In many B2B companies, the marketing and sales teams work in silos. Marketers work tirelessly to attract leads and hand them off to salespeople, who do their best to close the sale — but if their goals, lifecycle definitions, processes and technology stacks are misaligned, it could cost the company 10 percent of revenue or more per year.
Demand generation serves to bridge that gap between marketing and sales, and ultimately, between sales and client success teams, as well. It encompasses all of the interactions a prospect has with the company, from the moment of brand awareness to long after they've become a successful customer. In other words, the function of the demand generation marketer is to not only bring in tons of new leads, but to bring in the leads who are most likely to become successful customers and brand evangelists.
To be an effective demand generation marketer and drive results for your company, you need to first nail down the process. Here are eight B2B demand generation strategies that we've seen work every time.
8 B2B Demand Generation Strategies that Drive Results
1. Create your brand identity and raise brand awareness
Before you can begin attracting leads and generating revenue for your company, you first have to understand your brand identity. Studies have shown that 86 percent of consumers prefer an authentic and honest brand personality, so building a strong, recognizable brand will be key to differentiating your company from your competitors in today's over-saturated market.
Ask yourself: What does your brand represent? What's your brand's story? If your brand were a person, how would they speak, act and dress? Why should people buy your solution from your company? Answering these questions will point you in the right direction toward creating unique, compelling and consistent brand messaging.
2. Set up the right tech stack for marketing and sales operations
- A marketing automation system
- A customer relationship management system
- A content management system
- A business intelligence platform
- A conversational marketing tool, and
- A customer service tool.
Make sure that these systems are configured correctly, so that sales and marketing personnel can live in them and perform the necessary functions on a daily basis without added frustration, duplicate effort or wasted time.
3. Develop your buyer personas and segmentation strategy
Once you understand your brand and have the tools set up for streamlined operations, you need to understand who you're targeting, how to differentiate between buyer personas and how to speak to each most effectively. Taking a targeted approach to all of your marketing and sales activities will amplify their impact.
What does your target audience look like? Who are your ideal buyer personas — the prospects who will be most interested in your product, the best fit for your company and the most likely to become happy, successful clients in the long run? Understanding the unique goals, pain points and challenges for each persona will give you the information you need to segment your contact database.
4. Create helpful content and share it wherever your personas spend time online
Now that you've gotten familiar with your buyer personas and can effectively segment between them in your contact database, it should be much easier to start developing your content strategy and messaging. Think about the challenges your personas face and the questions they might ask to try to solve for those challenges. Then, create the content that answers those questions.
Host that content on your website and get it out in front of your personas wherever they're most likely to spend their time online. Paid search, display advertising campaigns, social media posts and third-party blog contributions are great ways to share your content with the right people and reach a wider audience.
5. Create conversion pathways to generate leads
No matter how much great content you create, it will be next to impossible to generate any leads from it if you don't gate some of that content. Create gated content offers like e-books, webinars and white pages, and use CTAs, conversion paths and persona-driven website architecture to direct visitors on your website toward the content they'd find most relevant.
Embed forms on your landing pages to collect information like name, email, company and anything else you need to segment your contacts effectively. If the content you're offering is compelling and relevant enough to your prospects, they'll be more than happy to offer a little bit of contact information in return — and you can use that information to better understand your personas and refine your messaging.
6. Continue to work closely with sales
Marketers, don't make the mistake of backing out as soon as leads are passed over to sales. For an effective, comprehensive demand generation strategy, you need to know what happens after a lead converts, what the sales follow-up will look like and what the sales team might need from you to be successful.
At New Breed, our marketing team supports the sales team with sales enablement decks. This way, sales can speak as experts on any given topic, and if they do need to loop someone in from the marketing team to discuss something more in depth during a sales call, our marketers make themselves available to do so. Ultimately, marketing and sales teams should be linked through every stage of the funnel, so at no point are they ever stepping on each other's toes.
7. Measure the success of your activities and optimize accordingly
Most importantly, you need to measure the success of your demand generation strategy and understand how to attribute marketing activities to company revenue. This will help you understand which marketing initiatives are working well and enable you to prove the value of those marketing initiatives to your executive team.
Conduct a funnel gap analysis to understand where people are dropping off in the sales and marketing funnel. Identifying these gaps will tell you where you need to focus your efforts in the next campaign. For example, if you find you're generating a ton of sales-qualified leads but none of them are converting, that could mean you have targeting set up correctly, but for the wrong personas — go back and rethink who your ideal customers are. Or, if you're not reaching a wide enough audience, you may need to optimize your blog posts and on-page SEO.
8. Don't forget to measure the lifetime value of your customers
Remember, everything we've talked about in the first seven steps costs time and money. If your customers are churning quickly, they may not be providing enough lifetime value to pay for the cost of acquiring them, and you could still be losing revenue in the long run.
Your goal should not be to close as many deals as you possibly can, because ultimately, not every prospect who's interested in your product will be a good fit for your business — and this will come back to bite you no matter what. If customers are consistently churning and giving bad reviews, new potential prospects will see that and be turned off from your business.
The demand generation marketer sees the big picture; they understand their prospects before their prospects are even aware that their company exists; they know how the sales team operates and what they need to be successful; they anticipate the consequences of dissatisfied or poor-fit customers; and they plan for all of it ahead of time. By directing all of your marketing activities with these things in mind, you'll be able to pull in the right customers for your business and ensure continued success for the future.
Download our Essential Guide to Demand Generation for a deeper dive into what it takes to establish yourself as a demand generation marketer and for even more, actionable demand generation strategies you can start implementing for your business: