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Understanding B2B demand generation in the modern era
You can never have too many people interested in your products or services. Even if you have plenty of leads in your funnel, you need to create a constant flow of new prospects. You need a visible presence in the B2B marketplace so that potential customers know who you are and what you have to offer.
What is demand generation?
Demand generation, or “demand gen,” is the process of making the world know you and your service. It’s not the same as lead generation, or “lead gen.”
Demand gen vs lead gen
The difference in demand generation vs lead generation is that lead gen is focused on identifying and making contact with specific leads. B2B lead generation tools ideally get you to the point where you have contact information in hand for an individual at a business who is responsible for making a purchasing decision.
Demand generation for B2B works at a higher level. It focuses on getting as many potential customers as possible to the top of a funnel. It tries to get people to your website, to a trade show where you can show what you have, or to follow you on social media.
None of these activities, by themselves, is broad enough to reach the entire target audience you want for your offerings. Successful B2B demand generation requires a broad full-scale effort across multiple marketing channels.
Even if your sales are healthy today, you need a plan to make sure they remain healthy. The right strategy fuels inbound demand gen, which draws eyeballs to your website and visitors to your show. It also fuels outbound demand gen, which pushes information about you into the B2B marketplace. A combination of both ensures that your sales will remain healthy into the future.
Developing a demand generation framework
Demand generation isn’t just something that happens on its own or with a few one-off demand gen tactics. You need an overall strategy that views demand generation as an encompassing and ongoing activity. An effective demand generation strategy template will start with alignment at the corporate level.
Get to know your target audience
Before you start making changes to your website or developing outbound demand generation materials, you should take time to fully understand your target audience.
- What are their pain points?
- How can you demonstrate that you have a solution?
- What shows and symposiums are they likely to attend?
- What materials can you provide that will resonate with a potential customer?
Try unique ways to talk to your audience
Once you know whom you’re trying to reach and have a general idea of how to reach them, it’s time to prioritize demand generation. Test out different demand gen techniques to see what works best for your target audience.
Move your audience through your funnel
A demand management framework takes into account how general marketplace demand will be converted into leads, and how leads can be transformed into actual sales. Your demand generation for B2B strategy should organically flow into lead generation. Eventually, this must culminate in specific B2B lead generation examples such as soliciting contract information at your website or mining your CRM data for information about who is in a purchase-decision position in their organization.
Track, measure, and optimize your strategy
The last key elements of a demand generation framework are measurement and recalibration. When the target audience knows you, and awareness transforms into leads, you’ll need to know which tactics were effective. You’ll understand what must continue for you to reach into the B2B marketplace and garner potential buyers’ names and contact information.
B2B demand generation companies
You don’t have to create a demand generation framework on your own. You can engage a B2B marketing agency to help. A B2B demand gen agency that will manage your demand generation process all the way through the sales funnel. It’s possible to outsource your entire demand gen and lead gen process to a third party in this way. However, demand generation best practices don’t require that you do so, and this sort of sweeping approach may not be right for your company.
Is a demand gen agency with the high cost?
The more all-encompassing the coverage, the more expensive a B2B demand generation agency is likely to be. This is especially true if a single vendor brings in all the data stores, all the software, and all the processes to make demand management essentially an outsourced activity. Most companies find they can do better with their internal teams and with the right mix of data and software.
Equip your team with demand generation tools
To accomplish this you need the right data and software to leverage that data. A cornerstone of any demand gen program is a customer relationship management (CRM) system. The right kind of B2B demand generation software will leverage your CRM to recognize target accounts and identify the best leads working at those accounts.
As an example, UserGems works with your CRM to tell you whom to contact to market your products and services. If a key contact has moved to a new company, UserGems will alert you to that fact. If there’s been a promotion and job change at a target company, and a new individual is now a decision-maker in your arena, you’ll know about it. UserGems works with your existing systems and workflows to pull out the accurate and timely information you need to identify leads and turn prospects into clients.
Examples of demand generation activities
All demand generation tactics are ultimately aimed at identifying and qualifying leads so that you know which are most likely to sign on the line and give you their business. Whether you do it yourself or engage a demand generation company, there are a number of activities along the way.
- Understand the persona of your target buyer.
- Develop inbound and outbound demand gen materials targeted to that persona.
- Bring new prospects to the top of the sales funnel.
- Enrich the quality of your CRM data as you move these prospects through the demand and lead process.
- Provide sales-enabling assets to your marketing team by identifying when and how to approach representatives within the companies you’ve targeted.
A B2B lead generation company such as UserGems arms your sales team with the most fruitful contact information. This includes not only new prospects but also ones who have bought from you before. New leads are great, but some of the best leads are the people who are already familiar with your products and services. UserGems identifies these individuals and informs you when they’re in the right corporate position to buy from you and when it’s the best time in their company’s purchasing cycle.