Every B2B marketers' main objective is to generate demand for the products and services of their business. Ideally, this demand becomes a long-term business relationship. In doing so, marketers should be able to make predictions on the number of qualified leads their activities generate over the next few months.
Before we go into more detail, let us define demand generation. Demand generation is an integrated and measurable process that encourages interest for products and services with the intention to increase revue. That is why we should not confuse demand generation with lead generation, although both terms are often used synonymously. Lead generation is a process that gathers information about clients, usually through content that requires registration. As we will see, lead generation is an integral part of demand generation.
The three pillars of demand generation
You cannot generate demand if nobody sees you. There are many methods to draw attention to a business's products and services and companies usually make use of several of them:
- trade fares
- email marketing
- advertising (ads, cost per click etc.)
- social media marketing
- search engine optimization (SEO)
- content marketing (videos, blogs, white paper etc.)
Content marketing is one of the main drawing points here as it is the basis for many other activities such as social media marketing or SEO. Generally, companies should consider that they need budget not only to create engaging content, but also for distributing and advertising said content. There are various ways of doing this, such as Facebook Ads, Google AdWords or sponsored posts on LinkedIn. If you invest in content, make sure people will see it!
Creating engaging content that people seek out is also one of the main lead generation approaches. Prospects give up personal data in exchange for content. The gathered data can then be used for outbound activities, such as email marketing.
People should be careful when they consider buying lead lists. One the one hand, there are legal restrictions that differ from country to country. Furthermore, the quality of these lists should be evaluated carefully. There is no use for contacts that will never develop demand for your products.
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Once you have generated leads, they lion's share of the demand generation process kicks in. You have started the conversation in the first step of the process. But now you have to keep the conversation going. However, lead nurturing is more than simply keeping in touch. All further activities have to develop a sustainable customer-brand relationship. This can take a lot of time in B2B – patience is key.
The goal of lead nurturing is to develop marketing qualified leads that can be handed over to sales in the final stage of the demand generation process. Just because a prospect has become aware of your products and considers a new purchase does not mean that you and not your competition will close the deal. Research shows that buyers increasingly invest more time to evaluate future purchases today (download of infographic for more demand generation statistics).
Other than the above-mentioned content offers (e.g. white paper) two approaches are worth a shot: demo versions and trial periods give prospects the opportunity to experience the quality of your products first hand. Reference management is another effective approach. Case studies and peer reviews show that your products deliver the performance your marketing promises.
Various marketing automation tools can aid you by making this process more effective. The tool integrates your marketing with your CRM and continuously provides analyses for on-going marketing activities.
Align marketing and sales
The final stage of the demand generation process is handing over the marketing qualified lead to sales. This requires a previously agreed-upon guideline that defines what a marketing qualified lead actually is for your business. This is done best with an ideal customer profile that describes all the criteria that a lead has to fulfill in order to be considered for sales. This also includes criteria that disqualify the lead for sales. Defining this ideal customer profile together will help to bring marketing and sales on the same page. It moreover helps your marketing staff when they develop content for the lead nurturing process.
A successful demand generation process also consists of aspects such as data management. Professional data management is the basis for many of your activities. Not only do you use data to make predictions on business opportunities, you also need data to create user profiles that in turn are used for personalized marketing activities. Data management comes also into play when analyzing and optimizing your on-going efforts.
Demand generation is an increasingly technology-based marketing approach. That is why the process requires a marketing automation solution such as Hubspot, mautic or Eloqua.
The benefits of demand generation for your business:
- You develop a reliable sales pipeline.
- You align marketing and sales.
- You increase the return on investment.
- You can develop more targeted marketing activities.
Our service: Whether it is inbound or outbound, from conception to realization, we develop demand generation processes that fit your needs. Get in touch!