In many companies, 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 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.
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 a company, from the first moments of learning about your brand long after they've become a customer.
The function of the demand generation marketer is to not only bring in tons of new leads but to also bring in the right-fit 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 seven B2B demand generation strategies that we've seen work time after time.
1. Define Your Brand and Brand Identity
“Your brand is the one thing that nobody else can take from you, and it should guide everything you do as a marketer,” says Guido Bartolacci, Head of Demand Generation for New Breed.
Your brand includes things like your tone of voice, messaging, logos and colors, but it goes way beyond that too. It also includes your unique value proposition (UVP) and your code of conduct. Not only does your brand guide how you speak to your customers, but it also guides how your employees feel about your company and the service or product you provide.
When developing or redefining your brand you can ask yourself questions like:
- What does my brand represent?
- What is my brand's story?
- If my brand were a person, how would they speak, act and dress?
- Why should people buy my product or solution over someone else’s?
Answering these questions will point you in the right direction toward creating unique, compelling and consistent brand messaging.
2. Develop and Perfect Your Buyer Personas and Ideal Customer Profiles
This is all about understanding who is the best fit for your product or service both at the individual and company level.
Your buyer personas are a fictional representation of the customers who you will see the most value from your product or service, and your ICPs are the companies that those personas belong too.
Each buyer persona that you build will include the pain points and challenges they face, their decision-making habits as well as demographic information.
For B2B companies, ICPs are equally as important as buyer personas because those individuals that you are trying to target (buyer personas) are going to work for companies that are also a good fit for your product.
“If you target companies rather than just one individual at a company, you can get greater buy-in across the board which can have a massive impact on your chances of getting that company to become a customer,” says Guido.
Your buyer personas and ICPs will guide everything you do as marketers and sales reps. It ensures you are giving the most personalized and positive experience possible to someone from the first moment they interact with your company to the end of their entire buying cycle.
3. Create Quality Content
Content is at the heart of everything you do to create demand for your product or service and attract the right buyers. It starts with making sure you are creating content that truly speaks to the pain points and challenges of your buyer personas.
“Start off by educating people about the problem that they have, help them define that problem further and then help them solve that problem,” says Guido. “This is where you tie those high-level concepts that you initially discussed to the value and solutions your company brings to the table.”
You will want to create proof point content, which is essentially content like case studies and testimonials that showcase use cases and proof of your product working for companies like the ones you are currently trying to sell too. This is the type of content that can convince prospects who are on the fence or in the final stages of the decision-making process to become customers.
Your content strategy should include assets that are useful earlier in the buying process too. Webinars, blogs, social posts, emails, podcasts, templates and guides and landing pages are all forms of content that you should consider adding to your strategy and aligning with your overall goals as a company.
4. Choose Your Acquisition Channels
When it comes to deciding where you are going to promote your content, you have multiple options, but it all comes down to making sure you’re optimizing the channels that your buyers are using.
This doesn’t have to be just on your blog; people also spend time listening to podcasts and going to events like tradeshows.
“You need to consider where it’s most valuable to put your content so it is visible to your key consumers and buyer personas and it finds them at a point where it isn’t disruptive and provides value,” says Guido.
Timing is important when considering where to place ads or promote your content. You want to be in front of buyers when they are in the right mindset to think about and consider your product or service. For instance, we wouldn’t put ads on a true crime podcast because at New Breed, our services don’t align with that media choice or that moment for our consumers. We may, however, advertise on a HubSpot podcast or another marketing podcast because one of our prime audiences is marketers and this would be a great channel to reach them with our product or service.
While you have options in the channels you choose, you should absolutely be using paid ads, social media and email as essential channels of communication. But, how else you promote and get your content out there is up to you and where you think your buyers will find your content useful or valuable.
5. Create Conversion Pathways to Generate Leads
You should always be thinking about what step you want your buyers to take next and how you can help guide them there.
When someone downloads an offer on your site, what’s the next best piece of content that you could send them? If they just engaged with a bottom-of-the-funnel piece of content, like a case study, maybe they are ready to speak to your sales team or at least should be given the option from some light sales outreach.
“You can use nurture strategies and conversion pathways to predict the different ways that each of your buyer personas can progress through your funnel,” says Guido.
You can use automation to take some of these actions; it doesn’t all have to be manual outreach. You can put nurture tracks in place using automated emails that are based on certain triggers. You should always be thinking about using automation to reduce friction on your team’s end, but you don’t want to over automate either. 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 in an automated way will allow you to better serve potential customers and provide value even faster.
6. Build and Optimize Your Tech Stack
Your tech stack is a key component of how your team and company do their jobs every day. From marketing automation to sales intelligence to customer success management, every software contributes to the experience your customers have with your brand and your team’s ability to give them a five-star experience.
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 in order to optimize all of your customer data and offer top-notch experiences.
Without the right tools and technology, your marketing, sales and customer success operations will suffer. 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
- 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.
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. All changes and decisions should be made based on data that leads you to that decision, especially with your marketing strategy.
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. This will enable your marketing, sales and customer service teams to easily track and work toward the same shared goals to ensure the company is all headed toward the same north star: revenue generation and growth.
All of these tactics are acquisition strategies to bring in customers and get them invested in your company and what you have to offer. Long-term success and growth comes from bringing in the right customers and then keeping them around and maintaining a healthy customer base.
“You want to be creating a healthy database of invested customers who are truly seeing real value from your brand and are going to stick around in terms of expansion and retention,” Guido says. “That starts with making sure you are bringing the right people through the door to begin with.”
Healthy customers will present you the opportunity to expand and grow, which in the long run will provide deeper, more reliable value to your company in terms of growth and revenue.