Then, it’s important to expand to new contacts within these accounts. Get to know the right people and share your content across the contacts within the account.

Once you’re talking to the right people who have the authority to make purchasing decisions, it’s time to engage them with even more valuable content. This stage is likely where your sales teams are involved and are working to complete the deal.

Then from there, it’s all about continuing to build a community and keep your products top of mind. You’ve landed the sale. Now you need to give the customer what you promised and keep them happy with their decision to purchase from your brand.

ABM is a unique marketing strategy that may not fit into the typical sales funnel but still follows the same general cycle. Targeted customers are started at an awareness stage and are ultimately passed through to the sales team to complete the transaction.

How Demand Generation and Account-Based Marketing Form The Double Funnel

Now that we’ve set the foundation and looked at the sales funnels for demand generation and ABM strategies – let’s talk about the idea of the double funnel.

At this point, you might be wondering how does this all fits together? These seem like two very different strategies that couldn’t possibly fit into one sales funnel.

While the two strategies do have a lot of differences, they can be brought together into one and now double funnel.

The double funnel brings together your demand generation and ABM strategies into one comprehensive viewpoint. While the two strategies do have different processes and metrics, they still follow the same general process. Image courtesy of Metadata.

When you really think about what is happening in each funnel we just talked about, the most significant difference between the two is the target audience.

For demand generation, it’s simply targeting anyone who can become a lead.

On the other hand, ABM targets individuals within a specific account.

Ultimately, they are both targeting new customers you’re hoping to connect with your sales team to complete a transaction. The most significant difference is just in how you reach those different audiences.

Even then, when you look at the process at a high level, it’s not that far off.

You start with your target audience, who likely doesn’t know much about your company. From there, your goal is to turn them into an engaged contact that is knowledgeable and interested in your products.

After that, there’s a qualification process to determine what contacts are ready to be passed off to the sales team. From there, the sales team takes the qualified lead and works to complete the transaction.

In the end, the ultimate goal of both of these marketing strategies is to get the prospect qualified and handed off to sales. This means that the top of the funnel may look slightly different, but they follow the same process once a lead has been qualified.

This is why the double funnel works so well. It splits the top of the funnel to break out the two strategies into their own flows but then brings all of the leads together through the qualification and sales hand-off.

Once the contact is with the sales team, they work to convert them into a purchasing customer – and the cycle is complete.

Of course, as most marketers know, the work doesn’t stop just because someone has reached the bottom of the sales funnel. There’s always work to be done to keep audiences engaged and loyal.

How the Double Funnel Can Benefit Your Marketing Strategy

Most B2B companies are using both of these strategies in one way or another. For these companies, adopting the double funnel will provide you with the opportunity to really understand how your marketing efforts are working.

You can see a holistic view of how both strategies are performing and determine where to put your efforts. It will allow you to identify what leads present the most opportunity for your sales teams and quickly move them through the qualification process.

If you’re focused on two separate funnels, this process may become bottlenecked, or a lead may sit for too long and no longer show interest in your products.

A double funnel strategy will increase revenue and decrease time to close – helping sales teams close more sales and become more efficient.

Finding the right balance between these two marketing strategies is important, and it might take time when you first adopt the double funnel mindset. But if you choose to stick it out, you won’t be disappointed in the results.

Finding the Right Balance Between Demand Generation and Account-Based Marketing

Finding the right balance between your demand generation and ABM strategies will really depend on how you’re already using the two.

If you have a heavier focus on one area versus the other, then you’ll need to take some time to build out the other strategy to add balance to your double funnel.

A double funnel that is too heavy to one side will not provide the results you’re hoping for. You’ll find it hard to change the status quo if you continue to focus too much on one strategy.

Finding new ways to connect with audiences across both marketing strategies will allow you to keep filtering in new prospects and sending more qualified leads to your sales teams.

Make the Most Out of Your Demand Generation and Account-Based Marketing With a Double Funnel

If your business is already using both demand generation and account-based marketing, it’s a no-brainer to start thinking about implementing a double funnel mindset.

Looking at both of these marketing strategies with one centralized view, you’ll have insight into the opportunities to reach new audiences across both strategies. This will provide you with the data you need to make informed decisions about what prospects are worth investing with and when.

A steady flow of prospects coming in from both sides of the funnel will keep your process moving and drive more qualified leads through to the sales teams – which will result in more chances to convert prospects into leads.