B2B Demand Generation Strategies That Drive Results
Demand generation should be one of the main goals of any marketing strategy. After all, a company cannot attract new business or close new deals unless they generate demand for the solutions that they provide. This means that, in a way, all of your marketing efforts are a form of demand generation. After all, the idea behind demand generation is to drive awareness and interest in your brand and the products or services that you are offering. Because the continued success of your company relies on your ability to generate demand, you will want to focus on creating and implementing effective demand generation strategies that will help you drive results.
What Is A Demand Generation Strategy?
A demand generation strategy involves any marketing tactics used to spread awareness of your business and to generate interest in your offerings. Basically, it encomposses everything from attracting visitors to your website, capturing leads, and nurturing them to the point of sale.
What Is The Difference Between Demand Generation And Lead Generation?
Demand generation is a process that includes generating awareness for your company and its products or services for the first time, converting visitors to leads, and then nurturing those leads to the point of sale. For example, running a commercial on TV or posting an article on your website blog can both be forms of demand generation.
Lead generation is a facet of demand generation. Demand generation is a process that encompasses every stage of the buyer’s journey up until the actual closing of the deal. Lead generation is the process of converting unidentified prospects to leads and qualifying the leads that you capture for subsequent actions.
The leads that you’ve captured are already aware of your brand at this stage since they’ve been converted to leads. At this point, they are just further educating themselves (which, of course, still involves increasing awareness and interest) until they are qualified as potential customers.
At first glance, demand generation and lead generation might appear to be the same thing. After all, you cannot generate leads without generating awareness and interest in your brand. In fact, the terms demand generation and lead generation have often been confused for one another and have even been used interchangeably. However, they are different processes, no matter how similar they may appear to be.
What Are The Components Of A Demand Generation Strategy?
Because the process of demand generation addresses such a large part of the buyer’s journey, it means that it essentially encompaseses every marketing tactic that helps to drive awareness and generate interest across the entire customer journey.
All of your demand generation tactics are also touch points that are located throughout the sales cycle. The ultimate goal isn’t simply to generate demand, but more specifically to attract prospects, convert prospects to leads and nurture prospects and customers with the goal of building long-term customer relationships. Keeping that in mind, demand generation consists of the following major components:
Traffic generation is one of the main methods of building brand awareness. It’s through your traffic generation strategy that you will be able to put your company in a position to be found by your target audience and to bring them to your website for the first time or convince them to return as they get closer to making a purchasing decision. Three of the most effective ways to generate traffic is by creating dynamic, remarkable, easily shareable content, optimizing your website for SEO (search engine optimization) and by link building.
By creating great content and using relevant keywords and topics to optimize your content, you simultaneously attract the prospects most suitable for your business and increase the chances of having your content highly ranked on Google’s search engine (although keywords aren’t the only factor that contributes to page rankings). The higher your page is ranked, the more exposure it has on their SERPs (search engine results pages), thereby bringing awareness of your website to prospects that performed related search queries.. Link building can enhance your domain authority and spread awareness of your brand. Link building involves earning external links from other websites. When another website posts a link to your content, they are increasing brand awareness on your behalf by introducing their audience to your website as well as signaling to Google that this is a site whose content is trustworthy.
Whereas traffic generation focuses on generating awareness of your company by bringing visitors to your website, lead generation is a strategy focusing on generating enough interest from your visitors that they will convert by filling out a form or by engaging directly with your company via email or phone. The most effective way to do this is through content marketing.
Creating high-quality content that’s relevant to your target audience will help your visitors and leads to educate themselves on their needs and the solutions available. Besides helping them become more informed, you are also building trust as a brand authority. Both of these things will result in the generation of more interest in what you have to offer as well as in your company as a whole. You can take advantage of this interest by creating offers in return for their personal information, such as a downloadable ebook, case studies or product demos.
Once you have captured your lead, lead management becomes important. You will want to continue generating interest in your business until the point at which they are ready to be engaged by a sales rep. This requires the ability to qualify your leads. Qualifying your leads is important because it allows you to determine exactly how much interest they have in your products or services based on the information they’ve provided and the actions that they’ve taken.
To successfully qualify leads you need to do two things. First of all, you need to implement a lead qualification system that associates levels of quality rating to each lead based on the data you have on them. Secondly, you must align your marketing and sales teams so that they can collaborate in order to determine the qualification thresholds that determine when a lead is qualified, whether it’s as an MQL (marketing qualified lead) or a SQL (sales qualified lead).
Conversion Rate Optimization
The first point of conversion is the most important. It’s when your visitors turn into leads or when a person goes from being aware of your company to becoming interested in it. You’ll want to do everything that you can to encourage your visitors to convert, which is why you will want to implement a conversion rate optimization strategy.
Conversion rate optimization will help you improve your conversion rate by implementing a variety of tactics, such as optimizing your landing page, optimizing your forms, using A/B testing, and ensuring that your site is mobile-friendly. Conversion rate optimization strategies also involve identifying obstacles to conversion, such as a lack of clear direction to the website visitor or the presence of technical issues, and addressing them.
Like SEO, PPC (pay-per-click) advertising focuses on being found on search engines. However, unlike SEO, it’s not organic. You’re essentially bidding to have your ads displayed based on the keywords that are used. It is an excellent way to generate awareness and interest, especially since many of the people who click on PPC ads tend to be further down the sales funnel. It’s why many companies will use PPC ads to promote a specific solution they are selling, although PPC ads can also be used to promote content. It’s also worth noting that PPC ads are an effective way to test out keywords to use for your SEO strategy.
Examples Of B2B Demand Generation Strategies That Drive Results
Because a B2B demand generation strategy addresses the point at which a person or company becomes aware of your organization all the way through to the point at which you close the deal, there are many different demand generation strategies that you can implement. For example, you can implement an entire demand generation strategy focused on social media marketing. This is because social media can be leveraged at every stage of a demand generation strategy. The following are a number of ways in which social media can be used to generate awareness and interest:
- Posting content to social media can help generate initial awareness through shares and likes.
- Building relationships with influencers can help expose your brand to a bigger audience.
- Links to your blog or website can help drive traffic.
- Regular engagement in relevant groups and on relevant pages can bring awareness of your company as well as generate interest in your expertise.
- Posting content on social channels can help generate interest.
- You can use targeted social media offers to generate leads.
- You can use actual conversations with your leads as well as polls and surveys to qualify leads.
- You can use targeted social media advertising to continue nurturing leads by driving their interest.
A Demand Generation Strategy Best Practices
Just because you have a demand generation strategy in place that consists of numerous tactics with the goal of generating awareness and interest doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be effective in doing so. The following are some of the best practices that you should implement to help improve the customer experience so that your demand generation strategies become more effective.
Develop Buyer Personas
For demand generation to be effective, you need to know who to target. If you’re attracting the wrong audience, you’re not going to be able to convert them into leads. Additionally, those that you do turn into leads, you’ll need to understand their wants, needs, challenges, fears, and more in order to generate interest and nurture them through the sales funnel. It’s why developing your buyer personas is such a critical part of successful demand generation.
Map Buyer Journeys
Once you develop your buyer personas, you should map your buyer journeys. Doing so will allow you to figure out what channels they’re using and what conversion points they’re hitting. You can then optimize your buyer journeys to generate more interest and drive more conversions.
Align Sales And Marketing
Ultimately, your demand generation strategy isn’t going to be very successful if your marketing and sales teams aren’t aligned. Your sales team can provide your marketing team with valuable information about what types of prospects tend to convert into customers, which can help the marketing team narrow their focus on those types of prospects when generating awareness of your company. Additionally, by working together, marketing can create more effective resources that sales can use to continue generating interest from the prospects that they are nurturing into customers.
Marketing and sales should work together to identify what information and actions best qualify a lead. If your marketing team qualifies leads as sales ready before they actually are, then your sales team may have trouble closing the deal.
Build An Informative, User-Friendly Website
There’s no better way to lose the interest of your visitors than by having a website that’s difficult to use. Your website needs to be informative and easy to navigate so that visitors can find what they’re looking for. Your webpages should load quickly as well or else you’ll frustrate your visitors. FInally, the layout and aesthetic of each page needs to promote the ability to scan your content. If your content is difficult to read through, you will lose their interest.
Leverage Your Social Media Presence
Simply having a social page can help to increase awareness of your site. Actively engaging with followers and influencers will help to generate the interest necessary to drive leads to your website.
Implement A CRM Solution
A CRM (customer relationship management) solution allows you to collect prospect and customer data in one location where everyone throughout your organization can access it. In fact, the moment a lead is generated, a profile will be automatically created in your CRM. Using your CRM, you’ll be able to qualify leads more effectively while also automating the delivery of relevant content and messaging based on their actions.
There are a lot of potential obstacles that can prevent visitors and leads from moving down the funnel. By implementing chatbots, you provide them with a resource that they can turn to for fast answers to basic questions as well as general guidance that can help keep them on your website consuming even more useful content. Additionally, you can program your chatbots to ask specific questions that help you qualify your visitors.
Demand Generation Strategy Metrics And KPIs
Judging the effectiveness of your demand generation strategy is essential to your ability to optimize it and to adjust your tactics accordingly. By monitoring the following metrics and KPIs, you will be able to identify what’s working and what isn’t, thereby allowing you to continuously improve your demand generation strategy’s impact in a more cost-effective manner.
Website Traffic Sources
While looking at basic web traffic numbers can let you know how your traffic generation efforts are fairing in general over time, web traffic sources is a more useful metric as it tells you what sources are driving the most traffic and demand.
There are several points of conversion throughout the sales funnel, including visitors-to-lead, leads-to-opportunity, and opportunity-to-closed won. The higher the conversion rate is, the better. It means that you’ve managed to generate enough interest at that stage to drive conversions. If any of these conversion rates are low, it means that there’s an obstacle that will need to be addressed — including that perhaps not enough interest is being generated to drive the lead through the funnel.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
Demand generation doesn’t stop once a deal has been made. You will need to continue generating interest in your products or services in order to keep existing customers. The CLV gives you a good indication of how successful your efforts have been of doing just that. If your CLV is low, it probably means that you are losing a lot of customers after the first sale.
The CPA refers to the average cost of every sale you generate. If your CPA exceeds your CLV, it means that you’re losing money. Tracking your CPA essentially provides you with a big picture view of how your demand generation strategy is doing.
Your cost-per-lead is calculated by dividing your costs of marketing by the number of leads generated. You can use the cost-per-lead to figure out how much your average campaigns, channels, or buyer personas are costing you to generate leads. If the cost-per-lead is too high, you can assume that your conversion rates are low, which you’ll then need to evaluate in order to diagnose the underlying issue or reevaluate where your marketing dollars are being spent.
Click-through-rates give you a more specific look at how certain pages and elements are performing in terms of generating interest. For example, a high click-through rate on a PPC ad or on a blog post’s call-to-action (CTA) lets you know that the content of those pages were effective at generating interest.
Consider A Demand Generation Specialist To Generate Leads
Although demand generation focuses on the generation of awareness and interest, it’s a process that encompasses many different marketing tactics throughout the buyer’s journey. Because of this, a successful demand generation strategy relies on a strong foundation. You need to align your resources with your goals instead of trying to haphazardly implement tactics without supporting information.
Your tactics to generate more awareness and interest will only be as effective as the strategy that they are a part of. As such, building a comprehensive demand generation strategy that is effective can be challenging, especially when considering all of the different subcomponents. However, it’s not only well worth the time and effort required to create and implement such a strategy, it’s critical to your ultimate success.