In a recent article, Chad Levitt talked about the differences between Demand Generation and Inbound Marketing. These two terms are so closely related that people often ask –what's the difference? Well, while inbound is all about marketing, demand generation is more sales-centric – the end game is driving revenue. Of course, demand generation heavily relies on inbound marketing techniques and programs but the overall concept was born and thrived in businesses with a sales-driven culture. For success as a B2B organization in today's digitised market, businesses need to incorporate and balance several techniques at once in order to meet their sales goals. Let's say that your company is facing a decrease in lead generation and sales. How do you fix it? Well, there's not a single tool or solution that can help you fix a particular problem. Here you're looking at the Swiss army knife – many tools all wrapped up in one.
The 5 Stages Of The Customer Buying Cycle
If you want to achieve your end goals, you should think and act as a demand generation marketer. And, as such, you ought to focus on the entire revenue cycle, not just the inbound part. To do so, you need to remind yourself of the five stages of the buyer's journey:
Stage 1 – Awareness: A lead identifies a need and you realise your business can fulfill it.
Stage 2 – Consideration : The prospect evaluates how your product/service offer meets this need and compares it to the offers of your competitors.
Stage 3 – Preference: The prospect's inclination towards a particular solution from a vendor, which will ultimately lead to a purchasing decision.
Stage 4 – Evaluation: The prospect's evaluation of your product/solution via demo or sales call.
Stage 5 – Purchase: The action of purchasing your product, service or solutions. All of these stages should be supplemented with particular demand generation efforts in order to close-loop the marketing and sales-cycles. How should you do it? Here's how.
Demand Generation's Toolbox: Gear Up For DemandGen's New Paradigm
One can often read about the key to a demand generation success. Well, the truth is that there isn't one single key, nor is there one door, that needs to be unlocked. Following the steps of the Buyer's Journey, here are your tools for truly successful demand generation:
- Content, Content & Content: Content doesn't just drive traffic to your website – it drives brand awareness, informs and educates your leads and, most of all, it supports your marketing and sales efforts all the way through the entire sales cycle. Each stage has specific content assets that can be deployed to help advance leads to the next stage. Is your lead at the awareness stage of the buying journey? What about nurturing it with a how-to guide, or a white paper, maybe an educational webinar? And the evaluation stage? No problem – case studies or product webinars will do the job. Is your lead at the end of its buying journey? Planning to purchase? Provide a free trial, a live demo or consultation. And one more thing – don't forget content curation! Chances are, a big percentage of your leads will find you through a social media channel, but don't forget the cocktail party rule (don't only speak about yourself – nobody likes egomaniacs!)
- Remember, marketing automation is your best friend! What's the point of producing high-quality content and implementing social outreach strategies if you are not going to capture, nurture and score leads? The success of your demand generation efforts heavily relies on marketing automation solutions – these platforms have the capabilities to support every marketing and sales effort. From identifying your leads and observing their online behaviour, to nurturing them with engaging content and personalised emails, to identifying their position within the sales cycle. The back-end analytics will provide you with priceless insights that will help you improve your marketing campaigns and sales efforts.
- Use metrics to forecast your way to credibility. For some reason, a lot of businesses see marketing as a cost creator rather than revenue generator. Employing metrics to track conversion rates, you can forecast the number of leads that will be generated in upcoming months and enable your sales teams. Now you will be a trusted member of the lead management team with established credibility within the company.
The very term demand generation says it all – you are diving into the deep sea, filled with fish. To declare your fishing trip successful you need to equip yourself with highly-targeted bait, tools and tactics to streamline your lead generation and drive successful business. Do you like this article? You can also like us on LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ for more!