Demand Generation: An Overview of the Engine That Fuels the B2B Sales Machine

Amy Geist

Today’s B2B businesses expect a lot from their marketing departments. 

Their responsibilities go far beyond creating marketing material and funneling leads to sales.

Marketing is deeply involved throughout the entire customer journey, generating interest and providing education every step of the way. 

And once prospects become customers?

Well, there’s no rest for the weary demand generation marketer. 

After the sale, they shift focus to customer retention and continuing education about product enhancements and new offerings. 

All of this is part of a process called demand generation. 

And when executed in sync with sales, it is a thing of beauty, providing limitless growth and revenue opportunities.  

We’re going to cover the essential components of demand generation strategies that fuel companies’ pipelines, a.k.a sales machines. 

But first, here’s a simple definition of demand generation. 

What is demand generation?

Demand generation involves building awareness and excitement about the solution you provide. 

And, again, it is not a single event.

It’s a comprehensive, perpetual process designed to foster long-term customer relationships and revenue growth by establishing your company as a trusted advisor.

It is woven into every aspect of the customer journey.

Demand generation programs announce the entrance into new markets, promote enhancements, new products, and rekindle relationships with customers. 

What is demand generation vs lead generation?

We’re glad you asked, because the terms are often used interchangeably. 

And although they share the ultimate goal of driving company growth and revenue, there is a difference between demand generation and lead generation

Again, demand generation is about getting folks interested in your solutions and keeping them interested for the long haul.  

Lead generation harnesses that interest, and through various marketing activities, produces contact information or a lead. 

4 essential components of demand generation strategies that foster continuous demand

Here’s what must be part of your demand generation strategy to foster continuous demand for your products and services.

1. Build a brand that resonates 

If people haven’t heard of your company, there certainly won’t be much demand for your product or services. 

You’ll need to build your brand recognition to drive traffic to your website. Start by positioning yourself as the go-to authority in your market.

Here’s how.

  • Immerse yourself in the world of your buyer personas: Learn and speak their language and strive to understand their unique pains and the complexities of their business

  • Pursue thought leadership: Establish your business as an expert in your industry and prospects will be more likely to think of your solution when the need arises

  • Leverage social media: Embrace opportunities to connect with your target market in an authentic, memorable way

  • Pursue a branded search strategy: Ensure traffic goes to your site instead of your competitors by incorporating branded search tactics into your SEO strategy

2. Leverage a comprehensive inbound marketing plan

Once you’ve created brand awareness, you’ll need to incorporate effective inbound marketing tactics to fuel your overall demand generation strategy.

They’re how you’ll attract visitors to your website where you’ll pinpoint their problems and position your product as the best solution. 

And when you consider that self-directed research constitutes 67% of the buyer journey, all the content and education you’ll provide takes on new importance.   

Here are the inbound marketing elements you’ll need to include in your demand generation strategy.   

  • SEO-optimized content: Attract visitors to your website organically by creating useful optimized content about topics your prospects care about 

  • Paid advertising: Boost your organic traffic by incorporating paid, targeted campaigns for search engines and social platforms 

  • Gated content: Separate the tire-kickers from folks with a real need by providing valuable bonus material in exchange for contact information 

  • Email marketing: Nurture new leads by emailing useful content on a regular basis to further the education process

3. Empower sales teams

It used to be that marketing’s job was essentially over once it handed off a lead to sales.

It was the salesperson’s job to nurture, upsell, close, re-sell, and re-engage prospects and customers.

At some point, businesses found that aligning marketing and sales through the entire customer journey drove more demand and revenue.

So there’s no “real” handoff anymore. 

There’s a “closing of the gap” between the two departments, accomplished through sales enablement solutions.

This joining of forces equips sales with the information and tools they need at the right time and fuels continuous demand. 

Which drives a lot more revenue too. Businesses that are effectively aligned close 38% more deals.

Here are a few examples of sales enablement. 

  • Case studies and testimonials: Build trust with customers and prospects with proof of your value proposition

  • Battle cards: Arm sales teams with information and insights about competitive solutions  

  • Customer value calculators: Boost close ratio by quantifying the value of choosing your solution over others

4. Cultivate happy, captivated customers

New business is important, but having a delighted, engaged, existing customer base is key to generating continuous demand for your solutions.

Some companies make the mistake of assuming once they’ve signed a customer, they’re yours — maybe not forever, but for the foreseeable future.

Of course, your competitors are always lurking about, ready to capitalize on any opportunity to lure your customers away.

Putting an effective customer retention strategy in place will ensure they look to you first before investigating other options. 

Here’s what a strong customer retention strategy should include. 

  • Customer marketing initiatives: Ensure your current customers are the first to know about new products and enhancement and offer special pricing and trial access 

  • Help desk or ticketing software: Show your customers you’re on top of and committed to resolving any issue they encounter with your solutions

  • Self-service via a knowledge base: Provide value to customers with comprehensive education about your solutions whenever they need it

  • Openness to feedback and enhancement suggestions: Give your customers zero reasons to take their business elsewhere 

Consider Chili Piper as part of your demand generation framework

Chili Piper’s customers use Concierge as part of an effective demand generation strategy.

It nurtures prospects for you, allowing them to book meetings when they’re most excited about your solution. 

Here’s exactly how it supports demand generation.

  • Eliminates the waiting period that may cause a prospect to “go cold”

  • Routes leads to right sales reps in real-time based on qualification intelligence 

  • Proactively engages with target prospects with smart booking links to nurture and upsell

  • Updates your CRM automatically when prospects book meetings to provide better insight into pipeline health

Demand generation marketers, start your engines

By now you know we here at Chili Piper love a good metaphor.

And when you think about it, your demand generation strategy is the engine that fuels all growth and revenue.

Create one that leverages the combined power of your marketing and sales organizations, and your company will be better positioned to meet and exceed sales quotas now and in the future.

About the author
Amy Geist

Amy is an experienced freelance writer helping B2B companies increase brand awareness and web traffic with approachable, engaging content.

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