The B2B client experience realm includes business touch-points across various phases of the purchase cycle. First in line is the pre-purchase stage with social media engagement, email marketing, informative content, PR messaging, etc. This is followed by the purchase phase with B2B events, product demos, meetings, and negotiations. Finally, the post-purchase touch-points include feedback mechanisms, service forums, loyalty programs, and retargeting. Demand generation unifies these B2B touch-points with the common objectives of educating, engaging, nurturing, converting, and re-nurturing.
Understanding Digital Demand Generation
In the simplest terms, demand generation implies reaching out to the target audience to inform, captivate, and invoke demand. Digital demand generation explicitly involves using digital platforms for sharing content, leading communication, and building the brand. It is a highly collaborative approach that unifies sales, marketing, and CRM teams as a linear force.
Why is Digital Demand Generation Important?
Many B2B businesses are wary of implementing demand generation, assuming that it will involve massive costs. However, this is an incorrect notion, and the contrary is true. Initiating all sales and marketing activities from the lens of digital demand generation will curtail expenses. It will ensure that marketing resources get directed towards leads with a high probability of conversion. For instance, businesses owners can ask themselves the following the questions to understand the importance of digital demand generation:
- Is the business performance suffering due to constant misalignment of sales and marketing activities?
- Despite best efforts and a sizeable investment, are the marketing campaigns not resonating with the target audience?
- Is the existing contacts list replete with inaccuracies and outdated entries, and does it require purchasing to buy a database?
- Are the sales/marketing personnel constantly pursuing unqualified leads?
- Is the CRM team unable to nurture existing clients to instill loyalty and repeat purchases?
If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, demand generation is the ideal approach for a B2B business.
5-Step Approach for Successful Digital Demand Generation:
Foster Awareness and Brand Credibility:
Propagating awareness about a business’s offerings is the first step to generating demand. If there is no demand for products/services, companies need to highlight the underlying issues that their offerings resolve. Prospects should first be aware of the problem points by simultaneously educating and engaging them. They should be thoroughly convinced about why they need a business’s products/services, and especially why it is worth investing in.
Align Content Strategy with the Purchase Cycle Phases:
Content Creation is being carried out by all B2B businesses today, be it for SEO, social media, or paid ads. But churning out new content without precision-based targeting will not grab the right eyeballs. For instance, the initial phase of raising awareness and credibility should use well-researched, highly informative content. These include blogs, vlogs, videos, guest posts, and social media posts. The mid-stage of the sales funnel must focus on webinars, CTA-driven landing pages, gated content lie whitepapers, and e-books. During the last stage, steer conversions with case studies, free trials, and demos.
Use a Pre-Qualified Prospects Database with Data-Driven Validation of Leads:
Most B2B businesses are keen to buy databases for marketing purposes. But to get a high ROI from a marketing database, it has to be pre-screened as per the key ICP parameters. It is vital to use data analytics to evaluate MQL (marketing qualified leads) and their conversion to SQL (sales qualified leads).
Focus on Highly Targeted, Account-Based Marketing:
Directing the marketing efforts toward a few high-value accounts is a far better approach. This is as opposed to spending resources on targeting a large number of prospects that may or may not convert. The crux of account-based marketing is to focus on quality rather than quantity and devise personalized marketing messages.
Liaise with the Right B2B Marketing Partners:
Whether buying a database, team up for influencer marketing, or get data-driven insights, evaluate the right marketing partner. Multiple factors can determine this choice. Some important ones include products/service categories, niche, business scale, target audience, social media reach, and budget.
B2B marketers often end up roping in unqualified prospects with sporadic buzz generation and short-term marketing tactics. This trial-and-error approach might seem easier. But it takes a toll on SME budgets, exhausting the limited resources without yielding the desired returns. If businesses aim at credible, long-term brand building and high-value B2B lead generation, it is best to implement a pan-organizational demand generation campaign today.