For B2B sales in the industrial sectors, such as equipment manufacturers, service providers, and processing facilities, deals are often large and significant investments. Businesses want a guarantee that they are buying from a reputable company who will deliver as promised. Too often, however, industrial companies leave it in the hands of sales teams to build brand awareness and trust through their personal connections.
This ignores an important part of the system.
Demand generation, as it has become known, is the combination of marketing efforts that are aimed at building brand awareness for your product or service. Simply put, demand generation is the starting point for all sales and marketing. It begins early in the sales funnel and is more of a marathon than a sprint.
Demand generation aims to build long-term relationships with prospective customers who may eventually become customers themselves or refer others towards a business.
Successful demand generation establishes a business as a credible industry leader and creates ‘demand’ by suggesting how a product or services solves a business need.
Most industrial marketers grasp the concept of demand generation easily enough, however, effectively building awareness within their target markets requires some effort. Luckily, the growth in online engagement with B2B buyers and the tools available to marketers has made this process easier, and more affordable, than in the past.
In fact, demand generation shouldn’t even directly deliver leads.
Effective demand generation campaigns should be aimed at driving traffic and getting views. Content should be easily accessible, and as discussed in our previous post on gating, none of the material used for demand generation should be gated. Content should be interesting and informative enough to grab attention, but should not offer deals on products or services, since customers at this stage likely aren’t ready to buy.
SEO efforts are an important feature of demand generation. As B2B buyers turn increasingly to search engines in their research, where a business ranks in search results is one of the most important factors surrounding brand awareness. Businesses which don’t rank high in search results are missing the opportunity to gain exposure to their target market and losing credibility.
Blogging can help boost SEO efforts over time, but also provides valuable content to share on social media channels. Social media is an effective tool for demand generation since content can be shared quickly between members of a network and easily spread to larger a network with shares, likes, and comments.
The most common and arguably most effective method of demand generation is via email marketing. Sending useful information to a targeted audience helps to establish your brand as one that solves important business problems. Be careful not to email too frequently, and be sure the information you are passing along is of value to your audience.
Since demand generation is aimed at building awareness, views and exposure are important metrics. Everything from blog page views, email opens and content downloads can be included as metrics for measuring demand generation success.
However, there is more to it than that. There is no sense in doing the right things for the wrong audience.
For example, a chemical processing company might want to ensure their content is being consumed by those in petroleum or pharmaceutical industries, two of their major target markets.
LinkedIn can offer valuable insights into the industries of followers and marketing automation tools can help provide information about website and blog visitors. Measuring which content they find most engaging and helpful can also provide useful insight into which demand generation efforts are performing well for different audiences.
About Fred Yee
Fred Yee is the founder and CEO of ActiveConversion, a company that makes online marketing work for industrial companies. Fred was voted as one of the 40 Most Inspiring Leaders in Sales Lead Management in 2017, and his work with ActiveConversion has helped hundreds of businesses succeed online. ActiveConversion is Fred’s third successful company, and he continues to explore the possibilities of technology in industrial sales and marketing.