February 10, 2012 Leave a comment
How do you create demand for your B2B products and services? How do you bring in leads? How do you improve demand generation? That’s easy. Be better. Have a better product, have a better story, and have a better business case than everyone else.
Not the answer you were looking for? Well even though it’s true, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. The second piece involves actually communicating to everyone that you’re better than the rest in a way that they can hear it (ideally in a way they to WANT to hear it). And with so many demand generation tools, platforms, and techniques inundating today’s online environment, communicating your value proposition has never been more difficult. It’s tough to cut through all the noise and catch your consumers’ attention.
So how can you improve demand generation? Below are 4 ideas from my experience that are the most effective:
- Get referrals from your existing, ecstatic clients. I am not the first person to suggest this but it’s amazing how many companies don’t do it (or at least not doing it enough). I understand why it’s not being done – because we find lots of excuses why a client won’t do it before we ask them (too busy, against policy, contacts are too “low level”). What I suggest is that you find a way to make it worth their while: give a discount, offer a joint promotion, maybe even a free lunch. In any case, the ultimate way to get referrals is to make your clients sooooo happy with your products and services that they can’t wait to help you in return. I am not saying it’s always easy but it’s definitely worth the effort.
- Integrate the different communication channels that you have in place. I find that a lot of clients have a strategy for social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), a strategy for online events (webinars and webcasts), and strategy for website functionality. They usually have a consistent message but there is little overlap between channels. There are many web conferencing and webcasting platforms for example, that allow you to incorporate all of the different channels into one interactive environment. If you incorporate your Twitter or Facebook accounts into your online virtual event, you make both of the channels stronger and increase the engagement with your audience in real time.
- Be able to track the interaction of your event and prove the ROI. There are so many more options available now to track the experience of your demand generation webcast or webinar audience than just recording a name and an e-mail with a stock registration page. Registration is important but even more important is being able to see where someone got access to your event, and this is something that can be done very easily nowadays depending on the webcasting platform you use. Equally important is being able to see how long someone attended, what links they clicked on, and their levels of interaction. With this data, you’re better able to qualify and score your leads and apply the appropriate marketing automation strategy. You’re no longer dealing with an email address as a lead. Being in sales myself, I’ve seen the difference between leads that only provide an email and a number and more qualified leads that provide more information like whether or not an attendee stayed for the entire demand generation webcast, if they downloaded the presentation, followed a link back to the website, or even if they asked questions. By being able to distinguish between attendees, qualified leads, and the percentage of those leads that turned into actual business will give you a more accurate measure of success. Having an improved success barometer will allow you to see the effects of minor tweaks to content, interface, and timing more accurately. It will also provide an objective indicator of whether or not these demand generation events are good investments of time and resources.
- Don’t try and sell your audience anything. No one likes to be sold – I am a sales guy and it even makes my skin crawl to be sold. Provide me something of value whether it’s a process or even a simple idea and I will find excuses to do business with you (or at least say good things about you to my friends and colleagues). Providing your audience with a jewel of insight that will benefit them afterwards, regardless of whether or not they become your customers is how you can get your demand generation to go viral. There is nothing like word-of-mouth and word-of-mouth has to start somewhere.
Obviously, these ideas are all meaningless if you don’t do anything superior than anyone else. Start with being better at least at one thing (be better at everything if you can). In the meantime, connect with your prospects and understand them better. And always inspire them.