What To Look For in a Demand Generation Tool

Justin Simon

Successfully creating a demand for your product or service may be the difference between exploding with business or shutting your doors.

But knowing what you want to do and figuring out how to do it are two totally different things.

Deciding which specific tools will help you get more qualified leads and reap a higher return on investment (ROI) from your marketing efforts is a big, red question mark.

This guide walks you through the features you should look for in demand generation tools, red flags to avoid, and a description of three top-notch tools.

You’ll come away with some great info about demand gen tools that will help your company increase conversion rates and load up your sales funnel with high-quality leads.

What is a demand generation tool?

Demand generation, just like lead generation, has lots of moving parts and there are tools that target every piece. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, of tools on the market that claim to upgrade your processes, elevate your demand gen efforts, increase your visibility, and amplify your brand awareness.

Some of the top pain points they aim to address are:

Automate processes

78% of companies reported using automation in 2021.

Marketing teams can get super bogged down trying to remember the 100 different tasks they need to do every day to keep their campaigns running. The more you can automate these tedious activities, the less likely it is that your team members will forget them. 

As an added bonus, marketing automation tools let you spend less time on repetitive tasks and more time on the work that matters. 

Drive traffic

Lead generation and SEO are essential in helping your customers find you and see how awesome your company is. Tools that strengthen these efforts get more eyes on your brand, adding up to more leads — and eventually, more customers.

Convert prospects

The median landing page conversion rate across industries is 4.6%. Your brand may have a big target audience that loves your content — but are you convincing them to eventually buy something? 

Close deals

Wanting to close more deals and pull in new clients is probably why you’re reading this article, right?

Helping your sales team to close the deal is the key performance indicator of a demand generation program. If that process is too long or complicated, you’re bound to lose people before your teams have time to make the sale. Tools that help optimize the buyer journey and keep them from falling out of the funnel are a must-have.

The key features of a great demand generation marketing tool

Getting started with demand gen means choosing the right tools for your business. It can be overwhelming to weigh their offerings, flexibility, and how they fit into your current processes — not to mention making sure the tool doesn’t break your budget.

Here are five helpful features you’ll want to look for when considering a new tool for your demand gen toolbox.

b2b demand generation tools key features

Automates tedious, repetitive, and manual tasks

Marketing tools should make everyone’s job easier and smooth out the process. During your search, look at how the tool will save time for you and your team. Does it cut down on manual data entry, save information for easy access, or integrate with other tools you use? 

The best demand generation tools do all of these and save your team considerable time.

Offers precise audience targeting

Being able to segment and target your audience via account-based marketing (ABM) is a must-have feature for your demand gen tools. Tools that make it possible to target by industry, business size, city or state, and even by job title let you tailor your message to your specific audience. This type of messaging is more effective at generating demand than a broad, vague message that kinda-sorta-but-not-really covers everyone in your database.

Allows customizable campaigns and experimentation

No matter how savvy, few companies nail their demand generation strategy the first time. It typically takes trial and error.

The tools you decide to implement should have ways to customize their offerings for your business and brand. They should also provide things like A/B testing to help you measure your initiatives’ success (or lack thereof).

Invest in the tools that give you all the options you need — and a few extras you might not have considered yet.

Makes lead enrichment fast and organized

Another feature on your shortlist is a way to add information about your leads, or enrich them.

And no, scribbling your notes on a napkin isn’t part of the plan.

Being able to add information about the lead, like contact information, their title, location, industry, company size, and any other valuable tidbit is what you want to see. In addition, these changes should be able to happen within your customer relationship management software (CRM) in real-time (or close to it).

Being on the ball with your lead enrichment keeps your campaigns organized and feeds your sales team helpful, quality leads.

Has ruthlessly efficient campaign optimization tools

The tools you choose should help you send out the best campaigns possible. After all, you never get another chance to make a first impression. A single misspelled word can turn potential customers off.

Your tools should offer optimization opportunities at every stage: We’re talking about help with SEO, load times, landing pages, subject lines, length, images, calls-to-action (CTAs), etc.

Common demand generation tool red flags

As helpful as demand gen tools can be to your marketing tactics, they vary widely as far as features go — and, honestly, some tools aren’t all that great. There are some real flops out there, folks.

Before you spend the time (and money) implementing a new tool for your demand gen efforts, write off any with these red flags.

b2b demand generation tools red flags

Confusing and unclear pricing models

There’s no excuse for pricing that’s anything but transparent and in your face.

If a company’s pricing is unclear on the front end, that’s a pretty clear red flag.

Searching for the right tools is challenging, and a hide-and-seek pricing structure is an obstacle you should avoid as soon as you’re hit with it. Stick with options that authentically lay out the pricing tiers and what you get with each.

Doesn’t factor in or care about lead quality

If the company’s marketing material focuses on quantity and doesn’t say much about quality, you probably won’t get the performance you want from them. Successful demand generation efforts stem from quality leads that can convert to customers.

Avoid tools that don’t explain how they will help your company start conversations that can blossom into profitable customer relationships.

Tracks and analyzes every metric under the sun

Too much of a good thing is an overwhelming thing.

Analyzing marketing metrics is one of the most critical components of success, but data that’s too granular or confusing ends up defeating the purpose. 

Marketers should be able to accurately track actions and metrics they need to know, like clicks, comments on social media, shares, engagement, and conversions. Looking too closely at metrics that don’t tell you anything useful wastes time and makes the process inefficient.

Only specializes in one marketing funnel

The ability to hyper-target your buyer persona is helpful. But the tools you choose don’t need to pigeonhole your efforts.

You deserve a better user experience than that.

You should be able to use your tools for all types of funnels. From sales funnels to subscription funnels to live demo funnels and more.

If you’re limited to one funnel, that single initiative will most likely be wildly successful — but the rest of them will probably be “just okay” at best. This isn’t going to get you to where you want to be.

When you’re looking for demand gen tools, keep a sharp eye out for tools that are too narrow to accomplish your goals. These will end up causing you to need to add even more tools to make up for their shortcomings.

You don’t need a hundred other numbers that clog up your dashboards and headspace, so mark one-trick ponies off your list.

The top 3 B2B demand generation tools

You might decide to use a handful of tools to manage your demand generation efforts, or you may employ a dozen or more to help you achieve your goals. Either way, below are three top tools that are the best available.

These were chosen by using the criteria laid out above, factoring in cost, ease of use, and overall functionality.

If you’re searching for new tools to help you reach more quality leads, nurture them better, and convert them faster, these tools are the ones to start with.

1. Metadata

 Sick of dealing with repetitive, tedious tasks? Metadata is specifically designed for B2B marketing, and it eliminates the mundane work through AI and automation. 

Check out Metadata to see how it automates the tedious stuff, letting your teams focus on what matters: strategy and creativity.

Key features

  • Audience targeting to help match your best audience with your ads
  • Campaign automation eliminates the need to build campaigns over and over
  • Ability to easily launch multiple campaign experiments
  • New lead enrichment with up to 20 attributes from verified business data

Pros

  • Frees up marketing team’s time from tedious tasks so that they can focus on higher-level strategies
  • Can increase match rates by nine times on Facebook and 7.5 times on LinkedIn
  • Helps find out what your targeted personas want in a campaign, then gives it to them
  • Can help identify how to get the most bang out of your campaign budget

Cons

  • Must spend $20k/month+ in paid social ads
  • Some learning curve involved to set up and learn
  • Limited in-product education and tooltips in-app

Pricing options

  • Growth: $53,400 per year
  • Scale: $73,800 per year
  • Premium: $112,800 per year
  • Enterprise: Quote only

2. Qualified

Load up your pipeline with prospects who are ready to purchase. This conversational marketing tool helps companies use their website to identify high-value visitors and buying signals, and start conversations with prospects who are ready to buy.

Key features

  • Works seamlessly with Salesforce configurations
  • Conducts real-time conversations via live chat
  • Robust metrics available in Qualified or Salesforce
  • AI-driven insights that pinpoint hot leads

Pros

  • Helpful training tools for new users
  • Makes more personalized user experiences possible
  • Automates lead generations, making the process more efficient
  • Maximizes advertising budgets with greater return on investment

Cons

  • Ramp up time. It can be hard for some users to learn
  • Could benefit from internal notes from chat

Pricing options

  • Growth: $300 per month
  • Premier: $6,000 per month
  • Enterprise: Quote only   

3. Ahrefs

Need help with SEO? Ahrefs is the tool to boost page rankings and drive more traffic to your website. They do it by checking out what your main competitors are doing and seeing which keywords your targeted buyers use to search. The result? Proactively knowing what type of content will resonate with your audience before you take the time to create it.

Key features

  • Audit of your website, including an SEO health score, key data laid out in visually pleasing charts, and any issues
  • SEO research on competitor websites, along with organic and paid traffic information
  • Built-in search engine that helps you find top-performing content in your industry

Pros

  • Simple to learn and use
  • Easy to make changes to optimize your website
  • Lets you know which keywords to use in your content
  • Identifies topics you know your audience will love

Cons

  • Free tool version doesn’t offer the best features
  • Needs more integrations
  • Keyword research tool is improving but not as powerful as competitors

Pricing options

  • Lite: Starts at $99 per month
  • Standard: Starts at $199 per month
  • Advanced: Starts at $399 per month
  • Enterprise: Starts at $999 per month

Note: They offer two months free for customers who pay annually.

Metadata — demand generation done right

Planning your B2B demand generation strategy is necessary, but lining up the right tools to bring it to fruition is just as important.

It’s time-consuming to comb through the dozens of options available to find ones that fit your specific mission.

When looking for tools to help you increase your automation, optimize your campaigns, drive traffic, and convert leads, use our tips to narrow down your picks — and don’t forget to watch out for red flags.

Test out our three favorites and see how valuable you find them in increasing your demand generation effort’s ROI.

Does ditching those mind-numbingly repetitive tasks that fill up your workday sound like heaven to you? Eliminate manual work and improve marketing’s performance with Metadata. Learn about the many ways Metadata can strengthen your demand generation strategy and help drive results.

Power Your Campaigns With Positioning and Messaging
double funnel featured image
How to Double Your Pipeline With the Double Funnel

Get emails from us

Legit content. No product pushing. The type of emails you actually look forward to.
Metadata.io acquires Reactful to continue building Marketing OS for B2B.
This is default text for notification bar