Intro to B2B demand generation
Understanding and implementing demand generation strategies can help B2B companies take their sales to the next level. Through creating interest, demand, and awareness about products and services, more clients can be generated and passed through the sales funnel.
What is demand generation marketing?
Demand generation marketing is where interest in a particular service or product that provides a solution is driven in a targeted manner. In other words, companies that provide solutions, create a buzz around problem-solving services that meet the needs of their target demographic. This can be done in a number of ways including creating awareness and exposure, supporting validation, being aware of clients’ needs, and, most importantly, knowing how to respond to them with an appropriate product.
Effective demand generation marketing should follow three principles:
- Show the customer you are aware of a problem they have
- Suggest your services as a solution to the problem
- Demonstrate the way in which your company is better than a competitor
Demand generation marketing typically includes content marketing. This can mean blog posts, videos, social media accounts and infographics, email marketing, and even audio such as podcasts. These elements, when combined, can position the company as a leading voice in that particular field, helping to build trust and create hype around the service that is on offer.
This type of marketing starts off in a subtle manner, rather than cold calling or waiting for the client to approach the company themselves. By positioning different types of marketing material in strategic places, demand gen is a more holistic approach to sparking organic client interest. In other words, the client often doesn’t realize they are being sold to, and, therefore, they don’t feel pressured into making a decision.
The process used by companies is one where potential target demographics are identified, targeted, and are then moved through a process that will see them eventually evolve into a sales lead. A good example of this is individuals who respond to emails, download apps, comment on blog posts, or interact on your social media posts.
Proper use and implementation of demand gen marketing can help a company gain more customers, promote new products and features, generate great PR, and retain and re-engage existing or previous clients.
The demand generation marketing approach is becoming more popular with salespeople, and companies. In fact, according to the Demand Gen Report, as much as 70% of companies say they are increasing their budgets for this kind of marketing.
Demand generation in B2B
In simple terms, B2B demand generation is a process whereby a salesperson generates interest in a service that is targeted to business customers. In other words, it is a way in which salespeople and marketers create hype around an offer or product that is tailored for use by businesses and companies.
A good B2B demand generation salesperson will always have in their mind the question of “how do I get a business to want the product I am selling?”
Any B2B sales person following the demand generation philosophy must be focussed on building client-company trust, reinforcing the corporate reputation, and making potential clients want to do business. They must also convince the target demographic of companies that the product on offer is one that will solve issues or needs within their business.
One of the main differences between demand generation and other forms of sales generations is that demand generation doesn’t always have to generate a lead. It can also be considered a success if it generates shares, sales, signups, downloads, comments, and other forms of awareness.
B2B demand generation is also rather different from B2C demand generation. This is not just due to the fact that the audience differs, but rather because it’s well known that businesses take longer to sell to. A B2C customer typically has to go through a procurement process that requires “buy-in” from management, other teams and departments, and sometimes the entire business. It’s also worth noting that B2B purchases are often significantly higher than B2C.
When the stakes are higher, the sales cycle tends to be a lot longer, and the importance of demand generation really comes to the fore of the sales process. Enforcing the demand throughout the process is an integral part of eventually getting that sale.
B2B demand generation marketing strategies Examples
There are a number of different B2B demand generation strategies out there but, for the purpose of this guide, we will take a look at just three of them.
Publishing quality content
Does your company have a blog? Is it a GOOD blog? Having a one is one thing, but keeping it updated with quality content is quite another. You need to be creating articles that educate, inform, interest, amuse, and prompt the reader to share and recommend it to others.
You can discuss topics like recent news and developments, issues in the industry, and how they can be managed; as well as informative and educational pieces. You don’t have to talk about products or how great you are in every article, it’s more than enough to position yourself as an authority in the sector, and to provide specific information that will interest your target demographic.
But content doesn’t have to mean just the written word. You can consider using infographics, memes, apps, downloadable files, newsletters, emails, and various other methods of imparting your company information. Podcasts are also an increasingly popular way to disseminate information, and they could also focus on news, developments and technical analysis of sector-specific matters
Increasing amounts of internet traffic are coming from mobile users – a trend that is unlikely to decrease any time soon. One of the most popular ways of consuming content on a mobile phone is via video. Creating videos or even short animations about products and services doesn’t have to require expensive equipment or a team of professional editors and actors. With a camera and basic video editing software, you can create interesting and good-quality videos to engage potential customers.
Utilize social media
Social media is a great tool, even for B2B customers. Not only do most of your clients have a social media presence for the company, but it’s likely that decision-makers will be active as well. Furthermore, social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, are regularly used as sources of information and industry news by those operating in specific business fields. Social media should be an integral part of your B2B generation marketing strategy.
If you aren’t already, you need to be creating blog posts, how-to-guides, providing industry news and updates, posting infographics, and sharing videos. These should be posted across platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Using the right hashtags and posting during business hours can increase the exposure of your content and drive more awareness about your brand and website.
The great thing about social media is that built-in analytics can tell you just how much engagement you are getting, what was a hit and what was not, and what people are saying about you, and your industry.
Demand generation marketing is very much the future of B2B sales. Not only does it make it easier to approach clients with a pitch, but it will create an influx of holistic leads, all willing to try your services.
Main takeaways on B2B demand generation marketing
- Create a buzz around a product or service
- Realize the B2B customers are human as well
- Prepare for a long sales cycle
- Keep up the content creation by diversifying efforts, topics, and themes
- Utilize multimedia to create authority, trust, and to generate hype
- Reinforce your key principles through a multi-disciplined marketing strategy
- Problem-solution-demonstration is the key to great demand generation marketing