What Is Demand Generation?

A strategic approach to utilising a multitude of marketing programs to drive awareness and interest in your business, products and services.

Chances are, if you work in and around sales and marketing, you’ve probably heard it mentioned once or twice. But what does it mean, and why is it important for businesses?

Essentially, demand generation refers to sales and marketing activities that are designed to generate interest in what you’re offering, and then nurture and guide them along the path to becoming customers.

It’s easy to confuse demand generation with lead generation — but it actually goes much deeper. Where lead gen is all about attracting leads into the funnel, demand gen is more focused on the bigger picture, aiming to generate revenue rather than simply pull in leads.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into what demand generation is all about. We’ll discuss how it works, how to implement it, and some common challenges involved.

The Different Stages of Demand Generation

First, let’s look at some of the main stages involved in demand generation.

  • Brand Awareness is where you develop a brand identity. It’s all about thought leadership, getting to know your customers’ problems and positioning yourself as the one to solve them. This is where you’ll develop your voice and figure out which channels and approaches work best.
  • Inbound Marketing. Next, it’s time to start talking to your leads and building a relationship. Inbound marketing uses content like blogs, videos, infographics, webinars, lead capture forms, and email nurture sequences to land on your leads’ radars and open up a conversation.
  • Sales Enablement. This is where marketing helps sales, providing them with all the resources, data, and content they need to do the best job possible. That includes case studies, testimonials, feedback scores, and all the knowledge they’ve learned about customers that could be helpful. It works both ways, too, with sales staff relaying their own insights back to marketing.

How to Generate Demand

How does the process of demand generation work? The steps you need to take roughly map onto the stages above. Here’s how it works.

1. Get to Know Your Customers

This is the first step and is crucial for success in demand generation. Carry out as much research as possible to get to know your target customers inside out. 

Conduct surveys, talk to people, spend time on social media and in forums, ask for insights from your sales and marketing teams, and look at existing data. It can help to create some buyer personas — profiles that match your ideal customer and break down their goals, challenges, pain points, and anxieties along with demographic information.

Your main aim here should be to learn what problems your ideal customers are struggling with, so you can begin to solve them.

2. Create First-Rate Content

Once you have established who your target audience is and what they need help with, it’s time to reach them where they are and start building a relationship.

Give them all the information they need, solve their problems, and establish your brand as a reliable and trustworthy entity. Provide value and give actionable advice. Content can come in all shapes and sizes, such as:

  • Blog posts
  • Social media posts
  • Downloadable resources like whitepapers and ebooks
  • Webinars
  • Videos
  • Podcasts

Search engine optimisation (SEO) can be a powerful asset here. It’s the process of ensuring your content ranks high in search engines so that it can be discovered by your prospects. SEO involves activities like keyword research and placement, pillar pages, link building, and so on.

The most important element of SEO, however, is simply creating valuable and in-depth content that solves your reader’s problems. Provide genuine value in your content, don’t just stuff it with keywords. 

3. Optimise Conversions

Content and SEO are just the beginning of the demand generation journey. Once your prospects are on board and trust your brand, it’s time to convert them into customers.

You can do this with landing pages, email sequences, targeted offers, lead magnets, calls-to-action, and much more. Your goal is to make it easy for them to buy. Show them products and services that genuinely match up with their needs, and don’t be afraid to sell.

4. Sync with Sales Teams

Demand generation is ultimately all about revenue, so your marketing efforts need to be aligned closely with your sales teams. This stream of communication between marketing and sales helps both departments and creates a process that’s more cohesive and effective.

Work closely together, share information, and give sales teams the data they need to maximise chances of getting a sale.

5. Track, Monitor, Test, and Tweak

It’s important to take a data-driven approach to demand generation. This allows you to make decisions based on real feedback instead of hunches and guesswork, moving forward with real direction instead of stumbling about in the dark.

A data-based approach also allows you to justify decisions to higher-ups, backing up your actions with hard data and getting buy-in for new plans more easily.

What to Track

  • Opportunities generated — which can also be broken down according to channel
  • Average deal size — the total money generated from sales, divided by the number of deals closed
  • Total pipeline value — the combined value of all the opportunities in the pipeline at a given time
  • Cost per lead — the dollar cost of each new lead
  • Average sales cycle length — a measure of how long it takes to typically complete a sales cycle
  • Customer lifetime value — how much is a given customer worth to you over their lifetime?

Challenges for Demand Generation

Although demand generation is incredibly rewarding, it comes with some challenges that your teams will need to prepare for. Here are some examples:

  • You have to target your marketing and content strategy to lots of different specific people. That means carrying out research, producing lots of different content, and really getting to know your customers.
  • Convert the RIGHT leads — research shows that the best companies actually pass fewer leads onto sales (12% vs 17%). However, more of those leads convert (40% vs 34%) which equates to more overall revenue. In other words, a smaller number of high-quality leads is better than a lot of lower-quality leads.
  • Use the right content and copy at each stage of the funnel. Knowing when to employ blog posts (and how) and when to use email can make a big difference to your overall conversion rates and revenue.

Demand generation is an incredibly important process, one that can make the difference between a successful sales and marketing process and one that falls flat.

To get the most out of your efforts, it pays to work with a professional. At Adonis, we have extensive experience helping our clients attract leads, convert them into customers, and generate more revenue.

To find out more about how we can help, reach out to us today.

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