Considering that 55% of brands have increased their demand generation activity in the past year, it seems smart to look at your own tactics and see how they measure up.
Driving demand is all about pinpointing valuable opportunities and showing those prospects why your solutions can help solve their problems.
However, if you’re unsure who you’re targeting or you have no way of measuring your impact, you’re going to struggle to improve your campaigns, and you’ll fail to fuel higher demand.
Read on to learn the demand generation best practices that will help you shape an effective demand gen strategy.
What’s demand generation?
Demand gen marketing is an early-stage marketing technique where you create interest in your products and services by showing your target audience how you solve the specific problems that they have.
To do this, you need to:
- Identify your target audience
- Build brand awareness
- Reinforce your brand as the authoritative solution
- Convert demand to leads
We’ll walk you through eight best practices around these steps in a minute. But first, let’s quickly cover why you should put in the effort.
What are the benefits of demand generation?
A demand generation program can help you build more viable sales opportunities since you target your ideal audience from the get-go.
By identifying your buyer persona early and qualifying leads better, it’s easier to recognize legitimate sales opportunities.
In fact, 41% of brands say that they’ve increased their demand generation activities because they’d like to reach higher marketing and sales targets.
It’s important to recognize that 2/3 of buyers are more hesitant to make purchases than ever before. Driving demand is one of the best ways to help build a strong, solutions-focused case for hesitant buyers from the beginning.
By better qualifying leads and creating more convincing arguments to persuade buyers, it’s easier to convert leads into sales further down the pipeline.
This boosts conversion rates. In fact, 68% of B2B marketers leverage demand generation tactics to improve conversions and campaign results.
Thanks to a higher conversion rate, 29% of brands say they get a great return on investment (ROI) from their demand generation process.
8 demand generation best practices to build a more effective strategy
You need a strong demand gen marketing strategy to reach your target audience effectively and move them into the sales and marketing funnel.
Here are eight best practices to help you create effective demand generation campaigns.
1. Shape your target personas using intent data
49% of B2B marketers who don’t take advantage of user intent data admit that they find it hard to identify their target audience.
Intent data is behavioral data that helps you understand your ideal buyer persona. It’s data your existing customers and visitors generate. Studying intent data helps you work out which kinds of people buy and what their behavior looks like.
By understanding this, you can better target your demand generation activity to appeal to visitors that behave in this way. It also makes it easier to prioritize the leads you should be targeting.
It’s an especially effective tactic. In fact, 44% of data intent users say that monitoring this activity helps them identify potential accounts to target, while 40% say it helps them prioritize and score potential leads.
Try looking at your first-party intent data on your CRM and Google Analytics. You can also pay to access third-party intent data from companies like Bombara.
2. Choose the right metrics to measure campaign success
The only way to understand if you're generating demand is to benchmark your existing performance and compare it to your performance after you’ve implemented each demand generation campaign.
To make sure that your demand gen tactics meet your goals, you need to make sure you’re tracking the right metrics. These metrics should be tied to your specific aims.
- Are you trying to increase brand awareness? Monitor shares and impressions.
- Are you trying to capture more leads? Measure the number of marketing-qualified leads.
- Are you trying to accelerate lead conversion? Track lead-to-opportunity length.
Check on your key performance indicators regularly to understand where you need to allocate further time, money, and resources and where you should reduce your efforts.
3. Create a lead scoring model to focus your sales team
Lead scoring helps your sales team prioritize leads that are passed down the marketing funnel.
Your lead-scoring system should assign a score to your leads depending on their demographics and behavior.
Your lead scoring model should be based on the intent data you pull from your website, CRM, social media accounts, and third-party providers.
Demographics scores may refer to personal demographics (such as age, race, and gender), industry, job roles, and relevant interests.
Behavioral scores may be based on online behaviors, such as whether a lead performed certain actions on your website, attended a webinar, or clicked an email.
Offline behavior can also affect behavioral scores, such as whether a lead attended an event or called your company.
4. Build a demand funnel to define the buyer journey
Your demand funnel describes everything from your first contact with a potential buyer all the way through to sales and retention. The idea is that you build a structured funnel that creates and sustains demand to convert a lead and convince them to remain loyal.
You’ll need to define all the potential end goals that a customer could reach, such as the different solutions you offer.
Now, outline all the possible problems that could lead to these end goals.
Each demand funnel should create a seamless customer journey that moves buyers from the problem to the end goal using a series of touchpoints.
Make sure you identify all the steps and who’s responsible for each stage of the buyer journey.
5. Align your sales and marketing teams so everyone’s working toward the same goals
You need your sales and marketing teams to be on the same page so that they’re both working toward the same goals.
First, make sure everyone is clear about who your target audience is so that both teams can better qualify and prioritize leads.
Second, make sure they’re aligned on the goals they’re working toward. Right now, 39% of B2B marketers admit their sales and marketing teams could benefit from aligning targets and KPIs.
Once everyone knows what they’re aiming for, align processes so that the hand-off from the marketing team to the sales team is seamless.
Where processes aren’t always straightened out, 39% of sales departments complain that they have to deal with leads that haven’t been qualified, making it harder for them to close deals.
Finally, make sure both teams are aligned on messaging so they’re telling the customer the same thing. This creates congruence throughout your organization.
Currently, 40% of sales departments say they have problems aligning their messaging with the marketing department, which confuses customers.
6. Create demand-focused sales enablement content
Your sales enablement content helps to align the messaging between your marketing and sales teams. Your marketing departments can use this content in the early stages of the sales cycle to generate demand, while your sales team can use these materials for lead nurturing later on.
Start with a strong SEO content marketing strategy to help you get to the top of Google searches. 60% of B2B marketers agree that this tactic generates the most qualified leads at the top of the funnel.
Try creating solutions-oriented and demand-focused how-to blogs, guides, whitepapers, and ebooks. This content should show customers how your brand solves their problems.
Make sure you target relevant keywords to help you climb Google’s rankings. For example:
Case studies are another strong sales enablement technique that helps generate demand and nurture leads. In fact, 30% of B2B marketers say that case studies generate the most qualified leads at the top of the funnel.
Try creating case study videos that your marketing team can use on your website, social media pages, and advertising campaigns. Your sales departments can also use these videos to show potential buyers the relevant problems you’ve solved.
Think about it this way: 2/3 of buyers say they’re more likely to buy after watching a testimonial video demonstrating how a brand had helped another person like them.
Just look at this video case study given by Datto about Robin, for example.
In just 30 seconds, the operations development manager explains the issues they were having, how Datto solved them, and the impact of that solution. This is the ideal case study to send to a similar customer or to use as a testimonial advertisement.
7. Build an omnichannel presence
43% of buyers agree that when a brand recognizes them across multiple touchpoints, it feels more like an individualized experience.
This is especially important since 70% of brands agree that a successful demand generation program will require more touchpoints before qualification than were previously needed.
This means you need to build a coherent experience across all platforms, including your website, social accounts, telecommunications, and bricks-and-mortar stores.
8. Diversify your lead nurturing tactics
Nowadays, it takes eight touchpoints to convert a lead to a sales meeting, meaning you need a variety of lead-nurturing tactics to move your prospects through your sales pipeline.
While 58% of marketers have introduced social media into their lead-nurturing program, 53% of B2B marketers say that webinars are the most effective engagement tactic for generating qualified leads in the early stages.
56% of marketers are also looking into content engagement data, while 46% are using retargeting, and 27% leverage intent data.
Don’t overlook offline tactics, though: 26% of brands are still utilizing events while 25% continue to use direct mail to nurture leads.
To create a smooth demand funnel with a seamless buyer journey, you need to align sales and marketing so that everyone’s working toward the same goal and spreading the same message.
Demand-focused content is one of the best ways to do this, so make sure you create sales-enabling blogs, videos, case studies, and so on.
If you need help creating flawless case study videos to use in your marketing and advertising campaigns, as well as in your lead-nurturing strategy, contact Testimonial Hero today.