Some of you may be curious what this online marketing demand generation craze is, and others are just looking for inspiration or ideas. What both of you have in common is that you understand that online marketing is no longer optional, it’s necessary. So whether you’ve embarked on this demand generation train by choice or by force, I have put together a list of the essential elements of a good B2B demand generation foundation for any B2B business.
Let’s begin by assembling the pieces that go into building the demand generation strategy. First, of course there is your CRM (customer relationship management) system. A CRM system helps your sales team keep track of your entire lead and customer database, record all calls, conversations and any other interaction with the customer you may have. Why is a CRM system a must? According to Baseline, “the average ROI for CRM is $5.60 for every dollar spent!” That’s a 460% increase in your return on investment. Not too shabby and a great choice for every B2B marketing team that wants to scale.
Below is a list of the usual CRM suspects to consider when choosing your CRM system if you are part of a larger organization.
If you are employed by a smaller company and still want the robust features of a premium CRM, try these:
Let’s look at a scenario where your sales guy Ted gets an inbound lead and calls that person to schedule a demo. Ted is lucky and his lead Pete agrees. Ted now marks prospect Pete as Ted’s prospect in your CRM system. That way when your other sales guy Steve looks at the leads, he knows that Pete has been called and proceeds calling the next inbound lead. Your sales team can also enter their own outbound leads into the CRM system and update statuses accordingly as they make progress with the sale. Sales can send emails to both prospects and customers, pull reporting on lead status, and much more. As you can see, the CRM tools have robust capabilities and integrate into most automation systems through an API.
For further help on choosing a CRM solution and a detailed breakdown of features, we have created a CRM comparison cheat sheet which you can download here.
Next, let’s discuss the marketing automation system. In a nutshell, marketing automation tools help your marketing and sales teams collaborate and automate your marketing processes. By tracking customer and prospect activity on the website, automation software gives marketers the ability to address potential concerns real-time. By providing timely, relevant information, a marketing automation solution allows marketers to up-sell, retain and convert customers.
Some examples of the most popular automation tools on the market are:
Let’s suppose a prospect downloads your white paper and now becomes a lead in your chosen CRM. With the help of a marketing automation tool, you can now automate what’s called a “drip campaign”, (i.e. build user flow logic which allows automatic emails to trigger once a prospect completes a desired action). Let’s say your desired lead – Leonard visits your website after receiving your white paper. Leonard then proceeds to the pricing page. After the pricing page, Leonard drops off. With the help of marketing automation you can easily trigger an email that offers Leonard a promotion if he purchases this month. That is the power of a marketing automation system in a nutshell.
For more details on the features, please click here to download our marketing automation cheat sheet.
Hiring and Training Your B2B Marketing Team
The third and most important ingredient of the demand generation list is your marketing team. Assemble a top notch team, ensure proper product training and let them test, test and test again. The most important element in successful B2B marketing is product knowledge. People can’t market what they don’t understand in depth. B2B marketing requires a thoughtful and sometimes complex content strategy. Ensure good training, have your marketing team test the product and understand it inside and out.
Thought leadership must be at the forefront of your marketing strategy. Your marketing team should frequently be talking to your customers. They need to conduct customer feedback groups, satisfaction surveys and create case studies. Obtaining testimonials is also a must for the website. It’s a quick way to create a sense of trust with your potential customers. Coupled with thorough case studies, you can show your potential target market why your business is their best solution. White papers and infographics make great, shareable content which could easily go viral if done right.
Want to know more about B2B demand generation, CRM or automation marketing? Let us know by emailing email@example.com and we will answer your questions in our “Q&A with an expert” series.