The way forward for demand era

Demand generation (or demand generation) can only be understood by first defining the word demand. Listen back to your Economics 101 and remind yourself that demand represents a person’s desire and ability to buy something. However, this does not mean that someone who appears interested in a purchase has the financial means to do so.

Demand generation therefore includes all activities that contribute to attracting, engaging and converting probable customers. Depending on your industry, your ideal customer profile (ICP), and your personas, this could include a combination of the following:

  • Outbound sales
  • Content Marketing and SEO
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Social media marketing
  • Trade fairs and virtual events
  • Email Marketing
  • Direct mail
  • Affiliate and referral programs
  • Upsell or cross-sell to existing customers

Notice that in the previous paragraph I put the phrase “likely customers” in bold. Why? Unlike traditional lead generation programs, which typically focus on new emails or contacts, demand generation focuses on serving new customers. Marketers, including myself, should pay special attention to this reality. It is a waste of time and money filling your CRM with 1,000 new email addresses that will never be converted. It hurts to say that, but it’s true.

What is the best approach to implementing a scalable demand program that delivers results? Let’s take a closer look.

How to Improve Demand in 2021 and Beyond

If demand generation is a multi-faceted endeavor involving multiple disciplines, departments, and stakeholders, what can you do to maximize its impact on your business? Here are four steps for 2021.

1. Start with an objective view of your existing demand generation efforts

Whether you realize it or not, you already have programs in place that are creating demand. (Otherwise you would be out of business!) To measure the impact of your existing demand actions, jump into your CRM and run a report on closed opportunities over the past year. Customize the report to include the original source; For example, outbound sales, existing customer upgrades, paid ads, social media, etc. Now, analyze the data to understand where the revenue is coming from. Visualizing your data as a pie chart can be a simple yet effective way to understand what works – and what doesn’t. Here is an example.

In the example above, it is clear that outbound sales are the biggest generator of demand. Other than that, this graph doesn’t tell you anything about how effective sales are in generating demand. If the company’s sales team consists of 25 account managers and 10 sales development representatives (SDRs), the fully charged cost of closing a sale can be exponentially higher than doing a self-service deal from organic search. Take the time to analyze historical business data from different angles.

2. Develop a plan for collecting better data

As you analyze historical data, you are likely to find loopholes that make it difficult to answer all of your questions. After all, customer data isn’t limited to basic contact information like job title, sales size, and related opportunities. To really understand the impact of Demand Gen on the customer journey, you may need to go deeper and start collecting the following data.

Interaction data

Trade shows are great for generating lots of business cards, but not for doing business. A reference from a trade show can require dozens of sales and marketing interactions before he or she has the desire and ability to purchase. Gathering web and email interaction data in your CRM provides detailed insights to understand which demand channels, campaigns, messages, and content influence a customer’s purchase decision.

Behavioral data

Behavioral data is particularly useful for understanding the impact of your cross-sell and up-sell demand activities. For example, if you’re a software company, you can collect clickstream data from your app to measure interest in gated features. Simple adjustments to your product interface can have a significant impact on awareness of premium plans and thus on their demand.

Settings data

Customers can be a great source of new ideas, and demand generation is no exception. Ask your customers about demand-generating ideas. Interview your customers and ask them to provide feedback on:

  • What industry websites, magazines and publications do you read?
  • What kind of content would you like to receive from us?
  • What would make it more likely that you would tell a friend about our company’s solution?
  • If you were the Marketing Manager for our company, where would you advertise?
  • Which trade fairs or virtual events do you regularly take part in?

3. Align your sales and marketing teams

Sales and marketing teams are typically the biggest demand generators for businesses. Unfortunately, they are rarely aligned with each other. Inconsistent terminology, competing goals, and isolated systems are just a few of the reasons organizations struggle to match these two groups.

If you’ve had trouble aligning your sales and marketing teams in the past, fear not. A well-structured demand-generation initiative can be the perfect opportunity to promote cross-departmental alignment while improving sales performance. Alignment usually starts at the top. Therefore, your first step should be to get buy-in from sales and marketing directors for a set of common goals, methodologies, and metrics.

Once the leadership is aligned with the bigger picture, it must continuously work together to operationalize the vision. Check out Insightly’s Sales and Marketing Alignment series for tips on how to achieve this goal.

4. Unify your demand gene systems on one platform

As you’ve probably noticed, there is a fuzzy line between sales, marketing, and other demand generation functions. In today’s competitive landscape, having sales work in one isolated system and marketing in a different system is not a viable solution. In short, you need the right technology to collect the right data, align your people, and understand what is working.

Sales generating teams want fewer and better systems. Ideally, they want a system that allows them to visualize the buyer journey, create segmented lists of likely customers, and automatically engage buyers in personalized ways.

Unifying your demand-generation efforts on a platform like Insightly is a smart first step in enabling this reality. Your sales teams spend less time on time-consuming data integrations and imports, and more time on what matters most: developing targeted campaigns, programs, and initiatives that drive demand for your products or services.

You also have access to better data – and more of it – that is presented in a visually appealing way, making decision-making and team alignment easier.

Maximize the impact of your future demand

Customer behavior continues to change rapidly. To be competitive, organizations must view demand generation as a strategic initiative that requires buy-in leadership, a commitment to cross-departmental alignment, and technology that supports data-driven demand generation.

Ready to see how unified sales and marketing CRM can help you take demand generation to the next level? Request a free demo from an Insightly representative. No commitment required.

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