Is it possible to generate demand for your product/service? In short, if you are selling to businesses or to consumers over long buying cycles, then the answer is yes.
First, a bit of background. Demand Generation is used to help prospects who already know they want their problem solved. It isn’t lead generation albeit many get confused. Demand Generation is the structured process of ensuring that the target market solve their problem with your products/services. Breaking this down, it is the process of building awareness, being discovered by a prospect, helping them validate your product/service and assisting them to a closed deal through structured selling.
So, somewhere out there is a relevant prospect wanting to solve a problem that your product/service could address. What should you do to make sure they choose you? Let’s separate the challenge into 4 distinct phases:
Phase 1; Build awareness so you are front of mind with the prospect. That way you have more chance of being consulted. At a high level this breaks down into brand awareness through both inbound and outbound marketing. For inbound consider using search engine optimization, viral marketing, social media and email campaigns. For outbound consider using pay per click marketing, inside sales, lead generation and appointment setting. These are just simple examples to demonstrate the category of activities to drive awareness.
At some point the prospect will start to research solutions to their problems; namely Phase 2, Discovery. We’re already front of mind due to our awareness activities, but they need to find us at the moment. Focus should be given to search engine advertising, search engine optimisation and webinars and on-line demonstrations. They can all form a part to play when attempting to be found by a prospects searching activities. Again, these are just simple examples, and the right mix will vary.
Once the prospect has found you, we start to focus on Phase 3, Validation. Here you will need to help the prospect validate that your solution meets their needs. Typical examples include:
- Detailed evaluation driven by trials, demonstrations, whitepapers, and seminars
- Cultivation, management, and selection of client references willing to provide a prospect with the perspective of a current or past client
Once the prospect is validating your solution you initiate Phase 4, Structured Sales. This is the coordination of the right sales resource to interact with the prospect to navigate the final stages of the buying process. Lead Scoring, Lead Ranking and Lead Routing are the main drivers to ensuring the prospect is appropriately guided through to a closed deal, with emphasis given to the appropriate sales process for the target market and product family.
Tools such as Salesforce are critical to ensuring structured selling processes are accountable, visible and scalable. You can start small with Salesforce, be that a product line, campaign or even if you’re a start up organisation.
If you are looking for assistance with Demand Generation, or you simply want to talk through your sales pipeline challenges, contact us.