Generating interest in your organization, turning interest into leads, and leads into customers is how businesses gain new clients. Implementing an effective demand generation strategy is the first place to start — without creating brand awareness, potential customers will not know anything about your organization, products or services. When it comes to B2B marketing, this can be a long process that encompasses a number of different marketing strategies. From improving your SEO ranking and embracing marketing automation, to implementing an effective email marketing and content marketing strategy, every effort helps drive interest and traffic to your business website. But, as marketers, how do we turn interest into high-quality B2B leads?
The sales funnel
Demand generation spans your entire funnel. While it fills the top of the funnel with potential leads, the content your team creates should be used throughout the lead nurturing process and should ensure the right kinds of leads are making their way to the bottom of the funnel. According to HubSpot, more than half of leads are not qualified before they are passed on to sales. The demand generation process can help verify leads and assess how likely they are to make a purchase. What are they engaging with? How much are they visiting your site? Ultimately, the reputation and awareness created by demand generation is what drives the potential customer to make a sale. There are 4 primary stages of any sales funnel.
Get your brand noticed by the right people. Identify your key audience — based on existing customers, or a set of criteria that ensures a business is suitable for your product or service. Find out where potential buyers spend time online and show them the content they need to see. Educational blog posts, paid adverts and free content will be of key importance at this stage. Partner with influencers or affiliates that will happily endorse your brand and ensure your social media marketing is top notch. Become discoverable and trustworthy to ensure potential customers are happy to do business with you.
At this stage, the potential customer has expressed enough interest, engaged with enough content, or met enough criteria to be considered a lead. It is time to acquire more information through gated content, website tracking software or form-fills to qualify leads and give your sales team the chance to reach out. Consider embracing technology to aid your lead generation process, or provide downloadable thought-leadership content, webinars and e-books through your site. Implementing a lead qualification process can help filter out those businesses that may not convert to a customer and helps to avoid wasting time.
Now, you can be confident that the potential customer has a genuine interest or need for your product. And, they are an organization of the right size, revenue and industry to make a purchase. It is time to contact key decision-makers, offer free trials and book demonstrations. Tailor your approach based on the buyer — will they prefer an email, a phone call or face-to-face meeting? Nurture and guide your prospect through to purchase and put their experience at the core of everything you do. Be one step ahead, have the answers to any burning questions at the ready, and gain an understanding of how the particular prospect could benefit from your product.
Some teams may see sales as the final stage, but when you consider the value each customer brings in terms of repeat purchases, upselling and cross-selling, it is just the beginning. Demand generation continues to support this stage of the funnel, too — your quality reputation, high-ranking website and great customer experience is what brought the prospect to this stage. Ensure a fast-loading website, clear calls-to-action, easy-to-navigate buyer journey and simple fill-in forms, so nothing stands between you and the sale. Now, it is time to provide a quality service to ensure retention. This could lead to referrals or great reviews, which help fuel your demand generation strategy.
How to generate leads from demand
According to HubSpot, converting leads into customers was the top marketing priority for 70% of organizations in 2017. But what about turning interest into leads? Differentiating between demand generation and lead generation can be tough — especially since they both aim to generate high-value customers. The primary difference is that demand generation is not necessarily about making a sale. At least, not initially. Demand generation is, essentially, about creating demand. Without it, none of your customers — existing or future — would know about you. According to Strategic, 82% of buyers consume up to 5 pieces of content before making a purchase. For demand generation purposes, this should be free, educational and engaging. And, it should be used to gain audience insight. Do they fit your buyer persona? Can they afford your product? To turn an interested potential customer into a lead, you need to drive them to your site, encourage them to supply details and experience a free demonstration or product trial. Then, the lead nurturing process begins.
The role of cold calling
You will have heard that cold calling is dead. According to Biznology, only 1% of cold calls lead to a sale. While that may seem like a colossal waste of time and resources, we argue that the cold call is not dead — but has instead evolved. It may no longer be the primary tactic to gaining new business but there is still very much a place for it in your wider lead generation strategy. In fact, demand generation marketing plays an important role in your cold call approach. Previously, sales teams may have reached out to anyone. But, with a clear set of criteria and lead qualification process in place, only engaged leads should receive calls. Plus, sales representatives will have access to hordes of content to help tailor their sales approach and provide leads with appropriate materials to guide them through to sales.
Utilizing website tracking software as part of an effective demand generation strategy can supercharge your approaches. So much of your organization’s time, money and resources are spent producing quality content that drives traffic to your website — but what happens when a visitor lands? Lead Forensics is a lead generation software that alerts users of their website visitors in real-time. Thanks to a global leading database of business IP addresses, users will see the organization visiting their website and gain contact details of its key decision-makers. See detailed user journeys for customer insight, reach out at the right-time, and establish your most effective referrer channels. Support your sales calls with quality data and the power of perfect timing. For turbocharged lead generation through your website, discover Lead Forensics. Book your free demonstration today!