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The formula for a smooth-running demand generation team

Even the most polished sales strategy only gets you so far in today’s competitive landscape. Buyers are halfway down the sales cycle before your phone rings, every deal has multiple decision makers, and 78% will back out of a purchase if your service isn’t up to par. The constant struggle to sustain a full funnel is why 69% of B2B companies are pouring more money into demand generation.

We’ll go over the formula for running a demand generation team so you can set your pipeline to autopilot while you watch qualified opportunities start rolling in.  

What is demand generation?

In a nutshell, demand generation (also called demand gen) is all about making your target audience care about what you’re selling. This approach creates awareness of a need to make prospects more receptive to sales messaging down the road.

Demand generation tactics can include:

  • Webinars
  • Demos
  • Blogs
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media campaigns
  • Events
  • E-books
  • Guides
  • White papers
  • Targeted advertising
  • Remarketing campaigns
  • Websites
  • Search Marketing

While there’s some overlap with lead generation, demand generation is a more holistic approach to customer engagement. It covers every touchpoint throughout the entire customer journey until the deal is closed. According to Forbes, companies that use this type of customer-centric approach are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t.

The right demand generation solution can help your organization:

  • Drive high-quality leads that are more likely to convert.
  • Accelerate the buying cycle using a shared source of data and insights.
  • Improve customer retention through personalized engagements.

Don’t get us wrong. Creating demand doesn’t mean forcing people to buy things they don’t need. Trust us—customers will see right through a greedy sales pitch. 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they are being treated. If they aren’t happy with your service, nearly 80% will ditch the transaction altogether.

Ultimately, demand generation is a long-term strategy for delivering valuable information and support for every customer interaction with your product or service. 

How does demand generation work?

Demand generation will look different for every organization depending on a number of factors like size, goals, products, services, and customers. That said, there are three essential steps to create a long-term demand generation program to help turn your pipeline into a well-oiled machine.

1. Identify and segment audiences: Organizing contacts by pipeline stage, vertical market, and other segments will help target campaigns to deliver content they are likely to find valuable. 72% of consumers say relevant content provided at the right time and place boosts trust with a brand.

2. Guide the customer journey: Once your target audiences are mapped out, you’re ready to use demand generation tactics to create awareness, qualify leads, personalize experiences, and nurture relationships. Over half of customers now expect all experiences to be personalized.

3. Turn data into actionable insights: As a steady stream of opportunities from new and existing customers starts filling your funnel, you will have a wealth of data at your fingertips. These insights will help you track and analyze sales performance to make refinements and increase returns.

Before you implement your shiny new strategy, it’s essential to get sales and marketing on the same page. An estimated $1 trillion is lost every year due to a lack of coordination. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table.

Forester Research reports a 24% faster three-year revenue growth for organizations with aligned marketing and sales. With a constant feedback loop, you can bridge the gap between departments to drive conversions (plus the added bonus of a healthy workplace). 

What can you do to promote harmony between sales and marketing?

Sales and marketing—the best of friends and the worst of foes. With both teams responsible for growth, you would think it would be a complimentary relationship, but it’s often full of tension and friction.

Here are a few ways to rally the teams together:

  • Routine meetings – It will likely take a continued effort to make sales and marketing play nice, but getting together regularly can help. Hold weekly meetings (or at least once per quarter) to celebrate big wins as a joint unit, share new opportunities, track performance, and develop processes for customer outreach and retention.
  • Open feedback – Encourage sales to give routine feedback on lead quality and conversions to help marketing gauge what’s working. The best way to share data is to integrate your sales and marketing software. This enables marketing to tap into sales insights (and vice versa) with minimal disruption.
  • A/B testing – A/B testing allows you to create different versions of the same piece of content to determine which one delivers the maximum impact. This offers a smooth way to implement changes backed by customer data to remove bottlenecks, refine audience segments, and personalize user experience.
  • Executive analysis – Senior executives can use data collected from A/B testing, lead scoring, and attribution to make informed decisions about sales and marketing strategies that will help increase revenue with demand generation. 

Start driving more demand

You’ll need more than a hunch to engage audiences effectively throughout the buyer’s journey. You need data that reveals intent. An essential pillar for a successful demand generation strategy is consistent optimization through cross-channel analysis. In fact, 90% of global executives who use data analytics report that they improved their ability to deliver a great customer experience.

To avoid the inventible blank stares when you ask for analytics and reports, you will need a quick way to bypass the manual data entry without losing vital information. Adding artificial intelligence and machine learning to your CRM will automatically scrape customer data from readily available sources and turn it into an organized dashboard.

When you have a 360-degree view of customers and their behaviors, sales can stop running on gut instinct and start capturing demand using actionable customer insights.

Ask one of our customer intelligence experts about how your team can turn your customer data into demand generation.

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