Demand Generation Services
Organizations selling to B2B enterprises often face unpredictable sales funnels, with longer buying cycles, multiple decision makers, frequent changes in requirements, drawn out negotiations etc. While there is little one can do about buyer behaviour, successful B2B enterprises tackle this by having a strong top of the funnel and demand generation engine. This however requires a strong process aided by a well thought out demand generation strategy that fits your product or solution and consistent efforts in implementing it.
Steps in B2B Demand Generation for saas based products
Demand Generation refers to the process of creating a need or interest in your offering. For B2B enterprises, demand generation involves four important steps:
The first step is to identify your target market. In this step, companies identify the industries that their solution caters to or is most suitable for. Even in cases where the solution is industry agnostic, the company usually chooses a few industries where they have seen better traction or have good case studies to showcase. Generic or stock product messages sent to a industry wide audience usually don’t work as well.
The second step involves identifying companies within the industry that they would like to target. This can be based on various parameters like the size of the company, revenue, headcount or geographies that the B2B enterprise has presence in. This shortlisting is aimed at fine tuning your demand generation and identifying prospects who are most likely to purchase your product or services.
The third step involves identifying the key decision makers within these companies who are likely to be involved in purchasing the product. In B2B purchases, decision making is a complex process with multiple people involved. These include the users of the product, an internal champion, technical & commercial approvers etc. each performing a different function. Usually it’s best to reach out to the person likely to be the internal champion of the process.
The fourth step includes choosing the right platform or approach to reach out to these decision makers. The usual options available for B2B demand gen initiatives include website optimization, online advertisements on platforms like google, cold calls & emails, industry aggregators like indiamart, alibaba for product companies and offline or online events like conferences.
Challenges in B2B demand generation
The key challenges in B2B demand generation lie in step three and step four outlined above due to a few specific reasons.
Demand generation initiatives often struggle to identify the right decision makers in the organization. While it is a good strategy to reach out to the senior most person possible, it is also important that the problem you are solving or the solution is one of the key priorities for the person. We often see people wanting to reach out to CEOs, CXOs hoping that if it comes from the top, the conversation is likely to move ahead faster. In our experience, we’ve found that reaching out to the head of the department (VP, Director etc.) and one level below that delivers the most qualified or interested prospects.
B2B buyers are known to be unusually difficult to reach. People in senior positions usually have a multitude of ‘gate keepers’ whose job is to filter out what goes through to the decision maker. B2B demand generation agencies need to be aware of this fact and should know how to navigate the conversation through these ‘gatekeepers’ to reach the decision maker.
Also decision makers have grown increasingly averse to cold calls and emails. This is reflected in the poor answer rates & response rates for emails.
One thing companies often fail at, while doing demand generation, is spark curiosity amongst their buyers. The most common reason for this being companies focus excessively on their product and its features. While this might be important to an extent, clients are usually more interested in their own state of business, the problems they are facing and how this solution could help in the process . We’ve seen companies who have been able to focus on the problem to be solved, provide case studies & references and show a deeper understanding and experience of solving such problems before do better in demand generation.
Most companies look to outsource this task to a demand generation agency. While an agency definitely helps in completing demand generation activities in an efficient & cost-effective way, it is important to have a b2b demand generation strategy in place before you get an agency involved.
Demand generation companies are good at running specified activities in a consistent manner. However, it’s best to first layout these activities and run initial pilots to understand the sources of lead generation, messaging, frequency and buyer personas are working.