Ever think you would get excited about demand generation? If you’re like me, the answer might be no. For a long time, I didn’t fully understand what people meant when they talked about demand gen—it just sounded like a vague, catch-all term. But demand generation has proven itself as a crucial step in the B2B marketing process because it serves as the vessel that moves potential customers from the top-of-the-funnel stage to a final sale.
If it still feels like a hazy, unapproachable position, peruse these ten blogs. Before you know it, you’ll be a demand-gen fanatic.
1. The Ultimate Demand Generation Guide (with Strategies and Examples), Saasquatch
First things first: establish a baseline of what demand generation is. Demand gen often becomes conflated with other marketing strategies like lead generation and inbound marketing. While it often overlaps with these other areas, demand generation functions as a bridge between different departments.
Saasquach has provided a painless and comprehensive article that establishes a baseline to understand what makes a good demand generation strategy. They’ve also included what not to do from a variety of marketers. Key takeaways:
- Establish a broad perspective by fostering cooperation between sales and marketing
- Take the time to identify your potential prospects and target audience
- Make the content worth the time to read
Learn the basics before moving on to the specific areas of strategy below.
2. How to Create a Full Funnel Customer Journey with Product- and Customer-Centric Content, Kapost
A key function of demand generation is to fill in the gaps between grabbing the attention of a prospective customer and the first time a sales rep talks to them. Marketers in this role leverage content to ensure that the customer is truly ready to take on your product or service in the most successful way.
But what kind of content works best to stopper those gaps in the funnel?
Check out our post that not only presents good examples of product- and customer-centric content, but also lays out three elements that will help you develop the content to fill out your funnel. Read more about:
- Mapping out your customer experience guide
- Maintaining a repository of assorted content
- Creating and employing gated content
Work on content that’s not all about you and your product. Establish a balance, both promoting the glorious aspects of your product and establishing your business as a source of customer-centric content. Your potential customers want to know that you will work for them. In the Age of the Customer, the key to a successful funnel is content that speaks to the customer’s pain points.
3. 17 Demand Generation Stats Every CMO Needs to See, HubSpot
Before we dive too deeply into the details, let’s look at some statistics that will convince you to establish a robust demand gen strategy from the get-go. A strong foundation means less floundering—and better ROI.
This cherry-picking of stats from HubSpot comes from their recent benchmark, and a couple stood out especially from the rest:
1. 79% of all marketing leads never convert into sales and a lack of lead nurturing is the common cause.
This statistic supports the claim from blog #2 above: Make sure your work isn’t wasted by continuing to lead and mature your prospects before they even talk to sales. Don’t miss any opportunity.
2. 74% of companies that weren’t exceeding revenue goals did not know their visitor, lead, MQL, or sales opportunities.
Admitting what KPIs you need is the first step. This stat is really not too surprising. What’s more unnerving is that these are KPIs marketers still don’t have visibility into.
Make sure you’re in the know, and read more fascinating stats here. Get in-depth analysis from their benchmark, too.
4. The Case for Fewer Leads: the Future of Demand Generation, Kapost
A good solution to lower the number of lost leads is to ensure that the leads that move through the funnel are really worth it. Don’t waste your time on prospects who are not a good fit for you—or rather who won’t find your product or service a good fit for them. (Remember to shift your perspective toward being customer-centric.)
In the past, as our own Kathleen Hill reminisces about in this blog, demand gen had to function with wide-reaching nets to attract as many prospects as they could in the hopes of qualifying just a few. But times have changed, and we can target our content more effectively now as we learn who we want to talk to before even reaching out.
Read the full article too see how the funnel is evolving—including a shout-out to ABM marketing and a step-by-step guide to cleaning up your entire demand gen strategy.
5. ABM at Scale with Joel Burke, Funnel Cake
Speaking of ABM, a.k.a. account-based marketing in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade, Funnel Cake has provided an insightful interview with Joel Burke, Partner and Analytics Practice Lead at Outshine.
In the interview, Joel explains the pros and cons of outbound versus inbound ABM strategy and what metrics to focus on in order to strengthen your ABM strategy. And he provides some of his favorite resources to follow up on. Here are a few appetizers:
A limitation I see in an ABM strategy is that it’s impossible to find every company that is potentially a good fit.
Initially, we cast a wide net. But the trick to establishing an ABM account list lies in how you slice and dice. This is where many marketers fail.
When your company is scaling and you have a lot of pipeline, sales can be a very, very limited resource.
Read more from Joel to see how you can develop a solid ABM strategy at scale.
6. Marketing Street Smarts: Quality over Quantity. Kapost
Instead of casting a generic net and hoping to dig out a quality lead, consider revamping your strategy to entice the perfect leads to your funnel. It will mean less work in the long run as a targeted approach self-selects the right kind of prospects who love what you do for them. Happy customers—happy funnel.
In this blog post, we outline why adjusting certain elements of your strategy will put you well on your way to catching more qualified prospects from the start:
- Create a consistent editorial calendar with long-form blogs
- Revisit the value of sales goals in your qualifying process
- Ditch the vanity metrics in favor of statistics that indicate real ROI
- Craft pleasant emails for a personalized marketing automation experience (more on this below)
- Foster connections with key influencers so you can feature their expertise in your content
Dig deeper here.
7. Email Drip Campaigns: How to Make Them Smart and Blunder-Free, Content Marketing Institute
Designing drip campaigns can make or break your marketing strategy. We all know the benefits: nurture leads, promote brand clout, provide useful resources to our valued customers, etc. But there are a few things that can go terribly, terribly wrong.
This blog post from CMI highlights three main areas where a drip campaign can trip up your funnel dreams. With sources like Gini Dietrich, CEO at Arment Dietrich Inc. and Mike Madden Sr., Demand Generations Program Manager at Marketo, you know you’re getting the best information to streamline your email drip campaigns.
The three main areas they call attention to are:
- Onboarding campaigns for new subscribers
- Establishing bounce management campaigns for improved sender reputation
- Crafting emails that avoid spam filters
As a bonus, the article provides links to more resources from these automation thought leaders.
8. How to Use Social Media to Capture and Nurture B2B Leads, Kapost
While email is a tried-and-true channel for demand gen, there’s another venue that does an even better job of creating interest in your brand and product: social media. Despite the fact that there are billions of users on one platform or another, surprisingly, just over half of marketers don’t use social media for demand generation.
Social is thus a hugely untapped resource to help nurture leads.
In our blog post on the role social can play in demand generation, we outline what you can do to use social effectively in your campaigns:
- Targeted social ads
- Active participation in social groups
- Distribution of your awesome content on several relevant platforms
- Cultivation of your brand’s image
Social media sure isn’t going anywhere, so don’t miss out on opportunities to reach your perfect customer and help them see the value in your brand. Find out more about each of these areas where social can supplement your current demand gen plans.
9. What Marketers Can Learn from Their Sales Team, Marketo
We’ve said it before, and we’ll probably say it again: establishing cross-team alignment between marketing and sales is paramount to a robust B2B strategy. A demand gen team, by design, fits in nicely as a bridge between marketing and sales.
In this post from Marketo’s Liz Doerr, Sales Development Representative for Marketo, readers are granted some insights from someone who has worked on both sides of the trenches. She offers an important perspective as someone who has lived the pain points and celebrated the accomplishments of both departments. In this post, she details three areas where marketing can make the most positive impact on the sales department:
- Build up a repository of diverse content: use a variety of mediums, display your product from the inside, stay organized and up-to-date
- Create messaging that resonates with actual customers: use sales to get direct feedback about your branding and messaging choices
- Consider the impact marketing has on the success of your coworkers in sales: where demand gen really shines is in bringing in qualified leads and helping sales to meet their quotas
Get more detailed explanations of each of these points here.
Building strong sales and marketing alignment is the dynamic duo your company needs when it comes to creating your brand, generating quality leads, and driving new business. – Liz Doerr, Sales Development Representative at Marketo
10. 3 Easy Ways to Market Your Content Internally, Kapost
So we know why marketing should produce content sales can use, and we know what content marketing should produce to bolster sales—but how can marketers ensure that sales will even see or care about the content they produce?
[M]arketing only has “agency” over one of these arenas: attracting new buyers with top-of-funnel content. Sales is responsible for using content to close deals. And your service or support teams are responsible for using content to retain customers. If these two teams have zero insight into or don’t care about content, they’re not going to use it. Your hard work will go to waste, and they’ll spend time creating one-off, duplicate content assets to share with prospects and customers.
Demand gen sits in a pivotal position to aid in the cross team alignment. This post lists three things you can do as demand gen to help get sales and other consumers onboard with the content the marketing team produces:
- Send an internal “newsletter”
- Create “content kits” for new campaigns
- Give them the appropriate links in convenient places
Read more about what you can do for alignment in the full article.
Now that you’ve gone through the best of the demand generation blogs out there, we want to know: What posts have helped you be a better demand gen team player? @ mention us on Twitter and let us know!