Today’s marketplace is extremely competitive. As a result, general more demand for products and services can be challenging for businesses. New businesses actually include B2B demand generation as a part of their business strategy.
So what exactly is demand generation? What does B2B demand generation involve?
In this article, we will delve deeper into what demand generation actually means, the four fundamental components of demand generation, some issues that can arise with demand generation, and how to improve your B2B demand generation strategy.
What is B2B demand generation?
According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B demand generation is “the practice of creating demand for an organization’s products or services through marketing. The direct outcome is that your audience is more likely to purchase your products or services.” Demand generation encompasses the entire marketing cycle from the initial creation and design process to promotion and sales to customer retention.
A major focus of B2B demand generation is to change or shape the audience’s perspective to create demand for your products or services. A successful B2B demand generation strategy is holistic and comprehensive and it covers all aspects of the buying process—from finding your brand on the internet to becoming a strong brand advocate.
4 components of B2B demand generation
Since demand generation is an all-encompassing strategy within B2B marketing, it is easier to understand when it is broken down into four different components:
- Generate brand awareness
- Establish inbound marketing
- Enable sales and encouraging conversions
- Retain customers
So how do you implement these four B2B demand generation components to create a comprehensive strategy? Let’s unpack each one.
Generate brand awareness
You can’t generate demand for your B2B company if your target audience doesn’t even know who you are. So, the first step of B2B demand generation is to develop brand awareness. Brand awareness is simply the extent to which customers are able to recognize your brand.
There are four aspects of generating brand awareness.
Identify your target audience and buyer personas.
The first step to generating brand awareness is to identify your target audience and understand the various buyer personas you may encounter. You need to know the people whom you are trying to reach and you need to reach your potential customers where they are.
Some ways to determine your target audience are to analyze your customer base and interview them, conduct market research and figure out what is popular or what is lacking in your industry, and analyze your competitors to see to whom they are selling and the strategies they use.
A key aspect of understanding your target audience is to create buyer personas. Creating buyer personas allows you to focus on very specific segments of your target audience. This is particularly helpful if you have a product that appeals to a wide variety of consumers. Personas help you figure out the general demographics, personalities, and needs of your target consumers.
Build your brand identity
Brand identity is all of the elements that a company creates to portray a specific image to its consumer. An important part of developing a strong brand identity is to know who you are. What is your mission? What are your values? How can you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Brand identity is what makes you easily recognizable to your customers. Your target audience will associate your brand identity with your product or service. Brand identity helps to create a connection between you and your customers, which builds loyalty and determines customer perception of your brand.
Establish credibility using thought leadership
Customers want to purchase products and services from brands that are trustworthy and credible. One way to establish credibility is to use thought leadership. Thought leadership is establishing a business, brand, or person as an expert in their field. To establish credibility and thought leadership, you can create a strong presence on social media and regularly publish relevant, high-quality content related to your field of expertise. It’s important to establish thought leadership before you can generate more awareness of your brand and more demand for your products and services.
Maintain a positive public reputation
Once you’ve established your brand as a leader in the field, you have to maintain a positive reputation if you want to continue to generate positive brand awareness. You want your brand to be associated with good press and problem-solving skills, rather than bad press and creating more problems.
Establish inbound marketing
Contrary to popular belief, inbound marketing and B2B demand generation are not the same thing. Demand generation is the function of creating demand for your product or service, while inbound marketing is a method to carry out that function.
Inbound marketing is the process of helping potential customers find your company. Successful inbound marketing is about publishing high-quality, relevant content consistently. This will help attract potential customers to your website and will help reach as many people as possible.
The goal of inbound marketing within demand generation is to attract people to your website with your content. This will generate awareness that you are a credible brand with valuable content. Then, you can introduce them to your product or service.
Here are a few different elements of inbound marketing to consider:
Blogging and SEO
Writing high-quality, relevant content should be the key component of your inbound marketing strategy. Focusing on B2B SEO strategies will make your website appear to your target audience when they search for terms related to your field. A good way to attract visitors to your website is to create content about which you are passionate and to optimize your content for search engines.
An important part of an inbound marketing strategy is to generate leads. A lead, or “prospect,” is a potential customer. In order to help nurture potential customers into actual customers, you must attain their contact information. This way you’ll be able to help them through the process until they’re ready to make a purchase.
One way of capturing a prospect’s contact information is to offer a lead magnet. A lead magnet is something that you offer for free in exchange for contact information. A lead magnet can include gated content that is related to the content that hooked your prospect in the first place. Some examples are ebooks, videos, and research reports.
Once you’ve captured a prospect’s contact information, it’s important to follow up with them and educate them until they’re ready to make a purchase. A great way to nurture leads is through email marketing. Through email marketing, you can send more valuable content and resources. The goal is to push them to the next step of the sales funnel.
Enable sales and encouraging conversions
Once you’ve effectively generated leads and nurtured them toward making a purchase, it’s time to encourage them to make a purchase.
Enabling sales and encouraging conversions is about making it as easy as possible for potential customers to make a purchase. A key component is to ensure that your marketing team and sales team work together to close the sale.
Some ways to enable more sales are:
Testimonials and case studies
Testimonials allow your buyer’s peers to endorse your company. They’ll suggest that your potential customers should be confident in your product or service. Case studies provide proof of the work you’ve done to potential customers. They help buyers build trust and offer tangible results for buyers to think about.
While testimonials and case studies are helpful to potential buyers, fact sheets can be an invaluable tool for your sales team. Fact sheets should cover all the important details about your product or service that might come up during a sales call. They may include frequently asked questions and a comparison of your product and your competitor’s product. Fact sheets are a great reference for sales representatives to help them provide the best information to customers.
Estimates, quotes, and discount calculators
These tools can help your sales team and your potential customers understand the value that your company offers. After all, customers want to feel they are getting the best value for their money.
Demand generation doesn’t end when your prospect makes a purchase. Happy customers are essential in any B2B demand generation strategy. Customer retention is key to ensuring your business is sustainable. Ultimately, when satisfied customers recommend your product or service to more people, they’re creating new demand for your product or service.
Here are some customer retention techniques:
Nurture existing customers
Make sure your current customers know when you are launching new products or services. Analyze their past purchases and offer products and services that would benefit them.
Utilize a knowledge base
Help your customers get more value from your products and services by offering them knowledge-based content. How-to guides, tutorials, and frequently asked questions are great for educating your customers.
Support and appreciate customers
Make it easy for customers to get help with any problems they encounter with your product or service. Additionally, appreciate existing customers by promoting exclusive offers or discounts.
Gather feedback and make changes
Ask your current customers for feedback and ideas on how to improve your products and services. Customers who get their voices heard are happy customers.
Possible problems in B2B demand generation
Even when you employ appropriate methods of demand generation, some challenges may still arise. Let’s discuss potential problems that may arise so that you can handle them as you execute your B2B demand generation strategy.
Struggles with identifying target leads
Most B2B companies are creating a demand generation strategy with a limited amount of time and a limited budget. Therefore, it’s important that you make sure these resources are going to the most qualified prospects to increase the chance of making the sale.
Struggles with creating and promoting content
Not only is consistently creating high-quality content a challenge but so is where you publish your content and how you promote it. Make sure your content reaches the right audience at the right time to ensure success with your inbound marketing and demand generation strategy.
Struggles with continued communication with customers
It can be challenging to maintain consistent, high-quality communication with your customers. This is especially true when you are targeting different personas with different behaviors. To make sure you’ll have successful B2B demand generation, identify your target prospects and their intent behind purchasing your product or service. The key to solid communication is to ask for feedback, take any criticism they offer, and consistently try to improve.
Struggles with collecting and utilizing data
A successful B2B demand generation strategy is driven by data. Collecting data about your leads and continuously monitoring the data you collect allows you to make improvements.
Improving your B2B demand generation strategy
B2B demand generation is a long-term effort. It is imperative that you monitor the progress and make changes to your strategy along the way. You can monitor different metrics to help you measure success. You can track the number of visitors to your website who turn into leads. Additionally, you can also track the number of website visitors who called a sales representative or asked questions about your business.
The key to a comprehensive B2B demand generation strategy is a strong understanding of your target customers, their wants and needs, and clear communication of how your product or service can deliver the best value.
For more information on developing an effective B2B marketing strategy, contact SEO Design Chicago.
- How are B2B demand generation and inbound marketing different?
- What are the four components of B2B demand generation?
- Why are B2B SEO strategies important for demand generation?
- How do you improve customer retention?
- What are some challenges with B2B demand generation?