Build a demand generation strategy

1. Define your KPIs and the measuring tools you’ll use for keeping track of progress to set goals for your demand generation strategy.

For example, you might want to generate more Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs), to increase your conversion rates, or to shorten the sales cycles by qualifying prospects better.

2. Choose your demand generation channels based on goals and available resources - team, budget.

For example, you can opt for content marketing as your main channel for generating awareness, BDR outreach through social media for lead generation, and email marketing for qualifying your leads. When deciding on the channels to use, align your marketing and sales teams, both in terms of lifecycle stages used and in terms of processes: Who decides what audience to target next; Who creates the sales collateral; Who reaches out and promotes upcoming events, and so on.

3. Define your target audiences, the main themes they care about and the pain points corresponding to each team.

Talk to your sales, customer support, marketing and product teams when developing your target audiences. If you have access to sales calls, listen to a few recordings to see what prospects ask about and what pain points they mention at each stage of the sales funnel.  Write down how prospects find your company, why they reach out, what problem they’re trying to solve, how are they solving it without your product or service, and what makes them unhappy with their current solution. Segment your target audiences into a few main groups based on job titles, and group the pain points mentioned by each segment into overarching themes, to set a direction for your demand generation strategy. Use the same audience segments across channels, to keep your sales and marketing teams aligned. For example, if you use verticals to segment your audience, create dedicated lists in your CRM, email marketing tool and social media paid tools.

4. Based on your goals and team capacity, decide how you want to approach demand generation: as always-on initiatives, or as individual, theme-based campaigns.

For example, if you chose to use content marketing, you can opt for always-on blog content that creates awareness, gated content such as ebooks for lead generation (MQLs), automated drip campaigns for qualifying the leads (SQLs), and sales calls only for opportunities.  If you opt for theme-based campaigns, you will need to create dedicated content, email campaigns and sales collateral for each campaign, so the potential for repurposing materials will be lower. Agree on the deliverables and timeline of your demand generation initiatives with your sales team.  For example, for the theme-based approach, the agreement could be that marketing will organize two webinars per month and will publish two white papers per month. The business development and sales reps will have to be informed about these initiatives and their timelines, so that they can support marketing with spreading the word.  Create a calendar or Gantt chart for your main deliverables.

5. Work on your brand story and develop your unique selling point before starting to create content.

If you sell multiple products or services, you’ll need to develop individual USPs for each of them.

6. Develop content for generating MQLs by creating awareness around the problems that you’re solving and educating your audience on the solutions to their pain points.

Write blog articles that narrow the focus of the reader towards your product. Highlight the unique selling points in your article once, but keep the focus on providing value for your user first. Optimize your content to attract prospective customers organically, and write for the knowledge level of your target audience to avoid clogging your sales funnel with unqualified leads. Use the language that your target audience is using in your content and copy.

7. Develop sales collateral, such as case studies, webinars, white papers, industry reports, or qualification questionnaires to qualify the leads.

Address common questions and comments mentioned by your target audience during sales calls or in customer support tickets.  Address barriers to buying and highlight the USPs and capabilities of your product or service in sales enablement materials. Create a free tool that helps your audience solve their main pain point. For example, if you are offering SEO services, you could launch a free backlink analyzer.

8. Build a brand awareness campaign that targets your ideal market on your chosen social media channels.

If you are focused on B2B, then LinkedIn or Twitter can be good channels for sharing content that positions you as a leader in the market. Research articles from direct or indirect competitors to highlight their efforts and create an exchange of information on social media.

9. Create an outreach and distribution plan to deliver your content to your target audience and contacts in each industry.

For example, you can share your awareness content on the blog, distribute your sales enablement materials and lead gen content through BDR outreach in social media or email, qualify your leads through email marketing, and schedule individual demos for the sales qualified leads with your sales reps.

10. Research high authority websites that allow guest blogging and pitch them post ideas.