Effectiveness vs Efficiency: The Balancing Act of B2B Demand Generation

Written by Sarah Townsend

It’s no secret that the world of B2B marketing has changed and the expectation is that of a faster, better and cheaper outcome.

The only way one can deliver on this expectation is to have a firm grasp of what’s actually driving revenue and growth. This is where both effectiveness and efficiency come in. While they might seem interchangeable, they represent distinct, yet interconnected aspects of a successful demand generation strategy. So, let’s have a look at how they differ.

Efficiency: Doing things right

Efficiency is all about getting the most out of your resources. It's about streamlining processes, optimising campaigns, and maximising output with minimal input. Some key B2B marketing efficiency metrics are:

  • Cost-per-lead (CPL): How much does it cost to acquire a qualified lead? Reducing CPL demonstrates efficient lead acquisition.

  • Click-through rate (CTR): The percentage of people who click on your call to action (CTA). A high CTR indicates efficient marketing across channels.

  • Marketing automation utilisation: Leveraging automation tools to automate repetitive tasks frees up resources for more strategic and creative initiatives.

But this approach, while valuable, focuses more on the ‘how’ of things rather than the ‘what’ and ‘why’.

Effectiveness: Doing the right things

Effectiveness, on the other hand, focuses on achieving desired outcomes. It's about generating high-quality leads that convert into sales and contribute to business growth through full-funnel activity. Effectiveness metrics include:

  • Pipeline velocity: The speed at which opportunities move through the stages of a sales pipeline (calculated by taking the total value of closed deals in a given period of time and dividing it by the number of days it took to close those deals).

  • Customer lifetime value (CLTV): The total revenue a customer generates over their relationship with your company. Effective marketing attracts customers with high CLTV potential.

  • Return on investment (ROI): The net profit generated from your marketing activities. A positive ROI signifies an effective marketing strategy.

A marriage made in heaven: efficiency fuels effectiveness!

Efficiency and effectiveness are not mutually exclusive. In fact, a well-designed demand generation strategy requires both. But instead of looking at how to be 20% more efficient, we should be looking to what is the best route to success – it could be looking at new audiences or markets, revisiting your strategy or messaging. For example:

  • Efficiently reaching the right audience: Targeting the right decision-makers with the right message is crucial. Efficiency helps you reach them cost-effectively, but effectiveness ensures your message actually resonates with your cohorts.

  • Leveraging your treasure trove of data: Identify the relationship between marketing investments and business impact.

  • Optimising content for conversions: Effective content attracts high-quality leads, while efficient content creation ensures it's produced consistently and cost-effectively.

  • Segment and fine-tune messaging: Group cohorts of ICP target accounts and personas that share needs, behaviours, and pain points. This will allow you to deliver the right message to the right person, at the right time.

  • Optimise your marketing mix: Buyers are changing and so is their behaviour. Utilise an effective omnichannel strategy that provides a consistent and seamless experience across all channels, campaigns and touchpoints for your prospects and customers.

Striking the balance: How to get started

  • Start with clear goals: Define your desired outcomes – brand awareness, lead generation, or sales – to measure effectiveness.

  • Measure, analyse and adapt: Regularly track both efficiency and effectiveness metrics. Analyse data to identify areas for improvement and adjust your strategy accordingly.

  • Embrace data-driven revenue reporting: Use data to identify the channels, content formats, and targeting methods that deliver the best results.

  • Invest in marketing automation: Automation frees your team to focus on strategic initiatives that drive effectiveness.

  • Continuously experiment and iterate: The B2B landscape is constantly evolving. Be willing to experiment with new tactics and optimise your approach based on ongoing data analysis.

A sustainable approach

To close out, focusing solely on efficiency can lead to high-volume, low-value leads, ultimately hindering sales. On the other hand, an ineffective approach, regardless of effort, wastes resources and delivers no tangible results. By striking a balance between efficiency and effectiveness, B2B demand gen experts can build sustainable strategies that deliver high-quality leads, drive sales, and contribute to long-term business success. Remember, it's not just about doing things right; it's about doing the right things, efficiently!



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