Today creating a great SaaS product is no longer enough. You have to create a proper buzz around...
Table of Contents
As a part of the B2B marketing department, you must have experienced active changes in the sales and marketing landscape. One of the terms that's been popping up recently is- demand generation funnel. Though the term is not new in the B2B world, its constant evolution makes it more relevant.
Demand generation is not what it used to be. It's no longer just about casting a wide net to attract potential customers. Instead, it's now a strategic, data-driven, and highly personalized approach. It's about reaching the specific audience with the right message.
On the one hand, 67% of B2B marketers use content marketing to generate demand. On the other hand, 38% of marketers are ready to spend more on resources for the same.
These figures highlight the urgency and importance of understanding the dynamics of modern demand generation solutions. So, here’s the needed guide for you!
What's B2B Demand Generation?
Demand gen is a complete funnel marketing strategy and process designed to create interest and demand for products or services among target client businesses. Unlike lead generation, the primary goal of demand generation is to create awareness and interest in your product or service, nurturing leads until they are ready to book a meeting with your sales team and ultimately become paying customers.
The process begins once you identify your market-out buyers. These individuals or businesses are entirely unaware of your products, services, solutions, or even the problems your offerings can address.
They may or may not actively be seeking what you have to offer. Hence, your demand generation marketing strategy takes unaware potential customers through various stages, all the way to making them loyal customers.
B2B Demand Generation Challenges
To help you understand the critical challenges associated with B2B demand generation, let's explore two important aspects:
1. Unravel Complexities of Modern B2B Buyer Behavior
Today's B2B buyers are more informed, tech-savvy, and discerning than before. To create demand in this environment, you need to understand and adapt to these demand gen best practices:
- Multiple Decision Makers: Unlike in the past, B2B purchasing decisions often involve multiple stakeholders. Each of them has their own set of preferences, priorities, and challenges. Thus, it becomes hard to identify and target the right individuals within a company.
- Digital Transformation: Increased use of multiple digital channels heavily influences the modern B2B buyer's journey. Buyers research products and services online, read reviews, and compare options before engaging with a sales representative.
It means you need a solid online presence and a content strategy that aligns with each stage of the buyer's journey.
- Content Relevance: Always provide relevant and valuable content to stay on top of your target clients' focus. The biggest challenge here is understanding what type of content resonates with your target audiences.
Hence, you must tailor your content to address the unique pain points and needs of different buyer personas and stages in the demand generation funnel.
- Longer Sales Cycles: The sales cycle in B2B is often lengthy. It ranges from several months to even years. It's an obvious challenge to keep up the interest and engagement of potential buyers over an extended period.
- Competitive Landscape: Numerous companies are trying to gain the attention of the same target audience as yours. Standing out and differentiating your offerings can be difficult.
2. Impact of Data Privacy Regulations on Demand Generatio
The USA’s California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and other regulations profoundly impact B2B demand generation. Let's delve into these challenges:
- Consent and Data Collection: Regulations require explicit consent for collecting and processing personal data. Your business must be transparent about its data practices and obtain opt-in consent. You may find it challenging to navigate these requirements while collecting lead data to generate demand.
- Data Security: Regulations demand that companies secure and protect personal data. It poses a challenge for businesses that rely on databases and CRM systems, as they must implement robust security measures and demonstrate compliance.
- Data Accuracy: You must maintain accurate lead list data for effective demand generation. Regulations often require companies to keep data up-to-date and accurate. It can be a challenge, as B2B contact data changes frequently.
- Cross-Border Data Transfers: International businesses face hurdles when transferring data across borders due to variations in data privacy laws. The efforts to ensure data is handled in compliance with these laws can be complicated.
- Marketing Communication Compliance: Regulations impact how businesses reach out to potential customers. Email marketing, for instance, requires adherence to opt-in/opt-out rules. These rules, while maintaining effective communication, can be challenging.
The Demand Generation Ecosystem
Demand generation is among the most advanced and evolved practices. The demand gen framework focuses on three things:
- Fostering interest
- Capturing leads
- Nurturing potential customers into loyal advocates
Beyond the traditional focus on Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs), demand generation introduces the concept of Engagement Quotient (EQ). It is a new metric that measures the quality of your efforts.
Further, the role of AI and predictive analytics is also pivotal within this ecosystem. These technologies delve into buyer intent, helping you decipher the signals that indicate when a prospect is ready to make a move. AI transforms demand marketers' approach, making it more responsive and personalized.
3 Steps of B2B Demand Generation Funnel
The B2B demand generation funnel is a multi-step process that guides potential customers through several stages before converting them into leads and, ultimately, customers.
Often, people confuse it with lead generation, but demand generation expands even more.
Unlike lead generation, it maps buyers' journey to become your long-term customers – from the moment they realize their need for your solution. The demand generation funnel has the following stages:
You can cover all these stages within the 3 steps of your demand generation funnel. Let us explore the steps in detail:
Step 1: Demand Creation (Awareness + Interest)
In the first step of the B2B demand generation funnel, the goal is to create awareness and interest among your target audience. To do this effectively, you can employ several strategies:
1. Go Beyond Traditional Content Marketing
Focus on creating interactive and immersive content experiences for your audience. You can do this by incorporating the following elements in your demand-gen content to engage your audience deeper:
- ROI Calculators
Also, provide immersive experiences like virtual tours or augmented reality apps. They can offer a unique and memorable way to introduce your products or services.
2. Highlight User-Generated Content (UGC)
Nothing builds authenticity and brings engagement to your brand more than your existing clients' support. UGC increases the likelihood of 84% of customers trusting your brand.
So, encourage your existing customers to share their experiences with your product or service through:
- Social media posts
Use the following tips to leverage UGC in the best way possible:
- Utilize clear and compelling calls to action, such as contests, challenges, or specific hashtags.
- Review and curate the UGC you receive to ensure it aligns with your brand values and quality standards.
- Set up a dedicated section on your website to showcase user-generated content. You can use landing pages to provide social proof and build trust with visitors. Also, you can display them in product listings or service descriptions to show your product's real-world use cases.
- Share UGC on your social media profiles, and regularly repost or retweet to maximize its visibility.
- Include UGC in your marketing campaigns, such as email newsletters, advertising, and content marketing.
3. Take Part in Collaborative Content Creation
Engage with industry thought leaders and influencers to create appealing content for your target audience. Their expertise can add credibility to your brand and expand your reach to their followers. However, here are some key points to remember while you are involved in content collaboration:
- Understand the purpose of the content and what you aim to achieve through collaboration.
- Ensure your brand’s key message to convey to your target audience.
- Find niche experts and consider the strengths and contributions they can make to the project.
- Discuss the roles and responsibilities of each party.
- Establish a central communication channel or platform for the team to share ideas, updates, and files.
- Ensure everyone's input is included and credited.
Step 2: Demand Capture (Consideration + Evaluation)
Once you create awareness and generate interest, it's time to capture potential customers' information and intent. Here are some strategies for demand capture to identify the potential of leads with sales opportunities:
1. Capture Signals for High-Value Prospects
You can capture your best prospects that are likely to convert. All you have to do is use the power of intent data. But, before that, you need to define your target audience clearly. Create detailed ideal customer profiles (ICP) to guide your intent data usage.
Once done, do the following:
- Monitor and analyze intent signals such as website visits, content downloads, and search behavior that indicate an interest in your products or services.
- Identify high-value prospects who are actively researching solutions in your industry.
- Use intent data to personalize your content and messaging. Tailor your website, emails, and ad campaigns to match the exact interests/needs of your interested prospects.
- Leverage ABM strategies to target prospects with strong intent. Put your best marketing and sales tactics to serve those prospects only.
- Provide your sales team with insights from intent data to help them engage with potential customers more effectively. Equip them with knowledge about a prospect's interests and needs.
2. Apply Conversational Marketing
This marketing strategy involves creating real-time engagement with your audience. Here, personalization plays an important role. Thus, mold your interactions with your audience based on their:
- Position in the demand generation funnel
Further, use this customer data to personalize conversations. Also, address users by name, reference previous interactions, and offer tailored recommendations.
Another prime focus for conversational marketing is to pick the most relevant communication channels for your audience. It could include:
- Live chat (86% satisfied customers)
- Messaging apps (56% of customers message brands for queries)
- Chatbots (92% increase in usage as brand communication channel)
- Email (77% of marketers experienced a boost in email engagement)
- Social media (77% of B2B marketers prefer this channel)
- Phone calls (27% of the sales team prefer calls to book client meetings)
2. Zero-Party Data
When your prospects willingly share their preferences, feedback, or survey responses, you get zero-party data. It often overlaps with first-party data, as it's also collected directly from customers.
The first-party data encompasses all data a company gathers through interactions, etc. But, zero-party data focuses explicitly on customers' self-disclosed information.
You can use this data to provide personalized experiences to your target audience. You can collect zero-party data via:
- The Conversational Pop-up: When someone visits your website, display a pop-up with a question. The visitor's response will guide you to send personalized emails or SMS messages to them.
- Quizzes: People like answering questions about themselves. It helps them connect better with businesses.
- Preference Centers: Let your target audience choose their preferred email ads or customize product preferences. It helps you collect valuable data directly from the audience.
- Subscription or Membership Registration: During subscription or membership sign-up, you can seamlessly gather zero-party data. In addition to basic info, include questions that reveal your prospects' views about your product/service and preferred usage.
- Email Campaigns: Include quizzes in welcome emails to engage customers and encourage them to read your emails. Send occasional surveys to gauge the lead's sentiment about your brand and products, enhancing email value.
To test a new product or brand direction, you can add questionnaires for your existing members for their opinions.
Step 3: Demand Nurturing (Purchase + CRM + Retention)
After capturing potential customers' information, it's crucial to nurture these sales leads to move them further down the funnel. Here are some strategies for demand nurturing that your appointment setters can follow:
1. Explore Beyond Drip Campaigns
Instead of simply relying solely on automated email drips, use the art of multi-channel nurturing. It involves reaching and engaging your audience across various platforms and touchpoints. These channels can include social media, webinars, online community forums, and personalized content to engage with business leads.
Ensure your nurturing campaigns are well-timed and relevant to the lead's stage in the buying journey. However, you can make it more appealing through the following:
- Ensure your brand message has consistency across all channels to maintain brand identity.
- Determine the best times and frequency of communication for each channel.
- Collect your audience’s feedback to improve the nurturing process continually.
- Implement marketing AI and automation tools to streamline and manage multi-channel campaigns efficiently.
2. Use Interactive Webinars and Workshops
The main focus here is to foster education and collaboration among your target audience. Thus, you can:
- Host webinars and workshops to provide valuable insights, educate your leads, and encourage collaboration.
- Add interactive elements like Q&A sessions and polls to boost attendees' engagement.
3. Leverage Account-Based Nurturing
This nurturing method serves you best while creating personalized journeys for high-value accounts. Here are three elements of successful account-based nurturing:
- Buyer's Journey Roadmap: Understand the demand generation stages from Awareness to Retention. Then, tailor content for each step to guide your prospects and customers effectively.
- Customized Outreach Channels: Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools like Marketo, HubSpot, Salesforce, etc., for focused outreach. Besides emails, employ direct mail, phone calls, and online ads for personalized engagement. Focus more on the channel that your audience is most comfortable with.
- Dynamic Targeted Nurturing: Adapt your brand messaging based on prospect/customer actions. Consistently provide relevant and updated information to engaged prospects to maintain visibility for longer sales cycles.
Also, keep in touch with converted prospects to retain them for longer. Update them with newly added features and upgraded subscriptions, discounts etc.
Demand Generation KPIs
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help you assess the effectiveness of your demand marketing efforts. Let us see the three crucial aspects of demand generation KPIs:
1. Shift from Vanity Metrics to Engagement Quotient-Driven Metrics
Vanity Metrics are often superficial and may make you feel good about your marketing efforts without necessarily indicating their true impact. Examples may include the number of social media followers, page views, and likes.
While these metrics can indicate reach, they don't necessarily reflect meaningful engagement or conversions.
But Engagement Quotient-Driven Metrics, on the other hand, focus on measuring the quality and depth of engagement with your target audience. They tell how well your demand
generation efforts are resonating with potential customers and driving them closer to conversion.
Thus, this shift of metrics is essential for your demand generation efforts. EQ-Driven Metrics include:
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): Showcases the percentage of people who click on a call-to-action (CTA) or a link in your content.
- Conversion Rate: Tracks the percentage of visitors who perform desired actions, such as signing up for a newsletter, downloading an ebook, or requesting a demo.
- Time on Page: Reflects the average time users spend on a webpage. Longer durations suggest that your content is engaging and interests the reader.
- Social Shares and Comments: Demonstrates the number of times your content is shared on social media and the comments it receives. These interactions show that your content has struck a chord with your audience.
- Lead Quality and Conversion Quality: Instead of just tracking the quantity of leads, focus on the quality of leads and their progression through the sales funnel. Metrics like MQL to SQL conversion rates provide insights into lead quality.
2. Conduct Cohort Analysis to Understand Long-Term Impact
Cohorts are groups of users/customers with shared characteristics or time-based attributes.
For example, you might create cohorts based on the month a lead was acquired.
Cohort analysis helps you see the possible lasting influence of your current demand generation efforts. You can see if leads acquired in one month continue to engage and convert in subsequent months.
Here are some metrics to track:
- Customer Retention Rate: Evaluate the customers’ percentage from a specific cohort who continue to use your product or service over time.
- Average Revenue Per User (ARPU): Calculate the average revenue users generate within a cohort. It helps you understand their value to your business.
- Churn Rate: Determine the rate at which customers within a cohort stop using your product or service. This figure provides insights into attrition.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): Assess the total value a cohort of customers brings to your business over their entire relationship with your company. It helps you prioritize and segment customers effectively.
Continuously Iterate Through Insights to Enhance the Funnel
Demand generation is not a static process. It requires constant refinement and optimization based on insights from KPIs. Here's how you can use these insights for continuous iteration:
- Data-Driven Decision-Making: Regularly review your KPIs and identify areas that need improvement. Is the conversion rate too low? Is the acquisition cost too high? Use the obtained insights to take data-driven decisions.
- A/B Testing: Conduct A/B tests to experiment with different strategies and tactics. For example, test different ad creatives, email subject lines, or landing page designs to see which ones perform better.
- Optimizing Content: If engagement metrics reveal that certain types of content perform well, create more of it. If other content falls flat, reevaluate and adapt your content strategy.
The B2B demand generation Funnel is a dynamic ecosystem. Thus, your strategies to generate demand should be highly responsive to the evolving landscape of buyer behavior, technology, and data privacy.
Undoubtedly, embracing change and staying nimble and adaptive is imperative while consistently optimizing strategies based on insights to succeed. So, follow the information shared in this guide to ensure your B2B demand generation remains effective, aligns with your audience's needs, and thrives in an ever-shifting market. Or contact Revnew to help you create an outstanding demand gen strategy for you.