Often in life, it’s the simplest of things we think we have all figured out. We’re dead-set in our ways, more than we think. This is often the case for many marketers when it comes to demand generation. How could we not understand such an easy concept?
However, before you freak out and start questioning everything you thought you knew about demand generation, take a deep breath! We’ve got your back.
We’re going to show you how you can execute a demand generation campaign based on what’s working for thousands of companies right now!
Like many concepts in modern B2B marketing, every company has their definition of demand generation. This can make it difficult to define best practices. Is it sales or marketing? Branding or direct response? Once you start researching, you may end up with more questions than answers.
So, what is demand generation? Let’s dive in.
The best explanation that I’ve heard likens demand generation to a marketing umbrella, where tactics converge to reach the right people, at the right time, with the right message.
Examples of what stands under this umbrella (ella, ella, ella) are marketing activities such as events, digital advertising, email marketing, outbound campaigns, inbound marketing, direct mail, and the list goes on. The goal is to generate awareness, capture interest, and ultimately deliver qualified leads to your sales team and drive revenue for your organization.
What is a Demand Generation Strategy?
A robust demand generation strategy should serve as the foundation that supports your entire marketing strategy – from awareness to sale. The key idea here is to help the audience, the market, and the buyer’s journey. Your initial demand generation strategy is essential, but you should expect to be continuously adjusting and aligning it with current customer feedback and data.
Demand generation vs. traditional marketing
There may be a couple of unanswered questions: What makes demand generation different from conventional marketing? Aren’t they the same?
The answer is: Well, somewhat. Demand generation is a sub-set of marketing. So it’s a marketing evolution for B2B companies, bridging the gap that often exists between sales and marketing.
It’s a multichannel focus that requires a multifaceted team with skills in data, operations, email marketing, website design, content marketing, display advertising, and more.
Three steps to defining your demand generation strategy.
If lead generation is the Walmart of marketing, demand generation is Whole Foods. Yes; lead generation can fill the top of your funnel with a high volume of leads, but those leads tend to fall short where quality is concerned. Whereas with demand generation, quality over quantity is the name of the game.
Step 1: Build a solid foundation.
Focus on these four areas to lay the groundwork of your strategy:
- Total addressable market
Have you taken the time to research your TAM? Now is the time to give your team a blueprint of where you should focus your energy and resources.
- Ideal customer profile
Once you’ve defined your TAM, you need to know the specific criteria of your ideal customer. This will help you zero in on messaging and outreach tactics that resonate.
- Ideal buying committee
You know the size of your TAM, you know your ideal customer profile, but whom all is involved in making purchasing decisions? Define the key stakeholders you need to engage before you begin your outreach efforts.
- Ideal buyer personas
Once you have a handle on the members that make up a buying committee, it’s time to build out buyer personas. What are their pain points? How do they build trust? Note that different functions and even different levels of a single function will view the same challenge through a different lens.
An approach that encompasses all of the above is account-based marketing. ABM is the meat and potatoes of any good demand generation strategy. It’s a targeted approach that identifies your ideal customer profile and maps out a plan to engage those specific accounts. By following an ABM approach, you can finally penetrate and develop a footprint within your target accounts and then measure the effort you’re putting in.
Step 2: Plug the leaky sales funnel
It’s more common than you’d think for companies to miss the critical stage of deploying effective lead scoring and nurture programs.
How many times have you handed over a bucket of leads to sales, without even a whisper of converted opportunities? We’ve all been there.
Lead scoring is a system that allows you to customize your marketing to mirror the level of engagement a potential customer currently has with your company. Prospects with higher engagement scores will be sent directly to your sales development team for qualification. Lower scores would then be sent your most engaging content to help them advance through the buyer’s journey.
Lead nurturing is your process for systematically staying in front of prospects using tactics such as email, direct mail, digital advertising, and ‘hanging out’ on the channels where your buyers congregate, such as LinkedIn. An effective lead nurturing model is usually omnichannel and automated using marketing automation tools like Marketo, Eloqua, or Pardot.
These programs are designed to make sure you are always top-of-mind when the time comes, and your target prospects are ready to purchase.
Step 3: Choose your tech stack wisely
It’s common (and easy) to get carried away buying all types of shiny, new solutions with the company credit card. However, tools alone are not a silver bullet. It’s best to work with what you have and bring new tech onboard only when you are feeling the pains of operating without it.
That said, we work with some of the world’s top B2B companies (check them out here).
Here’s the basic tech stack we recommend and why:
CRM: A CRM is crucial in tracking everything about your current customers, helping you identify where you can improve in the future.
Marketing Automation: A marketing automation platform is a must-have if you want to add depth to your outbound and inbound marketing efforts. Lead scoring, lead nurturing, targeted campaigns … need I say more?
Sales Enablement Technology: The right tools to enable your sales team makes all the difference. Don’t let all your marketing efforts go to waste. Give your sales team what they need to convert all the leads you send over.
Intent Data: If you want insight into what your buyers need right now, you need intent data. This behavior-based data will fill you in on what your buyers are looking for right now and give you an advantage to being the first solution on the scene.
Web Chat: Without web chat, how else can you reach anonymous visitors to your website? Don’t miss the prime time to make contact.
Our martech stack here at Televerde is always evolving. Currently, it includes tools such as:
There are thousands of choices. However, bear in mind that any tool you bring on board will likely require good process and should integrate with other tools to help drive company goals.
At Televerde, our demand generation campaigns combine outbound calling, email marketing, digital advertising, content marketing, and social media.
We start with our target accounts. Next, we’ll find all of the key contacts within those accounts. Then, we load that valuable data into outreach for outbound calling and emails by our dedicated sales development representatives (SDRs). Digital advertising and email marketing campaigns support these outbound campaigns. We also utilize Linkedin ads to target our key contacts socially, build awareness, and generate leads.
Intent tools like Bombora help our sales team identify which accounts to prioritize. Our email marketing helps us generate interest and pass people to our sales team as lead scores and engagement increase. All marketing leads we generate go through a lead nurture program, which helps to qualify the leads and move them through our sales pipeline faster.
Don’t overlook the most critical element!
While technology is ubiquitous, human interaction is still indispensable. It takes people to build relationships, earn trust, and inspire confidence in a product or service, and those people can’t succeed unless they have the time and attention to devote to these interactions.
A modern SDR enables a B2B organization to support meaningful and personable connections with more prospects and buyers. This is primarily due to the SDR’s ability to engage prospects in conversation through a variety of channels: listening to prospects, reacting to their concerns and interacting with them on a level that is impossible to achieve using scripts, battle cards or other “canned content” tactics.
Experiment & optimize
Once the campaigns are published, the real work begins. Our demand generation team has two goals: generating marketing qualified leads and driving revenue.
To ensure optimum performance of our campaigns, we take an iterative approach. Part of our process includes taking time post-launch to optimize and experiment based on what’s moving the needle and what isn’t. For example, maybe a nurture campaign is performing well as a whole, but one email has significantly less engagement than the others. We’d roll up our sleeves and determine if maybe the messaging is off, or if it’s the wrong piece of content for that part of the buyer’s journey. We take this level focus to each channel, working our way down, since performance in one area cascades to the next. We have found that this system helps to raise the effectiveness of each channel to drive towards our goals. Part of being successful with a modern marketing mix is realizing the work is never truly done.
If all this demand generation talk wasn’t quite enough for you, here are a few of our favorite resources for demand generation teams:
- Conversion XL: Demand Generation: Turning Tactics Into Strategies
- Only-B2B: 9 Demand Generation Books Every Marketing Expert Should Read
- How To Create A Global Scalable Demand Generation Engine
Engaging your prospective buyers is the first step to generating pipeline and accelerating sales. See how we do it here.
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