Why B2B Brands Should Implement a Double Funnel Approach to B2B Marketing

Double Funnel graphic

We previously discussed some of the top reasons why many B2B lead gen approaches fall short. So, how can you remedy this?

In this post, you’ll learn about one main solution to common B2B lead gen marketing woes: the Double Funnel approach to B2B marketing that was first proposed by Demandbase.

Let’s explore.

An Important Caveat: Lead Gen Still Has Its Place in B2B Marketing

Before we jump into the Double Funnel approach, we need to address the elephant in the room. Some B2B digital marketing organizations say that lead generation is dead. We even discussed the pitfalls of focusing too much on marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) in your B2B marketing strategies. But is this accurate?

In a word, no. Lead generation still has its place in the B2B buying journey. This is especially true if you’re receiving MQLs from target accounts and buying committee members at those accounts that you’re actively targeting and engaging through intent data. Your potential buyers still need a place to raise their hands when they’re ready to start the conversation.

Here’s the thing. Traditional lead gen that focuses solely on MQLs won’t meet your revenue goals is dead. But there’s still a place for form fills within your larger strategy, with lead gen being supplemental to (and fueling) your overarching ABM initiatives.

It’s more realistic to consider lead generation as the way you receive form fills from contact or demo pages, in collaboration with your account-based view of targeted buying committees.

What Is the Double Funnel?

So, what does lead gen look like when ABM comes into play? The Double Funnel, where you support both ABM and lead generation. With the Double Funnel, you focus on MQLs in addition to marketing-qualified accounts (MQAs). This strategy balances many B2Bs’ need for continued lead generation through contact and demo forms, but within an overarching account-based framework.

Incorporating an ABM strategy helps your marketing and sales teams build awareness, create demand and ultimately gain new business opportunities with best-fit accounts that will generate the most revenue and stay the longest. It requires shifting from being lead-oriented to account-oriented.

Now, most B2B organizations want a holistic view of all activity in an account since accounts are made up of various potential buyers. ABM delivers increased cross-selling and upselling opportunities, higher average-contract values (ACVs), a quicker time to value altogether, and fewer vendors — and makes functional areas more tightly integrated.

Account-Based Experience (ABX) Is the Happy Medium Between ABM and Lead Gen

If lead generation is a net that catches a certain number of fish, ABM is a spear that finds a few big fish. ABX combines the precision of ABM (reaching out regardless of how the prospect feels about your brand or service) with respect for the experience of traditional demand gen (it doesn’t feel good to be poked with a spear).

You can think of it like: ABM generates high-value leads, but lead gen doesn’t always do the same. You can switch your lead gen approach to one that is more of an account-nurturing strategy (hence the focus on the MQA) — ensuring you continue your marketing past the initial buyer’s hand-raise and throughout the entire buying group to close.

“Finding a balance between demand generation and account-based marketing is what separates the nascent marketing orgs from the mature ones,” said Emily Stalvey, senior account-based marketing manager at Goodway Group.

She added:

“Blending a targeted demand generation program with a smaller account-based targeting approach puts fewer constraints on your marketing team and resources while giving your business development reps areas of focus to drive larger revenue with smaller inbound interest that may fit better in a future ABM program.”

“I like to think of the demand generation engine as a way to prequalify future ABM lists for the company while the ABM program uncovers a larger opportunity that wouldn’t be a fit for traditional lead-based inbound approaches,” Emily concluded.

Pro Tip: Don’t Stop Marketing at the MQA

Some B2B companies make the mistake of stopping marketing to MQAs the minute they’re passed to sales. This is a problem. When B2B marketing teams stop marketing at the MQA, they negate their responsibility in helping that account close.

This only perpetuates the common issue of marketing teams being viewed as a cost center and not a revenue generator within your organization. Only by maintaining a comprehensive, transparent and trackable digital marketing strategy can you stop measuring success in MQAs and go all the way to the converted dollar.

Use Tech To Power Your ABX Strategy

Depending on your budget, tech stack and where you are in your ABX journey, it may be time to use an ABM platform to track, transform and maximize your ABX strategy. Leveraging an ABM demand-side platform (DSP) can really impact the ROI of your marketing efforts. These platforms help you (and your B2B agency partner) prioritize accounts based on intent and engagement data and attribute your marketing efforts to closed-won revenue or new pipeline.

Not to mention, they also provide you with data to segment audiences, outline the messaging strategy, and plan the holistic user journey.

Here are two leading platforms to consider:


Demandbase is an AI-driven account-based go-to-market (GTM platform) that helps B2B businesses spot opportunities earlier, engage with them more intelligently and close deals faster.


6sense Revenue AI™ is an ABM platform that eliminates the costs of missed opportunities and mistimed deals by pinpointing the accounts that matter most and helping revenue teams create, manage and convert pipeline into revenue.

Embrace the Power of Intent Data

If your team isn’t using intent data to inform your ABM strategy, you’re missing out on an important layer in understanding your buying committee’s wants and needs. “The purpose of intent data is to help you understand the interests and online behaviors of your target accounts and prospects so you can activate in an account-specific way against these behaviors,” said Katie Hilton, a director of business strategy and development at Goodway Group.

Intent data uses behavioral and contextual signals and keywords to help you predict prospects’ behavior, know what they care about, and inform your teams of whether your target accounts are in-market for your product or service.

Katie continued:

“The reason why we care so much about intent data is because it is the engine that powers your entire ABM campaign. Identifying the right terms, where to pull the data from, and how to accurately match those buying signals to accounts and personas is absolutely critical to your ABM success.”

If you’re leveraging an ABM DSP like Demandbase or 6Sense, the intent data piece is built right in. The key is to ensure that whoever is running your ABX initiative is aligned with your business leadership so everyone is on the same page about how your chosen intent topics and target lists connect to your overarching business growth strategy.

If your organization hasn’t jumped into the realm of ABM platforms yet, there are also third-party intent platforms like Bombora that can provide visibility. Third-party intent platforms allow you to upload your target account lists and select intent keywords to determine which accounts are in-market for your solution so your business development team can nurture them.

To ensure your intent usage runs seamlessly, start by creating your list of intent topics and then gain approval from your business leaders and internal sales teams. “Intent data is crucial for organizations to meet their target audience where they are in their journey for a solution,” Daniel Friscia, a director of business strategy and development at Goodway Group, said.

He added:

“However, too many intent signals can lead to a lot of noise and ultimately, inaction. Before you implement an intent platform, do some research on what signals matter most to your business and marry that with timely content that meet potential customers in the moment.”


One industry-leading B2B use case for third-party intent platforms is the new iABM solution through Bombora, in combination with The Trade Desk and Chalice. iABM allows marketers to combine intent data within programmatic advertising and add frequency caps on ad impressions across your target account list (TAL).

This ensures that you’re building awareness and spending your marketing budget evenly across each account, regardless of the account’s revenue range or employee size. Additionally, iABM provides valuable account-level reporting that B2Bs otherwise wouldn’t have access to. 

Embrace the Double Funnel for a Holistic B2B Marketing Approach

By adopting the Double Funnel approach, B2B organizations can strike the right balance between targeted ABM and traditional lead generation efforts. The key is to leverage intent data and ABM platforms to gain a comprehensive understanding of target accounts and buying committees, enabling precise yet respectful outreach and nurturing throughout the entire buyer’s journey.

This holistic, data-driven ABX strategy aligns marketing and sales efforts, maximizes ROI, and positions marketing as a true revenue generator within the organization. Ultimately, the Double Funnel represents a powerful evolution in B2B marketing, empowering companies to drive sustainable growth by engaging with the right accounts at the right time with the right messaging.

Looking to supercharge your lead gen and ABM strategies to grow your business? We can help. Contact us to learn more.

Anna Garrison headshot

Anna Garrison is a marketing manager at Goodway Group who leads account-based marketing strategy, design and execution. Her career experience pulls from multiple realms, including leading marketing teams for a B2B agency, account directing and implementing winning digital advertising initiatives for clients. She is passionate about helping brands build demand and awareness within their target audience to create long-term business growth.