Your sales and marketing efforts need to generate real demand for your products or services. Otherwise, it’s just wasted time and money.
If you’ve tried all of the common tactics for generating demand but are ready to invest in new ones and grow your pipeline, you’re in the right place.
In this guide, I’m going to show you some of the most effective demand generation strategies we’ve learned from working with the world’s leading B2B businesses.
By the end, you’ll have actionable steps to reach more qualified prospects and have more conversations with decision-makers.
Let’s dive in.
What is Demand Generation?
Demand generation strategies help B2B businesses develop awareness and interest amongst their target audience.
It’s a methodology used by sales and marketing teams to build demand for a product/service at every step of the buyer journey.
If your demand generation strategy works, your sales and marketing teams will be on the same page, working in tandem. Every tactic you implement will work towards a designated end goal.
You’ll reduce wasted marketing spend, increase lead quality, and consistently hit your targets.
There are a multitude of demand generation tactics and strategies you can use.
We’ll provide some examples of proven strategies here so you can build your own to fit your needs.
7 Proven B2B Demand Generation Strategies to Generate More Leads
1. Use Intent Data to Find In-Market Buyers
The best way to discover in-market buyers for your product/service is to use buyer intent data.
If you’ve developed a customer journey map for how your customers encounter your company, you’ve likely come across how they might find you and developed ways to ensure you can get in front of them at the right moment: blog posts, landing pages, ads.
Intent data takes it a step further and gives you detailed insights into buyers currently displaying signs of being ready to purchase.
Access to intent data sources allows your team to avoid the trap of inventing demand, and instead, focusing on accounts that are in-market, ready to buy.
It’s more crucial than ever to take advantage of it. In the past, buyers would introduce themselves to you at one of the regular industry trade shows and events they attended.
Today, that part of the buyer journey happens online.
That's why B2B digital marketing spend is projected to increase by 10.27% from 2020 to 2021, and tapping into intent data is going to be part of that for high-performing sales teams.
Intent data lets your team focus on the leads in-market, ready to have conversations with your team to help with their purchase decision.
2. Boost Authority with High-Quality Content
Only 17% of the B2B buying process is spent talking to vendors.
Researching, engaging with content, and discussing the decision internally. It’s vital that your brand has a content marketing strategy that helps your potential future customers learn and inform their purchase decision.
Some of the top content formats B2B buyers engage with during their buying process include:
- White Papers
- Case Studies
Depending on the stage of the buying journey your leads are in, they’ll want different kinds of content.
Create content to build awareness, targeting top-of-funnel (TOFU) queries using informational blog posts and videos. Educate buyers in the middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) with whitepapers and eBooks. Nurture bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) leads towards purchase with case studies, personalized webinars, and blog posts targeting keywords with high purchase intent.
Determine which format would work best for what you want to supply your potential clients with and start developing it.
3. Improve Content Engagement with Syndication
Content syndication is all about promoting your content to get it in front of your ideal customers.
An effective content syndication campaign involves:
- Targeted outreach to decision-makers
- Promoting relevant content with paid ads
- Leveraging distribution platforms to increase reach
Content syndication is effective because it’s a softer sell than a regular sales pitch.
For example, if you reach out to a key decision-maker with content they’ll find interesting, you’ll start a conversation with them.
From there, you may end up working together - but the key is that you’re providing value to them upfront.
You’ll increase the ROI on your content creation efforts and ensure everything you do has a positive effect on increasing demand for your product/service.
If you don’t have the in-house resources to promote and syndicate your content regularly, let’s talk - at Internal Results we provide true multi-channel content syndication programs to help you generate more leads and conversions.
4. Streamline Your Workflow with Automation Software
So, your strategies are starting to drive leads into your sales funnel.
Next, you need to nurture them towards a conversion. But, if you deal with high lead volume, you’ll inevitably let qualified leads slip through the cracks if you don’t have systems in place to mitigate it.
If you want to ensure everything runs smoothly, there are a few simple ways to improve your sales workflow. Your sales team will free up time to focus on what matters: talking to your prospects.
Here are some of our favourite tools to help improve your demand generation workflow:
Crystal: See personality insights to understand how best to approach and engage with your prospects.
Drift: Engage with prospects at key accounts as they visit and engage with your content.
As well as those, there may be other areas for improvement.
For example, 82% of demand generation marketers say their analytics systems are key - the more insight you have into your customers’ buying process, the more effectively you can nurture them.
Naturally, you shouldn’t use these tools just for the sake of it.
Make sure the tools you use fill a gap or provide a real benefit to productivity, conversions, and, importantly, how you engage with your customers.
If your campaigns are seeing great ROI already, there’s no need to complicate things for your team.
5. Improve Your Return on Ad Spend with Niche Targeting
One effective way to reach new customers is by using targeted ads.
If you’ve experimented with ads in the past and not seen results, you’re not alone.
Data from Google found that the average ad publisher only gets 50.2% of their ads seen. That means almost half of most ad budgets is wasted.
But, there’s hope.
You can create highly targeted ad campaigns through:
- Smart platform choice
- Tightly defined targeting criteria
The primary platforms for the best results in the B2B space are LinkedIn and Google.
On LinkedIn, you can customize your target audience in detail, including by firmographic criteria. This targeting data is to organizations as demographic data is to individuals.
You can specify the target companies you want to advertise to from the size to the region to the actual company names. If you’re running targeted campaigns, simply upload your list of target accounts to your ad targeting criteria, and let them run.
On Google, you can run Display or Search ads to promote relevant, useful content. For example, you can run search ads targeting relevant keywords that point to a gated whitepaper or webinar. Ask your buyers to enter their email in order to access it, and you’ll quickly start generating a list of qualified potential customers.
Then, retarget those leads using display ads which usually have relatively low CPMs.
The more targeted your ads are, the higher ROI you’ll see, and the fewer resources you’ll waste.
6. Use Account-Based Marketing Tactics
Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is a must-have for B2B businesses looking to increase demand.
When done right, ABM is a proven way to generate demand from decision-makers in your target accounts.
A good ABM strategy starts with building a qualified target account list. If the accounts you target are a great fit for your product/service, selling to them will be simple.
Build your account list carefully. Use technographic and firmographic data to ensure you’re targeting companies that will be a great fit for what you sell.
You can then target those accounts with a mixture of tactics, like ads, email and LinkedIn outreach, direct mail, and any other channels that make sense for your business.
You’ll be able to personalize the sales process and ensure your sales team have all the information they need to close the sale.
7. Build Authority with Event Marketing
Despite in-person events being scarce lately, there are a great deal of virtual events sprouting for individuals and companies alike to benefit from.
A recent survey from Bizzabo found that 95% of marketers believe events have a major impact on achieving their business goals.
Events, whether virtual or in-person, can be a golden opportunity to build trust with your prospects and clients.
As an attendee, you get the chance to network with other attendees.
Alternatively, you can pitch events to speak at (or be invited once you’re known as an expert). Search for relevant events in your industry, and host a presentation, workshop, or roundtable session. You’ll build a relationship with attendees at scale.
Using and sharing your team’s knowledge of your industry and customer pain points is a perfect way to engage with anyone interested in your services.
You don’t need to attend the biggest industry expos for this to work, either. If you have regional events based on specific topics, it can work a treat. For example, have your IT director speak to an event for IT professionals in your city.
If you’re feeling a bit ambitious, you can produce and host your own events. This is a big undertaking, but if you and your teams work together well it’s a great way to develop authority in your industry.
For example, Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference is a well-known industry event. As your company becomes known as the go-to place for information on your specific area of expertise, you’ll be able to consistently generate demand in your industry.
If you can gather an amazing lineup of speakers and ways for networking, your attendees will be happy to give you their information so you can follow up with them after the event.
Measuring Your Demand Generation Efforts
You need to measure your results - if not, you’ll be throwing money away.
Depending on your company, sales cycle, and goals, the metrics you care about will vary.
But, there are still some metrics we’d always recommend tracking that can aim you in the right direction:
Close rate: This will tell you how many sales were made versus how many leads were received. To calculate:
(Number of sales / number of leads) * 100
Cost per Acquisition: Determine this to evaluate whether your demand generation spending is more than you’re bringing in. To calculate:
Customer Acquisition Cost / Number of customers acquired in the same period
Cost Per Lead: Similar to the previous two, this will provide you with the amount you're spending to gain one lead.
Cost of Marketing Spend / Conversion Rate
Funnel conversion rates: Track important conversion moments in your buyer journey. For example, the conversion rate on your landing pages, MQLs that convert to SQLs, percentage of SQLs that turn into meetings, and the percentage of meetings that turn into customers, and more. You’ll quickly spot areas for improvements and blockers to closing deals.
MQL to SQL Conversion Rates: Determine the number of leads that you nurture towards being sales-ready. This is an excellent indicator of whether your demand generation program is driving real results, or just vanity results.
Number of SQLs / Number of MQLs
Average Contract Value: Knowing your average deal size helps determine the sales cycle length, and the demand gen strategies you’ll use. By comparing your ACV to your customer acquisition costs, you can calculate how long it takes for you to break even on your marketing spend.
Lifetime Customer Value: This is the total amount the average customer spends over the total length of time they’re a customer. If your demand gen strategies are working, your Lifetime Customer Value should go up as it reflects how well your team is framing your service delivery to leads. If you meet their expectations, they’ll stick around.
These metrics are a good measure of not only how many sales you’re closing, but will give you clear insights into whether you’re targeting the right audiences and if the people you’re engaging with are fit for your product or service.
Tracking everything will help you see through the holes of your process and give you the knowledge to fill in the gaps.
If you can’t generate demand, you can’t close any new deals, and you can’t grow your business.
The key with all of these strategies is to know your audience inside and out. Understand what their needs are, and how to serve them. Getting through to a potential customer with what you have to offer can only be effective with the right message.
Start your demand generation strategy planning with a clear vision on what the purpose and goals are then, take on each step of the process. Stephen Covey says “Begin with the End in Mind” because if you don’t have a destination, you’ll end up lost - with no way to recover your costs.