The success of a demand generation marketer is no longer measured in just the quantity of news leads generated.
“A successful [demand generation] program is measured by the quality of those leads, what you’re able to convert to revenue, and the ability to prove your contribution to your company’s bottom line.”
B2B marketers are facing increased pressure to successfully orchestrate demand generation across multiple channels, generate new qualified leads that convert to opportunities, and attribute new revenue to marketing actions. While effective demand generation requires marketers to maintain a full-funnel mindset, knowing the specific actions and tactics to use isn’t always simple.
Simple or not. Top B2B marketers must figure out ways to keep their funnel full of qualified leads.
10 B2B Demand Generation Secrets
There are a number of demand generation tactics you can adopt that are found in the playbooks of some of the best B2B demand marketers. When applied, they'll help your team execute qualified lead generation at scale, convert leads to opportunities and measure the demand gen metrics that matter so you can constantly get smarter about your programs.
1. Become an Industry Insider
Offering high-value industry insights through your blog, social media channels, third-party media outlets and more helps you position your company (and yourself) as an industry thought leader leadership and build an audience through your owned media channels, while generating demand for your product or solutions.
Peter Isaacson, Chief Marketing Officer at DemandBase, says
“Stop talking about your products! Almost all B2B sales now are consultative. [The best marketers] know how the market is evolving, what competitors are doing, or best practices for their industry.”
2. Create a Free Tool
Michael Patterson, Digital Marketing Manager at PowerReviews says “one way to exponentially increase the demand for your core product or service is to create a free tool that compliments it.”
In Michael's former role at Sprout Social, the team was inspired by one of their best-performing blog posts written about images sizes for social media. So they created an interactive image sizing tool. Michael acredited the tool with driving over 100,000 site visits and increasing [product] trials.
Tools don’t need to involve custom code to generate demand for your product. They need to complement your core offerings, and most importantly, offer value to your audience.
Take a page from Patterson’s playbook and let your best-performing content assets provide insight into the types of workbooks, tools, apps or spreadsheets that could serve your audience.
3. Minimize Rework
Some of the most effective B2B marketers may not necessarily work faster than you. In many cases, they’ve learned some brilliant hacks for reusing their work when appropriate.
Charles Eichenbaum, Director of Marketing Technologies and Applied Artificial Intelligence at Microsoft, is a part of a team tasked with “thousands of marketing tactics every year – across over 10 different brands (Office, Azure, PowerBI, etc.).”
The Microsoft team has gained efficiency and the ability to scale marketing actions across Microsoft’s products by creating templates. Charles says that “one of the biggest time savers we’ve found is tokenizing everything in our [marketing automation] programs, from emails to landing pages.”
When you’re presented with an opportunity to work smarter, whether it's through reusing landing page templates or automating lead processing, it’s wise to take it.
4. Improve Audience Insights with Paid Social Advertising
Andrew Nguyen, Senior Content Marketing Manager at Bizible, advocates using paid LinkedIn advertising as a tool for smarter content targeting, data-informed distribution and gaining new audience insights.
Andrew recommends “testing click-through rates for different audience segments” in order to improve the targeting of your content assets and gain deeper insights into your audiences.
By actively measuring the results of your paid social advertising, you can discover job function-level targeting that not only improves conversions but also helps you achieve a lower cost per lead.
5. Know Sales Alignment Isn’t a One-and-Done Effort
If you think your marketing team will one day finally achieve alignment with sales and customer success and experience harmonious syncrhonicity from there, prepare to be disappointed.
Organizational alignment requires ongoing effort. The best B2B demand marketers continually work to fine-tune the ways they collaborate with sales and customer success to deliver better customer experiences.
Adam New-Waterson, VP Demand Generation at RevJet, writes that “true alignment” with sales has made the biggest difference for his marketing team.
“We discuss ideas with our sales team before we create campaigns so we’re working in lockstep prior to launching any initiative.” In Adam's previous role as CMO at LeanData he referred to alignment as a “continual conversation [that has] improved every aspect of the revenue organization.”
6. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Alex Shipillo, Growth Marketer at Clio says “when you’re marketing to marketers, I feel like the bar to impress is high. You’ve got to be unique.”
In Alex's former role as Director of Demand Generation at Influitive, his team achieved success by blurring lines, including using “edgy subject lines, wacky trade show booth themes and unique ABM campaigns.”
Not every B2B brand can take an edgy stance, like Influitive. Not every B2B buyer persona is impressed by creativity and uniqueness, either. However, Alex’s message to stand out from the rest and take safe risks is one for everyone.
If your audience loves wacky content themes, run with it. If what it’s going to take to really impress is the most in-depth research project anyone in your industry has ever done, go for it. Set out to impress.
7. Make Room for Mistakes
If you use the same campaigns, content assets and 3rd-party syndication partnerships each quarter, can you expect wildly improved results? Generally, no.
Game-changing B2B marketers rely on tried-and-true demand generation channels such as their company blog and in-person events, but they also make room to test new channels and tactics.
Nick Ezzo, Vice President of Demand Generation at Sage Intacct, says his signature marketing secret is a commitment to “measure everything and continue to tweak. Don’t be afraid to experiment on stuff you don’t know will work.”
8. Create Unbiased Decision Guides
For busy B2B decision makers at the bottom of the sales funnel, the best content gets straight to the point.
Christopher Antonopoulos, Founder & CEO at Measured Results Marketing recommends creating a product comparison guide for the bottom of the sales funnel. He encourages marketers to define “what makes you stand out among your competitors? Price? Quality? Results? Be clear and straightforward.”
9. Remember, You're Human
There are things, like lead data verification, that should definitely be automated. There are other things, however, that should not.
You can't scale the human aspects of marketing, which is ultimately what attracts your prospects into the sales funnel.
Beki Scarbrough, VP Marketing at ForgeRock says,
"I use the 'Give a Damn' test. I ask myself would I give a damn if I saw this ad, received this email, opened this direct mail box? If the answer is no, then I don’t do it."
Automation is an invaluable tool for creating efficiency, but it's not a platform to pump up the speed and frequency of your spam blasts. Remember, you're creating demand and opportunity for a conversation between your brand and people. If executed well, that conversation may lead to a relationship.
10. Don’t Become Unreasonably Attached to Tech
Technology isn’t everything. That’s a rather bold statement, especially from a software company, in today’s MarTech environment. But it’s true.
Your technology can’t fix a broken process or troubled culture. It can’t generate demand for you, but it can automate manual work allowing you to have more time left for strategy.
Technology is critical to generating demand, but it’s not everything.
Kenan Frager, Head of Marketing at ZenProspect, says his demand generation secret is to understand MarTech for what it is - a tool. Kenan writes,
“I’m incredibly platform/vendor/partner agnostic when it comes to driving top of funnel leads. Whatever channel can drive the most MQLs efficiently becomes the channel we use the most.”
By understanding the ways your current technologies are and are not working for you can enable your team to get more value from your demand gen tools in the year to come. It may be time to identify the tools that are no longer serving you and implement technologies to better solve your demand generation challenges.
Adopting These Demand Generation Secrets
There’s no single demand generation tool, tactic or channel guaranteed to drive results for your B2B organization in 2018. Today’s most effective demand gen marketers are learning new ways to continually measure, gain efficiency and improve their strategy. Inspired by these bold B2B marketing heroes, prepare to step outside your comfort zone for remarkable results.
Want more demand generation secrets from some of the most effective B2B marketers? Discover the tools, tactics and philosophies working today in the eBook 155 Tips & Tactics from Demand Marketing's Top 40 Game Changers.