If it seems like there is no end to the buzzwords and trends surrounding marketing, you’re not wrong. When it comes to demand generation, however, the buzz is warranted. Also called lead gen, the idea centers around increasing how familiar, trusted, and popular brands are with consumers. Unlike lead generation, which focuses on finding specific prospects and converting them into clients, demand gen focuses on increasing brand attention and awareness, which then creates a demand for a company’s product or services.
Although connected, most sales-driven organizations have separate strategies for lead and demand gen to feed their sales funnels and cultivate business growth. Let’s look at why demand gen matters and some tips on how to incorporate it into your marketing and sales efforts.
Demand Gen vs Prospecting
Before we dive into the who, what, where, when and how of demand generation marketing, we want to explore the difference between sales prospecting and demand generation. Both of these sales and marketing techniques are lead-generation strategies; and, they work well together.
Sales prospecting = outbound marketing
Sales prospecting is the foundation on which Biscred was founded. It involves reaching out to contacts to establish relationships that you hope will convert to business relationships. Our founders took 14 years' worth of CRE data and scraped and cleaned it to create a vast, powerful dataset that companies can use to do business within the CRE industry. You'll find contractors, architects, general contractors, owners, operators, engineers and so much more. SDRs and BDRs use Biscred to do outbound marketing, meaning they email, text, call and network by reaching out to make connections.
Demand generation = inbound marketing
Demand generation is using your assets to create a desire for your products and services. Beauty companies, for example, use demand generation when they make deals with social media influencers to post about their products. In the B2B space and, more specifically, in CRE, creating a buzz about your goods and services, or even brand awareness is trickier, because you have a smaller audience, and you have to know where to find them and when.
Understanding the Foundation of Demand Generation
Exactly how does demand gen work? Before incorporating demand gen into your efforts, it helps to understand the mechanisms that make it effective. For starters, the foundation of demand gen is not to create “buzz” around your business but rather to be seen as the go-to authority in your industry. If you can get people to view your company as a trusted industry leader, you can more easily attract leads that want to do business with you.
Demand generation relies on three elements:
Building expertise: Showcasing your knowledge and establishing your company as an industry authority or thought leader attracts positive attention. This can create more website traffic and increase organic leads.
Building trust: By building strong relationships with customers, being transparent with investors, maintaining good reputations, and giving back to their communities, organizations build trust, which helps generate demand for their goods and/or services.
Consistent messaging: Having consistent messaging, a recognizable brand presence, and regularly producing helpful content reinforces your mission statement or reason for existence. Consistent messaging throughout all of your channels lets potential consumers know that you’ve got a mature business model, and they can trust that you’ll be there today, tomorrow and beyond.
Demand Generation Tactics and Tips
The following are effective demand-generating approaches that help companies increase visibility, attract positive attention, and grow their business.
The first step before launching any type of demand generation campaign is to identify your target audience and your brand’s goals.
Clearly identify who you want to attract and build ideal customer personas. This allows you to tailor your demand gen efforts to align with their needs and preferences. Share your persona company-wide, so everyone understands who your organization wants to attract.
Create a clear and concise brand identity that states why you exist and what your goals are as a business. This guides your content production and gives everything you produce more consistency.
Produce high-quality, valuable, and relevant content to educate and engage your audience across various channels. Make sure you’re creating content regularly and providing readers with value instead of simply highlighting offers. Use traffic magnets such as downloadable eBooks, market reports, and templates as traffic magnets to attract searchers to your website. These are excellent tools for establishing authority in your industry and generating traffic and demand.
For examples of companies that create excellent B2B content, see Hubspot's marketing strategy blog.
Follow SEO best practices
SEO stands for search engine optimization, and it means creating content that is designed to show up in search results (most typically, Google search). Optimize your website to improve online visibility and attract more relevant traffic. This is key for making sure your content gets the attention and traffic it deserves.
At a minimum, start following SEO thought leaders, such as Search Engine Journal, Content Marketing Institute, and Google Search Central. At medium, consider hiring a marketing or sales professional who has SEO experience. At a maximum, consider working with an SEO agency that has a staff of professionals with knowledge in SEO, digital marketing, email marketing, and paid online advertising.
Leverage social proof
Build trust by showcasing positive reviews and testimonials, especially if they've been collected on a third-party site such as Trust Pilot or Google Reviews. This is also a quick, easy and inexpensive tactic to generate demand. Email a thank-you-for-your-business message to customers with a link for them to share happy customer reviews.
Don't let negative reviews sit idle. Customers are more likely to do business with companies that respond to negative reviews. One survey found that 88% of customers overlook negative reviews if the company responds and addresses the negative review (according to Search Engine Land, another good source to follow for SEO and digital marketing advice).
Create a referral network
Encourage satisfied customers to refer your business to others, offering incentives or rewards for successful referrals when possible. This encourages word-of-mouth advertising and provides you with a new audience that has referred trust in your company. This tactic is not confined to clients, you can work out referral deals with complementary companies as well.
Super-charge your email marketing
Build and maintain a segmented email list to nurture leads and deliver personalized content. Do more than simply send emails full of sales pitches. The best way to use email marketing for demand gen is to offer helpful and shareable information and personalize it as much as possible. Anticipate your recipients' problems and needs so you can get ahead of their ask.
For example, a company that offers landscaping and grounds maintenance to commercial office buildings in four-season climates might use email marketing in late summer to start talking about tips for winterization. The message might include tips for winterizing outdoor water features and protecting greenery from frost; as a bonus, they promote their professional holiday decorating services, which include setup, equipment and take-down.
How Smart Data Supports Demand Gen
So, how can B2B companies use Biscred's datasets in their demand generation strategies?
Biscred offers one of the largest commercial real estate datasets in the country. It’s updated continuously, and it is the most comprehensive collection of contact and asset information in the CRE industry, with over 100,000 companies and 250,000 people and counting. It gives you access to investment firms, architects, builders, owner/operators, GCs, and more.
Our datasets support your business development and SDRs' outbound prospecting techniques, but it can also be used to facilitate inbound prospecting.
Use Biscred to research CRE companies to find out where they do business, what their assets are, and what kinds of industries and sub-industries they specialize in. You can use that information to invite decision-makers to your networking events or to subscribe to your market newsletter. But more importantly, you can research their websites, social media and news to find out what topics they care about most, so you can create relevant and captivating content to appeal to them.