Sales and Demand Generation: Understanding the Journey
The Voodoo that gets you leads
“Build trust and earn attention. The entity that gets the most trust will get the most customers.”Seth Godin
Throughout my career I’ve found that many sales teams have a love hate relationship with marketing. Disclaimer: The subtitle of this article is in now way implying the existence of voodoo priestesses, sorceresses or witches, good or bad, in marketing with magical powers…but i have know a few. But in the truly successful organizations, sales and marketing work as a symbiotic team. I think it’s critical for all salespeople at all levels to understand the sales funnel, and the new way buyers travel through the ether, and the different phases of that buyer’s journey. This is the first in a series of marketing topic overviews to expand your understanding of how marketers think, and what they do daily. So let’s start with the concept of demand, and the definition of demand generation:
“Demand generation is a marketing strategy focused on building reliable brand awareness and interest, resulting in high-quality leads. ”Garter’s Marketing Glossary
The goal of any successful demand generation program should be to increase brand recognition and credibility while also creating interesting, informative content that generates leads.
A strong B2B sales and marketing strategy will always include demand generation (or demand gen). Marketing messages can gain credibility and sway over potential customers with the help of demand generation, which in turn can boost a company’s bottom line by cultivating new sales leads.
How do lead generation and demand generation differ from one another? Even though they are often used interchangeably, the ends and goals of these two approaches are very different.
In contrast to the goal of demand generation, which is to increase brand recognition and credibility so that interested parties will enter the purchase funnel at a consistent rate, the goal of lead generation is to convert an already interested audience into qualified prospects through proactive outreach.
Here are the 5 core steps & goals to the building of a thriving demand generation program.
- Raise Recognition
Awareness of your company, brand and offering is essential in today’s sales and marketing climate, where competition for leads is fierce. Additionally, gaining a potential customer’s interest isn’t all there is to building brand awareness, despite appearances. By establishing a positive and long-lasting association with the brand, a company’s potential customers will be more receptive to the company’s solutions to their problems and needs.
How can I help increase my brand’s exposure and credibility with potential customers as a sales person? Getting your customers to provide reviews and case studies. Recent, reliable testimonials, to be more specific. Because they provide a concise, unbiased synopsis of the product from a user’s peer group, genuine customer reviews should be given high priority by businesses. Individually, reviews function as genuine, no-hype user feedback on actual experience. Buying from a vast selection of products is daunting, but with the help of customer reviews, the process can be sped up considerably.
- Planning and producing content.
Consistent demand gen relies on elevating both brand recognition and domain expertise. If your company is well-versed in its field, consumers will immediately recognize you as a leader in the industry. This kind of knowledge is invaluable for gaining customers’ trust and setting the stage for crucial discussions about their problems and the ways in which your company can help. The most effective method of becoming an industry authority is to employ a content marketing strategy that provides relevant, helpful insights throughout the entire customer journey.
- Maintaining interest from top quality prospects.
After the initial contact with a potential client has been made, the marketing department passes on the lead information to the sales department, and everyone celebrates their success.
It does not stop here. A complete lead nurturing strategy, from initial contact to final purchase, is necessary for sustainable demand generation.
As customers move through the various stages of the buying process, marketing teams should be there to answer their questions and address their concerns. Depending on the depth of their resources, marketing teams should keep in touch with these high-quality leads all the way through the purchase process, answering frequently asked questions with informative content.
- Implement Account-Based Marketing
You may want to prioritize high value leads once you start receiving a steady stream of leads from your demand generation efforts. An account-based marketing approach can help teams succeed in this environment.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a strategy in which a supplier targets a select group of accounts that represent significantly higher expansion or growth opportunities with tailored marketing and sales support.
Everything in an account-based marketing strategy depends on a deep, reliable understanding of the accounts and audiences you’re targeting. ABM requires marketing and sales teams to strategically select accounts to target and nurture through customized engagement and support.
- Leveraging Partners
For just about any product or service, a base of potential customers is waiting, with solid, long formed relationships. Third-party partners can get your company’s products or services in front of the right buyers at the right point. Using partnerships, resellers and consultancies, and placing them in your demand generation plan can help speed up the process and get you to close quicker.
Just a quick overview, and hopefully helping to place you in the mind of a marketer (scary, I know). Hopefully this casts some light on the voodoo.