B2B Demand Generation Best Practices
APRIL, 16 / 2021
Distribution eats Product for breakfast
Peter Drucker
Legendary Management Consultant and Writer
B2B Demand Generation is a misunderstood and challenging area of endeavour for most companies. Many are still asking fundamental questions like 'What's B2B Demand Generation?', and 'What are Demand Gen best practice strategies and activities?' and 'How do Sales and Marketing work together?'.

In this post, we help you reframe and explore the key components of a best in class growth engine, by orchestrating the best of your Sales, Marketing and Success teams.
Distinction and Interplay between Sales and Marketing
The old paradigm of a clear divide between Sales and Marketing still perpetuates and pervades widely today. It goes like this: You need to take a linear, customer funnel approach to demand gen with Marketing fixed to the top of the funnel. Their only job is to source and qualify a reliable quantity and quality of leads, and pass these over to Sales. Reps are then solely responsible to mature those opportunities and close the deals throughout the rest of the funnel.

To say this is an antiquated notion is something of an understatement. We've known for a long time that the internet broke a lot of the old rules and that customers are now better informed and further down the buying journey than they were before. This demands a fresh approach to demand generation.

In the new paradigm, leads can come from anywhere (including from Reps) after which it is everyone's job, through a continuous partnership formed between Sales and Marketing along the end-to-end customer journey to engage and mature those opportunities until the deal is closed. And this partnership then expands to include Success, Product and Operations to continue the engagement process in order to grow the account over time toward customer advocacy.
Key Takeaway: It's a Rowing Race, not a Relay.
Demand Generation is not about batton passing but rather a very close coordination through an integrated go to market. Success starts with shared go-to-market planning and goal setting, fields of play selection (e.g. industries, verticals and horizontals, and target accounts), and tactics to reach and engage the buyer profiles at those companies. From there, Sales and Marketing deploys its collective tools and capabilities to execute on this strategy.
Six Components of B2B Demand Generation
In the context of B2B Demand Generation Framework specifically, there are six principle elements of a best practice engine. Each component has its own role to play yet they're all tightly integrated.

Let's go through each component and their key activities:
B2B Demand Generation Framework
Content Marketing
Share a strong point of view that answers customers burning questions to be relevant and earn the right to have them as a customer. Give away some value that relates closely to the core promise of your brand or offering.

Organic Search (SEO)
Bringing traffic to your website through high relevance to your customers' long tail conversational queries that highlight the problem to be solved and questions to be answered by that target audience.

Search Marketing (SEM)
Remaining competitive in a pay-per-click environment by capturing traffic through the ad space. This acts to both amplify your content as well as reinforce your organic reach.

Horizontal Campaigns
Taking a multi-channel approach to serving your audience with content, tools and other forms of value that gets them engaging. More often than not, this must include some combination of search, social, email, events and above the line advertising.

Account Based Marketing
This involves the design and execution of hyper-targeted campaigns by vertical (e.g. industry sector) with tailored content and channels for the Buyer Profiles at your target logos.

Marketing Automation
With so many channels and moving parts to Demand Generation, leveraging best in class technology to drive demand in a smarter, more scalable manner is essential. The selective use and integration of both foundational and niche marketing technologies for your key use cases will assist to connect, scale and track all your activities.
Key Takeaway: Know your Customer
Underpinning your Demand Generation Framework must be a clear understanding of your customer - how they choose your product or service, and what their buyer journey looks like. This grounding will unlock insights to inform the go-to-market to increase your effectiveness through a playbook that's tailor made for your market and organisation.
Role of Events in B2B Demand Generation
Events play a crucial role within any Demand Generation engine. Events can range from very large scale horizontal conferences to small scale owned events for your late stage prospects. Regardless of the scale and format (in-person, virtual, or hybrid), events remain key to sourcing and maturing customer opportunities.

When thinking about events as part of your go-to-market, it's best to take a portfolio approach to your event calendar, incorporating large and more intimate events, brand name events and your own private events.

Speak with any B2B Demand Generation team about their events calendar and they will likely include the following:
Industry Events such as CES at which you maximise presence through main stage keynotes and panels, breakout sessions, booths and sponsorship.
Vertical Conferences where those fields of play are a top area of focus. These typically enable Sales to engage in a more intimate way through direct conversations with buyer profiles from your target accounts.
Branded Conferences focused on your existing communities such as Apple's WWDC and Dreamforce by Salesforce where you drive the event narrative, agenda, and typically make major announcements.
Private Events such as by invitation-only C-suite roundtables and dinners with buyer profiles from late stage opportunities that provide an intimate touch point to close the deal.
Key Takeaway: Measure Event Performance
Events are still a channel and must adhere to your B2B Demand Generation Framework. Lead with compelling content, direct focus toward real customer needs, measure your effectiveness and tailor your next actions to each individual customer, to maximize event ROI and continuously optimise your event calendar activity and spend.
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These codes are used to capture and quantify audience engagement, and generate a customised performance report to review straight after your event. The performance report gives you the audience level observations required to complete Buyer Profiling through the unique engagement profile of each audience member, that informs your next best actions for each prospect.

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