Demand generation includes a lot more than generating demand for products and services. A wide range of B2B marketing strategies falls under the purview of demand generation. The core objective is to have a steady stream of qualified leads through the sales funnel. Unlike generic business promotions, demand generation lays strong emphasis on the purchase journey of the potential buyer. The marketing communication and overall content strategy determine how far along they are in the sales funnel.
B2B Demand Generation Unifies Sales and Marketing Teams
As per the tenets of B2B demand generation, all sales and marketing strategies have to be tailored as per:-
- The progression (and specific stage) of each lead through the sales funnel
- Each of their requirements and preferences is based on the latest data (intent data, firmographic details, psychographic insights, technographic data points)
- The lead score is calculated based on the lead’s overall potential and lucrative aspects. It helps in identifying the high-priority leads to paying maximum attention to.
The sales and marketing teams must be well-coordinated to plan and implement these highly personalised marketing strategies. Traditional business promotions were prevalent until a decade ago and hardly required such collaboration. However, the advent of modern-day digital marketing has completely transformed the approach of B2B businesses. Industry stalwarts often cite the following examples to demonstrate the effectiveness of demand generation.
- First-time visitors to the business website will get repulsed if a sales executive pursues them aggressively. All they require at this initial stage is awareness and engagement. Blogs, purchase guides, and gated content can help capture their attention.
- A marketing-qualified lead that has progressed halfway through the sales funnel requires a different level of attention. The marketing messages projected towards them should be a tactical mix of information and sales-centric content. An effective demand generation strategy eases the conversion of MQL to SQL.
- Businesses must walk the extra mile to convert a sales-qualified lead in the advanced stage of the funnel. They need to adopt a personalised communication strategy that prompts faster conversions. It is achievable with special discounts, free trials, and limited-period offers.
Hence, this inter-departmental synchronisation makes demand generation far more effective than traditional marketing avenues.
The Impact of B2B Demand Generation on the Sales Cycle
Demand generation lays a lot of emphasis on inbound marketing techniques. These include:-
1. Local SEO– It is best to optimise using local keywords. It will capture the attention of potential buyers nearby for the newly created business websites of start-ups and SMEs.
2. Creating High-Quality Lead Magnets– Prospects become familiar with the business offerings by providing high-value content in exchange for email ids and phone numbers.
3. Webinars and other Online Events- Online events are the best to showcase professional expertise and knowledge at a nominal cost.
4. Offering Free Trials– Providing a free glimpse of the services is the best way to convert leads into paying clients.
The conversion probability and revenue generation potential of organic, inbound leads are always better than that of outbound leads. Instead of merely handing over a leads list to the sales team to pursue, demand generation warrants that both teams work in tandem. The impact of this collaborative effort on the sales cycle is as follows:-
- The marketing team is not just responsible for assigning leads to sales executives. They need to specify how far along each lead is in the sales cycle and suggest the right outreach/communication strategies.
- Lead scoring and segregation become an integral responsibility of the sales team. Hence, the progression of each prospect through the sales cycle depends on the lead score and priority assigned.
- Demand generation influences sales by streamlining resources and energy toward the most promising leads. It works in conjunction with the account-based marketing strategies of the business.
- The sales funnel progression is expedited by focusing on data-driven insights and harnessing data analytics for demand forecasting/sales forecasting.
Demand generation creates a predictable pipeline of leads by mapping sales/marketing strategies per the buyer’s journey. It enables both teams to work more effectively on enticing prospects in each stage and nudging them towards conversion. This synchronisation is necessary for B2B, where trust-building and etching a solid client rapport is of utmost importance. Even after conversion, providing after-sales services, robust CRM, appropriate retargeting, and repeat sales is necessary to build client loyalty. Demand generation establishes a predictable sales cycle that enhances marketing ROI and sales productivity and boosts engagement levels.