What are the best demand gen tactics to use today?
Demand generation is essential to any successful marketing strategy today, particularly for B2B SaaS companies. Investing in demand gen will allow you to strengthen your sales pipeline, significantly improve your conversion rates, and increase your annual recurring revenue (ARR).
This is because demand gen, unlike lead gen, is focused on attracting higher quality and more relevant prospects, rather than aiming for quantity and volume.
But what does demand gen actually look like in practice? Well, five proven demand gen tactics to achieve your strategic goals are:
In this episode, Adam Holmgren talks through each of these tactics in detail, providing helpful advice and real-life examples that you can apply in your own marketing strategy.
Who they are: Adam Holmgren, Head of Demand Gen at GetAccept.
A bit of background: Adam has been leading the demand gen team at GetAccept for the past year and a half, and also has his own demand gen-focused community called Driving Demand. He’s currently based in Malmo, Sweden.
Where you can find him: You can connect with Adam on LinkedIn here.
Here you’ll find some of the best advice from the podcast that you can easily digest and learn from.
When transitioning away from the more traditional lead generation model to adopt an inbound marketing approach with demand gen, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
This week’s guest suggested that your first step should be analysing your sales and marketing funnel, from top to bottom, through a demand generation lens.
It’s important to do this so you can determine where your customers are really coming from and which channels aren’t returning enough revenue.
Adam said, “One of the first things I did when I joined GetAccept, that I think has been incremental to our success and our demand programmes here, was to start looking at our funnel from a demand gen perspective.”
“So, looking at our sales and marketing funnel, all the way from:
And we then split that up into two funnels.”
“First, high intent, where someone has actually raised their hand and said they’re ready to talk to sales, so make one funnel for that. Then make one funnel for everything else. For us, that was free accounts, webinars, events, and so on.”
“When we did that, it became so clear that most of our ARR was coming from the high intent funnel, but most of the inbounds were coming into the low intent funnel. It was such a clear misalignment in where we put our efforts and pushed our activities, because the ARR was coming from somewhere completely different.”
“I think that was the most important exercise to do, to really get the buy-in from both the management, and the company in general, to focus differently. That is a super easy exercise. I think everyone can do that at their company. How much is actually coming into your high intent funnel, and how much is coming into the low intent funnel? I think many companies will have a similar story.”
Once you’ve done that, you should adjust your efforts to ensure you’re investing sufficient time and resources into the areas that are returning the most revenue. With that in mind, Adam went on to reveal that one of the biggest pitfalls he sees today is companies spending too much on channels that aren’t actually converting customers and bringing in revenue.
He explained, “I recently did a poll asking marketers how much money they spent on search versus social, as an example, because often we view paid search as more of a capture demand tactic, where we’re trying to harness the existing demand and try to get them to take action. Then we have the more social part where we’re actually trying to build our brand and build that demand.”
“Most companies in that poll put 80% or 90% into this capture part and very little budget into the social and the brand part. I think that says so much. We’re so eager to put money into where we can see revenue coming out from the other end, but maybe they heard about us for the first time somewhere else. Maybe they saw us in a social ad and then they decided to Google our company name.”
As we’ve heard on this podcast before, account-based marketing can help you build a stronger sales pipeline and significantly increase revenue. Of course, like most things in marketing, ABM is very difficult to get right the first time.
To succeed with ABM, you need to be highly specific and careful with both the type and the number of customers you target. It’s also important to remember that it’s usually a long-term approach that requires plenty of patience before you see results.
Adam said, “We’re still pretty new to ABM, but we’ve done a few iterations now, learning. Our main ideal customer profile (ICB) is small and medium-sized businesses. That’s where we can be pretty spot on and where we’ve started to double a bit with the ABM.”
“We’ve been very focused geographically with our ABM. One of the few mistakes we made initially was that we had our demand gen activities on one end, we had our ABM activities on another, but they didn’t differ that much. We had way too many companies to even call it an ABM programme.”
“Now, it’s more like, how can we identify our top 20 targets, let’s say in the UK, that we want to acquire in the coming one, two, three years? I think that’s so important. I think we had too much of a short-term mind-set in the beginning, more of a lead gen approach.”
“We now know we have to take this list of 20 companies and get in long-term, so how can we move towards them from a bunch of different angles? Not just running ads towards them, but how can we be different? Can we have dinners together, for example? We want to create value for them so we become top-of-mind eventually.”
“We won’t see revenue from our ABM programmes this year, if we’ve started this year, but maybe next year. The development for us has been understanding it’s more of a brand awareness play to stay top-of-mind with our target accounts.”
If you’re looking for criteria to help evaluate your market and select target accounts for your own ABM programme, Adam suggested to start with things like:
He added, “Then we think about the types of roles we want to engage with to drive the highest possible revenue. And then we decided on seeing one common industry and going for that, because we can’t talk about several industries at once. That was also a mistake we made in our first attempt. We put a bunch of different industries together, and it became a mess.”
Adam joined GetAccept around one and a half years ago, at an interesting time for the business. When Adam began his role, it was just himself, a CMO, and two other people. Since then, they’ve grown rapidly and now operate a marketing department consisting of almost 30 people.
Discussing how they’ve managed that growth from both a structure and a resource perspective, Adam said, “We’re now organised into a bunch of different sub-teams. I lead the demand team in Europe, where obviously our KPIs are always to drive as much revenue and growth as possible. In my team, we have people responsible for paid search, paid social, ABM.”
“But we also have certain regional markets where we want to focus a bit extra. France, as an example, where we really want to grow as much as possible, is one team. We have our own demand team in the US. We’ve divided them because they’re very different markets, and the US is also insanely competitive.”
In the wider marketing department, GetAccept has also organised itself with the following teams:
Adam continued, “The brand ambassador team is the designers really that focus on building the brand. We work a lot with them, of course, with everything we do in trying to create our campaigns and so on. Content, brand, and demand all work extremely closely together. It’s like clockwork really to create campaigns and deliver them.”
Adam also highlighted the value of the product marketing team, which is the newest addition to GetAccept’s marketing department.
He said, “I think product marketing is important for gaining a better understanding of the customer, but also understanding the product vision and translating that into messaging that we can use to generate demand. I think that’s so important. Also, making sure that our story is consistent across all channels, because that’s a super hard thing to do. I think that’s a really powerful thing with product marketing, if they can take that perspective.”
Are you interested in learning more about the role of a demand generation marketer? Check out our in-depth guide to demand gen roles here for a wealth of useful insights.
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