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There are three main parts to a successful demand generation strategy:
With all the technology available at our fingertips, we can now tie most of our marketing efforts to revenue.
It’s becoming more and more common for marketing to have a revenue goal, just like sales.
Demand generation is one of the biggest challenges for new businesses, particularly startups and other companies operating in crowded markets.
Distinctly different from generating leads, demand generation is a much more involved process, making it all the more challenging for companies.
Demand generation marketing today is no longer just about creating demand for sales. Demand gen isn’t about forcing demand or tricking people into buying things they don’t need.
It’s about providing the right information to the right people at the right time so that what you’re sharing is the perfect fit for your ideal customer.
This blog is based on B2B demand generation best practices both from our own experience growing Kennected and lessons we’ve learned from our customers.
What Is A Demand Generation Strategy?
Demand gen can be visualized as a funnel that starts by identifying and qualifying prospective customers through interactive content, inbound marketing, campaigns, and similar events.
Demand generation is the process of generating demand for businesses’ products and services.
In many companies, marketing and sales teams work in silos.
So, for launching a successful demand generation program, you must ensure that both teams are well-aligned and communicated.
The marketing team may kickstart the process with top-of-the-funnel campaigns, but the nurtured lead is finally passed on to the sales team for conversion.
Marketers work tirelessly to attract leads and hand them off to salespeople who do their best to close the deal — but if the goals, lifecycle definitions, processes, and technology stacks are misaligned between teams, it will eventually lead to unclosed deals and unhappy customers.
Your sales team can take over once your prospect inputs their information and is considered a qualified lead. From there, they can guide customers through the entire sales process.
Demand gen should be a collaborative activity between your sales and marketing teams.
This is the concept of an integrated demand generation strategy. For this, marketers need to understand what happens after a lead converts.
Simultaneously, they need to support the sales team in the form of case studies, price sheets, or sales decks.
This empowers the sales team to carry forward the discussion you had with the lead on any product, service, or segment and close more deals.
Another smart demand generation strategy here is conversational marketing. It uses targeted marketing and interactive chatbots to engage and convert your leads.
There are a few ways to set expectations accurately and analyze the results of your demand generation campaigns.
Before you can accurately measure your efforts, you need to know what to look for. To track the success of your efforts, first, you need to define your target key performance indicators.
Your KPIs should always align with your overall business or marketing goals.
You can connect the dots between your demand gen efforts and actual business growth.
Once you’ve determined which KPIs are relevant to your business goals, you can map them across your customer journey.
This will help you understand which areas give you the highest return on your investment.
Lead scoring evaluates the historical behavior of your prospects and the actions they’ve taken while interacting with your brand to determine whether the individual prospect demonstrates sufficient interest to be considered a “hot” lead for your sales team.
This is accomplished by examining the actions taken at various touchpoints with your brand, such as whether they viewed a specific page on your site that suggests purchase intent, expressed interest in a demonstration of your product, or used your free tools.
Your goal should be to have a well-oiled demand generation program that improves lead quality, accelerates the buying cycle, and improves conversion rates from initial inquiries to qualified opportunities.
Examine your conversion rates and how they relate to your strategies. Look for a correlation between those rates and who you are targeting.
You can use testing best practices to isolate individual changes in your strategy and review the results.
Why Are Demand Generation Strategies Important?
Demand generation (or demand gen) is essential for a healthy business-to-business (B2B) sales and marketing strategy.
Pumping your pipeline full of high volume with low-quality leads isn’t going to help your company, especially in the long run.
And it can deteriorate your relationship with your sales team.
You have to focus your time and energy on generating those high-quality leads that will convert to truly achieve demand generation success.
A strong demand generation strategy will help your business bring in reliable, high-quality leads and ultimately grow your business.
B2C vs. B2B Demand Generation Strategies
B2C companies typically have to get buy-in from only one person: the customer (and maybe their spouse or family).
B2B marketers, on the other hand, usually have to get the buy-in of entire teams, key decision-makers, and sometimes even an entire department.
Demand Generation vs. Lead Generation
Does demand generation sound similar to lead generation? You aren’t the only one to think so.
While the two terms are somewhat synonymous, demand generation strategies span the entire funnel.
Demand generation requires much more education and tends to work in the inverse of lead gen and marketing by inbound means.
To create demand, you need to educate your prospects by introducing them to a challenge for them, and explaining why it’s significant enough to invest in a solution.
Demand generation aims to identify potential prospects based on their initial behavior and guides them through a nurturing process so that the sales team receives high-quality, highly-qualified leads.
Demand generation is a holistic process and long-term strategy covering all customer journey stages from awareness and consideration to research and justification.
On the other hand, while it is aided by top-of-funnel awareness that demand generation drives, lead generation is converting sales-ready prospects into qualified pipelines.
Essentially, the greatest difference between demand generation and lead generation is that demand gen is a significantly more comprehensive process that takes place over a much greater period than lead generation, involves close collaboration and communication between sales and marketing departments, and incorporates elements of inbound, direct, and email marketing to nurture prospects.
Since you almost always want to generate both demand and leads, it’s a good idea to develop a B2B demand generation strategy that includes lead gen tactics and tactics to provide information to these leads at each stage along the journey to becoming a customer.
Your sales pipeline value refers to the total number of every qualified opportunity in your pipeline. Simply calculate the estimated deal size for all leads in your pipeline.
Measuring this metric allows your sales reps to check if they’re on track with their goals.
How To Create A Successful Demand Generation Strategy
For an effective demand generation strategy, your tech stack should include at least a marketing automation platform, a customer relationship management system, a content management system, a business intelligence platform, a reporting and analytics platform, and a customer service tool.
You will want to make sure your company’s tech stack enables you to meet your goals and that each platform integrates as best as possible with one another to optimize all of your customer data and offer top-notch experiences
If done properly, demand gen fills the top of the funnel with a stream of new potential leads. A certain percentage of these might immediately translate into high-quality leads.
However, depending upon your industry and offering, lead nurturing can take months, or even years.
If your sales cycle is seasonal or sporadic, check out our blog about how to generate leads more consistently.
Demand generation activities should span the entire length of your marketing funnel and not just focus on adding new prospects at the top of the funnel.
Brands that use a broad-reach marketing approach tend to optimize their digital marketing engine by utilizing their website, email marketing, paid ads, earned media, social media, and content marketing.
Increasing Brand Awareness
With today’s competitive sales and marketing landscape, brand awareness is critical for a consistent flow of qualified leads.
And while it may seem straightforward, building brand awareness isn’t simply gaining a potential buyer’s attention.
It is utterly important you spend time crafting and publishing your content.
However, getting visible to your target audience so that they remember you when they decide to purchase is no less important.
Once your audience is aware that the problem exists, they need to trust your brand enough to choose your product or service.
To many marketers, remarketing is a powerful strategy for increasing conversion rates.
While you should be remarketing to increase conversions, remarketing is also a remarkably powerful brand awareness-building tool.
Be sure to keep a balance between personalization and automation to not lose the human side to your brand.
Understanding what your buyers need and how you can give it to them fast or automated will allow you to better serve potential customers and provide value even faster.
The demand generation process relies heavily on having clearly defined personas.
Each buyer persona you build will include the customer pain points and challenges they face, their decision-making habits, and demographic information.
An in-depth understanding of your target audience’s pain points goes a long way in helping to create a demand for your product and services.
Once you develop your buyer personas, chart them through the customer journey. Consider your customer journey maps and personas like the events and characters within a movie.
Each character has their strengths, weaknesses, and motivations, and every person experiences various moments of frustration and growth in their journey.
A lead magnet can be anything that pulls your potential customers without any hesitation.
So, if a free tool seems too complex to you, consider making a simple lead magnet that can fetch similar results. For this, we suggest offering your best resources free of cost.
Web Insights And Inbound Marketing
Your website is one of your most important demand generation strategies.
Part of your demand strategy will create waves right away, bringing your website engaged and interested traffic. A new white paper or a research report can do that.
But, like all awareness generation strategies, short-term movement is just the tip of the iceberg.
It is where you can observe the digital fingerprints of people visiting your website, which reveal their interests, pain points, content preferences, and even urgency.
Many inbound marketing tactics include content offers, blog posts, and other website resources.
Content is at the heart of everything you do to craft demand for your product or service and attracts the right buyers.
A solid content marketing strategy that offers timely, helpful insights at each step of the purchase journey is the best way to build expertise.
Providing content that answers buyer questions/concerns while they move through their purchase journey builds purchase confidence and brand credibility.
Your content powers the inbound activities that attract and pull prospects into your sales funnel.
Interactive content is multifunctional, and it helps businesses drive traffic, engage prospects through personalized solutions, and generates qualified leads.
Interactive content types like quizzes and calculators help capture and retain the audience’s attention.
Content can include blog posts, press releases, case studies, e-books, white papers, infographics, videos, emails, etc.
Providing potential customers with hard data about how your product or service helped solve a problem for one of your paying customers is a great way to demonstrate your value proposition.
Your blog should be one of the main channels you use to generate demand among your audience.
Creating content that informs and adds value will build trust and establish you as an authority on the problem you’re aiming to solve.
To increase traffic and engagement on your posts, you can partner with other brands in your industry.
If you can build it, they are likely to come.
One of the most effective ways to create a successful demand generation campaign as a new brand is by offering a free tool or resource.
This strategy will boost your demand generation campaign to another level. Yes, it will demand investment initially, but it will reap the benefits in no time.
Alternatively, you can develop some easier tools, like free marketing templates to help people carry out a key task in a faster, more organized, or more automated way.
PR is like a Swiss Army knife of demand generation marketing, as it presents more opportunities for you to connect with your audience than we have room to list here.
For example, connect with the media. Stay on top of the news and think about how your company can enter relevant topical conversations.
Then, pitch your stories to the media.
Testimonials work well at just about any stage, but they can be instrumental toward the end of the sales funnel when buyers are looking to validate their decision.
If you rely on quantitative data alone, you’ll miss out on key insights developed through customer conversations.
You also won’t know how many of the leads generated by each piece of content were qualified, and which leads became the most valuable customers.
Only a blend of qualitative and quantitative data can give you the complete picture.
While customers are free to write what they want in a review, brands approach clients for testimonials and have some control over the content.
The recent rapid shift from in-person to virtual business interactions means a sharper increased digital marketing focus
Even as businesses begin to return to safe, in-person interactions with customers and staff, it seems likely that increased digital interactions are here to stay
Social media provides a huge opportunity to increase awareness of your brand among your target audience.
Using a proper social media marketing strategy, you can build trust and increase exposure to your brand.
However, you should make sure you’re engaged in the community and not just posting content. You can also use tools to automate post scheduling for you.
While these may be the critical demand generation tactics, organic channels are not always enough.
Besides impacting lead gen activities, social networks may also influence your prospects’ vendor selection and buying decisions.
Building a relationship with your audience on social media will increase awareness of your brand and create even more demand for your product or service.
The success of your demand generation campaign relies on how well you can engage your audience on various channels.
As you move them through the funnel stages, they become warmer and more ready to buy.
Another smart demand strategy here is conversational marketing. It uses targeted marketing and interactive chatbots to engage and convert your leads.
It is one of the fastest ways to move leads through the sales cycle with the help of real-time conversations.
This is an excellent space to align marketing and sales to give your customers the best possible experience.
This alignment also helps develop a replicable process for closing deals, increasing deal size, and speeding up the sales cycle.
To know if your demand strategy is working, you need to be able to measure the amount of impact your strategies are making.
Measuring demand can be tricky, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
This is where setting KPIs helps. Once you understand how your users interact with your demand generation strategies, you can keep modifying them for better results.
And don’t forget A/B testing – it’ll give you all the information you need!
KPIs are the measures that decide if your demand generation campaigns are effective or not. It will lay a strong foundation for a successful demand strategy.
The KPIs can be anything depending on what you want to monitor.
If you’re setting up a campaign, you can set performance metrics such as cost per acquisition, lead quality score, customer lifetime value, free trial/tool signup rate, content conversion rate, and return on ad spend.
Most importantly, you need to measure the success of your demand generation strategy and understand how to attribute marketing activities to company revenue.
All changes and decisions should be made based on data that leads you to that decision, especially with your marketing strategy.
When introducing your audience to the problem you want to solve, it helps to have concrete and quantitative data to back up your claims.
Sharing free reports or statistics about your industry can help your audience understand the problem you’re trying to bring light to.
Regular reporting will contribute to planning and strategy as well as help keep everyone outside of your team in the loop on goal attainment and priorities.
Another key piece of demand generation marketing is a lead scoring system.
Marketing and sales teams must get together to form a unified set of definitions for what makes someone a qualified lead, a hot prospect, or on the flip side, a bad fit.
Sales funnels are often filled with poor-quality leads that you need to sift out, hindering efficiency.
A scoring system is so important because most customers, particularly in a B2B context, interact with marketing content before talking to sales reps.
By offering something of real value, your visitors are much more likely to part with whatever information you need to begin qualifying them as a viable lead, the first stage in the demand generation process.
Increase Lead Generation With Kennected
These two strategies (though sometimes referenced interchangeably) have very different goals.
Where demand generation strives to build brand awareness and authority so potential customers reliably enter the purchase funnel, a lead strategy focuses on turning an engaged audience into leads via direct outreach.
A strong demand generation strategy will help your business bring in reliable, high-quality leads and ultimately grow your business. Kennected is all in on the demand generation concept. Everything from the content (like this) we put on our website, to the YouTube videos on our channel, and the ebooks and more, are designed to create a demand for our offerings. Great demand generation marketing takes a lot of work and a whole company buying in. Prospective customers will be attracted to you and chasing you, not the other way around.
We hope we’ve captured the essence of demand generation marketing strategies through our content. Demand gen strategy is also synonymous with demand gen campaign marketing.
Keep exploring and implementing these strategies to grow your audience and business.
For more resources like these, or to partner with software vendors and connect with in-market buyers, through research, reviews, and lead generation, check out Kennected.